On Books and Babies

So, as I’ve discovered recently, this whole new mother thing is damn hard. I’m actually writing this one handed while my little owl of a newborn, Sophie, has one of her marathon feeding sessions. Of which there are many. Very many. I’m surprised she hasn’t doubled in size already to be honest. I’m surprised there is anything left of me to be doubly honest.

I won’t bore you with the details of my plight, as I’m sure so many of you already know how strange and surreal this whole thing is, but I want to mention one small advantage of breast feeding. I didn’t consider this at all until a friend from work mentioned it, just before I went on leave. A great deal of the pain and frustration of learning to feed your baby can be diluted somewhat with a great book open in front of you. And when the time stretches into hours of your day and night, you can actually read a lot (when you’re not struggling to keep your eyes open at least). So, here’s what I’ve been reading:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay

I mention this edition in particular because it’s large and stays open when you lay it flat, which makes it a lot easier to read – hands free! Plus I read this one aloud, you’re never too young to hear Harry Potter after all. It’s been so nice to re-read this book, especially with the 20th anniversary being talked about so much. It makes me feel so old though! My mum bought me my first copy of HP as a gift for making it through year six camp (gosh I hated school camp) all those twenty years ago. She said the man in the book store told her it was a great read, and he was right (thank you booksellers, just thank you). I remember how in the following years the entire landscape of reading shifted. Suddenly it wasn’t such a nerdy thing to be a reader. I stood in those massive lines waiting with hundreds of kids to get the later books and finally felt like I was a part of something. I’d found my community. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there just like me, who have J. K. to thank for that.

I just had a thought – maybe Sophie’s taking so much time feeding because she wants to hear how it ends? What a smart cookie. Hehe.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, illustrated by Inga Moore

I have this lined up because I’m getting close to the end of Harry Potter. It was one of my favourites growing up and I can’t wait to revisit it. This edition is a large hardback like Harry Potter above and has beautiful illustrations. I wonder how many other lovely classic editions I can justify buying for this purpose? Any suggestions?

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

Okay so I haven’t been reading this one as much – my husband has been reading it aloud to Sophie and me every now and then. He does the best Winnie-the-Pooh voice and his Eeyore is top notch. I actually missed the boat on this one in childhood, I’ve never read it. Turns out it’s hilarious! If you haven’t read it for yourself (or for your little ones) you definitely should! I am completely in love with the cleverness and complete uniqueness of the little stories.

The Hidden Hours by Sara Foster

I read this in hospital. It was the perfect light, entertaining read to distract from the shock of a newborn in special care and your entire body suddenly being the property of anyone and everyone. Jody has had plenty to say about Sara Foster over the past couple months and she’s entirely right.

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

I’m reading this late at night and I’m really enjoying it so far. Elizabeth Kostova wrote The Historian, which was hugely popular years ago. The Shadow Land is set in Bulgaria, which is interesting.  It’s a part coming-of-age story, part mystery. I love the detail in Kostova’s writing and I’m entirely absorbed in the story. I want to know how this all comes together. There will definitely be a review to follow of this one.

Anyway, please give me all your newborn advice, I’m more than happy to hear it all. And I’m even happier to hear your latest, greatest book recommendations!

Hope you’re all well.

Amanda x