As I'm back to nursing a newborn, I've found having a few books near-by means I get quite a lot of reading done. I do not, however, have much time to report back on them. Here are some brief reviews of my recent reading.
"Just a Housewife": The Rise and Fall of Domesticity in America by Glenna Matthews - A very interesting review of the cultural views of homemaking in America. I was most intrigued by her analyses of the "deskilling" of housekeeping. As technology was added, cleaning and cooking became less interesting and less challenging. Ms. Matthews claims this deskilling led in part to the decrease in respect for housewives. I found it interesting because of my own increase in interest in such things as laundry when I started to challenge myself to make my own soap, decrease our energy and water usage, and tackle stains without harsh chemicals. Hopefully, I find the same applies to cooking if I can ever gather the energy to take the brunt of the meal preparation off Kansas Dad's shoulders.
A Morbid Taste for Bones: The First Chronicle of Brother Cadfael by Ellis Peters - I don't remember where these were suggested, but I've already read through the first two chronicles and was hooked. I'm working my way through all of them from the library.
A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter - A lovely book of times past that has changed forever the way I view moths.
Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell - Kansas Dad's parents introduced us to the sermons of Rob Bell. They've actually visited his church. I highly recommend his Nooma videos and this book. They are well-written, well-produced, though-provoking and enlightening. Amazingly, they're also enjoyable.
A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother by Rachel Cusk - I don't really recommend this book. It's not the kind that mothers would find uplifting or encouraging in our quest to be better people, mothers or wives. I know I've often suffered from my desires to have my own time, my own accomplishments, but I think I am happier in life when I chalk those frustrations up to selfishness and focus on the task at hand (usually involving some wayward Veggie toys). I did like this quote, though:
"Birth is not merely that which divides women from men; it also divides women from themselves, so that a woman's understanding of what it is to exist is profoundly changed. Another person has existed in her, and after their birth they live within the jurisdiction of her consciousness. When she is with them she is not herself; when she is without them she is not herself; and so it is as difficult to leave your children as it is to stay with them."
It's true that I often find myself wishing for time away from the kids only to be thinking of them the entire time they're away (or I'm away).