Summer Reading Picks

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hey all! One of my favorite things to do in the summertime is to take a book to the beach or any patch of grass I can find. Here are some of my picks to add to your summer reading list:

Fiction pick  A Song of Ice & Fire series, by George R.R. Martin
Fan of HBO's Game of Thrones? You will love the books even more (isn't that always the case?). I have never read a fantasy book before these, but the character depth mixed with intriguing plot twists wrapped me in. It's much more related to real life than other similar novels that focus simply on good vs. evil. Each character has a bit of both in them, and is often perceived very different than who they really are. Another thing I like is that the characters that are introduced as disabled or somehow down trodden seem to be the closest thing to heroes in the books. Also, there are dragons! Woah. I can't wait for book six!

Psychology pick  Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell never disappoints. Outliers is divided into two parts, describing how both opportunity and legacy impact individual's success stories. In his first chapter, "The Matthew Effect," Gladwell argues that the most successful people are those who "are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success," resulting in a "accumulative advantage." The book became somewhat controversial because it led parents who wanted to give their child extra advantages early on feel that "red-shirting," or holding their child back a year before starting them in kindergarten, would be a major advantage down the line, according to the accumulative advantage theory. There was an interesting 60 minutes video about the topic.  

Child psychology pick  NutureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman
This book is great for parents of kids of all ages, covering topics such as why children lie (and why that may mean they are smart), the inverse power of praise (how praising your child might ruin them), why testing preschoolers for gifted programs is flawed, why teens argue with their parents (they see it as constructive), success stories of jump-starting infant language development (it's not Baby Einstein), and more. A short read, this book intertwines scientific studies into an interesting, well-written string of stories.

Parenting pick  Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
Druckerman's witty insights about raising infants & toddlers in Paris has given me a lot to think about as a prospective parent. French mothers are more free and relaxed than American moms in some ways, not worrying too much, because they keep with a structured cadre (framework). As an American woman married to a British man living in France, Druckerman has some very interesting cultural observations. And unlike many parenting books, Bringing Up Bébé is full of humor combined with self doubt, which actually made me laugh out loud. 

What are you reading this summer? Please give me some recommendations!

xo kristen genevieve

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