Monday, November 22, 2010

Mommy Brain

I have always had a bad habit of reading 5 (or so) books at once. Reading concurrently does not in itself necessarily prevent me from finishing a book. Still, throughout my life, it has not been unusual for me to start a book, get bored or distracted and set it aside for...ever. However, since Becca came along, I've noticed a worsening trend. Here's the pile on my nightstand:

That's 14 books. 14 good ones, in fact. 14 books that I am going to read. 14 books that provide a pretty good cross-section of my literary interests. They are, from bottom up:
  1. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss (the most entertaining book ever written about punctuation);
  2. Capital Crimes by Johnathan and Faye Kellerman (love me some trashy mystery novels!);
  3. The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs (in which Jacobs attempts to follow ALL of the laws in the Old Testament over the course of a year);
  4. The Obama Victory: How Media, Money and Message Shaped the 2008 Election by Kate Kenski, Bruce W. Hardy and Kathleen Hall Jamieson (so proud to call preemie mom and author Kate Kenski a friend...and a friend who writes well on relevant topics, to boot!);
  5. The Out of Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Stock Kranowitz;
  6. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott (one of my all-time favorite authors!);
  7. God Does Not...Entertain, Play Match-maker, Hurry, Demand Blood, Cure Every Illness, edited by D. Brent Laytham (a series of essays refuting the, to steal a phrase from my husband, "vending machine" theology of God and prayer (you put your prayers in and get your candy out));
  8. Men Are from Mars; Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex by John Gray (seriously, I've been in ministry for 6 years and married for 5, and I haven't read this book?);
  9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by, of course, J. K. Rowling (I use Harry Potter books the way many people use mashed potatoes...familiar comfort.);
  10. Agatha Christie: Five Complete Novels (not-so-trashy mystery novels);
  11. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creative Writing by Laurie E. Rozakis (trying to refine my craft a bit);
  12. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (and I can tell you exactly why I still haven't finished this book: it describes my life and issues so accurately that it's downright painful to read...but it is SO helpful as well);
  13. The Moms' Book for the Mom Who's Best at Everything by Alison Maloney ('cause it's totally about me, duh); and
  14. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (fabulous and thought-provoking fiction).
Since this picture was taken, I've finished The Hunger Games and added The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century (edited by Tony Hillerman), Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life (by Kathleen Norris, another favorite) and Poppy's Secret Wish by Ann Bryant (one of my Usborne books that I'm previewing for kids whose reading level is advanced beyond their maturity (cough, cough...Riley Speas...cough, cough).

That's a tall pile. 16 books tall, actually. And it's no coincidence that the book I did finish is considered young adult fiction (about the same reading level as Harry Potter) and that one of the books I added is a volume of short stories. I really, really do want to read all the books in the pile. I really, really will (eventually) read all the books in this pile. But not any time soon, it seems.

I am actually still reading the few minutes I get to sit down each the bathroom...when Becca isn't visiting me...and then it's almost always magazines, usuallyNewsweek or (sometimes) Parenting.

Am I alone here? Parents of young kids, are you reading? How do you make the time? And what are you reading? What's the verdict, then? Is this just a magazine phase of life?


  1. I love AJ Jacobs! Did you read his earlier book where he reads the encyclopedia? It's awesome too. I need to read "Eats Shoots and Leaves." I've read "Things that Make Us Sic" which is a similar concept, I think.

    I am reading a lot these days, partly because of Bookswim (the faster I read, the more I get for my money). I read mostly before bed--great way to wind down before turning out the light!

  2. All I've finished this year is The Hunger Games and some trashy vampire romance novels (Charlaine Harris). And to think I once plowed through 10 or so literary novels per semester!

  3. I just finished "The Girl who played with fire" and am starting "The girl who kicked the hornet's nest". I also am reading "The Understudy", a book I keep in the car incase we get somewhere early, and I have a few minutes to read. I am also listening to "The Snowball" on CD, the biogrpahy of Warren Buffett. Not to mention the variety of monthly magazies that we get at the house. Nancy, with all those books, sounds like you need a Kindle...hint hint, Santa Claus....

  4. I don't know you, but this pile of books is why I am certain I would like you in real life. I have a stack like that too. And I have 3 kids (ages 6, 3 and 13 months). I think I made it to book club twice this year---I actually finished "The Help" and another one, but I can't remember what it was and I think I loaned it to a friend so I can't even check on my bookshelf.

    My 13-month-old still doesn't sleep through the night so when bedtime rolls around I can only tolerate magazine articles. I began "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" when the baby was sleeping slightly better, but now his sleep is back to usually that book is collecting dust again.

  5. I read 6 books a year that do not have anything to do with my dissertation. I read them all in Hilton Head on vacation. That's it. One week. I catch up on what's new- I read all 3 Dragon books, Menonite in a Little black dress, etc. this summer while sitting on a deck looking at the water. The rest of the year I cuddle up with my research.

    Next semester when I FINISH my freakin' Phd I will celebrate by reading The Lonely Polygamist!
    And thanks for previewing the book for Boo- girlfriend needs an appropriate challenge since we decided to save Twilight for her 8th birthday!

  6. Haha...your bedstand looks just like mine - in fact, when I moved, I packed all my "currently reading" pile, and I never unpacked it, so now I have another one cooking. I *heart* books!!!!