Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Who doesn’t love books?


Mick tagged me for a reading meme and I have to confess I’ve had fun clicking back to see everyone’s picks. Now I’m throwing my hat into the ring.

1. What book are you currently reading?

I am currently reading two non-fiction books, Parenting, Inc. by Pamela Paul and Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh.

I’ll admit that Parenting, Inc. is an odd choice for someone who doesn’t currently have/never plans on having children but it is absolutely fascinating. I think the seed was planted for my interest in this book (although it didn’t exist at the time) during my first ever trip to Babies ‘R Us this winter (yes, I made it 34 years without ever stepping in a baby superstore).

Gist and I went to pick up some things for baby Alice’s shower and I was amazed – I had no idea babies needed so much stuff. Seriously, tons and tons of stuff, most of it plastic and expensive. One item that caught my eye was this thing – a SweetPeace Newborn Soothing Center (although the parents on Amazon seem to love it). As Gist and I were looking at the features I said “Wow, it totally replaces parenting. You don’t even need to hold your baby if you have it.” Look at the features – it mimics your touch, scent and sounds.

Parenting, Inc. is all about the consumerization of parenting and how expensive having children has become as a result. If you are at all interested in marketing and consumer culture, I’d recommend this book.

I got Gang Leader for a Day from the library based on reading a review; I’ve just started so I don’t have much to say, but I’m really enjoying it.

2. When you think of a good story, what are the first three books that come to mind?

I recently finished Atonement and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I didn’t really know anything about the book when I picked it up other than that it was supposed to be good. I really enjoyed the story, how it unfolded and how it ended, and Ian McEwan can write. The plot was excellent but how it was written was amazing. I have the movie at home right now and I think I’ve held off on watching it because I know it won’t live up to the book (the movies never do, which is why I sometimes like to see the movie first – that way I won’t be disappointed. The opposite of most people, I know, but I’d rather choose to have something be better rather than worse).

Thinking about the book/movie dilemma made me think of The Hours. I love this book. I read it all at once on a Saturday while I was in school (when I wasn’t reading too much for enjoyment because I was reading so much for classes) and then I immediately re-read it at a much slower pace. I loved how the women’s stories connected with one another and with Virginia Woolf. Of course I hated the movie. Although I have, after many years, decided that I may have to re-watch it because it’s probably a good movie.

My last pick is non-fiction – The Devil in White City. What a page-turner. I loved both stories but I far preferred the sections about the construction of the fair.

3. What 3 books would you recommend for summer beach reading?

I love beach reading. It is one of my favorite things and my go-to beach genres are mysteries and thrillers. There is nothing I love more than a good mystery, a sunny day, the smell of the sea, my beach chair, and a hot dog. *sigh* Why is it not yet July? That being said here are the first three picks that popped into my head:
A Taste for Death – P.D. James, but you can substitute any Dalgliesh mystery here.

What the Dead Know – Laura Lippman, I read this last summer on the beach and loved it.

One Good Turn – Kate Atkinson, another good mystery

P.S. The Devil in White City? Primo beach book.

4. Any knitting books you care to share?

I just got Arctic Lace. It has some lovely lace patterns (The North Star Scarf (Ravelry link)? I dream of it.) but that’s not why I bought the book – I picked it up to look at the patterns and found myself captivated by the story of the Yup’ik and Inupiat knitters, Qiviut, and the co-op.

On that same note, Victorian Lace Today is another good read. The lace patterns are gorgeous but the history of Victorian-era lace knitting and how different patterns and styles evolved is what sold me on the book.

Now, I love to read and I love learning about new books! So, anyone who reads this, please play along – summer’s coming and I need some suggestions. The only person that is going to get a specific, you-have-to-play-along order is Ms. Yovani B. – you need to update more and I know you go through audiobooks like nobody’s business!


Author: Marianne

Hi my name is Marianne Gries, welcome to Art is the Handmaid of Human Good. I use this space to write about and share pictures of things that interest me. That includes my life in Lowell, my adventures in car-lite living, the food I cook and eat, my dogs, home improvement projects, vacations, knitting, and interesting things and places I see and visit. Thanks for stopping by!

2 thoughts on “Who doesn’t love books?

  1. I loved the Hours (though I’ve never seen the movie) and Devil in the White City, and I just picked up Atonement while trying out a new used book store. Too funny!

    I’ll have to check out Parenting, Inc. I’m still up in the air about the baby thing, but either way this sounds truly fascinating. Thanks for playing!

  2. I’m with you on P.D. James for summer reading. I don’t normally read detective stories, but I devoured them all in practically one summer. It’s nearly time to start reading them all over again.

    I was forced to read The Hours for my bookclub, and I am so glad I did. Good read AND good movie. Atonement is on my list!

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