I shared the first 5 books yesterday and here is the second half. While the themes are very diverse they are all non fiction. 

1. A year without sugar 
by Eve O. Shaub

I wasn’t head over heals for this memoir, but it did inspire me to think about my health and my eating habits. I am definitely drawn to the theory that in the future processed sugar will be likened to cigerettes and alcohol. In other words, something that can be highly addicting and should be handled in moderation and responsibly, or avoided altogether. It bothers me that sugar has such a hold on me. Whether or not I will ever do anything about it is a another story. Anyway, the writer is really laid back (with the exception of her strict anti sugar challenge which is super intense). I can’t say that I would recommend the book, but I didn’t dislike it either. 

Mom Rating: PG. I almost put G, but if I remember correctly there are just a few cuss words and some spiritual stuff that is common in Vermont’s territory which is where the author lives. 

2. Bossy Pants
by Tina Fey 

Bossy pants is the autobiography of Tina Fey and if you get the audiobook it is read by Tina Fey and she really customizes it for your listening pleasure, so that earns extra points in my book. They even insert a clip from SNL to listen too. You wouldn’t get that in the hard copy! However, there are some gaps because the book actually has a few pictures in it and Fey will say something like “refer to the PDF to see the photo”, but I didn’t get a PDF that I know of with my copy. As far as my review about the actual content of the book, I feel like Tina Fey is brilliant. I love her writing style. I do not regret reading the book. I definitely laughed out loud. On the flip side, we have nothing in common. She’s very liberal. I’m not even a 30 Rock or SNL fan for that matter. So it’s a great book. It’s a bestseller. I’m just not going to put at top of my list.

Mom Rating: R. That’s one of the things that turned me off to this book was the language. At one point she calls another woman an extremely offensive word and I was shocked because she’s so feminist throughout the rest of the book. 

3. Seven
by Jen Hatmaker

This book was about a project that blogger/writer/speaker Jen Hatmaker implemented in her war against excess. Each month there was a different area that they would sort of fast in order to give back and focus outward. One month she only has seven articles of clothing to wear. That means she has to wear the same jeans all the time and no coat in the winter etc. Another month she can only eat seven foods and all the while she’s learning about social justice, poverty, and her faith in general. It’s similar to “A Year With No Sugar” in that it is written like a blog and it’s pretty much about self deprivation. Other than that they are totally different.

Anyway, everything I have ever seen of Jen Hatmaker I have loved. I love her voice, literally. FYI she does not read her own audiobook which is huge points off for me, but to each their own. Here is the thing I DON’T want to address. This book was not for me. At risk of sounding so holy, or desperate, or both, I will admit that I am just not living in a place of excess right now. 

At the end of the book Hatmaker even says who she thinks her readers are, and she describes them as middle to upper middle-class moms that have all their needs met and are struggling to find out how they can give back and where the balance is. I can understand that because that social class is all I’ve ever known. Until now. I am one of the richest people in the world statistically speaking, but as far as compared the Hatmaker family and the majority of her readers, or my old life- I’m just plain poor. I don’t have the luxury of buying fair trade, or local. I don’t even have a yard to keep a garden. I don’t have cable or a dvr. We rarely eat out We certainly don’t feel led to downsize (perfect time to plug my series on how the 5 of us manage just fine in under 800 square feet). These are just some of the things she addresses. I don’t want to sound like I’m so deprived because I am typing this on my MacBook Pro (it was a gift and it is for business, but it’s still a very nice amenity). I have my needs met. I’m just saying that while reading 7 I personally found myself very much like an outsider amongst her cool group of friends that she called the council. With that said, read it I’m sure you’ll love it. It’s not where I am at right now and that’s okay. 

Mom Rating: Definitely rated G. Totally appropriate for a variety of people and situations, there is even a study guide to accompany it. 

4. Call the midwife 
by Jennifer Worth
Where do I begin? I am the biggest call the midwife fan! I hesitated to start the show without reading the books first, and in this case I think I started the show and the book about the same time because the book was on hold at the library. The books are true life memoirs written by a woman who lived in the slums of England while still recovering from the hardships of world war II. The first book of her series was graphic and haunting, but so touching and insightful. The second book was equally as riveting . It focused on the absolutely diabolical, unlivable conditions of the work houses that existed back then. However, I feel like it went too far. There are some artistic liberties that were taken verses documenting actual events that happened and I have to say that in the end I did not like the book at all. I never read the third one either because it left such a bad taste in my mouth. See the mom rating notes for details, but be aware it could contain spoilers. 

Mom Rating: R. It’s definitely based on some heavy material. That doesn’t bother me. I did however feel like this book implied the justification of men having sexual behavior with boys in the work house as well as somewhat detailed depiction of a sexual relationship between a brother with his sister. It was painted very poetically, but deceptively. The show on the other hand touches on nearly all the stories from the memoirs but handles it in a much more delicate manner. 

5. Surprised By Motherhood 
by Lisa Jo Baker

I was pleasantly surprised with surprised by motherhood. Up until this point my luck with blogesque books was not fairing well. I loved hearing Baker’s story though. She reads her own audio book, South African accent and all. Some parts made me laugh, while others of course brought me tears, or an exuberant reaction that I never meant to say out loud.  The story is mostly about going from a somewhat jaded independent woman who was still struggling with loosing her mother to a place of healing. A transition takes place along her journey that softens her and gives her a new calling and a restored sense of hope. In short, I really loved this book, enough to want to own the printed copy as well. I have already recommended the book to several people and saw this on a friends wall on Facebook tonight.

“A Facebook friend gave this a good recommendation so I started making it the subject of my “Feeding time, Reading time”. So far an amazing read with fantastic insight for a new mom like me. Thanks for the tip Natalie! “  

I have a little bit more to say about the book, but I am saving it for another post. Hopefully that will be up later this week. 

Mom Rating: G The only warning I have for you is that she does talk a lot about birth and breast feeding in detail. I am not shy at all about these topics. It made me like the book more, but I saw one review online from someone who didn’t like that part of the book and said she just doesn’t get into birth stories. So if that is not your cup of tea then at least now you know. You’re welcome. 

These reviews are not all that I read in 2014, but I didn’t want to bore you with all the parenting self help stuff. I am reading Orphan Train right now and I have been researching all the books you guys have done such an amazing job of recommending. Keep them coming. I love hearing from you! 

I will leave you with this quote from Surprised By Motherhood, that really stuck out to me.