My Reading List: Must-Read Books for 2019

Bonjour! Did you make crêpes for la Chandeleur over the weekend? Much of the French population did! The Christian holiday of la Chandeleur (Candlemas) always falls on Groundhog Day here in the U.S., so it's easy for me to remember to make crêpes for dinner each February 2nd, even though crêpes have nothing to do with marmottes. I like the thought of so many people eating crêpes for dinner on the same night each year. It's a more heartwarming picture than everyone watching the Super Bowl together, don't you think? But to each (country) their own habits!

That said, the Super Bowl was a good excuse for us to invite family and friends over. Once the game was done and the kitchen was tidied, though, I continued reading Circe by Madeline Miller. Her first book, Song of Achilles, was the first book I finished this year, and it was riveting. Miller's gifted writing and her intimate knowledge of the flawed characters of Greek mythology make her novels utterly fascinating. These are not stories of moral virtue; instead, they show why we can still respect the broken heroes of the classical world.

I'll happily finish Circe soon since I have a number of fascinating titles waiting on my bookshelves, both in French and English. Here are the books on my list for 2019:

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An Interview with Kim Horton Levesque, Author of Paris with Children (plus a book giveaway!)

Les amis, I'm delighted to share this interview featuring Kim Horton Levesque, whose sweet and informative guidebook Paris with Children was published in 2013. Actually, the full title is The Little Bookroom Guide to Paris with Children: Play, Eat, Shop, Stay. A dear friend sent me this book before our current stay in France, and I couldn't have been more thrilled! Kim's informative, pocket-sized guide is a mama's dream guide to Paris, listing kid-friendly cafés, children's shops, favorite family parks, and more. Even better, you can win a signed copy of her book by leaving a comment on this blog post (details below). Without further ado, here's my interview with Kim:

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Predictions, Patience, and Peace in 2015

I'm predicting some changes for our family in 2015--good changes, but startlingly big. There's the little one who's due date is today. (Whenever you're ready, little one, we'd love to meet you!). There's a summer-long stay in France that may extend into autumn if I stay a few weeks longer with our children. And once we're all home, we may begin building a house if God opens the door to some land that we'd like to purchase. All of these changes hold so much hope! Just knowing that they are possible reminds me that we are extravagantly blessed beyond anything we deserve.

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College Ready Kids by Age 12? The Brainy Bunch Book Review

Last April, I watched a Today show episodefeaturing a family who has had six children start college by age 12. Kip and Mona Lisa Harding homeschooled their children and published a book about their family's educational journey entitled The Brainy Bunch: The Harding Family's Method to College Ready by Age Twelve. I was intrigued by their story and read The Brainy Bunch over the course of a few hours during my flight to Texas a few weeks ago.

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5 Truths I Learned About French Parenting from Bringing Up Bebe

Though I lived in France for a year and a half in my twenties, it wasn't until I read Pamela Druckerman's Bringing Up Bébé in 2012 that I started to gain a full picture of French parenting. Here are five general truths about French parenting that I learned from reading Bringing Up Bébé:

1. French women don't breastfeed their babies all that long, even by American standards. A few months seems to be typical, partially because the vast majority of French women return to work after several months of maternity leave. I expect I'll be nursing our seven-month-old infant when we stay in France next summer, so I'm curious if my French friends will see this as an unusually long time to breastfeed a child.

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Why Bringing Up Bébé Caught Americans' Attention

Do you remember the buzz surrounding Pamela Druckerman's 2012 book Bringing Up Bébé? The subtitle was One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. The book still ranks among the top twenty parenting sold books on Amazon, currently #2 in the motherhood subcategory. After the book's release, Time magazine included Druckerman on its list of the 100 most influential people of 2012. (Upon hearing this news, her husband dryly quipped, "You're not even the most influential person in our apartment building.")

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C'est le Weekend: Links You'll Like

Yesterday my children had a French playdate at our home, and afterwards my mother-in-law dropped off some homemade Thai food. Later, my husband arrived home early and made dinner for some students who stopped by while I was planting raspberry canes in the backyard. Quelle bonne journée! I hope you have some equally lovely moments this weekend as you make the jump into June. Enjoy these weekend links I compiled for you:

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Examining Alfie Kohn's Myth of the Spoiled Child

If you're well-versed in current parenting and education discourse, you know that Alfie Kohn is America's gadfly on these topics, consistently challenging the popular views with solid evidence to the contrary. His latest book, The Myth of the Spoiled Child, responds to the prevailing media stance that paints modern parents as both over-involved and indulgent, and children as narcissistic and underprepared for adulthood.

Don't let Kohn's latest title mislead you--this book isn't a lengthy argument for permissive parenting, which Kohn addressed and exchanged for a healthier approach in his book Unconditional Parenting (which I reviewed here). Instead, The Myth of the Spoiled Child is a point-by-point response to common but baseless social criticism of modern American parents and their children. Though Kohn occasionally comes off as peeved and retaliatory towards the researchers he considers biased, he's highly convincing as he meticulously discredits prevalent assumptions about falling school standards, pervasive narcissism, and the overly touted benefits of self-discipline and failure.

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