Sunday, June 22, 2014

So, Books!

A winter and spring in which you can barely use your arms for keyboarding, screen-scrolling, cooking, or pretty much anything else leaves you with a lot of time to sit with a book open on your lap – silver lining city!
Here are some favorites that have kept me amused, and have helped me learn, sometimes about stuff I never even knew I needed to learn about. So, in completely random order:

The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine totally blew my mind. Written by a psychiatrist, it details a phenomenon with which therapists nationwide are currently grappling, namely, that children and teens who outwardly appear to have every need taken care of are instead full of anxiety caused by pressure to succeed, and in huge numbers are turning to alcohol and drugs, destroying their futures and inner lives at the same time. It is a real eye-opener for anyone with children or who cares about children, and the author shares many great ideas for helping now.

The Lost Art of Feeding Kids by Jeannie Marshall was a favorite for so many reasons: the recipes, her description of the wonders of living in Italy with children, and especially for the analysis of how and why our foodways have become so broken. Read this if you've been wondering about the how and why, and also about how to start fixing.

The Lemonade War Series, five books in all by Jacqueline Davies, is a rarity in that each book is about some different aspect of childhood and deals with serious stuff but in a way that is really appealing to children – and adults! Chapters alternate between the perspectives of a brother and sister, instantly making it a series for both genders, and one of my favorite things is that the author never uses labels. There are characters in these books with serious challenges, and any adult reading will be tempted to put those characters into a labeled box; but children interact with others at a more basic, label-free level, and the author does a fantastic job of highlighting the importance of that. Read these because they are fun and entertaining – and also because they will give you and your children a way to approach complex issues such as sibling rivalry, ill or aging grandparents, bullying, divorce… The list goes on.

Finally, my current obsession is Jane Austen, Game Theorist by Michael Suk-you Chew. Actually, it is a uniting of two long-time obsessions, the novels of Jane Austen and the economic school of thought that is game theory. I know, they sound like two things that could never, ever be united – but the author makes an excellent and compelling case that Jane Austen was in fact the first game theorist. If you love Jane Austen and have never heard of game theory – or vice versa – then you might enjoy this book very much. And, if like me you love both, thenI know you will enjoy this book very much!