Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On the Pretty Bookshelf (with Bonus Ovaries), June '12

***"On the Pretty Bookshelf" is my monthly book nerd series in which I natter on about my & Master P's respective favorite reads each month; you can see more about what I'm currently reading at Goodreads.***

I've been offline hiding in books a bit more than usual lately, and with good reason - last week, both my cell phone and my ovaries turned out to be a little bit broken. Again. Not to trivialize a serious thing, but do you know just how inconvenient it is to be unable to make a call or a baby (note: not at the same time)?

[Mildly Relevant / TMI Sidebar: I don't want to get into some dreary State of the Uterus address here, but I have the fertility condition PCOS. Good news is, my problem actually has a concrete diagnosis, it's unrelated to my decrepit old age, and it's one that we've successfully overcome (duh) in the past. The bad news is, well, needing a diagnosis, not to mention procreation now involving all the spontaneous romance of an airport security pat-down.]

But enough about my defective ladybits - there's a phrase you don't hear every day - we're here today for books. BOOKS, thank Neiman Marcus (or the library - whatever). My favorite this month is once again . . . ironic drumroll, please . . . another Young Adult novel! Because 3 out of 4 months isn't indicative of a worrisome pattern of arrested development at all! Exclamation point!!!!

state of the nightstand (and not the uterus - you're welcome) 

For the Teenagers Adults, Regardless of Working Ladybits:

Looking for Alaska by John Green

I came to this book, the author's debut, with lofty expectations, having just devoured "The Fault in Our Stars". While this doesn't quite rise to the level of that sure-to-be-classic, I really enjoyed "Alaska" too.

This is the story of Miles, an introverted Florida high school junior and outsider who decides to switch to an out-of-state boarding school in hopes of . . . something. "The Great Perhaps", as he calls it. He finds just that in a group of fellow students, including - especially - the mysterious, beautiful Alaska.

Without spoiling anything, the book clearly and effectively builds the setting for an upcoming tragedy. When it ultimately unfolds, Miles is left to tackle the aftermath, and the Great Perhaps is only the beginning. Or is it the entire purpose?

As with "The Fault in Our Stars", the author shows an uncanny ability to recreate the teenage mind, hopes and hormones and everything else that entails. I don't want to pigeonhole this as YA fiction, though, since it was enjoyable to distinctly-no-longer-teenaged me too. He captures adolescence without condescending to it, an incredible feat not many authors, YA or otherwise, manage to pull off.

This is a contemporary addition to the canon that Salinger started, with Miles asking many of the same important questions that good ol' Holden once kicked around. While I'm not saying this rises to "Catcher" status, it is a remarkable debut. I want my children to read Green one day in the same way I hope they'll love Salinger and S.E. Hinton too.

(Just a note for any parents of teenagers reading this: there's some mature subject matter in this one - not just the meaning of life stuff, but also some drinking, smoking and sexuality - that might make this a better fit for older teens as well as fully grown-up bloggers. Ahem.)

For the Nursery School Set

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambeault, and Lois Ehlert

image via Goodreads

This is Master P's recent favorite, a rhyming, rhythmic alphabet book he received for his birthday (thanks, Auntie L!). He seems to like the colorful illustrations and musicality to the words, and I enjoy the clever alphabet lesson going on. Win-win.


Maggie said...

Symphathies for the broken ovaries. I wish I could say I know what that's like, but my *extremely* helpful diagnosis is "Unexplained Infertility," which means that my ovaries are in fact in perfect working order! If only they actually WORKED ;-). Harumph harumph harumph. At any rate, I do find that a good book helps. Try words about Paris. Or anything vacation-esque.

eas said...

I have PCOS too and we are cooking baby #2 now although it took several years. Anyone who says the second try is easier is lying in my opinion.
Good luck!

Thanks for the book ideas! I am trying to complete Anna Karenina this summer and keep finding my way back to People Magazine-oops.

Sarah said...

i have PCOS too! Yay for broken ovaries! Seriously though, and not to get all in your business, because I'm sure you've been there done that, but I recently started taking Metformin and my cycles (HELLO, TMI) are now regular for the first time ever. It's supposed to do great things for PCOS. Hang in there.

Adrienne said...

I have PCOS too, recently "diagnosed". Isn't that just a terrible, terrible word? Aside from making it nearly impossible to get health insurance any time in the future I'm sure, I have heard it takes the fun away from baby-making. Boo.

Thanks for the book recommendations, I love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I used to be able to recite the whole book during my preschool-teaching days, but it's been two years...

A told B and C told D I'll meet you at the top of that coconut tree. Whew said D to to E, F, G, I'll beat you to the top of that coconut tree.


Amy @ Forever 29 said...

You know my opinions on fiction (though maybe Young Adult fiction is a genre that deserves more of my attention), so I am here strictly to offer condolences to you regarding your ladybits. As if the whole baby-making business isn't hard enough on us Type A's...so sorry you've been thrown this curve ball.

The Waspy Redhead said...

Super sorry to hear of your ovarian woes, and wishing you best of luck. Is that what's appropriate in this situation? I feel like Emily Post should have an updated edition that addresses the most winning comment to leave on a friend from the Internet's heartfelt and humorous post about struggling with infertility.


The Klahns said...

I'll chime in and say that I found out about PCOS while trying to conceive my adorable mini one, now almost 2 herself. Hubby and I are in the same boat, going through all the fun symptoms again in hopes of having another little one on the way before too long. Good luck to you!

The Shabby Princess said...

Oh darlin'. Please get thee up to Dallas so we can commiserate about broken ovaries and chit chat about happy places (i.e ENGLAND) while Hoovering In N Out.

Love you.

Kristen said...

Hi beautiful, I'm sorry about the news. It sounds like you're handling it so well. I was diagnosed with 'probable pcos' a few years ago when I tried to get off the pill and lost of my cycle until I got back on the pill (boo), so I can relate. Oddly, from the looks of the comments, it looks like a lot of women can relate. It makes me wonder if pcos is overdiagnosed or whether hormonal birth control is somehow causing or contributing to it. I'm currently thinking of getting off hormonal birth control again, but I'm anxious about what happens to my skin/hormones when I do . . . sending love your way!

Carly Anne said...

Don't you look forward to the day when you have successfully created your desired number of offspring and can retire the whole lady package? I dream of it - imagine not ever again worrying that something you are doing or not doing, or something that the evil mistresses of time and/or nature are doing or not doing, will affect your ability to have more children...

A party is in order when this day arrives. With many cocktails and fish full of mercury.

The Preppy Princess said...

Boo-hiss-boo on the PCOS (further proof that God, is in fact, not a woman), from what friends have said it can be misery personified. :(

I love hearing your book reviews, here or on Goodreads, I'm a Pretty Planet fan girl. :)

AEOT said...

I wondered (as I often do when people have children the same age as I) about your next darling child, and I was sad today when reading this post :( I'm sure your frustrated by the PCOS and the situation it causes. I love what the Waspy Redhead said above- wishing I knew how to appropriately address this over the interwebs. IRL, I would just take you out for wine!!

TCP said...

Your title made me think for a moment that you had perhaps found an extra pair of ovaries laying around...:) Sorry to hear you are having a rough time, my friend. Wish we could go drown our sorrows at brunch again.

Oh, and a book rec for J! Have you read "Goodnight Construction Site" with him yet? W is obsessed with it.

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