Saturday, January 26, 2013

What I've been reading lately

Books! Actual books! I feel like nearly everything I've read in the past year was either a blog or an online article, or a book for review. But recently I've gotten through a few old-fashioned paper & cardboard tomes. Okay, tomes is probably exaggerating, I doubt any of them were more than a couple hundred pages each, but still. Here's one I've really enjoyed:

Why Have Kids? A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness by Jessica Valenti. This was recommended by feminist parenting blogger Andie at Blue Milk, who's quoted in it a few times. I read it in just a couple of days & found it fascinating. Why Have Kids? is a very honest & well-researched analysis of many of the myths around parenting: 'natural parenting', the 'good mother', the 'bad mother', the fallacy of maternal instinct & more.

My favourite chapter was 'Death of the Nuclear Family', all about how family structure has changed in recent decades, as has the public's attitudes about gender roles & what makes an ideal family. As we know, the straight married couple with biological children isn't the only way families are made. The best bit was the section entitled, 'If you want happy kids, give them lesbian parents', mentioning the results from National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, which found 0% physical & sexual abuse among children of lesbian parents. (this is compared to 26% & 8.3% in the general population)

Aside from being a quick read, it's engaging & Valenti keeps the narrative flowing without getting bogged down with too much dry theory. Recommended.

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