Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekend Reading: The Old-Fashioned Media Edition

Sleep is not popular with the under-5 set here these days. Bedtimes are stretching out, and actual sleep is coming later and later. Both kids were still awake after 9 tonight, which is quite late for Petunia and a little late for Pumpkin. Not to be outdone by her little sister, Pumpkin is still awake at 9:45. And yet, they still wake up between 6:30 and 7 in the morning. Argh.

Among other things, this means that I haven't had as much web surfing time this week as I have had in the past. But never fear! I still have a recommendation for something for you to read this weekend. Get your hands on The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie. You'll be glad you did.

I read this book for book club, and it is one of the examples of why I am glad I am in book club. I would never have picked it up on my own, and that would have been a real loss for me. It is officially a "young adult" book, but don't let that stop you from reading it. After all, you read Harry Potter, didn't you? This book is at least an order of magnitude better than those books were (and I liked the Harry Potter books).

The book is the story of a teenage Native American boy who decides to transfer from his school on the reservation to the school in the nearest "white" town. As a result, he ends up feeling out of place in both communities. But the story is nowhere near as depressing as that synopsis or the book's unvarnished portrait of life on the reservation would lead you to expect. It is actually a warm and funny book, and is quite nuanced in its treatment of subjects like racism and poverty. The whites are not all bad and the Indians are not all good, and vice versa- everyone is just human.

I read this book in a weekend. That was partially because it is fairly short and an easy read, but mostly because it is the sort of book that you don't want to stop reading once you start it. In fact, several of us in book club commented that we were annoyed when it ended. It ends well, but it certainly leaves you wanting more. Luckily, Sherman Alexie has written other books. I will definitely read one to see if it is as good as this one was.


  1. Sounds like an interesting read! I might suggest it at our next book club meeting.

  2. paola6:01 AM

    Thanks for the tip. Almost everything I end up reading is not out of choice but turns out to be well worth it. A couple of years a go I made a pact with myslef to go a little further outside my safety zone and read books that don't 'wow' me immediatedly in the blurb at the back. I have read so many great books that way, that I would never have otherwise read. I do the same with films. If they have gotten the thumbs up from a reviewer ( or better still, are showing at the film club we belong to) that is enough for me.

    Near 4 is a difficult time sleep-wise and frankly ( IME ) doesn't get a whole lot better after either. I am putting my kids to bed earlier now (like 7.45) and factoring in that Zoe will be out of bed to ask me for one last kiss a couple of times. That way by 8.30, she should be asleep. Both of my kids still nap ( yes even the 6 y.o, but only on weekends) but I have decided to phase the napping out this summer when they are on hols. Last summer it was hard enough to get Zoe to take a nap.

  3. His other books are as good as this one. I went to the same university he did, which is what made me first pick up his books. I would recommend one of his short story collections next if you're short on reading time!

  4. The 3.5 year old is suddenly sleeping more now than ever before. I don't know what that is about, but I'm enjoying it :)

    I actually really enjoy YA Fiction - it's often compelling and nuanced and I don't think the fact that it is aimed at youth disqualifies it from adult enjoyment. Aside from Harry Potter, I really enjoyed the Hunger Games Trilogy, as did my husband (and he rarely takes my book recommendations). Anyways, thanks for your rec - I will definitely look into it.

  5. Thanks for the rec - I think Sherman Alexie is from the Northwest so his books are often on prominent display here, but I've never actually read one. This sounds like a good place to start.

    BabyT is also not sleeping well, right on track for 18 months I guess. Sigh. She also won't cosleep, or really do anything else but sleep in a chair on her daddy. Which is nice for me, but he's the one who has to wake up early for work more often than I do.

    Anyway, rambling. Good sleep vibes coming to you from Seattle.

  6. Lisa F.5:58 PM

    great book, I can second the recommendation! Haven't read his other work. Getting to sleep has been difficult here, I think still adjusting to time change. Plus bad pollen/allergy time in Southeast. My 5.5 y.o. has sleep apnea from it, so that combined w/time change made for a weepy week all around last week.

    4 years old was horrible at our house re: sleep w/night wakings.

  7. mary d6:39 PM

    I'll third the recommendation. This book was one of the choices for the freshman orientation program at the university where my husband teaches. He told me to read it. It really was good.

    My 4.5 yo has the same sleep issues. Ugh. Always up between 6 and 6:30, no matter how late he hit the sack the night before.

  8. thanks for the book suggestion, I'll check it out.

    My boys have always been early risers, and out of desperation last year I bought the good nite lite. I was skeptical, but it has actually worked. They used to wake us up between 6-6:30, often earlier, and now they stay in their room until the 'sun' comes on at 6:45. They sometimes wake up earlier then that, but I'm pretty sure the light has also trained them to not get up so early.


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