Thursday, November 3, 2011

On the Pretty Bookshelf, Smug Mummy & Toddler eds.

Note: the books reviewed below were either purchased by me or given to Master P as gifts by (non book publisher) friends and in no way are sponsored or solicited placements.

Let us move past yesterday's unholy mash-up of Mr. Darcy and bachelor parties - which was a bit like "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" if you sub in the unclothed for the undead - for Prettier climes . . .

I've been kvetching an awful lot here lately about things I cannot do - cooking, sewing, and generally being a competent housewife, for starters - but if there's one thing I know my way around, it's a book. READING, dolls - it's what's for dinner. Because you don't want whatever I've actually cooked for dinner, but at least I can feed your mind & soul . . .

Or, um, ya know, I could just tell you what I've been reading lately. I usually do this over at Goodreads, but I've just spent the morning with toddler in lap reading and thus am in a general book nerdly sort of way today:

You can have your ocean views - I can think of no vantage point of which I'm more fond than this one. OK, I'd *also* like an ocean view, but if forced to choose I'll take this.
Anywhooo, here are two recent favorites of mine followed by two of Master P's, in case anyone is looking for a fab gift for a one-year-old yuppie and his book mongering parent(s) (all photos via Amazon):

"Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" - my favorite read of 2011 to date. It can be read at surface level as a quiet love story between a retired English major and a Pakistani shopkeeper in the nearby village. To leave it at that humdrum description, however, is to understate its devastating, deadpan wit as well as its insightful look at class and race relations in the UK (and the US, to a certain extent). I had a quibble here and there with the prose, and the end is not unpredictable, but I adored this intrinsically in the same way I felt at home with "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" - it couldn't be more up this cobblestone-lined Anglophile's alley.

At the recommendation of Mrs. Smith, I just started in on this champagne bubble of a memoir, in need of a break from the intensely creative but mystifying "Middlesex". I couldn't have asked for a better palate cleanser; this is light reading but a captivating one at that about two World War II era college girls and their summer working at Tiffany. There's just something about that shade of blue, isn't there?

And for the discerning toddler...

"First 100 Words" - as you can see from that Master P photo above, my wee CEO lives to plop down in my lap and flip through these colorful pages. He exclaims "DOH!" and jabs his chubby index finder at photos, demanding that I read the designated caption to him. I highly recommend this as a one-year-old gift.

"Busy, Busy Town": a classic with vivid, colorful illustrations Master P loves to page through, with a simple enough storyline to suit his one-year-old attention span (and one that doesn't bore me silly in the reading process).

Class, any other recommendations?


On the toddler reading note, I'm participating in a toddler book swap with my longtime Invisible Internet Friend, Beach Bum & Baby; if any other Smug Mummies would like to participate, please leave your email address in the comments or drop me a line at ipickpretty AT [gmail], etc. Mwah!


Meagan@Keeping up with the Jenks' said...

We'ew totally into anything that has a lift-a-flap in it. And the "Peekabo" series. And ones with farm s animals...yeah, we love us some books.
Soem sappy ones for us moms, Nancy Tillman. great, great stuff.

Mrs. Type A said...

I've been wanting to read Major Pettigrew so I will have to pick that up. If you haven't read the Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain, you should definitely give it a read. Especially if you are a Hemingway fan at all. I absolutely loved it and it was my fav book of 2011.

Beach Bum & Baby said...

Ahhh I need to do a book post stat!

We love that 100 first words book. Except when Trey tries to fling it AT me! That thing is HEAVY!

Here is what we (me? Trey?) we! are loving:

Dinosaur Versus Bedtime
The Birthday Box/Quiet Loud (Same Author)
Little Crab/Little Bat/ Etc - they have finger puppets attached - FUN!
That's not my Reindeer, That's not my Penguin
First Christmas Words (yes, I'm one of *those* I DO NOT wait till after Thanksgiving)
The biggest thing in the ocean
What's Wrong Little Pookie/Happy Birthday Little Pookie

Ok, that's enough for now. Yes, I love kids books, and yes I'm totally a nerd! :)

Whitericebryce said...

At Master P's age, the kids really liked the Maisy books. "Maisy Goes Shopping", "Maisy Cleans Up", "Maisy Rides the Bus", "Maisy Passes the Dutchie to the Left Hand Side" get the drift. They also liked the "My First Sushi Book", to keep it real. We searched for the Irish equivalent, but no such luck finding "My First Guinness"...go figure.

As for readers of a more certain age, Colum McCann's "Let the Great World Spin" is one of the best novels I have read in a long time. Though set in NYC in the 70's, it is an allegory of the events of 9/11. YOU WILL LIKE IT!

What Kate Wore said...

I so love Summer at Tiffany, it is evocative of so much, almost all of it good. As far as Master P's continuing education credits go, have we done Harold and the Purple Crayon...? (The best I can come up with, sorry!)

Sending you a smile Miss More-Than-Competent,

Mrs. Business said...

I was looking for some good adult easy reads yesterday, and I couldn't find anything that perked my interest. Tomorrow I'll have to run out for Summer at Tiffany - thanks for sharing!

I'd love to participate in the toddler book swap. At just under a year, reading books is one of my favorite ways to spend time with Small Biz!

My email is


Mrs. Smith said...

So so glad you liked the recommendation! And I'll add Major Pettigrew's Last Stand to my "to-read" list!

Perfectly Imperfect said...

I *think* I'm signed up for that book swap. Sort of can't wait. For toddlers, E LOVES Goodnight Moon (classic) and any book with Elmo (who I'm starting to loathe).

BCuenin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brittany said...

I loved "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society", so thank you for the rec! (English major - reading nerd)

Right now, we love Sandra Boynton books - good for rhyming and chewing!

Amy @ Forever 29 said...

The 100 words book is a favorite here too! BB is a big fan of Animal Strike at the Zoo. It's True! and The Biggest Thing in the Ocean.

I on the other hand am being a horrible reader right now.

The Shabby Princess said...

Will be buying Summer at Tiffany for sure. I need a light hearted and happy book--and anything in that shade of blue cannot be bad!

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