Happy Birthday Audrey

photo courtesy of Jon Shuler's iphone

I cry every time someone I know has a baby; they are the mingled tears of overabounding joy and anguished horror. Everything about the birth process makes me wince in phantom pain; mornings with your head in the toilet, swollen feet, fatigue all culminating to expulsion of a bulbous 8lb human from your lady parts or alternatively having your belly slashed to lift said baby out, racks me with leg quaking fear. How do women survive this? How can everyone be so unconcerned about a procedure with so much gore? I tell people that I’m praying for the safe delivery of their child, what I don’t tell them is that I am also praying for their survival.

 My best friend just had her first kid, a beautiful baby girl. Her husband kept me updated with a smattering of informational texts during the 19 hour delivery period. I waited up in eager anticipation of the newborn picture text. Eventually I just had to head to bed, but woke up with a picture of my newest love in the world Audrey Mae Shuler. Getting that photo and the subsequent family shots reminded me that even with all the terrifying elements that come with bringing life into the world, it’s all worth it when they finally make it out to greet us.

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Recent Reads

I am shamefully behind on my book reviews. Here’s a quick recap of the books I’ve finished recently. I want to start with a series that I devoured:

YA fiction historically hasn’t been my go to book genre. Reading this series has made me give YA a second look. It was recommended by a trusted bookworm friend so I gave it a chance and I was quickly swept up in the story. If you liked Harry Potter, or like YA at all you should definitely check this series out.

I admire an economical writer. This a super short read that packs a lot of punch. If you get breathless at an immaculate sentence (like I do), check this one out.

I read this in one sitting at a local bookstore. It’s in textbook format, more picture heavy than text heavy. It was very funny and hysterical just like the show. Would I buy this? No, but it would be a fun gift for someone who is into political satire.

Shteyngart’s, Lenny was just too much of a creeper for me. The older man falling for the younger girl as he tries to clasp onto his youth is a pretty typical story in literary fiction. Lenny, the main character is just so desperate and icky, I would often cringe reading it. It is very well written, maybe too well written I had to take a shower after deciding that I would take a break from the book.

My new favorite term is “defensive pessimism”.

“The ‘defensive pessimist’ looks at everything and thinks [that] this is going to be a disaster,” he explains to Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “They lower their expectations … and they go through all of the negative capacities and the negative capabilities of a given event. You imagine the worst-case scenario you can and you go through it step by step, and you dismantle those things and you manage your anxiety about it.”

Rakoff is the quintessential defensive pessimist, and I love him for it. The stories are sardonic but generally surprise you with some feel good sentiment. I’ve found that Rakoff’s stories are much better listened to than read. There is something unique to his narration that adds more weight to the stories. If you like David Sedaris, you’ll like David Rakoff.

My favorite Rakoff review: “Like a whore with a heart of gold, David Rakoff says all the nasty things we want to hear and then reveals that, actually, it’s all about love.” -Ira Glass

Those are the books that stuck out most recently.  So far I’m at 72 books; I’m pretty confident I’ll hit the 100 book goal by the end of the year.