Oh hi! Look at that! A book post! I’m not going to go into the whole “Ugh I’m so tired this pregnancy is kicking my butt” song and dance, but if I disappear for a few days (or more) that’s likely why. Because OMG I’m so tired and this pregnancy is kicking my butt. I keep meaning to get some posts drafted up, but then hours pass and I look at the clock and wonder where the heck the time has gone.
But! But I’ve listened to a few great nonfiction titles this month and I definitely want to share them with you! Dad is Fat is HILARIOUS. Listen to it right away, especially if you have young children. The Walmart Effect was fascinating…and a bit frightening in terms of how much power and sway one corporation can have. And All Joy and No Fun is now my new life tagline–I am having all the joy and none of the fun. Ha! But seriously…see above about being tired. Otherwise, life is good.
Title: Dad is Fat | Author: Jim Gaffigan
Audio Narrator: Jim Gaffigan | Audio Duration: 5 hr, 26 min
Published: 2013 | Pages: 288 | Genre: Memoir/Humor
Rating: It’s so freaking funny because it’s true
In Short: Jim Gaffigan, comedian and father of five small children, dishes about life in the parenting trenches. No topic is too sacred to cover and Gaffigan is a master at laughing at himself. I especially enjoyed the parts about his wife being pregnant, getting five kids out the door, and bedtime routines. I have never laughed so hard at an audiobook–at times so hard that I had tears streaming down my cheeks.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: If you’re looking for a good laugh, I highly recommend Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. I’ve been trying to convince Scott to listen to the book, but finally settled on occasionally sending him YouTube clips of some of his stand-up acts. Though I think Scott has a bad taste after seeing me whip through the house while listening to this book with headphones and laughing hysterically. While I think anyone might appreciate Gaffigan’s humor, I especially recommend it to anyone who is down in the trenches of parenting little ones. Sometimes we all need a good laugh at some of the things that are so frustrating or difficult at the moment. And absolutely absolutely go with audio on this one!
Title: The Wal-Mart Effect | Author: Charles Fishman
Audio Narrator: Alan Sklar | Audio Duration: 10 hr, 27 min
Published: 2006 | Pages: 352 | Genre: Business/Economics
Rating: Hmmm–now I get those low prices!
In Short: Walmart’s core value is to bring the lowest prices possible to its customers. Fishman explores exactly how Walmart is able to provide such low prices and how their business model has created a ripple effect across the world economy. As someone who is not keen on shopping at Walmart (except for a few things I can’t find elsewhere and this is my absolute last resort), listening to The Walmart Effect was a fascinating experience. In many ways it felt like Fishman was vilifying Walmart, but Walmart is just the way that Walmart is and they do very well at what they’ve set out to do (bring the lowest prices…it’s always about this bottom line). Listening to this book, I was constantly amazed at the power that Walmart has in the market place. I do wonder how much of the book, written a decade ago, might be out of date, but after talking to my cousin last weekend who lives in Bentonville and works at the home office…it sounds like not too much has changed!
Bottom Line and Recommendation: 10 and a half hours seems like a lot of time to devote to just Walmart, but it felt like a quick listen and I was rarely bored with the book or the information presented. I didn’t love the audiobook narration but would have likely never made it through the paperbook at the same speed. If you are interested in economics, business, or Walmart in general, it’s definitely a fascinating read and one that I would recommend. Plus–there’s lots of “did you know…” opportunities within the pages! (Did you know that Walmart is the one responsible for doing away with the packaging that deodorant came in once upon a time? Get rid of the boxes and cut a few pennies per item sold!)
In Short: This isn’t your typical parenting advice book–in fact Senior makes it clear that parents likely will not find any advice–at least not on purpose of the author. Rather, All Joy and No Fun looks at the evolution of parenting over the past century and a half and how parenting affects the parent, not how parenting affects the child. I was fascinated by this sociological look at parenting and how our parenting today looks different from that of our parents and their parents. She highlights the different stages of children–baby, toddler/preschooler, teenager–as well as how parenting affects oneself and a marriage.
Bottom Line and Recommendation: My finger worked overtime highlighting all of the things in this book. I really would like to write up a more detailed review of All Joy and No Fun because I have a billion thoughts and a billion quotes I would like to share, but I figured that my track record of saying I’ll talk about a book in more detail isn’t so hot these days. As mentioned in the title, Senior talks about the joys that parenting brings as well as the work and frustration. I found myself at the same time encouraged and discouraged by All Joy and No Fun–it was so easy to recognize myself in the pages of this book, especially in the early baby and toddler sections–and I often asked myself, “Is this really as good as it gets?” (It being parenting). But thankfully Senior also discusses the immense joy that parenting brings and for all of the hard moments that I experience, the joy always wins out in the end. Again, a billion thoughts… While this book won’t help you sleep train your babe or give you the keys to teenage rebellion, it is a fascinating look at parenting and one that I would recommend to anyone interested in the sociology and history. (pst…as of today, the kindle edition and Nook edition are $2))
I’m not done with the book yet to include it in today’s post, but I’m also halfway through 10% Happier by Dan Harris. I’m surprised so far at how much more Harris’s book reads like a memoir rather than a self-help manual–it certainly isn’t what I was expecting. It’s a quick little read and I hope to finish it this month (I’m reading and listening to it). But again–that reviewing track record of mine. ;)
What excellent Nonfiction have you read lately? Anything else (fiction or non) on your bedside table?