I read: Brain Rules for Baby and The New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice podcast


It’s Tuesday. I’m writing this in the car. Rather, I’m writing this in my office. (I am in this car more than any other place, I think.) My kids are snoring in the backseat, and I drug along my computer for this very purpose: To do something while they allowed it. And they’re allowing it now, as I am allowing them to push back their bedtime tonight…

Anyway. I have Book Club this week and haven’t even started the book. Dang it. I have a new rule: I cannot start a book until I have finished two of the books I’m already reading. So I’m trying really hard to finish a book so that I can start White Houses, by Amy Bloom. I know it’s a novel, but truthfully I’m not excited about it. But! I really wasn’t that into the book that I’m trying to finish until I gave it a chance, and now I’m loving it, so there. That one is Brain Rules for Baby, by John Medina. I haven’t read many books about parenting or baby development since I gave birth to my first new person almost five years ago. This book was recommended by an Early Childhood Family Educator, and I’m into it. It covers brain development from pregnancy through five years, and looks at how all kinds of things do and don’t affect the baby’s brain at certain stages. One of the take-aways I have is that the stress a mother feels while pregnant can be truly detrimental to an unborn child (I mean, sure, I knew that, but reading it here really brought that home). Something else in the book I liked was the reference to growth mindset parenting, in which I can applaud the effort that my kids employ as opposed to acknowledging only that they achieved something or won something or what have you. I was so proud of my two-year-old the other day when she was trying to get herself into her car seat but fell out, and instead of being really pissed and embarrassed and frustrated, she actually said, “I need to try again,” and did so. I praised her for her effort. That was awesome.

Now, I need to finish this book before I can start the book that I have to have read by Friday night.

My husband told me that my phone is holding 50 MB of podcast episodes, waiting sweetly for me to hear each and every one of them, whenever in life that might be.

The podcast I’m into this week is The New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice. I love it. I’m pretty current with this one because it’s new to me (though I’ve been listening to The New Yorker: Fiction for many years). In “The Writer’s Voice,” a writer who is published in The New Yorker simply reads his or her story. I love, love, love the episode story, David Gilbert Reads “Fungus”.

It’s fantastic.

Another thing I’m really into lately: Newsletters. Is that weird? One of my very favorites is Brain Pickings, by Maria Popova. Some of the articles in the most recent edition are titled “Marcus Aurelius on How Meeting Reality on Its Own Terms Helps Us Live Through Our Difficulties,” “Amanda Palmer and the Decomposers Cover Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ in Tribute to Rachel Carson,” and “The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics Pioneer Norbert Wiener on Communication, Control, and the Morality of Our Machines.” And more, in just one newsletter. Man, it is so, so good. So good.

Oh, and finally, I just finished the album “Freetown Sound” by Blood Orange. I had heard the song “Best To You” and had decided to give the album a shot, but… it won’t make my Favorites playlist. It’s a lot of R & B with some shimmery 80’s to it. I didn’t love it. Next! (I’ll be listening to Ed Harcourt next week.)

Anything good out there?

2 Replies to “I read: Brain Rules for Baby and The New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice podcast”

  1. I admire that you read thoughtful non fiction. I barely have time to read and when I started time to read for joy I don’t feel like reading books about my parenting cause I’m reading to hide from my parenting chores.

    1. Generally, I don’t read non-fiction. But, as I said, this book was recommended, and lord knows I need as much help with parenting as I can get. I like it. It’s easy to read — not too dry.

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