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February 16, 2006


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Hi Metro! I'm a big fan and possibly creepy (but well-intentioned) lurker. Two things:

1. The Peanut is SO freaking cute

2. I love to read and can't wait to turn my as-yet unborn children into total book nerds.

I'm bookless as well right now, but I just finished reading a couple of T.C. Boyle novels - "The Tortilla Curtain" and "The Inner Circle."


The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst. My mum gave it to me, saying there was a scene in there that reminded her of me. As it's about a coke-snorting, anonymous gay-sex-loving conservative in the era of Thatcher, I can't imagine why. It is absolutely brilliant, though.


First of all, Peanut is adorable. Don't worry about the reading. It will come.

Secondly, I was on a complete trashy novel kick. Currently, I am reading three things-- "When Pride Still Mattered," by David Maraniss (biography of Vince Lombardi,) "Map of Bones," by James Rollins and "What Einstein Told His Cook," by Robert Wolke.


I am absolutely squealing at how cute the Peanut is! She's sooooo adorable. No wonder she has Daddy wrapped around her little finger!!!

I'm currently reading "Freakonomics". I think you mentioned before that you had already read it. I'm totally enjoying it.

dawn johnson

I also love reading. My mother used to yell at me to stop reading and go outside and play. On vacation, my favorite thing in the world is to sit on the dock at the lake with a G&T and a good book. My in-laws think that's being anti-social. But I don't care! Unfortunately, since my baby was born I'm so tired at night i fall asleep after a few pages, so my reading is relegated to reading magazines on the toilet. TMI, I know. Anyway, my one year old daughter LOVES playing with books and reading books, so that makes me secretly delighted.


Hi MetroDad,

I'm a quasi-lurker who recommends "consider the lobster" by david foster wallace. Not sure if you're a fan of dfw, but his essay 'authority and american usage' is right up your alley, considering your (most enjoyable) grammar post.


Your post reminds me of my glory days as a child, when Fantasy Island and Love Boat were the Saturday night double-header on TV.

I can totally relate to the bibliophilia: I, too, maintain lists of the books I have as well as the books I want. They're both very long lists.

As for reading to the Peanut, go ahead and buy Yoko by Rosemary Wells and The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn to read to her in a few years. These books are great for young kids getting ready to go to school. As for current reading for the Peanut, But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton is great; anything by her is. See, if I ever have a kid, they'll have a kick-ass book collection.

As for my current reading, I mostly stick to general fiction. I just finished Creepers by David Morrell, which is about urban explorers, and am currently reading The Camel Club by David Baldacci, which is about political conspiracies galore.

PS--The Peanut really is a beautiful, lucky little girl.


I forgot to mention that in elementary school I was always the one who would place the largest Scholastic book order. I lived for the day when the new brochure would come out.


ahhh michele foucault. i remember the days in college when i tried so.very.hard. to pretend i was scholarly whilst sitting in the large university library. all the while, just trying to attractive those hunky scholastic TA's. never really retained any of that foucault knowledge though.
lookign for a good read? try "Love & Death" - about the Kurt Cobain saga. A really good read by two british journalist. (no i don't love it just because they're british you daft cow.)


if you haven't read one of david mitchell's books yet, now is the time to start.



My 20 month old daughter still "reads" by tearing the pages out of my hands before I've finished reading two words. "Turn page, Mommy! Turn page!" RI-IP!

Hey, how about James Frey's A Million Little Pieces? Have you heard of it?


As a child I loved when the book catalogue came out at school. I would circle the ones I wanted, which was at least half of them and then present it to my mother, who would say, pick two. It made me crazy. I love to read. I was and generally still am reading two or three book at once. However I am a speed reader, so I can't buy them as fast as i read them. My girls love books, but Nata is only now in the last month or two been willing to sit down with them. Before that she loved to walk around with them in her mouth. So, patience my friend, patience. One of my favorite movies is The Italian Job, and my favorite part is when they are talking about what they will buy and one of them says, "a Villa in the South of France, with a library full of first editions", that is my dream. Love the picture, you're right she is very cute.


I share your fear of a child lacking the love for books. I guess we have to trust them to see the light.


Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm
Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh


I almost forgot, Teacher Man by Frank McCourt and The Life of Pi by Yann Martel, are what I'm currently reading. And I just bought, The Cell by Stephen King.


Awwww, MD....the Peanut is gorgeous little girl. You must be a very proud papa. Congrats!

I'm reading "At First Sight" by Nicholas Sparks. It's ok, not great. Not sure that I'd recommend it.

What about Jay McInerney's new book? I haven't read it but it's getting some really good reviews. I think it might be next on my list.


I had the same fear with my kids. They didn't even like it when I tried to read to them until right around 16 months. I thought they would grow up illiterate. Now they bring me books all day long and say "read, read, read, read, read, read".

I just started reading "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides, which is supposed to be great and I'm also reading "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein, but if I had to guess, I'd guss you have already read both of those.

JJ Daddy Baby Momma

I've just sadly turned the last page of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, as dessert following my re-read of the Baroque Cycle. The man transports me, and makes me wish I had taken advanced math at some point in my life. I also recommend his "The Diamond Age", about a man's desire for his daughter to have "an interestnig life".

His Baroque/Crypto series weigh more than my twins combined. Which reminds me of when I was little and each Saturday took out the weekly max at the local library (22 books) which added up to a pile about as tall as I was.

She'll read. Peanut see, Peanut do.

Mr. Big Dubya

Dude - Foucault's Pendulum! I thought I was the only Umberto Eco geek out there.

It's all about the Rosicrucians!


she's so beautiful MD.

If Caius doesn't love books, I don't know what I'll do. Before Caius was born I called my books my "babies".


MD, we seem to be cut from the same cloth as I am also a book nerd. My daughters, at the tender age of 3 1/2, are as well.

As I said on Sarah's blog, The Peanut Butter loves to read my copies of Atlantic Monthly and The Economist before I have a chance to.

The Jelly is more of a newspaper gal. I have pics of her reading the Chicago Trib, the local paper and the WSJ.

I figure I'll give them another year before I have them read my all-time favorite books: To Kill a Mockingbird, Spoon River Anthology and Walden.

And I agree with Dubya, Foucault's Pendulum rocks


I love the way you can drop Tribe Called Quest lyrics into the title of your post, wax nostalgic on your love of reading, convey parental anxiety about your daughter's lack of interest in reading, and then put up a beautiful photo of her.

Is it any wonder I love your site so much and check it every day?


- zadie smith's on beauty;
- rushdie's shalimar the clown;
- didion's year of magical thinking;
and just finished chang-rae lee's aloft


I second 'Middlesex' by Jeffery Eugenides - It was fantastic!
My all time favorites 'The World According to Garp' by John Irving & 'Love in the time of Cholera' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez are always my recommendations.

Glad to hear that other people read three books at the same time. I feel that it is the perfect balance.


Nothing good - but I do enjoy Forbes and the Economist on the shitter. Nothing like reading about putting away money for assisted living while trying to push one out. Hey, at least it's something!


Okay MD. I forgot to suggest some titles to you.

Try some of these if you haven't read em yet:
"Catch 22" by Joseph Heller (which I am now re-reading)
"In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote
"1776" by David McCullough (which I just started)
"One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (I started last week)


for the grown-ups, zadie smith's on beauty and annie proulx's close range (short stories are the way to go with a little one running around - brokeback mountain the short story is amazingly powerful)

for the kiddies, my 16 month old goes nuts over karen katz's books and my first book of sushi.


Oh, the Peanut is so adorable, I just want to take her home with me.

As far as books go, I just finished Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad, which I had mixed feelings about. Then there's the little matter of Smiley's 13 Ways of Looking at a Novel, which I might get through before the next presidential election. And finally, a biography of Bayard Rustin called Lost Prophet, which I like, but you have to be kinda interested in gay communist draft resisters who were influential in the civil rights movement, if you know what I'm saying.


Three days for Foucault's Pendulum? I think it took me three days to re-read the same paragraph in that book. I did like the Island of the Day Before, though.

A lot of good books have already been mentioned, and I assume you've probably read almost anything I'd recommend. HOWEVER, if you haven't explored the incredible literature you can find in some graphic novels, then it's time you started. I highly recommend tackling Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics (in graphic novel format at your local Barnes & Noble). Better than 99.999% of the fiction on the shelves.


My mom is a huge Umberto Eco fan (and a italo-phile, she speaks Italian the whole nine). She was buying an Eco book in the bookstore once and the guy behind the counter said something like, "Is this book for you? Uh, cuz it's really hard." Maybe he asked this because she is Korean? She then told him how she had read all his books yadda yadda. (Putz.)

She loves reading and we grew up literally surrounded by books--three deep on the bookshelf, stacked on every surface.

If you love reading, Peanut almost surely will. Osmosis and all that.

I just finished Chang-Rae Lee's Native Speaker. It's been around awhile so you may have have read it. I'm just getting around to it.

Also excellent is Tash Aw's The Harmony Silk Factory.

Tom Perrotta (who wrote Election) is also one of my favorite authors.


Book nerds are the best! My goal is to turn all of my students into book nerds. =D
Because I'm so busy, I don't have time to read books outside of school. However, I will be starting "A Raisin in the Sun," and "Their Eyes Were Watching God," with my ESL and junior classes, respectively. I highly recommend both of them.

Linda B

Yay! Love Peanut pictures. She's so cute.

As for what I'm reading these days? Does Snuggle Puppy count? Oh, you mean what I'M reading for myself? Well, I have The Life of Pi on my nightstand but that doesn't mean I've read (or even touched) it yet. "SIGH"



Your babygrrl is so cute.

I love reading too, just don't get the opportunity.

I was given the latest Al Franken book for Christmas. That's what I'm reading, when time permits. The last book was the DiVinci Code, but that was a while ago.

Recommend something and I'll check it out. Date Nite with the wife is sometimes spent in the bookstore.


What a cute picture of the Peanut! You may regret saying you want her to love books when she starts pestering you to read the same ones over and over again for hours on end.

I've been reading The Shadow of the Wind. I'll echo CityMama's Tom Perotta recommendation too.


Don't stress it. My thought is, the more you want her to be just like you, the more you try to make her like you, the more likely she'll beat her own path through the woods. If you want her to grow up loving books, then just have them in your house, read them yourself (not just to her) - give her the example of the role books play in the life of an adult. (Just like you are doing.)

Recommendations: anything by Murakami. Just read "Kafka on the Shore", and as always, it is beautiful and soulful.

the weirdgirl

I have to second CroutonBoy's recommendation for Neil Gaiman's work, both his books and comics. I'm a book nerd but I also read a lot of sci-fi/fantasy (so I guess that just makes me a nerd). Didn't you mention once you read all the Marvel comics? Then you should check out 1602 by Gaiman. You'll like it.

It seems like many kids do what their parents do, in regards to reading so I wouldn't worry. I noticed Chance first being interested in books by grabbing at mine all the time and peering at the pages.


Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell; Infinite Jest, or Another Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by DF Wallace; almost anything by Tom Wolfe, fiction or non-; Train by Pete Dexter; The Navigator of New York by Wayne Johnson... although I suspect you've already read these books and met the authors.


Good lord that kid is cute. Yowza.

I think you should read Tristram Shandy with me. How fun would that be?

I'm completely serious.


I'm sure Peanut will turn out to be supersmart and love books. These things are just so individual. Some kids excel at physical things and other at intellectual. They rarely do it both at once. You child can of course be great at both things but just have some patience.

Regarding books, I just finished the book Crypto but Stephen Levy and it's beyong great. It's one of the best books I've ever read and this is the second time I read it. But I've long ago stopped reading fiction and I'm a geek so this book might just be too boing for you. What can I say, I like encryption and this subject has had a huge impact on internet and blogging in the last ten years.

AD out of Baja California


Reading will come. There was a time when Munchkin would eat her books, now she's running up to me all the time saying, "Read! Mummy, read!" pushing her books at me. Her Dad and I are total book nerds and are so proud!

All-time favourites and current reads?
Favourites are still and always will love Catcher in the Rye, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I Am The Cheese and Anne of Green Gables

Currently reading or have just finished:
Catch 22, Joseph Heller (book club pick)
The Wreckage, Michael Crummy (CanLit...I have a thing for it)
We Need to Talk About Kevin (not that great)
The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency (Also a book club pick. Fluffy but fun for a quick reading hit)
Anna Karenina, Tolstoy
Oh, and...Does InStyle count as a book?

Oh, recommendations!
Any books by Ayn Rand
Underworld, Don Delilo
The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka


I am glad p-man already wrote in about Cloud Atlas. As I plan on becoming a freelance readers advisory librarian once I am on mat leave.. you know because of all the money in that field... I want to make sure to second that recommendation for you. If you do snag it in the end maybe post on it later I would love to know if it makes a hit or miss for, ya.

Then two other references for you.. are you a user of abebooks.com. This is I think the best source of out of print titles around.. Made only slightly less better by the fact that Powells of Portland is now its own powells.com site.

Good news of the Peanut's literary development. I think you missed my - ahem shameless, self-blog promotion - post last month of book tips for kids.


Remember, it is a bit like when then first start solid food. Their relationship with books are to be managed but not necessarily understood.

All I read is chinese food menus and memos, these days. Pity me.


I greatly enjoyed Updike's Rabbit series. Perhaps it's because I began reading Rabbit, Run on Memorial Day weekend when I was 26, and the book begins on Memorial Day weekend, when Rabbit is 26.


I don't think it's too early to begin a nerd list for Peanut, is it?


I'll de-lurk to comment on how cute the Peanut is! Asian babies are the cutest (I can say that, because I was one once).

I was afraid that my Munchkin would just eat all of her books and never read them. That kid has ingested more cardboard than a recycle bin! Fortunately, at age two, she is now a confirmed bibliophile. We started with "Goodnight, Moon" at bedtime and gradually expanded the list. Her current favorite is "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!", but her heart belongs to "Corduroy".

As far as a book recommendation, I'm currently stuck in the Tudor era... again... with "The Life of Elizabeth I". If I ever manage to get out again, it'll only be because a new Star Trek novel came out. :)


I'm the biggest book nerd in the world. I read anything I can get my hands on, including the insert from the tampon box which I read every single time I open a new box, to cereal boxes, to novels and biographies and all sorts of other stuff. I devour the NYTimes Book Review every Sunday to see what's new. I love books so much it's kinda weird. I can't part with them, and my collection now is threatening to overtake our home. Right now I'm reading "Bringing Down the House" by Ben Mezrich. It's about the six MIT students that figured out a system and took Vegas for millions. I'm hoping to learn the system. :-) I just finished "On Beauty" and "Julie and Julia". I've got a huge stack on my night table to wade through.

However, my darling daughter is so not a reader. She never liked books as a baby, and hasn't much changed her opinion. She's FINALLY, at 13, reading adult books. This just started recently. She's now reading both
"Inherit the Wind" and "Falling Leaves" and I think she's getting something out of both books. She recently finished Russell Bank's "The Sweet Hereafter". I'm incredibly thrilled that she's actually reading. It's been very hard to have a kid that is a nonreader when I'm such a bibliophile. My son, however, shares my love of books and is right now reading Al Franken's "The Truth". He's a great reader and tends to love political books more than any other genre.

Don't push. It may come soon, it may come in waves, but if you just don't make a huge issue out of loving to read, the Peanut will find the joy of books in her own time. Let her see you and the Boss Lady reading and she'll pick up the subtile message that books can be fun. It could take 13 years, but hopefully it won't!

Phat Daddy

Try "The Sparrow" by Mary Doria Russell. It's an incredible science fiction book that weaves together religion, philosophy, and cultural anthropology. Short synopsis is: What would happen if first contact was established between a Jesuit priest and two alien races on a distant planet. The two races evolved from the highest predator on the planet and its cattle.

Sounds weird, but trust me its amazing.


Holy Crap is she cute.

I would love to recomend some reading material for you but I have strange tastes. My favorite book of all time is "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Or Count of Monte Cristo.


john henry days or the inituitionist by colson whitehead.

motherless brooklyn by jonathan lethem

drown by junot diaz

anything by octavia butler

the namesake by jhumpa lahiri


One of my favorite books is by Alexandra Fuller, "Don't Let's go to the Dogs Tonight" and the follow up book, "Scribbling the Cat". If you're somewhat interested in Africa (I'm ca-razy into Africa), it makes for some excellent reading. And it really gives insight into the Zimbawe conflict, etc. But those are my two favorites... :)


Oh, and I totally forgot to add Anne Lamott's "Traveling Mercies"... Totally opened my eyes to a different side of faith. I absolutely adore the woman, and would LOVE to meet her...

Just Linda

I've got five children and my youngest is about the age of your Peanut (by the way, it was my 3rd who got the nickname Peanut at birth when she weighed in at 5 pounds and 6 ounces; we called her nothing but Peanut for her first 4 years or so, but the nickname has been left behind now).

Anyway, my point -- some of them have loved books from the early months and others fell in love later. But I think parents who love reading will naturally raise children who love reading. Thus far, I have FOUR of mine hooked on a love of books. One more to go! :o)

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