My Reading List in 2013

This past year, for the first time since middle school, I kept track of the books I read. And I am SO happy I did! It made me read more critically and it helped me make better recommendations to friends. I'm definitely doing it again this year, a year in which I suspect I will be reading a lot as I prepare to deliver and nurse again (I found I read a ton while nursing last time). I also learned that I was correct in my assessment that I read two books per week, on average, as my 2013 total was an even 100. I didn't read as much serious non-fiction as I suspected, but that's because of both terrible morning sickness that made it easier to get lost in a story and because of all the writing and promotion I did for my own book, which was released in September. People ask me how/why I read so much and the simplest and truest answer is that reading still shows me new people and places and ideas-- and it's basically my favorite activity in the whole world. I can't imagine that changing and I love sharing it with my boys. I suppose if you count board/children's books, I have read hundreds of books this year, ha ha. Look forward to modeling good reading for the family (on hard copy paper and in e-form) for years and years to come...

Of the 100, here were my Top 10 from 2013, all of which I have already, and will again, recommend. Listed here in the order in which I read them; some of them surprised me in making the cut but they are the ones that stayed with me long after finishing.

1. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

2. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

3. The Innocents by Francesca Segal

4. The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro

5. Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster

6. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiScalfani

7. The English Girl by Daniel Silva

8. The Good House by Ann Leary

9. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

10. Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Honorable Mentions: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan; Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker; andThe Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler.

And I already have my first entry in for 2014! One change I plan to make to the list this year is that I didn't find it particularly useful or meaningful to report/record the way in which I read the book (iPad vs. Hard/softcover), so I plan to drop that this year.

Happy Reading in the New Year, everyone. :)


I not only get to write books these days, I also get to write ABOUT books

Books are my life these days-- and I wouldn't have it any other way! If I'm not reading or writing about my own book, I've been enjoying writing about *other* people's books.

As a non-fiction writer I especially appreciate the clear prose and narrative, but research-based, focus in books like Emily Bazelon's Sticks and Stones.

0-2Here's part of my recent review on the Brain, Mother blog:

The 1999 Columbine massacre changed the way we see bullying in schools. Since then 49 states have passed laws addressing bullying. In her recent book, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy, Emily Bazelon, a lawyer and journalist, shows how in post-Columbine America bullying has become one of the biggest stories about 21st century childhood.

And, yet, according to Bazelon’s research, things aren’t as dire as you might think. The stats show that somewhere between 15-20% of kids are regularly involved in bullying (either as victims or bullies) and while cases of bullycide are tragic, often there are underlying issues such as mental illness. To make her case Bazelon draws on Scandinavian research, analysis of legal cases, and in-depth investigation of three high profile cases involving children in the Northeast.

Sticks and Stones is divided into four parts; the first two focus on the stories of Monique, Jacob, and Flannery, while the third focuses on a synthesis of research, and the fourth on conclusions and tips to combat bullying. I found Part III to be the most compelling, particularly Chapter 9, “Delete Day,” which concentrates on Bazelon’s visit to Facebook and what the social media giant is doing about cyberbullying.

Bazelon writes: “The electronic incarnation of bullying also changed the equation for adults by leaving a trail.” Kids today care more about having a Facebook account suspended than getting suspended by their schools, so she argues that the company should do more protect teens (Bazelon suggests a simple solution that Facebook make the default settings private for any teenage account holder, which Facebook hasn’t yet done).


In the print version of the current issue of Brain, Child Magazine I have a review essay on fact-based pregnancy books. You can read that in full BY CLICKING HERE! Oh, and for the record, this pregnancy I have had NO desire to eat that Sierra Turkey sandwich (too spicy for this expecting momma)... Maybe I simply don't want it since I gave myself permission to eat it?

I'm extremely excited that soon others will be sharing their thoughts on my book. And, get this, it was just announced that PLAYING TO WIN is the focus of The Brilliant Book Club: Illuminating Reads for Parents. Definitely a club after my own heart. Stay tuned for more!