books read in Feb

March 1, 2018
The list: #10 – 17 on the list read in Feb
(fine, I finished #17 this morning but close enough!)
Quick summaries:
1) Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman.  My mom made me read this 🙂  It was fascinating.  Our family is Jewish but really feel it more as a culture than a religion at the point (complex topic here – not going there, but just for background!).  An interesting read for anyone interested in extreme religious sects.
2) A Window Opens, by Elisabeth Egan.  Recommended by Marcia of Organising Queen!  I enjoyed this fairly light read about a woman who goes from staying home with her kids to working for a corporate machine.  I didn’t love it as much as she did (the ending kind of irked me!) but it was a fun read. 
3) When, by Daniel Pink.  I wasn’t a huge fan of this, but mostly because I felt like I had read/heard many of his points before (I happen to enjoy this topic/genre!).  My favorite books about time to date are Laura‘s 168 Hours (not just saying that!) and Tille Roenneberg’s Internal Time.

4) There There, by Tommy Orange.  A reader who works for Knopf was kind enough to send me 3 titles gratis — thank you so much!  I read them all this month, and they were my 3 favorites (NOT just saying that).  This book is written by a Native American and I’ll just share what Sherman Alexie wrote about it:   

“And his debut novel is a beautiful, dangerous, sad, poetic, and hilarious revelation. Set in Oakland, California, There There is truly the first book to capture what it means to be an urban Indian—perhaps the first novel ever to celebrate and honor and elevate the joys and losses of urban Indians. You might think I’m exaggerating but this book is so revolutionary—evolutionary—that Native American literature will never be the same.” 

5) The Fifth Trimester, by Lauren Smith Brody.  I had to pump myself up for back to work!  I enjoyed a lot of pep talks and beauty/image discussion in this book.  I didn’t love the frequent mentions about the mean pumping duration being 11 months (I also find this REALLY hard to believe).  She doesn’t really address the stresses of pumping enough, which I think is a huge primary stressor in many women going back.  She also seemed a bit biased against day care for infants.  I still enjoyed it and would recommend it for women returning to work — it brings up a lot of food for thought and has many useful tips.  AND she was very gracious and wonderful to speak with on the podcast!  But, in the spirit of honesty, I will say the book was not a perfect fit for me in my current headspace.

6) Only Child, by Rhiannon Navin (book #2 sent by reader from Knopf).  I almost couldn’t read this.  Too powerful, too emotional.  I was crying hard early on.  But I’m glad I persisted because this was a thought provoking and extremely timely read (re: gun control / recent events).  This book stands out in my mind as the best and most memorable thing I read last month.  I highly recommend it but maybe save it for when you are feeling strong and not terribly sensitive, because . . . yeah.  
7) I Am I Am I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death, by Maggie O’Farrell (book #3 sent by reader from Knopf).  I really enjoyed this incredibly well-written memoir.  Memoirs can feel self-indulgent, but this author’s voice is so strong and her experiences so significant that it didn’t come across that way at all.  This is a short read with chapters that could all be short stories on their own, but come together very nicely.  Recommend!
8) The Good News About Bad Behavior, by Katherine Lewis Reynolds.  A thought-provoking parenting book (written in ‘narrative journalism’ format).  We’ll be having her as a guest on the podcast soon, so I’ll save my thoughts for when we have the episode!  But a lot of interesting ideas throughout.  (This comes out in April but I received a galley copy, since we’ll be having her on BoBW).
#1, 2, 3, 5 – borrowed from library
#8 is the only one I read digitally.
Still prefer actual books!

mid-month stack
I’m sad that my reading rate will probably be cut in half (if not more) very soon, but it’s been a very fun and literary maternity leave!  We’ll see if I can keep up with a book/week in March.  
Whew!  Will be back tomorrow with superficial work prep post 🙂
In the meantime . . .


  • Reply Organising Queen March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    I love that you read A Window Opens. I do think I enjoyed it much more because I read it at a time when I appreciated the message.

  • Reply Laura Vanderkam March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Thanks for the kind words on 168 Hours – I really appreciate that!

  • Reply facebook March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm


  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    I”m definitely going to add There There and Only Child to my list! I am reading Maggie O”Farrell”s This Must be the Place right now (on MMD”s rec) and really enjoying it so far.

    Great job on your maternity leave reading accomplishment!

  • Reply Danielle March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Obviously thrilled to hear that There There, Only Child, and I Am, I Am, I Am were your top reads for the month :). What’s on your list for March?
    p.s. G is unbelievably cute here!

  • Reply KaitReece March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    What a great list! I just bought a new book for my desk at work for those unexpected windows of time such as a last minute cancelled lunch meeting, dead time between conference calls, and the like.

    I never tried reading while pumping but wondering if that would have worked for me?

    Also, I must say that you are re-entering work with much more grace and intention than I did with my daughter 1.5 years ago. Looking forward to your re-entry post tomorrow!

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