As I write this, I just got home from one of the most awesome events of my (short) blogging life. It was the Silicon Valley Moms Groups Brand/Blogger event for DC Metro Moms and some Philly Moms. There were about 15 major brands present, all of them wanting input from mom bloggers on how to take the social media world by storm and they SHOWERED us with swag. I’ve never walked out of an event with more free stuff. And that means free stuff for some lucky readers here at Mom-in-a-Million! Tomorrow. Because my head is spinning and I need to sort through all the swag and figure out what the juiciest bits are and do a write-up that does full justice to an event that included amazing bloggers, high-end cheese platters, and large bags of gifts.
Meanwhile, I wanted to give you guys a quick glimpse into my inner world. It’s nothing dirty, nor is it a steamy confession. Sorry! No, I wanted to talk about books. I LOVE books and reading. And not just crap like Twilight and the collected works of Tori Spelling. I read a variety of stuff that actually has value other than being awesome blog fodder. I actually get a little lonely if I don’t have a book (or two) in progress because books have always provided me with such great company. Sooo, all that being said, I’d like to talk about a few titles that I’ve read lately.
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible by A.J. Jacobs. Jacobs is the editor-at-large for Esquire magazine and an author who does strange things and writes compellingly about them. In this book, he tries to follow the rules laid out in the Bible literally. Writing from the perspective of an agnostic individual of Jewish descent, Jacobs engages in everything from bringing his own folding chair everywhere to avoid sitting on a seat that might have been occupied by a woman having her period, to going without shaving his beard for a year, to visiting a creationist museum in Kentucky. His encounters with people of profound faith and his attempts to understand it and immerse himself in it is not only highly entertaining, but also enlightening. He mocks no one (except himself) and treats all rituals and beliefs with great respect. He also does an extraordinary amount of religious scholarship around his quest and speaks to numerous clergy members. I learned more about the Bible from this book than I ever knew before AND I laughed out loud. Good stuff.
Brothel: Mustang Ranch and Its Women by Alexa Albert. Albert first went into Nevada’s famous Mustang Ranch to study condom use and STD rates among workers in legal brothels. She kept returning to learn more about the women who work there and what they do and how the world views legal prostitution. What she learns is really fascinating. She talks about the many forces that bring women to the brothels, why they stay, how they feel about their customers, how they balance relationships with husbands and boyfriends, and how the rest of the world regards the prostitutes. The complexity of the issue is far greater than I ever knew and I walked away from the book very conflicted about legal prostitution. If there will always be prostitution, is it better to make sure it’s safe? Or is it better to address the forces that drive people to commodify sex and deal with them? And what is the appropriate thing to call a man who tells his wife that she needs to go work in a brothel to support the family because he doesn’t work? Douche-bag? Jackhole? Inhuman beast? The stories in this book are haunting and well worth reading.
Pretty In Plaid: A Life, A Witch and A Wardrobe by Jen Lancaster. Oh, lord, but I do love Jen Lancaster. LOVE. She is one of my idols. She turned blogging about her unique take on both the ordinary and extraordinary events in life into five books with deals to write more, a syndicated column and armies of devoted fans all over the country who hack away at blogs and fantasize about being unemployed and funny like Jen was in her first book so they too can generate enough content for a book deal. At least, that’s my fantasy. This book talks about her early life and what she wore and leads right up to the moment that we first met her in Bitter is the New Black. I have honestly loved all of her books and recommend any of them and I want Jen to be my best friend. I have her new book on reserve from the library (I’m too broke to buy hardcovers) and fully expect t love it.
So, there you have it. Evidence that I can read something more complex that Life & Style Magazine (featuring all Kardashians, all the time!). If I read more great books, I’ll be sure to let you know about them! Meanwhile, I have plans to read some bad books and write about those as well.