Monday, July 28, 2014

What I'm Reading: Plath, The Book Thief, and All Joy, No Fun


A glimpse into my recent life as a Reader.

The Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath were interesting.  As the collection is organized chronologically, I wasn't sure whether I was just warming to her as I plowed through the collection or whether I was noticing her own maturation as a poet - but the beginning of the collection did not impress me and I had to read many poems before I started to warm to them.  Her reputation is so huge, but I've never read the actual poems before, so it was good to actually go to the source material.

Meanwhile, The Book Thief took me a ridiculously long time to finish because I bought it on my kindle ... which the kids keep "borrowing" and not bringing back to me.  When I did get a chance to read it, though, I loved it.  Narrated by Death and set in Nazi Germany, the book could have been one huge cliche.  It escaped that fate, however, and managed to both surprise me and bring me to tears.  So, so good.

And finally, I managed to finish All Joy, No Fun this week.  The author set out to write a book about parenting with a different question: instead of asking what effect it has on the kids, what effect does modern parenting have on the parents?  Riffing off a study that showed that parents had lowered rates of happiness and well-being compared to peers without children, the book explores many of the issues of modern parenting through both qualitative case studies and reviews of more quantitative data.  There are some very thought-provoking things in this book if you are a parent, especially a parent of the middle-class variety (which the author does state in a disclaimer was her primary focus).  I was left with some deep musings about the modern phenomenon of the "useless" child - the child who does not contribute to society or the family through labor of any kind but is instead the receiver of care, goods, resources, etc.  I might have more to say about that in another post.

The reading continues!

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