Thanks to posting almost all of my non-wishlisted books onto my shelf at Paperbackswap.com, and subsequently having so many end up being requested RIGHT AWAY, I've been reading up a storm! I've decided that yes, while I still enjoy reading, the one-book-a-week pace is just right for me...but if I'm still going to acquire books, I really need to do some housekeeping to keep up with my goal of "minimal to-be-read books by the time we move in, um, 2013."
Here are the two I finished over the last few days!
Book 45: My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student, by Rebekah Nathan
The premise of this book was interesting - an anthropologist does an ethnography of life as a college freshman. The execution, however, as flawed. There was only so much real integration that Nathan could do, given her much-older-than-the-average-freshman status - she didn't really socialize with them in the same way that someone younger (even mid-20s) could have. Most of the time I found myself thinking "well...duh." Yeah, college is more about time management than learning, in many cases (maybe that's what you ARE learning?). Yeah, college students aren't as prepared as they perhaps used to be - if you're there five minutes, and are even five years older than average, you'll notice a lack of maturity and lack of preparation that, on some cases, is quite startling.
Ultimately I found myself wondering who this book is for. Most college administrators probably already had data similar to hers at their disposal. Current college students (or even those who've at least been there recently) know about the struggles associated with it (and the payoff one earns at the end, I suppose - don't want to be too cynical!). Possibly the group that would benefit the most would be parents of first-generation college students, to gain some understanding of what their children will be going through.
Not a bad book, but not really recommended for leisure reading.
Book 46: Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic, by Martha Beck
I can't say enough good things about this book. Looking out onto the prospect of becoming a mom someday, I'll admit that one of my biggest fears is having a child with a disability. Through blogs like Driving with No Hands and a book like this, both about life with one or more children with Downs Syndrome, I've come to realize that it would not be the worst thing in the world. Beck's writing is joyful, skipping back and forth between her horrible experience with being pregnant with Adam and anecdotes from Adam's childhood so far. She relates the trauma of his diagnosis, her coping with that (often alone!), learning to allow herself to receive mothering, her family's reaction, the prejudices from those around her (including absolutely terrible doctors), and how his birth ends up being one of the best things to ever happen to her.
I highly recommend this book. You will cheer along with her.
Almost done with my "required" reading for the year - only six to go! I have NINE books that have either been requested from me or which I've agreed to send in the next week or so. I've started skimming a few, and even though the topic of the book may have been really interesting to me, I'm not going to force myself to read books I can't get into! My folks are borderline hoarders - that's NOT something I want to inherit.
Besides, clearing out books means more room for fabric. :)