Monday, March 19, 2012

different cultural approaches to parenting and uses of homes: books i'd like to read

Summer arrived this past weekend just in time for spring break, and it makes me want to kick back and relax in the sunshine with a good book. Of course, that's not so easily done when you have a 3-year-old home from preschool all week, but should the opportunity arise, these are a few of the books I'm eager to get my nose into:
  • Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman.
    The balanced, laissez-faire style of parenting her memoir recounts appeals to my own approach to parenting. "Most French children, unlike many of their American counterparts, did not need to be entertained constantly by their parents," explains Druckerman to NPR. — "'French children seem to be able to play by themselves in a way.' Some might see this scenario as evidence that the French are less thrilled with having children and are more selfish as parents than their American counterparts who are constantly playing with their children. But Druckerman does not think this is the case. 'The French view is really one of balance, I think. ... What French women would tell me over and over is, it's very important that no part of your life — not being a mom, not being a worker, not being a wife — overwhelms the other part.'"
  • Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son by Anne Lamott.
  • A follow-up to her bestselling memoir Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year, it is described by the Star Tribune as "funny, wise and slightly neurotic." "The memoir highlights the trademark humor we've come to expect from Lamott, with laugh-out-loud one-liners that are both self-deprecating and wise ('We all like [Jax] again and have decided to renew his lease.')"
  • If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home by Lucy Worsley.
  • This promises to be a lively account of how the family home has evolved. Explains Worsley in her introduction: "I've explored what people actually did in bed, in the bath, at the table and at the stove. This has taken me from sauce stirring to breastfeeding, teeth cleaning to masturbation, getting dressed to getting married." Among the highlights of her historical explorations: "Not until the 19th century did most bedrooms become private locales used primarily for sleeping and sex. Before then, bedrooms tended to be 'rather crowded, semi-public places.' Living rooms became practical only after homeowners found leisure hours and enough money to enjoy such spaces. In a book filled with psychological as well as historical insights, Worsley comments she has learned to think of living rooms 'as a sort of stage set where homeowners acted out an idealised version of their lives for the benefit of guests.'"


  1. Lucy Worsley's book was associated with a BBC TV documentary of the same name, see:

    You may find clips online, if you do a Google video search.

  2. Thanks! I see she is quite the celebrity in the UK:


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