By Bessma Bader
I have started setting myself a reading challenge every year. Why? Because I am competitive! And this ensures I will make reading a priority during my day. What’s helped enormously, as well, is my conversion to audiobooks. I admit that nothing replaces the feel of a real book in your hand, but some books are made to be listened to! Today’s list is recommendations for books which are a joy to read and to listen to, as well. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
It’s the late 1930’s in New York and 25-year-old Katey Kontent is about to meet Tinker Grey and, for an exhilarating year, glimpse into the lives of the glamorous upper-class New Yorkers. Everything in this book from the names of the characters, the descriptions of the setting, clothing, food and lifestyle, is impeccable. Is there anything more glamorous than New York in the ’30s and ’40s?
We first meet Katey in a gallery where a picture pulls her memories back to that unforgettable year and to Tinker (what a name!). Rules of Civility is less well known than Towles’s 2016 novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, and is beautifully narrated by Rebecca Lowman, if you fancy giving the audio book a listen.
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
When there’s a lot of hype about a book I tend to shy away from it. Especially if it’s written by someone as famous as Matthew McConaughey. I listened to this despite having reservations and within the first 5 minutes, I was hooked! Matthew does not so much read this book as he performs it.
It’s meant to be a memoir but it’s much more than that. Yes, we hear about his life and get an insight into the parts of his life that he wants to expose, but this is not a tell-all. He’s sharing with us the parts of his life where he’s learned valuable lessons. The ones that facilitated his successes (greenlights all the way) and how red and yellow lights eventually turn to greenlights.
What I really appreciated was the grace he used when describing less than favourable moments of his and his family’s lives. He remains private about many things, and he has the right to be. It shows you can share a lot without having to bare your soul. Yes, you must listen to this but you must also buy it and share it – it’s a wonderful gift.
The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
There are two versions of this book, one for babies and one for toddlers and preschoolers. What’s fantastic about it, is that it moves away from the “cry it out” sleep method and demonstrates that trying to understanding how the child feels, and easing their anxieties, works just as well as high-stress methods of forcing them to separate.
Even better, the author asks mothers if their current sleeping situation, regardless of what it is, is working for them. And if the answer is yes she encourages them to continue! Co-sleeping, sleeping on the floor, sleeping on the couch, holding your baby till they sleep, sleeping alone from day one, it doesn’t matter. If it’s working and it’s sustainable, and everyone involved is comfortable, then it must be right!
I credit this book with helping me find a no-cry solution for my children’s sleep problems and giving me a different perspective on the situation. I would recommend reading this one as there is a lot to underline and remember.
Happy reading and listening, and please tell us what you think to these, or any other books, in the comments below!
– March book club
About the author
Bessma bint Bader is an avid blogger and qualified parenting coach with a passionate interest in child development and education. She began her popular blog, Ya Mamma, in 2010 where she shares pertinent insights into the trials and tribulations of parenting, inspired by her five young children.
Since 2010, Bessma has been on the board of Saut as its treasurer – a charitable organization that promotes the welfare of people with Downs Syndrome. She is also on the board of the King Khaled Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the social and economic conditions for thousands of Saudi citizens.
Bessma is also the co-founder and owner of The Playroom – a play center in Riyadh, built around the belief that child-led play fosters creativity, encourages divergent thinking and builds good social skills.
I started reading Rules of Civility (not the audio book), and LOVING it so far, especially being a New Yorker myself and being thrown back to this era in the Big Apple. Thanks for the recommendation MCC!