Saturday, December 31, 2016

Confessions of a Pregnant Father

By Dan Greenburg

As a young man, Dan Greenburg was sure he didn't want to ever be a father. But moving into middle age and gaining a new, young wife changed his mind. And so, at the age of 49, Dan Greenburg became the father of baby Zack. This book is his chronicle of going through the experience of conceiving a child. bearing the child and caring for it for the first months of the child's life, with the help of a nanny.

If you are a parent or are thinking of parenthood, this book is a valuable record of the fears and pleasures of the whole process and probably pretty entertaining.
However, if you are not a parent and you don't really get that worked up over kids and babies, you might find it rather boring. I know I did. The amount of detail gets really old really fast and there are way too many descriptions of baby poop and baby pee.

On a side note, when baby Zack was five years old, he played the role of Lorenzo in the movie, Lorenzo's Oil. As a further side note, Lorenzo's Oil was not a cure, merely a treatment and the real Lorenzo died of his ailment at the age of thirty.

A final side note: Dan and his wife were divorced when Zack was a young teen, after a five year separation. I also know his ex-wife took him to court for back child support of over $30,000. That is something to think about as you read his rapturous descriptions.  Sounds like he got over the thrill of being a father pretty fast.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Miss Julia Throws a Wedding

By Ann B. Ross

Miss Julia's handsome border, Deputy Bates has popped the question and been accepted. But he and Binkie, his betrothed, say they are going to get married in a week at the courthouse. They claim it is the only time they can do it, as they are both busy professionals.
Miss Julia is horrified. She feels that a proper ceremony is required to get a marriage off to a good start. (Never mind that it didn't work for her marriage to her cheating husband who is now, fortunately, deceased.) She talks them into it by promising she will put it all together herself: the preacher, the flowers, the church, the music, the invitations, the food, everything! All in the space of one week!
She plunges into creating a wedding, with the help of her other border, Hazel Marie and Hazel Marie's young son, Little Lloyd, and her cook/housekeeper, Lillian. The church is booked up and so the wedding will be at her house instead.  The preacher requires the young couple to attend counseling sessions and that is when it all starts to fall apart. Something the preacher says has given the bride cold feet and she is backing out.
But Miss Julia is not going to stand for it. She and her helpers have been busting their humps getting this wedding set up and she is determined to talk some sense into Binkie, especially after she learns that Binkie is pregnant. Even if it takes a miracle. Which might not be that hard to achieve, as a "miracle" has appeared at the building site across the street from Miss Julia's house!

This was an enjoyable read, if a bit contrived, plot-wise. Miss Julia can be a tad uncharitable and bit too rigid, but that just keeps her from being too good to be true. A fun, lighthearted read.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Toujours Provence

By Peter Mayle

Mayle continues his love affair with Provence, France. His book is a tour through his daily life. He talks about encounters with the locals, foods enjoyed and beverages consumed. Events attended and weather experienced. He rarely has a critical thing to say about Provence and seems much more accepting of the people than he did in the first book, A Year in Provence. Maybe he has just become used to the locals' way of doing things. He does make it seem very appealing, especially the cuisine. Seems like the only drawbacks are the growing popularity of the area with vacationers and the hot and sometime dry summers.

This was an enjoyable read, if a bit less interesting than the first book.

I'm a Stranger Here Myself

By Bill Bryson

After living in England for a long time, Bryson decided it was time to move back home to the United States with his wife and children. They settled into a college town in New England.
Moving to England had required some adjustments to the English way of doing things. And moving back home also required some adjustments.
This book is some of Bryson's newspaper columns he wrote while living in America. He enjoyed the contrasts between here and there. He also enjoyed pointing out each country's foibles. Even though he is not really a foreigner, he had been gone long enough to see things through a different eye.
His columns are amusing and also thought-provoking. A very nice read.