Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Intro - Book Summaries

I read a huge amount as a child and a teenager, and I read quite quickly. Well - I don't whether or not I'm a quick reader, but I got through books fast because I could never put them down. Once my head was in a book it could not be dragged out. I remember reading books and brushing my teeth at the same time... I must have had some awareness that life had to continue, but not at the expense of the book. I think my Mum, obviously pretty happy with my choice of pastime, sometimes despaired when I had a good book going because, you know, sometimes a kid just has to set the table for dinner or do something.

As an adult I don't read at the same rate. I think this is for all kinds of reasons. Obviously I'm pretty busy now. I don't have quite the same inspiration about what to read these days, it requires a lot more thinking to track down the good books than it did when I was at school. When faced with a library or a book shop with a voucher in my hand, I'm paralysed by the need to find the best book in the place. I think I need to do some reading to find out what to read. There has sometimes been that feeling of wanting to be living out my own story, rather than sitting on the sofa reading about someone else's (though I know the two can be combined really) and sometimes I really have been too taken up in my own life. I do think though, if the perfect books were just delivered to my door, I would devour them even now. Though there is still that problem of having to put books down on occasion; cooking dinner with one hand and half an eye doesn't seem like a good idea.

I stayed away from fiction after Kent died. I didn't want to read happy stories or sad stories. I didn't want to read anything even slightly disturbing or upsetting or gloriously wonderful. Anything had the potential to dig the knife in. I read the magazine section of the newspaper some evenings for a long time, and learnt all kinds of things about new cafes in town and what's the best make-up to use when you're over 50 and who the latest shoe designers are. Not exactly masterpieces. But distraction none the less.

But now my bedside table is heaving with so many books that I've had to move some of them to another location. I don't think I've ever read more than one book at the same time in my life. I'm certain, not ever, except perhaps a novel and a text book. And now I have about 20 million on the go at once. Hang on, I'll check.

There are fourteen books in my room, I've started eleven of them and finished two of them. Only one is a novel; I requested The Luminaries for my birthday, and I think that the fear of reading things that my broken heart can't handle is still there. Mind you, there are five that are around the topic of grief/loss/death/new beginnings and they have been pretty hard on the heart. One of them has even been thrown across the room a couple of times. There's a couple about sugar, and the rest are on parenting.

And so we come to the point.

I have a few books about "parenting" (I'm not a fan of that word but it's so much easier than any other way I can put it). I really like to read ideas from others as I've never done this before and I'm really happy to learn from experienced parents. There are two or three I'm very keen to buy (I know, even more books); a couple of them I have dipped in to before and I would like to get my own copy. That makes a lot of information.

I've been thinking I'd like to summarise these books here on my blog for those of you who are parents. I'll do it for my own sake, as a way to help me clarify the main points and to refer back to later. And if that's a useful project for me, I may as well put it here and some of you might find it useful too.

The most important thing about this is that the points I will be summarising here aren't necessarily my point of view. It's highly likely that if I'm attracted to the book it'll be fairly on par with my own ways and my own views. But maybe not. And if I read something that is dreadful advice I won't be putting the energy in to summarising it just to never refer back to it ever.  But I won't particularly be letting you know what I think about these books or looking for long discussions on whether you agree or disagree. Your comments are always welcomed of course (with a grateful hug and a kiss actually), but my aim is not especially to promote discussion, or debate. They'll be book summaries, not book reviews.

You may be happy enough with the way things are going in your household, and not feel any great desire to read a whole range of ideas from others. Sometimes there's just not enough head space. So feel free to just pass by and I'll post on another topic that might catch your interest.

So stand by. First up will be a summary of Chapter One from How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish on helping children deal with their feelings.


  1. I'm with you on the multiple unfinished books and look forward to reading your summaries - they might save me some reading time of my own!

    1. I was just thinking the same thing as Steph - I've had a copy of "how to talk...." on the shelf for a couple of years now and have dipped into it, but I've never had time to read it properly - would be great to read your summary otherwise the kids will be grown up before I get round to reading it!

  2. I'd love to read your summaries, I'd be extremely grateful in fact! The first book you mention is one I've been wanting to read myself :)

  3. Great idea! Look forward to this feature. I too am a fan of How to talk - recommended by your good self!