Friday, September 2, 2011

Book Reviews...Let the Reading BEGIN!

I like to read. I can't say this was always the case. That's part of why I chose to be a math major in university: Math is straightforward. Reading, words, papers...well, they're not.

But, ever since I graduated, I have felt differently. Books are a source of education, information, knowledge, wisdom, guidance. These were once things I got from professors; now they're things I get from the written word.

I also have to say, I like REAL TANGIBLE BOOKS. I don't have a Kindle. I don't retain very much information when I am surfing the web. But, I LOVE the feel of a real book in my hands - the smell, the weight, the escape of a really great bit of lit. I like to highlight, underline, and fold the pages. I like to make my real books REALLY MINE.

Oh, and just so you know, I don't read very much fiction.

But before you go writing off my book reviews because they're not entertaining novels, give me a chance! I read books to get ideas, change my perspectives, and improve my life. Even though the books I read aren't mysteries, action thrillers, or romances, they're VERY inspiring, funny, and useful.

My plan is to also post a couple other book reviews about different topics - art, spirituality, and brain/psychology stuff! We'll see how it goes...Let me know what you think! And, feel free to post your favourite books on any given subject :)

I thought I would begin by sharing my top 10 books (in no particular order) about pregnancy and early infancy...seems how that's sort of what's on my mind right now. And, yes, I have read WAY more than just 10 books. But, I'll brief you on my opinion of the books, and then let YOU choose which you pick up (or give as gifts to your friends/family who are entering motherhood)...

1) The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems
Here's what I took from this book: EASY street. E=eat, A=activity, S=sleep, Y=you time. Do these things in this order and you won't set your baby up to need to eat before she sleeps. Simple. But, she didn't solve all my problems.

2) Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child
Everyone RAVES about this book! It's one of the most highly rec'd books on baby's sleep, and so many new moms sing it's praises. But, to be honest, I am not sure why. I found it very unorganized, boring, repetitive, and difficult to follow (and I read it BEFORE I was an exhausted new mom!) It has lots of science and medical info about how sleep works, which is good. But, seriously, there is no "step by step" help in this one. It's confusing, long, and I think the biggest help with sleep is that it will induce some shut eye itself!

3) Expecting 411
A fabulous reference for pregnancy. Definitely my go-to book on any questions that I had! Loved how the Q&A format makes reading the sections you actually NEED to research quick and easy. Written by doctors, which of course I am partial to ;)

4) The Happiest Baby On the Block
Another quick overview: the main part of this book is the "5-S's." Swaddle, Shhhh, Swing, Side/Stomach, and Suck. Do these 5 things in this order, with appropriate intensity, and you'll help your crying newborn calm down like a pro.
There, now you don't need to read the book.
Just it ;)

5) The Mother of All Pregnancy Books
A Canadian favourite! Funny, quick, witty, and informative. However, you then don't really need to bother with her next book, The Mother of All Baby Books, as the first half is a repeat from this book. I read both, and found the second one a waste of time. I highly rec'd this book as a great resource for pregnancy first-time moms.

6) Your Pregnancy Week By Week
Great resource, but boring and not super-well written. The Your Baby's First Year Week By Week is the same flavour: informative, but not entertaining. One of my peeves about the way that these authors write: they'll often say "from 2 to 3 weeks until 4 to 6 weeks..." Why don't you just say, "from 2 to 6 weeks"!?!?! Too much for a pregnant or new-mom brain to follow...

7) The Mother Dance
Harriet Lerner is a feminist from the 80's, and she is a well-known author with her series of "dance of..." books (ie Dance of Anger, Dance of Intimacy, etc.) I've read a few of her books, and I just LOVE to soak up her perspectives! This book was an enticing read that discussed the struggles that all mothers deal with...and how we can work through them in our society to live fulfilled motherhood lives.

8) Yummy Mummy Manifesto
Found this one on the discount table for about $5 at Chapters...hilarious, entertaining, fun, quick, easy read. Love the encouragement that this book brings to be yourself, find your own style, and love your body through all the different stages of pregnancy and early motherhood. Definitely lifted my mood to read this one!

9) The Baby Sleep Guide
This was a good overview of various sleep training suggestions. It offered a brief summary and the pros and cons of different strategies. It was well-organized, informative, and easy to read. It's a great little handbook to have around, and I appreciate how straightforward it is.

10) Lull-A-Baby Sleep Plan
This is the latest book I have read on baby's sleep (to add to the above list, I have also read the SleepEasy Solution). I really appreciate this pro-active, preventative, reasonable, balanced approach to sleep training. The only thing I can say about this one is READ IT DURING PREGNANCY OR AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF BABY'S LIFE. It's a preventative strategy that works best if you start from the very beginning; trying to play catch up later on requires a little more creativity and patience. So far, this is the best method I have found for helping Evalie sleep.



Canadian Kristin said...

Love your eager-to-learn attitude. Love that you are open to trying and listening and pondering new ideas and theories and ways to do things! Love the candor of your reviews! :-)

lyssa said...

Great reviews! You should join our book club...although so far we've done only fiction. However, the reporter in our group is dying for non-fiction, so we may dive into that next :) I love to read...get entranced in a story and let my imagination run wild! Baby sleep books are good, but definitely get my imagination of "what ifs" and "how I've screwed up" on overdrive. I'm so glad you have read all of these and I can just go with the info you've gotten from them!

October Beauty said...

This is your mother, do you wanta dance ?

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