Now Reading

I mentioned in this post that I’m a sucker for  “You must read these books before you die” type of lists.

Well, wouldn’t you know that Buzzfeed came out with a 16 books to Read Before They are Movies list, and with a month and half left (at the time) until baby, I said why not! I’m up for the challenge.

Here’s the list, plus I’ve linked the title to the preview (if available),  in case you were interested.

1) Labor Day by Joyce Maynard-You’ve seen the preview, it has the always fabulous Kate Winslet in it. My library doesn’t have the book, and I highly doubt I’m getting to the movies to see this one in the next few weeks, so I’m tabling this one for now.
2) The Monuments Men by Robert M Edsel and Bret Witter. Boring. So, so, boring. I could not keep up with all the details. I bet it’s good for someone who can follow all those characters, but I could not.
3) Vampire Academy– Richelle Mead: I’ll be honest. This was really enjoyable for a quick dumb, teenage read. It’s 1,000 times better than the Twilight Saga. When I first read reviews it was Twilight meets Hogwarts. Which, is not true. It’s about Vampires and their protectors, at a school for Vampires, but it lacks the finesse and smarts that the Harry Potter series had. It’s still an enjoyable easy read for when you just want something dumb. This is my version of reality TV since I refuse to get sucked into that shit. At least reading dumb reads still expands my vocabulary, uses my imagination, and can help with grammar..or so I tell myself. It’s about a Vampire and her protector, and it’s part one of seven books. I’ve already downloaded the second book to my Kindle. I’m also convincing myself that I will be doing a lot of reading while breastfeeding. (Other moms, feel free to laugh at me for that).
4) Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin : I hate this book. I hate it a thousand times over. This was one of the worst books I have ever had the displeasure of reading. At no point during all of Helprin’s rambling could I begin to even tell you the point of this story. Helprin is a very vivid, picturesque writer–which is great when there is a plot that makes sense. I found myself constantly re reading parts of the book because I had no idea what was going on. I am intrigued to see how they will make a movie out of this because I truly cannot see anyone sitting through it. I have read others reviews, and I am saddened to have missed the point of the book–but it did not grab me as it grabbed other readers. It was 800 pages, and about 400 pages too long. If you read it and loved it, please convince me.
5) A Long Way Down– Nick Hornby: I’ll be honest, I just watched the preview and I can’t wait to get my hands on this book/eyes on this movie. I’m crying already. (hormones?)
6) DivergentVeronica Roth: Loved! But– I can’t bring myself to read the rest of the series.
7) The Fault in our Stars- John Green Someone hold me forever.
8)The Hundred-Foot Journey- Richard Morais
9) The Giver-Lois Lowry: I read this book in eighth grade and instantly fell in love. It is where my love with Dystopian novels started. Following The Giver I loved Brave New World, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Hunger Games, Logan’s Run, 1984, A Clockwork Orange, etc. These novels always make me realize that life is about choices, and you don’t have to conform, and there’s always more to know, more to do, more to rebel. They are obviously far fetched, but always, after reading them, I feel such a rush, a surge of power/energy, to fight the power. I just can’t help loving them.
10) Dark Places-Gillian Flynn: Gillian Flynn is good until you get to the last chapter, and then you hate her.
11) This is where I Leave You-Jonathan Tropper. I thought the movie was better. Neither were out of this world great. But, would spend an hour and a half watching the movie.
12) The Maze Runner-James Dashner: I’m on chapter 2. Its Dystopian. I already feel myself falling in love. It too is part of a 3 book series.
13) Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn: I actually read this book last year for my one time book club. I couldn’t put it down. It was soo good. And then I got to the ending. And I hated it. I HATED IT. The book was a page turner, so promising, so well written, so I don’t know. I was just enamored with this book. And then, THEN, I got to the last chapter and I was so disappointed. I’m hoping the movie changes the ending like they sometimes do. Also, I wish Bradley Cooper was playing the lead character. He seems like a MUCH better fit for the lead role. We’ll see Ben. We shall see.
14) Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand: I finished this yesterday. and OHMYGOD. A) I am ashamed and how little I know about WW2. One week ago if you asked me about the Pacific side of the war, I would have said “They bombed Pearl Harbor; we dropped an A bomb; we won.” I had no idea about the POW’s in Japan, I had no idea about the fighting, sub scanning, rescues, I had no idea about the people who died just in training. I just had no clue. And B) What the book really did for me was humanized soldiers. And I don’t think I’ve ever done that. It really opened my eyes to why that was the great war, and the type of people American’s use to be. It was really amazing. I couldn’t put it down. I still can’ stop talking about it. It makes me sad that I wasn’t interested in this while my grandfather was alive because I would have loved to talk to him about his time in the Pacific and then his time in the Atlantic/Caribbean. This book is why I am excited for The Monument Men.  (Coincidentally is this is also the book I tried to read during our dress rehearsal, and I couldn’t concentrate).
15) Wild- Cheryl Strayed –
16) Serena-Ron Rash: All I know is it’s Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Which always equals Oscar gold to me.

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It’s all quiet (except for my belly!)

Prepare for your mailboxes to be inundated with posts. I’ve had 4 saved in my draft folder and then I got really lazy and preoccupied and I’m so sorry.

I’ve been preoccupied with reading–I’m a stickler for those lists that are like 20 books you should read before your 30, 1001 books to read before you die. So because the clock is ticking and I know that I’m never going to read again once this BB is born, I’ve become obsessed with reading and checking off my list. The first list I started with was 20 books for 20 year olds. Over the past 3 weeks I’ve read:

1. The Catcher in the Rye–I never had to read it in high school. My mother always tells me it’s a must read coming of age book. I found it to be a very quick read, but I also found Holden Caulfield to be absolutely boring. And The Original Hipster.
2. The Kite Runner–don’t do it. Was it wonderfully written? Yes. Did I hate everyone in the book? Yes. If only this one guy had stopped/had the courage to do this one thing, then the book would have never been written and I wouldn’t be reminded about evil people in the world. —what? You don’t believe in everything that you read? meh.
3. Cutting for Stone–also don’t do it. I mean what? Was there even a story line here? The only good thing about it was that the book is about surgeons so it gave me things to talk about with Phil. Like–is he ever scared when he operates? How does he feel when is about to cut into someone?..you know, deep stuff
4. Fierce Invalids Home from Hot ClimatesNo. No. Absolutely No–don’t suffer like I did.
5. The Bell Jar–Holy Shit. Ho-ly Sheeeet. This book changed my life. I mean. Where was this book when I was 24?? This is the most must read book I’ve ever read. It’s brilliant.
6. She’s Come Undone–So this book was recommended because it was written by a man from a females perspective. #cool. But no. Another horrible character, and also–the book throws in LITERALLY every single taboo out there (rape, divorce, abortion, AIDS, lesbian love affairs–it was just so gross (not gross because of lesbians but gross because the main character was a terrible human being).
7. The Fountainhead–I’m currently reading this book now, and I must say, as much as Ayn Rand scares me. I can’t believe how much I’m falling in love with this book. It is amazing. I strongly recommend it–especially if you have any soul.

What I am finding is that the main character in most of these books is absolutely abhorrent and it’s rare that I will like any of them. I have five more books to go and then I can move onto another list. Maybe something lighter. Like books you should read before you are 10.

I had a wonderful visit with my family in Pennsylvania. It was so great to see everyone and be pampered. You can tell that my dad is going to love being a grandaddy-o. Phil had a boring Thanksgiving at the hospital.

Funny Story:

So I’ve been really concerned with training our dogs for the baby. Saturday I decided to put the stroller together and take them on a practice run. They were great. I mean, it does not get better than that! I think they were afraid of the stroller, so it worked in my favor. So we get home. I let them go on the porch. I drag the stroller on the porch. Go to take the collars off–when all of a sudden. Big. Huge. Crash. I turn around. The stroller is laying on it’s side three feet from the stairs because I didn’t put it on the porch all the way. So, apparently I’m the one who needs training?!

That’s about it for us this week! I’ll probably be posting something everyday to play catch up! Here’s a peak at our family portraits!

View More: http://taragibsonphotography.pass.us/taylor-family View More: http://taragibsonphotography.pass.us/taylor-family View More: http://taragibsonphotography.pass.us/taylor-family View More: http://taragibsonphotography.pass.us/taylor-family View More: http://taragibsonphotography.pass.us/taylor-family

How Far Along: 29 weeks. We are a week away from being able to do this count down on my hands!
Size of Baby: Winter Squash. Which the picture looks like a pumpkin. And I do look like I have a pumpkin in my belly. BBT is about 15 inches long and weighs 2.5 lbs. It’s a squirmy little thing and much more active this week than I remember it being. It also likes to hover on my bladder. (Thanks!)
Total Weight Gain:  I haven’t ran since the 8k. I haven’t weighed myself since 11/20. I don’t know. I’ll find out on Friday.
Symptoms: The inability to breathe. Was walking upstairs always this hard? Seriously? And getting out of my car–was my bag always this heavy?
Eats: I’m pretty even keel at the moment.
Best moment of the week: Really wish I could share this with you–but someone told me my writing samples were perfect! (which, ha-ha!)
What I’m looking forward to: Christmas Party on Friday and First baby shower on Saturday!
Milestones: Pretty much just growing. Skin is getting less wrinkly, eyeballs can respond to light (haven’t tried the flashlight trick yet!) And just a little bundle of energy. I am so grateful for such an easy pregnancy–I hope that travels over to an easy baby!

Oh, now you’re pregnant.

Finally..I promised a book review a thousand posts ago and I shall deliver.

So. You peed on a stick. You’re pregnant. It’s been confirmed. If you are like me, you panicked. Like, hardcore, I have a test tomorrow (7 months) that I haven’t studied for and I need to know everything that’s supposed happen to me in the next seven months RIGHT NOW. There are thousands of books and blogs out there. And I’ve read a ton of blogs, but I come from a generation that needs books. Actual, books with a spine and pages that you earmark, and highlight and underline and reference. These could not be bought on a Kindle. I promptly ordered two books from Amazon, and sped to my nearest Barnes and Noble to gather the other books my best gals recommended. This post will focus on the category, “What’s going on with me right now?”

The most famous of these books is What to Expect When you are Expecting.  If you are a hypochondriac like me, this is possible the worst book for you. It’s mostly a book about everything that could go wrong. Which would have me on the phone with my doctor every single day. So. No.

Another book that was highly recommended was The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy.  Upon reviews, I thought this was going to be a great book. It was exactly what I wanted. A book that was no frills, pregnancy kinda sucks, here’s what to expect: You’re going to gain weight, you’re going to have gas, and some good things will happen as well. I thought it was exactly what I wanted, straight forward, here’s what’s up. That was until I went to the store to buy it, picked it up off the shelve and the first page I turned to said “Go ahead and cancel your gym membership now, no one has time to work out.” To which I thought–if that’s the advice you’re doling out–no thank you.

So the book that I settled on, and I highly recommend is The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Health Pregnancy

It includes week by week updates, what to do before you’re pregnant, what happens during labor, and what to expect during the first few months. It is extremely straightforward and does not give scary panicky information. It does tell you when you should be worried, but it also tells you what you need to look for to be really worried. It’s extremely accurate on the week by week updates (As soon as I picked it up for the 20 week mark it was all “you should be feeling round ligament pain by now”, accurate. I was). It’s also not a book that you need to read cover to cover. You can read it at your pace. You can choose to read a lot at first (which is what I DID), or you can read it week by week. Or if you want you can read it cover to cover and then re read it when necessary.

It includes exercises to do every month, what tests you should be prepared for, and fun facts. It’s very matter of fact, without being “yawn” and it’s not too casual to make you question if it’s serious.  It includes meal planning, appropriate medicine to take, and updates on how you’re baby is growing, what’s developing, all that good stuff. The best thing about the book is that it’s all written by Doctors who are parents too. So, it’s a little comforting knowing that it’s sound medical advice.

The reason I liked it the most was because I found it informative, I could educate myself without turning to Google–which would indirectly lead me to some dumb message boards with people giving dumb advice (which are all just call your Doctor, you should be worried),  it was easy to read, and it was broken up section by section.

All in all–if you’re pregnant, I definitely suggest buying this book. Or buying it for a friend. I would stay away from the first book I mentioned. You don’t want to scare yourself when you find out you’re pregnant. You want to inform yourself. (and slightly freak out because OH MY GOD YOU’RE HAVING A BABY!)