Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Had an interesting conversation about parenting and reading with my boyfriend today. I mentioned how I felt ashamed when I read girl oriented, chick flick books. I lamented how the books that interest me the most are books that I can identify with. I want to read about women my age living in some metropolis somewhere in the US and going through work problems and friend problems and dealing with post graduate woes. But then I want to curl into myself when I see other women reading memoirs of Afghan War or Kosovo War survivors, the NY Times and Time Magazine. My parents are mostly to blame as they would scold me quite harshly if I brought a book to the table they didn't think was educational enough or of any valuable substance. I took to walking through the kitchen hiding Calvin and Hobbes and The Host behind my back, edging along the wall to get to the toast and then scuttling back to my room and closing the door. I had a very hard time relating to any of the politically or culturally focused books they put by my bedside table. I could barely get through a chapter.

I wanted desperately to get back to Last Night At Chateau Marmont and China Dolls (the first book about Asian women that I ever identified with, and the identification was minimal at that). Eventually, I stopped reading all together. From the last two years of high school and the first two years of college, I struggled to read anything anyone put under my nose (which ranged from romance novels to German philosophical theorists). It didn't matter the caliber, quantity, genre or even the print style if the text! I had forgotten how to read and it took a long time to jog it back to the speed and comprehension level it should have been at.

Things to run away screaming with:

1) Parenting isn't about shoving the right books, the right TV shows and the right habits under your children's noses. It's not about giving your children more freedom and using reverse psychology in the hopes that they find their way either. It's about adapting incrementally to suit your child, the environment they are growing up in, etc.

2) Who cares what kind of books you're reading?! As long as you're reading! That's not to say that important fiction and non-fiction about political figures and war torn countries should be discarded... those kinds of books widen your brain scope and that's what globalization is all about. For every three romance, fantasy or whatever novels... check up on what's going on in the world. You don't even need to read an entire book actually! Get NY Times app on your phone! Best app in the world! Only the top and most current news is free! I skim through it every other day. When I'm too busy, I'll just read the titles and maybe the first sentence of the article. It gives you a one sentence briefing also so you don't have to open every article in order to see what it's about.

Also I'm going to subscribe to The Atlantic when I get my first job. Best magazine ever. You don't have to have a pretty involved background in politics like Time Magazine readers do. They have a section for everything from interesting stories by war journalists, political pieces and economic pieces. It's an easy read. And you don't have to sit down and the read the whole thing. Skim around and look for an interesting story. Come back to the other stories. Sooner or later you'll realize you've read every story in there so you might as well get to that boring looking article on Europe's debt problems so you can say you read the whole damn magazine. I keep it by the toilet. TMI? Get The Economist too if you're feeling brave.

3) There's really no such thing as a bad book. I mean there is. But look at it this way: at least you're literate.

Tally ho!

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