Reading Challenge

Aileen attempts to read a book a week. Follow along as she loses her mind. We used the PopSugar 2018 Reading Challenge as inspiration, then went off on our own, as you’ll find we do a lot around here. Join in by reading the books Aileen reads, or by choosing your own.

The Conflict Reading Challenge

The Conflict

Originally released in France in 2010, The Conflict by Elisabeth Badinter was translated into English and released in the United States in 2013. Younger son was 2 and I read nothing longer than the back of a cereal box. I remember a dear friend of mine from my most excellent moms’ group talked fleetingly about the book, but I was such a wreck I probably just nodded then checked to see how long it was until 5pm and I could have some wine and cheese and crackers.

Now that younger son is Six and older son has graduated from college, my brain has returned to me and one of the first things I remember seeping up from the ooze was the hazy recollection that someone, somewhere had had the nerve to say that modern motherhood was threatening female independence. And that the person had been French. Read more

One for the Money

One for the Money

This week we are talking about our moms and my mom loved to read. Loved isn’t the right word. Lived. My mom lived to read. One of the last things she stopped doing a few weeks before she died was read. She quit eating before she quit reading. Read more

Yes Please Reading Challenge

Yes Please

I’m a huge fan of the memoir genre, particularly when it’s done by smart, funny women that I admire.  I read Yes Please shortly after it came out in 2014.  Given my age and the amount of useful information swirling around my head, I thought a re-read was in order to give it justice in this week’s reading challenge.  I can honestly say that it was as much of a pleasure the second time around as the first. Read more

We Should All Be Feminists Reading Challenge

We Should All Be Feminists

Here I am again, with someone I greatly admire yet feel unequal to encapsulating in words. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks not only for herself but for all of us. We Should All Be Feminists is short, to the point and worth reading more than once. Adichie talks about feminism but also about what it means to be uniquely herself and a feminist. Read more

What Happened

What Happened

I ordered two copies of What Happened, one for me and one for Older Son. Older Son worked tirelessly on Hillary’s campaign, specifically at the Hillary for America – East LA Office. He helped set the office up and helped run it for months leading up to the election. I, like many Americans, thought Hillary was going to win. And then I heard that Comey was reopening the FBI investigation into the emails. I was instantly terrified that all was lost. I remember calling Older Son in a blind panic, babbling about how we had just lost the election. Read more

Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating

My therapist gave me Intuitive Eating when I was talking to her about my challenges around parenting and food.  I’ve read a lot of books about healthy eating in my day, but this book is completely different. This book is not about how you should modify your food intake to change your weight or your health, it’s about your relationship with food.  Our culture has inserted itself between humans and their food and it’s mostly been done for profit.  

“Legalizing food is the critical step in changing your relationship with food. It frees you to respond to inner eating signals that have been smothered by negative thoughts and guilt feelings about eating.”

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The Annotated Pride and Prejudice

The Annotated Pride and Prejudice

When I was still following a reading challenge list, the prompt that led to The Annotated Pride and Prejudice was, “A book made into a movie you’ve already seen.” I have to admit that I have seen many, many version of Pride and Prejudice. Movies, as well as a couple of incredibly entertaining mini-series. I have never attempted to read the novel. Why? Well, I’m lazy and also, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC mini-series is pretty much the best romantic hero ever. I never felt the need to improve on my acquaintance with Jane Austen’s most famous male character. But the second I read that prompt I knew the time had come to be an adult and read the source material for a story I had watched many, many, many versions of. Read more

The Steal

The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting

I wanted to be more engaged with The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting than I was. The problem was not with the author but rather with the lack of concrete information publicly available about America’s shoplifting epidemic. Retailers who pay for the research aren’t inclined to share the findings with their customers.

Available research (scant as it is) regarding shoplifting in America has two clear conclusions. Roughly 10% of Americans shoplift and there is no such thing as a typical shoplifter. Young men of color are arrested more often than any other demographic but when Americans self-reported their shoplifting habits all races and genders are represented. Read more

Together We Rise

Together We Rise

Together We Rise includes as many voices and points of view regarding the Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017 as possible. It will take years, decades even, to understand what the March meant. But in the here and now, it meant something different to every person who participated.

Where were you on January 21, 2017?” Read more

The Second Shift

The Second Shift

An in-depth examination of what happens in heterosexual, dual-income marriages with kids under six, The Second Shift is a fascinating read that should be approached with thoughtful caution. If your family falls into the category described above, you might think twice about planning to read it while waiting to pick up the kids or while in an endless line.  You may not recognize your own experience in these studies of families trying to work and raise kids while keeping their marriages intact, but if you do, it could be an emotionally difficult experience.  We found it to be enlightening and at times infuriating, so we advise reading with care.  If you have a book club, this might be a good title to work through with a group of friends.  That’s how we chose to do it and it inspired a bevy of impassioned phone calls and text messages.

“When millions of couples are having similar conversations over who does what at home, it can help to understand just what’s going on outside marriage that’s affecting what goes on inside it.”

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