Packing Up and Wrapping Up

The end of Spring? Can it be? Yup. Tomorrow is the first oh-fee-shull day of summer, and we are gearing up for our temporary birthing move to London. We fly out this week, so I'm making decisions about what to pack, what we'll do and see (besides the doctor) once we get there, and what a newborn really needs for the first six weeks. I keep reminding myself that it's mostly diapers, onesies and mum's milk, and also that I will be in a place where the baby things I'm accustomed to will be more accessible than in the country where I currently live, but still...I obsess, make lists, and try to think through it all.

But I've also been getting in some more reading and realized that with the end of the season and our upcoming departure comes the end of this year's Spring Reading Thing!

I definitely want to post a wrap-up on my most recent reads and the challenge in general. I had an original goal list of twenty-two books, and my plan was to choose from that list and read one book a week, or thirteen books total, during the challenge.

I ended up reading eleven from my original list and nine others that caught my attention. So, I guess I accomplished the goal! I think I departed mostly from my list because my brain was tired and I needed some more relaxing reads. Then I also needed some help in home management and getting a little perspective on some problems with my kids, so I checked out some books that would help me get a grip. Overall, I'm glad I read most of what I read. I do plan on keeping the unread books on my list and working through them sometime soon.

(I posted reviews a little infrequently of what I read - here and here and here, if you are interested.)

I can't choose a favorite book that I read. I can choose three, maybe: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (for interesting things I didn't know about World War II and the charming way it is written), Boys Adrift (for spot-on assessment and advice on what boys need in today's world), and The Shadow of the Wind (for poetic writing and suspense). I also really liked The Uncommon Reader (mostly for its premise, but also for the witty, tongue-in-cheek commentary and British humor).

I was most disappointed in My First 300 Babies and Parenting with Love and Logic, maybe just because of where I am in parenting, or maybe because of expectations that were too high. I just didn't find the gems I was hoping for there. I also didn't get as hooked on Harry Potter as I thought I would. I enjoyed the first two books, but didn't feel compelled to keep going. I think I am spoiled by the movies and by the fact that I have all six books all at once - the space between publishing stokes the flame, I think.

My reading branched out into quite a lot of fantasy this spring, which I have never really gotten into. I'm not sure it will turn into reading any of the more "classic" fantasy or really loving the genre, but it was a lovely and interesting escape lots of times over the last couple of months. We'll see where it goes from here...

The best thing about all the reading I did and the Spring Reading Thing was feeling again that I can fit reading into my life, that it is truly one of the most enjoyable things to me (as cliche as that is when someone asks what I like to do), and that whether I'm reading to escape or to learn, it makes me happy because it keeps my brain and my heart alive. The challenge helped me get back into the swing of reading after being a little burned out from my Master's studies. I don't want to stop now!

Today you can stop over at Callapidder Days and link up with other bloggers who participated in the Spring Reading Thing. It's a great way to find recommendations for your own reading and find other readers. Thanks, Katrina, for hosting this challenge. It made my spring great!


FYI, in the past couple of weeks, I've topped off my Spring Reading Thing with the following books:

The Five Love Languages - I've had about thirty people tell me to read this, and I have to say that it really is a great resource and includes some wonderful ideas for expressing love effectively. It speaks to a lot of issues I see in relationships and it really made me want to do better at both expressing love the way the people I care about need it and recognizing and appreciating love from people the way that they are trying to show it. It also made me want to get the Five Love Languages of Children for some more specific ways to find out what makes my kids tick and how to make them feel more loved and secure. So, I did. But I haven't started reading it yet.

Unaccustomed Earth - I enjoyed this collection of stories. I found them a bit sad and somewhat haunting, but really enjoyed the style of the writing. It peaked my interest in India and Indians in America, and also made me want to read more of Jhumpa Lahiri's books.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby - Just needed a refresher course. I've read this one at least three times since Calvin was a baby and although it has serious editing deficiencies in the order and presentation of some of the info, man! It is a serious help and lifesaver. I believe in healthy sleep as a way for both parents and kids to be better and more responsive to each other and less harried in general. Calvin was the only one of my babies who has ever "cried it out" and that was very short-lived and only because we didn't start when he was a newborn. Don't get me wrong - we still have kids who come into our bed in the middle of the night sometimes and we still have nights or time periods when bedtime and sleep gets a little messed up, but bedtime and rest are all in all very pleasant and great times for all of us, and I recommend this book for the scientific backing and also the reasonable approach to correcting sleep habits. This is also one book that helps me make it through the first two or three months of a newborn's life - not because the newborn sleeps through the night already, but because I cand read and understand how the sleep rythms and nap patterns usually evolve and I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

First Light - Sir Nottaguy, this one barely arrived from Amazon, so I just started it. I like it so far. Thanks for the recommendation!


Sir Nottaguy-Imadad said...

A book is like a dear friend. You can pay it no attention for a long time. But when you pick it up again, it welcomes you back with arms wide open.

Unknown said...

Fun! I have to say that the first Harry Potter book definitely didn't capture my attention, and the second wasn't great either, but it was the 3rd that hooked me! So, when you're looking for a nice read sometime, go back to them.

Katrina said...

Great job, Traci! And I absolutely love this quote:

"...whether I'm reading to escape or to learn, it makes me happy because it keeps my brain and my heart alive." I completely agree!

Oh and Healthy Sleep Habits...-- I love that one too! I had lost my copy before my 2nd child came along, and that was on my list of must-haves!

Thanks so much for being part of the Spring Reading Thing. I hope your stay in London is refreshing and all goes well with the birth and first few weeks of your new little one!

Andrea said...

I agree with the sleep habits book. Drives me crazy, but has some great info. I wish I had read it with the first baby and knew they were only awake for an hour or so.
Great reviews. I'll have to read some that I haven't.
You've also inspired me to find more time to read.

Gabriela said...

I can't believe it's time for you to go to London. I know just what you mean about all the lists and stuff. Best of luck-what an adventure to have a baby in another, another country. I hope all goes smoothly.

I really enjoyed Unaccustumed Earth as well. Are you on Goodreads? If you are, we should be friends. :)

Janet said...

I enjoyed reading your wrap-up. I think The 5 Love Languages is a great resource too.