Non-Fiction Frenzy… and Another Trip to the Library

After I read Litlove’s precious account of a terrifying ordeal, one sentence stuck with me: “Perhaps I couldn’t believe I could pass a test I hadn’t studied for”: exactly my feeling during my whole pregnancy… and maybe that’s for people like me that hospitals have preparation courses!

As soon as I find myself in a new situation, I just have to get books about it, especially how people are dealing with it in other countries (France doesn’t produce many pop-psychology or self-help books, my fellow countrymen prefer the philosophical or theoretical problems… sigh). That’s the reason why books on motherhood and babies are starting to make a big heap in our home, next to the breast pump and pacifiers (I’d never thought I’d buy these before, but principles can’t fight an inconsolable baby at 3am). I’m especially fascinated by the instant transformation from woman to mother and on the diverse attempts to reconcile this brand-new identity with other parts of our lives: wife, friend, professional, thinking (not to mention writing) human being etc.

We went to the library last Saturday and it wasn’t as bad as the first time. I knew what books I was looking for so I wasted no time. It was like a helicopter commando attack: rush in, locate object, grab it, flash my card at the librarian, then retreat outside… Baby Smithereens was uninterested but not downright negative.

So I found those:

  • Lisa Belkin (the New York Times columnist who coined the expression “Opt-out Revolution” – at least that’s how I got to know her name) in a string of essays: Life’s Work, Confessions of an Unbalanced Mom
  • Judith Warner, Perfect Madness, Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety, that I had been looking for since its hyped-up publication (you see, I eventually get round to reading bestsellers!)
  • Rachel Cusk, Arlington Park
  • And I’m in the process of mooching a feminist book from Anita Shreve (yes, the novelist!), named: Remaking Motherhood, How working mothers are shaping our children’s future.

The Warner book is surprisingly easy to read, I’ll probably manage to finish it within a few baby naps! Do you have any other recommendations?


2 thoughts on “Non-Fiction Frenzy… and Another Trip to the Library

  1. Very interested indeed in your reading list here! I strongly recommend Rachel Cusk’s A Life’s Work, which is by far and away the best written book about early motherhood I have ever come across. I’ve also read Perfect Madness, which was good. But the other two are new to me, and I must chase them up.

  2. I read both Arlington Park and The Lucky Ones by Cusk so I will be very curious to hear what you think of them, especially as a new mom.

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