Kate and Lydia would like to extend our thanks to fabulous and brilliant Mrs. Darling, mom of Wendy, John and Michael, for writing this guest post for us and bringing just a little literary light into our Facebook-drenched lives.
To this, I offer you a "Please sit down" and a "Would you like a glass of adult refreshment?" and a "Your child is playing on the playground with nice friends and hasn't approached you for all of three minutes" or "Hey- your cousins' daughter- not the one with the tramp stamp, the other one, has offered to play with all of your kids in the pool for ten golden minutes" and "Look-you're the last car in the pick up line for camp- what to do?" You have the time- it may be brief but - fortheloveofMaude - it is your time so why don't you get some easy and quick entertainment right now in the form of a... book?
As with any book list, this is a specialized list. These are basically books that can be universally appreciated by mommies. Before anyone gets their literary hey-I-have-a-life-outside-the-domicile-that-doesn't-include-mommy-lit hackles up, let me say that I agree completely - to a point. I love all sorts of books but I must say that come mid July, when I've had all my kiddles with me with little break, I start to reach for the familiar with a twist . The Road or some other such wordy tome will still be around and waiting to impress and depress when I emerge from the sunny summer cocoon in September. Right now it’s time to break out the fun reads.
So go to your library (these are not new books- you will find them) or score the 'practically new' one on Amazon for 75 cents. Stick them in the side door pocket of your car, stuff them in your purse, and make sure there's at least two in the pool bag. Those five minutes while the kids splatter ice cream at one another in front of DQ are yours- use them wisely.
The categories, in no particular order, are as follows:
1) Kids book that you pick up at the library and think that this will be fun for read aloud time because it was a movie for kids a few years back, then you glance through it at home and think holy wow my progeny will not sleep for weeks if they hear one page of this and when you take it for your own bedtime reading you won't either: Coraline by Neil Gaimen. Scary story about a resourceful girl who has to save her parents and herself from the clutches of her spider-like "Other Mother". Spooky fanciful stuff that appeals to adults. In the end, it gives a huge shout out to imperfect parents- my favorite sort of ending.
2) Buffy is One of Us: OK, that's the quick and easy way to get around the fact that Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner is basically the wish fulfilment for any lovers of all things Joss Whedon. The book, the first in the series of "The Days and Nights of a Demon Hunting Soccer Mom", chronicles the adventures of a typical suburban mommy, Kate, who comes out of retirement as a demon hunter when her family is threatened. Her family has no clue to her past and her only help is her best friend and her watcher, um sorry- her aliamentore and the knowledge that she is the chosen one, the slay-sorry- the hunter. The books are fun but with enough depth to so that you won't hate yourself for spending ten minutes locked in the bathroom reading the last chapter.
(Editor's note: Wait a second, why does KATE get to be vampire slayer?? Not even fair. I'm the Buffy freak. - Lydia)
3) The hysterical mom in book form who is fun to hang with but would be physically exhausting if you had to deal with her more than one playdate a week: Mother on Fire by Sandra Tsing Loh. Let me start by saying I love her book but only in the tiny increments that mommy reading allows. I think that if I had to hang on tight and go for more than one hour with this true life tale of Loh trying to get her oldest daughter into a good kindergarten in LA, I would have been even less capable of coherent thought than I am already. This woman RANTS- and not in the fun Kate and Lydia way- it's more of a sustained shriek of funny that tackles being over forty, underemployed and suddenly realising that your kids might not get the best and it's all your fault. I can't say that I can completely relate to the whole my-kid-needs-best-school-in-the-world, but I was usually laughing too hard to care.
5) Book you may have already read or maybe not because Jennifer Weiner is always churning out a new book about feisty gals: Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner. A mystery set in the posh suburbs of NYC. Outsider mommy Kate stumbles across a murdered supermom and the amateur sleuthing begins. The mystery is just ok, but the lavish life details will keep you reading: Her best friend is an heiress who loves to babysit! Despite her frumpy outsider mommy in plus size jeans status she attracts the handsome PI! Her husband takes her for granted and then realises what a jerk he has been and begs for forgiveness while she convalesces in a charming beach house! Her three kids under five are disturbingly well behaved! Wow- who wouldn't put up with a little carnage if it came with all those trappings? You may be concerned that the intricacies of the mystery story will be hard to follow if you keep picking up and dropping the book every few days. Although I admire Jennifer Weiner's writing immensely, I can confidently give you a hearty "don't worry about the plot" review. Sometimes, that can be bliss.
(Editor's Note: Again, Kate gets to solve crime and be awesome and there is no Lydia in sight. Hardly fair. Just saying. - Lydia)
BOOKS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO WITH MOMMYING BUT WE HAVE RICH INNER LIVES AND APPRECIATE ALL BOOKS, SO THERE.
8) Eric and Bill, whenever you need them: The Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. Picture this- you have had an awe inspiringly awful day. No AC/husband out of town /pool closed/broken toe- just add on one of your favorites- but you finally have them settled down with their Lego warriors and have promised them dinner in ten minutes. On the way to the kitchen, you stop by the TV and realise that your True Blood disc is still in the player- maybe it's still at the point where you left it last night when Sookie and Bill where about to....Five minutes later you are in crumbled heap of happy on the rug watching the best show in the whole wide world when you hear "Mawmee- Ben told me that....AAAK! what at dey doing on da. TV? are dey hurting?".
DEEPLY DISTURBING BOOK ABOUT SUBURBAN PARENTS DURING ONE SPECIAL SUMMER
9) Guaranteed to put you in a funk although you will also love it: Little Children by Tom Perotta. Opening in the playground on a typical summer day, the novel finds Sarah, a deeply unhappy young mother making a radical change by.......Oh forget it- read it in October.
FANTASTICALLY WONDERFUL BOOK THAT ENRICHES YOUR READING LIFE
10) So? Have any favorites? You must have some.
(Editor's note: Does Judy Blume count? Because I am seriously considering re-reading Are You There God, Its Me Margaret this summer. - Lydia)
Please let Kate and Lydia know- maybe then Lydia will return my copy of Julie and Julia.
So if you have a favorite summer read - let us know and we'll compile a kick-ass list of fun books that will make your summer even more awesome.
xo, Kate & Lydia
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