The Second Week of 2020

January 14, 2020 Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, My Reading Life 9

Hello My Dearest Bookworms,

It’s been a wild week. I was not expecting to be potty training my child right now, but here we are. I figured I’d kick the can down the road a little bit and use up the last jumbo pack of diapers before we gave it a go, but Sammers had other ideas. His little daycare buddy was getting candy as a reward for using the potty and Sam wanted in. Listen, I’ve heard horror stories about how hard potty training can be, I wasn’t about to miss the window of opportunity. Am I ready? Not really. Is Sam? It would appear so. I’m terrified of jinxing myself here, so I’ll just say that I’m cautiously optimistic about the way things have been going. I have now read The Underwear Book by Todd Parr so many times that I can recite it in my sleep. Not that I’ve been getting much sleep because Sammy’s developmental milestones always seem to come with a side of “Sleep is for CHUMPS!” But. This is what he currently likes to have read to him whilst he sits on said potty.

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This really isn’t even a potty training book, and it offers some questionable advice regarding underwear and swimming, but it may get your toddler jazzed about wearing undies.

In “books I read of my own volition with my eyeballs” news, I finally finished The Priory of the Orange Tree Tree by Samantha Shannon. This book is pure high fantasy of the vague-Medieval-setting/Magic/Dragons variety, but unlike most of the high fantasy I’ve read, it stars heroic women and POC. Epic chunky fantasy novels aren’t generally my first choice of reading material, but I like to change it up from time to time. I liked the book a lot, but I did have to put a little more effort into it than what I usually pick up. Then again, that’s true for me regarding most high fantasy- it’s a lot of names and places and magical phenomena to mentally juggle. Look- any book that offers maps and appendices with lists of characters and world-specific terminology is a lot to take on. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. If you dig fantasy, I highly recommend you give The Priory of the Orange Tree a whirl.

In “books I put into my earholes” news, I finished Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. I might be a little obsessed. I loved so much about it, I hardly know where to start. First, our protagonist Chloe Brown is a freaking delight, even when she’s not. She has fibromyalgia and suffers from chronic pain but loves buttons so much that she has faux buttons sewn onto her sweaters. I liked that both the main characters had a lot of emotional baggage, both romantic and otherwise. Sure, the handsome man with the tortured past is a tried and true romance trope, but Red was a one-of-a-kind dude and dealt with his trauma with a fair amount of self awareness. Chloe had her own stuff to deal with, so she wasn’t just there to magically “fix” Red. NEITHER OF THEIR ISSUES WERE SOLVED SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY FOUND “THE ONE.” I mean, yeah, they were super compatible and very well suited to handle each other’s emotional needs, but they each also did a lot of heavy lifting to sort out their own internal messes. And sometimes they even got professional help! It was just superb and I loved it. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be scouring Talia Hibbert’s back list.

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Because one audio book a week simply is not enough, I ought to mention that I managed to put yet another Tessa Dare novel into my brain.  I finished up A Lady by Midnight this morning, and it was charming as usual. I have several thoughts about this book- one being that I’m fairly certain its major plot point is where Diana Gabaldon is heading with Fergus’s story line in the Outlander Series (at this point it only has a couple of throwaway hints, so it’s not canon). That’s apropos of nothing, really, I just enjoy finding commonalities between books. It’s fun to see where different authors go with similar ideas. From a romance-specific perspective, I kind of love that Tessa Dare is willing to tackle topics like PTSD. I mean, the world has been at war since forever, but people act like war-related trauma is some kind of new phenomenon. If you think the dashing officers in Jane Austen’s novels didn’t come home from campaign with emotional scars, think again. Anyway, I’ve seen Tessa Dare do this twice now, and I like it.

So where does that leave us heading into this week? And why do I feel that I can arbitrarily start reading weeks on Tuesdays or Wednesdays? Well. I’m re-reading (with my eyes) Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt and I’m enjoying it every bit as much as I did the first time. Although, several years have given me even more rage regarding the way Finn had to compartmentalize his life because people were jerks. Ugh. As far as my ears go, I just started Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Daisy Jones & The Six was one of my absolute favorite reads last year (get thee to the full cast audio recording, stat!) so I wanted to dive into some of her other work. I’ve literally barely started it, though, so it’s too early even for preliminary opinions. I will say, however, that having listened to The Offspring’s Ixnay On The Hombre album on repeat throughout most of 1997, I cannot read the title of this book without hearing Dexter Holland angstily belting out the first line of “Gone Away.” Teenage Katie was something else.

Good chat, Bookworms. Let’s do this again next week.


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9 Responses to “The Second Week of 2020”

  1. Jayne

    My son’s favorites when potty training were The Potty Train and Daniel Tiger Goes to the Potty (complete with a button that makes a toilet flushing noise). In case you want a little more variety!

    • wordsfor

      We have an Elmo potty training book with the buttons that make flushing sounds. I’m actually pretty surprised that The Underwear Book has turned out to be his fave since he is so fond of buttons, but he’s just not that into the Elmo book. We also have Potty Palooza (which came with stickers and is therefore his second favorite) and No More Diapers for Ducky. I might have to see about that Daniel Tiger one, though. I keep singing the little jingle from the potty training episode: “When you’ve got to go potty STOP and go right away…” Half my parenting strategies have come in the form of Daniel Tiger jingles LOL.

  2. readingtheend

    Tell the Wolves I’m Hooooooome! God I loved that book, and I remain so bitter that it didn’t garner more acclaim. I am hoping the author writes another book soon, as I desire to be emotionally wrecked in the same way again.

    Also YAY to your love for Talia Hibbert, because I have that book checked out right now and I am extremely excited to get to it. In fact, as I think about it, that might be my next read. I just finished a rather somber Omani literary fiction book and am in need of something fluffy and dear.

    • wordsfor

      Jenny, Tell the Wolves I’m Home is still so so so good! I am not the same Katie who read it in 2013 and it was even better this time. I stayed up too late reading it because OF COURSE I DID. Despite the fact that I’ve read it before and knew the outcome. Emotional wreckage, indeed. But the best kind.

  3. NeriSiren

    The library I used to work at had an entire section on potty training books, and it was always fun to shelve there. Some of the titles were delightfully cringey.

    Now I’m curious: what were some of the questionable messages about swimming and underwear?

    • wordsfor

      LOL OK so there are two instances. The first is telling you to wear underwear to the beach, but not wear it surfing. Fair enough, I guess, because one really ought to be wearing a bathing suit or wet suit to surf. But later it’s like “Do wear your underwear swimming!” And I’m just like, seriously, Todd? Must we pretend that bathing suits are not a thing? Because they are most definitely a thing. And a much better choice for water activities in general. I suppose I could extrapolate and assume he meant for one to wear undies UNDER their bathing suit, and, I mean, if someone wants to do that, fine. But my whole life bathing suits have been the one exception to the wear underpants rule. Because why wear something that’ll get all wet and gross against your skin only to put a superior quick dry option over top? Illogical.

      • NeriSiren

        Ha! Or maybe he thinks toddlers should wear extra protection in the water? Like, that would somehow make a difference if said toddler has an accident? I’m…I’m trying to give this guy the benefit of the doubt, but these straws are quite difficult to grasp…

  4. Michelle

    Good luck with potty training! If he seems to hit a point where he no longer seems interested, just take a step back and start again in a few months. We had to do that with Connor. He was interested until he wasn’t. It took another six months before he showed interest again, and he was completely trained within a few short weeks after that.

    I have LOVED Samantha Shannon’s other books and have had Priory on my shelves for ages. If you want a treat for your ears, you should listen to her books. The Bone Season has an Irish narrator. Gorgeous.

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