Thursday, November 21, 2013

back to the books!

So I appear to have worried a lot of people with my last post. Fret not; I am past the most emotional-confused-paranoid phase of the pregnancy, during which I absolutely could not stay off the Google. Poor Berowne would have been completely justified in slapping the phone out of my hands some nights (of course the terror usually struck in the middle of the night, especially when I was experiencing a clearly fatal symptom like gas). And, like I said, I knew I was pregnant for a month before I had my first doctor's appointment, so for that month I was completely adrift. (I knew I was pregnant a week before taking the test, actually, because my PMS symptoms are just as reliable as my period, so when they didn't show up I knew what was going on.) I like my medical team and so far everything's going well. 

Now that I am visibly pregnant, as opposed to just potato-shaped, I'm okay with my body. Tracking weight gain on a monthly basis is, inescapably, a little triggery for me - I used to find out my weight once a year at my physical, and the rest of the time go by how my clothes fit and how I felt - but I'm adapting to it. Having finally gone ahead and bought some maternity clothes (I believed that to be a jinx for the longest time) helps, too. So much less pinchy. 

I have no intention of avoiding the internet and its absurdity. Tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation is the basis of much of my humor, after all, and if I don't have the ludicrous "standards" of the upper-class smug mommy blogger as a comparison, how can I exaggerate my own fumblings to the point of farce? I mean, I already know that any child of mine will be the one sent home from daycare in disgrace after setting off sixteen other kids' allergies from the sheer amount of dog hair on his/her clothes, so I might as well get an early start on Not Doing Things Right. 

On to the reading!

38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier's End, by Scott W. Berg. I did not know this chapter of history: in 1862, during the Civil War, a Dakota uprising against settlers in Minnesota led to the arrest of over 300 men who all received a death sentence. Lincoln pardoned all but 38 of them. This is, of course, a very tough read, but fascinating and well put together. I can recommend it. 

Satan's Circus: Murder, Vice, Police Corruption, and New York's Trial of the Century, by Mike Dash. It cracks me up, how many books I've read just this year with "Trial of the Century" in the title. This one is about a murder trial in early twentieth-century New York City, and about the city's politics of that time. It was okay, but I didn't care too much about the outcome and it mostly made me just want to re-read The Alienist.   

Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent. A novel based on the true story of Agnes Magnusdottir, who was the last woman in Iceland to be executed. It's well-written, if a little eagerly dreamlike in the way that a young author's first novel can be. Certainly well-researched about life in Iceland in 1829, which I found to be the most interesting thing about it. I didn't like Agnes as much as I think I was supposed to, and wanted more about some of the other characters. But it's good enough to make me look forward to more of Kent's work. 

Mad Madame Lalaurie: New Orleans's Most Famous Murderess Revealed, by Victoria Cosner Love. Delphine Lalaurie's New Orleans house caught fire in the 1830's, and the firemen reportedly found tortured and mutilated slaves in the attic. The house is now infamous on ghost tours. This book was, unfortunately, both sensationalist and dull, utilizing long letters from Lalaurie's adult children which should have been excerpted and spending far too much time on her first husbands and her life before New Orleans. 

The Blessing, by Nancy Mitford. Not nearly as much fun as the other book of hers I've read. Amusing about the differences between the French and English, but had rather a somber tone and went on too long. 

The Darkest Summer: Pusan and Inchon 1950: The Battles That Saved South Korea--and the Marines--from Extinction, by Bill Sloan. I finished this, but it was a slog. If you enjoy really detailed descriptions of battles and have a high tolerance for racial slurs (Sloan quotes the Marines extensively, and let's just say they never used the word "Korean" to describe their foe), this seems a pretty comprehensive book. It did not do anything for me. 

1 comment:

  1. 'I mean, I already know that any child of mine will be the one sent home from daycare in disgrace after setting off sixteen other kids' allergies from the sheer amount of dog hair on his/her clothes'

    And that is why we <3 you. And your 180 lbs of dogge.

    -- Man, the 'Trial of the CENTURY!' books are almost as bad as the 'Birth Of' books -- I liked the buddy-cop cholera map book (despite the tragic fucking lack of actual GOOD MAPS in the book itself, what the hell, publisher) but it was the BIRTH OF forensic science! No no, this other book is the BIRTH OF forensic science! This OTHER other book is the first case of forensic science! ....and I'm just like, It's okay if this is in fact the second or third case of forensic science -- or even the fifth or fiftieth! I still want to read the book, OK? I swear I do.

    .....and just realized I used 'birth' a whole lot in that one paragraph, heh. I think your next-to-last post subliminally influenced me!