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 ๐Ÿ™‚  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 Indianโ€”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 revolutionaryโ€”evolutionaryโ€”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 ๐Ÿ™‚
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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