I’ve been cooking this post in my mind for a while now, since the one from last year was a nice way to say goodbye to the year and look back at what I’ve learned from books, and also what my main interests were…but since I have a small baby, evenings are not always that free as I imagine.
So. Here are some of the books I really enjoyed this year.
1. About love and the beginning of life – The Continuum Concept
My friend Ondine, who knows an awful lot about motherhood, (even though she doesn’t think so herself!) recommended this book as I was just at the beginning of my pregnancy. Mind you, this is not a book for future mothers – it’s a book about how motherhood and love and intimacy have been a part of life forever, but only recently, we started to push them apart.
It starts with an anthropological study of motherhood in tribes untouched by civilization – and discovers how babies and children grow to be far more independent, balanced and with a healthy sense of the community, by being continuously held, nurtured and loved, and at the same time, let go to roam and be free. It sounds like a very tricky balance, and one the “civilized” world has kind of forgotten, and is trying to relearn.
2. About magic and love and fantastic worlds – The Night Circus
This was a book in which I completely immersed, a beautiful novel about star-struck lovers, a circus that opens only at night, a lifelong contest of magic (both the “real” kind and the stage-magic-with-rabbits-and-doves kind), Tarot and time. It’s kind of hard to describe it – let’s just say that it’s one of those books that builds a beautiful world in which you are sucked in and don’t want to leave.
3. About courage and love and war – All The Light We Cannot See
Another novel, written about the 2nd world war, with a blind girl, a German prodigious soldier and a cursed diamond.
It’s so beautifully written, that after finishing it, every time I saw it in stores, I teared up a little.
4. About death – When Breath Becomes Air
Ok, everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – who read this book cried.
It’s normal – it’s written by a brilliant neurosurgeon, who found out he has cancer, and took it as a challenge to understand death, while preparing for it. It’s heartbreaking, of course, but it’s written with such a touching balance between awareness of passing and an appreciation and celebration of life, that it leaves you full of gratitude for having walked by this man on his road, in his final days.
5. About…having fun – Twenties Girl
Now, let me get one thing straight. This is chick-lit. It’s not on this list because it’s won any awards, nor is it flawless literature. It’s fun and easy to read. But, most importantly, it’s here because I’ll always remember it as the book I desperately got on my Kindle looking for “humor”, after having delivered by emergency C-section, and sitting 4 days in the hospital..while my baby was in the NICU. I really needed antidepressants in the form of reading material – and this book did a very good job.
6. In the first months as a mom, I read a lot of books about babies development, brain development, healthy sleep for babies, Montessori education and so on. But I assume you’re not here for those. If you are, give me a shout in the form of email and I can share my favorites on the motherhood topic.
Instead, here’s this one (also from my friend Ondine, who knows a lot about baby books, too!)
Because I already know it by heart and I recite it every night to my little one before she falls asleep.
Because I was already telling her even before I got the book, how birds, cats and stars have gone to sleep and so will she.
Because, no matter the age, it’s good to look around – or look back at the day – and take the time to say