Thursday, May 16, 2013

Top 5 books for dads who are geeks

“But raising geeks goes beyond teaching them the difference between Darths Vader and Maul. It means teaching them an empowering worldview.”
- Ken Denmead

Having posted 5 parenting books for real people I thought it time to even up the gender balance… and post something for my soon-to-be-a-father nephew-in-law (sheesh, that was longwinded!).

The adults surrounding this future baby fully expect her (we’re 99% sure it’s a her) to be a geek and proud of it. She’ll be absorbing science-fiction movies at an early age; will be gaming – board and computer – young; and will be making stuff (probably more with her mum – including the woodworking & soldering bits). These titles will surely inspire her future-dad to learn new skills along with his baby girl. We’ve all got to start somewhere, right?

~ Annie

Friday, May 3, 2013

5 romance novel covers/characters/titles that make me go "QUE?

"Love makes you do the wacky."
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I'm an unabashed romance reader. Of all kinds: paranormal, historical, contemporary, LGBTQ, erotic, Mills & Boon, fanfic - you name it, and I'll read it at least once. Sure, sometimes I get brassed off by ultra-alpha heroes and appallingly ditzy heroines and dubcon-as-love or stalking-as-love. Really, let's not go there. (Even though in my head I've gone there already and am seething at the very thought of it). And absolutely I get ten kinds of mad about how sometimes, in romance novels, I'll almost-but-not-quite willingly accept behaviour from heroes that, in real life, would see me slapping a trespass order on someone. So, sure, I love romance as a genre, but I'm not blind to what I perceive as some of its faults/quirks/whatever you want to call it. Discounting the above, I'm a fool for picking by strange/funny seeming plots, covers and titles. Seriously. The odder the better, probably. I read the synopsis and go "Wait, what? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" and then request it. Because I'm an idiot, obviously. Or I see the title and think "NO YOU JUST DID NOT!" and, yeah, I request it. Or look at the cover in all its 3D terrible-ness and say "COME TO MAMA!" and, omg, I request it. These five below are all examples of this. And you know what? I'm not even embarrassed. (That should be a romance hashtag, I swear to Hades. I can see it now: #notevenkidding #notevenembarrassed #notevenashamed).

PS: I miss working in the same office as Danielle and Natalie :( Every 'new books lists are posted' day we would amuse ourselves by reading aloud from the romance lists and rolling our eyes, shaking our heads and, in my case, hooting with ribald laughter before promptly ordering ALL OF THE THINGS. Because I'm mature like that.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Top 5 parenting books for real people

I’ll admit – straight up – I’m not a parent, and never will be. What I am is a very-nearly-lifetime aunt and great-aunt (I was 7½ when my first nephew was born, so I barely remember a time I wasn’t an aunt).

So, watching my siblings raise 10 children, and THEIR children raise 11 children (with another on the way), has given me some insight into parenthood. Not to mention the realisation that it’s not like many parenting books say it is. Seriously, some of the titles and covers just make me nauseous – they are SO saccharine, I can feel my teeth rot in my gums.

Parenting is hard work (ok, they say that);pregnancy can totally suck (and resemble those scenes from the Alien movies, when the alien rips its way out of people’s chests); childbirth is still risky (and can be life-threatening); and, children have personalities before they’re born so a large part of being a parent is figuring out how to work WITH them… And, yes, there is a lot of joy, too…

In honour of the hopefully-soon (the sooner the better for the mother) arrival of the latest great-niephling (shorthand for niece / nephew / sibling), I found these five books that rip the rose-tinted glasses off parenthood, and tell it like it is… And, hopefully, make real people feel like they’re normal when they struggle with this whole parenting thing…

NB: a lot of the ‘humorous’ parenting books do seem to attract wildly different opinions. Some think they’re 5-stars, best parenting book ever!; while others wonder why they were published. I’ll leave you to form your own opinions.

Honourable mention:
  1. Balance is a crock, sleep is for the weak : an indispensable guide to surviving working motherhood / Amy Eschliman and Leigh Oshirak 
  2. It gets easier! --and other lies we tell new mothers / Claudine Wolk