Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What I'm reading

My interests are at once focused and all over the place. I have books that are languishing and books I've raced through, but here's what's on my shelf right now:

A Tribe Apart: A Journey into the Heart of American Adolescence by Patricia Hersch. This is a study of teenagers that is now over a decade old. It is, in many ways, a heartbreaking study where kids are alone and lonely, going through quite difficult transitions without much adult intervention. Hersch is a sympathetic observer without being judgmental. She tells the story of adolescence in the mid-90s through the individual stories of several teenagers. I keep wondering what the advent of gaming and Facebook and IM'ing has meant for teenagers. On the one hand, it may fill a hole, providing a relatively safe way for teens to connect with each other without adults always looking over their shoulder. On the other hand, it can also provide the opportunity for misbehavior, bullying, etc. I've been testing the ideas in the book by asking Geeky Boy about them. I'll let you know what his verdict is, too.

Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts. I'm having trouble with this one. Bennetts' tone is condescending and annoying. I'm not very far into it for that reason. I've written about her work before and perhaps I'm already biased.

Opting Out?: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Homeby Pamela Stone. Do you see a theme here? I'm almost done with this one but, it's argument is kind of tired for me. Basically, the workplace is unfriendly to parents, especially if you're in the high-powered kinds of jobs the women profiled in the book are. Their husbands are also in high-powered jobs and can't or won't take on childcare and household responsibilities. The women can't figure out how to make it work, even with paid care and household help, without feeling completely stressed out. Stone tries not to blame the husbands and talks more about the workplace. I'm still on the fence. Maybe when I get to the conclusions section, I'll be more definitive.

I Wear the Maternity Pants in This Family by Susan Konig. A fluffy collection of personal essays. I must say, I didn't really like it. And that's all I'll say.

I'm trying to use the library more, but it's not as well-stocked as I wish it were. I have ordered books when necessary, but sometimes it's more trouble than it's worth.