Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 2 of 2 - Last week I talked about the gifts we were getting/considering for Edward, who is turning 8 next month. This week it’s Elizabeth’s turn: not “girl gifts,” ...
June 6, 2012
Book Report (and Giveway of One of Them)
A Far Cry From Kensington, by Muriel Spark. My sister-in-law (the one married to my brother, not Paul's sister) recommended this book, and I really liked it and would look for more by this author. It was a quiet sort of book with a lot of subtle dry humor and interesting observations, and I found I had to be non-distracted to read it.
Concierge Confidential, by Michael Fazio. Paul saw this at the library and brought it home for me: I love insider/behind-the-scenes stuff. I was hesitant to read this one, having just been so disappointed by a mean-bitchy (as opposed to truthy/fun/smart-bitchy), non-truth-ringing one about flight attendants---but I needn't have worried, because it was great. There were a few places where I felt like he lost perspective---but mostly he seemed fair, and it's fairness that makes the stories of bad customer behavior sound TRUE.
I didn't find his tips helpful, overall. I think he genuinely meant to give good advice, but what they boiled down to was "Be someone with insider connections, and be calling on the behalf of someone famous/important." It ended up being advice on how to be a good concierge, really, not advice on how to use insider concierge information for your own purposes. But I really enjoyed the book, I felt like it gave a very satisfying insider view of concierge service, and I ended up liking the author very much and wanting to look him up online and find out more about him.
Seriously...I'm Kidding, by Ellen Degeneres. I think if you like Ellen, you'll like the book, and if you don't, you won't. It's her usual goofy, friendly humor, and I laughed out loud several times. There's some advice in there, but it's all the "be nicer" and "value the important things" advice, and seems to be there mostly to give her a mild friendly narrative as a jumping-off place for the jokes.
Get Out of My Life (but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the mall?), by Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D. One of my friends with a daughter the same age as Rob mentioned this book, and I got it from the library within milliseconds. I found it tremendously reassuring about teenager stuff (I kept actually WEEPING from relieved feelings)---though it also gave me some fresh things to anticipate and worry about (and then some more reassurance about those).
The tone/attitude is so much like what I've seen in the staff at the middle school---like, "This is just a stage. A WEIRD stage, yes, but how about that newborn stage? That was pretty weird too compared to adult humans, huh? You didn't seriously worry your son would be colicky and teething and wearing diapers as an adult, right? He won't be yelling that he hates you and wearing those stupid pants when he's an adult, either. ...Probably."
One thing that left me agitated was that he explained that most teenaged boys deal with adolescence by retreating/disappearing, and that most teenaged girls deal with it by seeking out verbal altercations---and then he said that when a teenaged boy seeks out verbal altercations it can be a much more serious thing, which he'd discuss later. Then he didn't discuss it later. As the mother of a teenaged boy who thrives on verbal altercations, I need more info now.
I feel like a lot of the advice was good, though I won't know until I try to apply it. But I thought one of the best and most helpful parts was just the information that the things that seem CRAZY are totally par for the course, combined with the "we parents are in this together, and WE CAN DO THIS" flavor. It's like in those newborn days finding a book that EXACTLY describes all the stuff the baby is scaring you with, listing all of it under "Normal Infant Behavior" and then following it with several paragraphs about how it drives all parents crazy and makes everyone scared but then it all goes away. WHEW: baby is normal; I'm normal.
I've enjoyed doing the book giveaways so far, so let's do another one. You can leave a comment without being automatically entered, but if you DO want to enter, mention which of the four books you'd want to win a copy of. I'll choose somebody on Saturday, June 9th, and send them a book. (I'll be shipping directly from Amazon with Prime, so it needs to be a U.S. mailing address.)
(All images in this post from Amazon.com.)
Edit: The winner is Shelly! I'll email you!