Thursday, December 2, 2010

November Reads


I just love books. And apparently I'm not the only one in this family that feels that way.  Jack loves reading stories, or should I say loves having me read him stories.  But he's also just starting to read books to Jude now too.  It's adorable.  And I know I'm his mom, but the kid is smart, man.  The other night I was sitting in the kitchen and heard, "Pup ... cup ...  .... no, no, Pop..."  Yeah, he was reading "Hop on Pop" ... and getting the words right!!  Jude's starting to become a bit bookish as well.  He's really beginning to show an interest in picture books.  He's not very good at turning the pages himself, but for some reason he loves to open-hand smack the pictures.
Photobucket Currently, two of Jack's favorite books are Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever (which my husband also loved as a child) and the Sesame Street Word Book.

PhotobucketWe received both of these as gifts when Jack was first born, and I gotta admit, I wasn't sure what to think.  I mean, they're not exactly the kind of book you can sit down and "read" with a baby.  But now that I have a 2 year old who loves learning to talk, I can totally see the utility of a word book.  Jack really can't get enough of them.  And they're perfect for "quiet time."  In other words, when Jack gets a little too wild but isn't necessarily being bad, I sit him in the big chair and hand him one of these books to read until he calms down.  Within minutes he's a new child!  I have only two issues with these books: (1) the pages are paper, so you can imagine what kind of condition our books are in with Jack around and (2) they really bring out the "need for affirmation" in our child.  This is usually how we read:  "Traaaaiiin, traaiiinnn."  "Yes, Jack, that's a train, good job."  "Boooatt, boooaaat." ... (no response)  "Boooaaat..."  "Mama, MAMA!! ... Booaaaat."  "Yes Jack, that is a boat."  "Dog, trackor ... MAAAAMMMMAA!!!"  *sigh* "Yes, Jack that is a tractor.  Now you don't need Mommy to repeat everything you say."  Needless to say, it doesn't exactly create a library-like atmosphere.

But enough about the kiddos, let's get on to the grown-up literature.  My G'Ma got Her Daughter's Dream lat month, the sequel to Her Mother's Heart so I jumped on that during our visit to Pennsylvania several weeks ago.  I was in a hurry to finish it and pass it on to my mother-in-law that same weekend.  It wasn't easy, and I left a lot of housework undone for a few days, but wrapped the story up an hour or so before Jon's mom left.  It's a great book, very well written, but also rather heavy.  Thankfully, it has a happy ending, as all good books should.
For my birthday this year, my husband got me a new camera.  After much research and going back and forth, we finally settled on a Nikon D5000.  And I absolutley love it!!  Now for all you Canon fans out there, I have nothing against other makes and models, nor do I know enough about photography to provide an ample argument for or against Nikons.  We went with this camera for the simple reason that both my brothers have Nikons and since I have no photography training or background whatsoever, I rely on them for advice and assistance.  Plus I got a good deal.  'Nuff said. 

I've already said it a few times just in the last few sentences, but I want to re-iterate - I don't know a thing about photography.  Please don't judge me.  Everything I learned up until know I've gleaned from my brothers, on the spot, probably during our beach vacation.  I hope you've noticed a small difference in my pictures since July but if not, clearly I still have a long way to go.  I've been wanting to take a photography class at our local community college, but time is an issue.  So instead I decided to investigate some books.  I decided to go with Scott Kelby's Digital Photography.  There are three volumes.  I read the first, have the third in my paddy just waiting for a quiet, free moment to devour, and the second one has been on hold at the library FOR EVER.  Apparently someone else shares the Kelby-love.  I went with these books for no other reason than that my favorite photog blogger (shall I say Photogger) recommended them, and my local library actually has them.
Not only are they highly informative, but also unexpectedly funny.  I laughed out loud a few times, which caught me a little off-guard coming from a camera book.  They are also easy and fast to read.  And not at all technical which is great because, in case you aren't aware, I don't know a thing about photography.  Like I said, I've only read the first one so far.  I took lots of notes but I'm hoping Volume II or III will have a few more answers for me to burning questions like:  "How do I take tack sharp photos of fidgeting toddlers and bobbing babies?" or "How do I get a 2 year old and a 7 month old to both look at the camera and smile at the same time?" or "What's the easiest way to include myself in a picture so my boys don't grow up and wonder where their mom was for the first 5 years of their life?"  So anyway, if you are interested at all in improving your memory-capturing skills, these are great books to have on hand.
For an early Christmas present this year my hubby got me a smartphone (yes, I am incredibly spoiled but I "needed" this for work!!).  I went with a Droid because, you guessed it, that's what my brothers have, and once again I rely on them for all things technical and advanced.  I've only had it for two weeks but I am absolutley, positively digging this thing.  Is there anything it can't do?  Well, yes there is.  But that's for another post.  One thing it most definitely can do is Kindle for Amazon.  I discovered this on the long drive from Maryland to PA and then from PA to NJ and then from NJ to PA and from PA to Maryland last week.  So just in case you're wondering where I get all this time to read, well there's your answer.
Now, up until recently I was very much opposed to Kindle and electronic books in general.  For me, so much of reading is the tactile experience.  The page turning, the bookmarking, the smell of touch of paper, the weight of a book in your hands ... I could go on.  And then there's my dream of one day having a library with walls and walls of bookshelves, a fireplace, leather furniture and maybe a bear skin rug and a moose head over the mantle.  And not that I love traditional books any less, but I have experienced first hand the benefit of electronic books.  They're easy to transport, easy to accrue, and able to be read in the dark.  So when you find yourself shoved in the back row of an SUV next to a sleeping baby on a 3 hour trip at night, you can turn to your phone and peruse the "free classics" category of Kindle.  Too cool.  I settled on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes because it was listed at #2 (and then bumped up to #1 after I downloaded it) and I had never read it.  I can't believe I've been missing out on this treasure for 27 years now.  I mean, it's a classic, so I can't really recommend it anymore than the ancients before me have been doing for longer than I've been alive.  But I will say:  It's good, really good.  My Kindle-phone also came in handy during quiet nursing sessions throughout the Thanksgiving holiday.  Hey, if you're gonna have to remove yourself to a dark, quiet room and minimize all conversations and distractions just so your little one actually eats ... you might as well have something to read!
With all that traveling and nursing, I easily finished the book in two days.  By this point I was sold on Kindle and still had one more drive ahead of me.  So we finished off the holidays with Beauty and the Beast and I'm currently wrapping up Jane Austen's Love and Freindship.  And yes, I spelled that correctly.  Or incorrectly.  Because she spelled it incorrectly.  I've read this book before.  It is nowhere near the masterpiece of her other more famous novels, but it's also one of her earliest works.  She was probably like a tween when she wrote it.  And it shows.  It's all satire.  Funny, but lacking the depth that we all know and love in her other novels.  Still, it gives a true fan a good glimpse into early Austen.
Phew, things are heating up around here for the holidays.  Not sure how much reading I'll get done ove the next few weeks but I will say that there is one book I've been dying to get my hands on for over 2 years now, and I finally found it at a library a few counties over.  Now I'm just waiting for word that it's arrived and waiting for me to come pick up.  I hope it's everything I've heard it would be so you can all wait with baited breath for our next recommended reads installment!!


JSS said...

I'm going to have to check out the photography books, as I think I'm still quite novice!

Mauby said...

oh, mom to mom, I have got to tell you that affirmation word thing does not go away!

My little guy is 2 years and 8 months now. He speaks in full sentences and STILL, STILL, insists that we affirm words. And add to it this constant question, "What's that?" Response: It's a bus. "Oh. What's that?" Response: The same bus. "It's a Bus? A bus? A bus?"

J9 said...

Haha so I can look forward to this type of conversations for the next 70 years or so? :)

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