We’ve got to a pleasing stage in Mary’s development in which she can’t stay awake for more than two hours at a time. Our little clockwork mouse kips around 10am, 1pm and 4pm, and in that time I get to READ. An hour or maybe even more of blissful bookage, punctuated, at the moment, only by some local middle-class menace wielding a hammer/chisel/drill/hedge-trimmer/trident of Neptune/staff of Gandalf, trying to make his penis larger by doing DIY ALL DAY LONG. Not a moment of sunshine is to be left unsullied, according to this neighbourhood Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor.
Poorly concealed rage aside, I’ve recently been devouring Agatha Christie facsimile editions while Mary snoozes. I’m currently on The Murder On the Links, a cracking Poirot murder mystery set in the North coast of France during the 1920s, and I’m loving it. I often reach a real juicy plot twist just as I hear my baby meowing for me, and I’m only a teensy bit ashamed to say I keep reading until the meows become angry squeaks.
A Bookworm Mum has to take her thrills while she may.
Books have been my saviour since I was a shy child holed up in my bedroom reading Brian Jacques, Robin Jarvis, J K Rowling, E Nesbitt, Philip Pullman et al, and now that I’m a new mum they’re proving to be as much of a lifeline as they ever were.
So here are the books that have been a balm to my frazzled soul, from pregnancy to post-partum delirium…
The Old Friends
In the later stages of pregnancy, when I was waddling from couch to fridge and crying over butter commericals, I needed ease and familiarity, and so I reached for some old friends. The Adrian Mole diaries by Sue Townsend. Poirot murder mysteries by Agatha Christie. The Sally Lockart quartet by Philip Pullman. The Earthsea Saga by Ursula Le Guin. Jeeves and Wooster stories by P G Wodehouse. Bridget Jones’s diaries by Helen Fielding. Revisiting these perennial faves reminded me that, even though my life was about to change forever, I would always have these old pals to comfort and console me.
As hilarious as Bertie Wooster is, he’s never going to help me deal with cracked nipples, so I’ve turned to a few baby manuals for advice.
Your Baby Week by Week by Caroline Fertleman and Simone Cave takes you through the first six months of your baby’s life, and covers all the basics, from sleep patterns to how many dirty nappies you can expect to change daily. Whilst I’ve laughed heartily at some of the book’s suggestions (at three months my baby should, apparently, have been feeding only once every three hours – HAHAHAHAHA!) there’s a lot of sage advice on offer here and it’s put my mind at ease on many occasions.
You’ve Got It In You by Emma Pickett is a lovely, down-to-earth guide to breastfeeding and has helped me no end with the surprisingly tricky art of getting milk from nip to lip. Happy Mum Happy Baby by Giovanna Fletcher is a gorgeous account of the joys and mania of new motherhood and made me feel both normal and less alone in the twilight hours.
As great as these books are, sometimes, after a long day of reading nursery rhymes in increasingly daft voices, pretending to be Piglet and giving a running commentary of every banal task I do so that my baby knows I’m nearby, what I need is pure escapism. This is where fantasy books come in. The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss are two of the best books of their genre and I cannot wait for the third and final installment of The Kingkiller Chronicles. Next I’ll be re-reading A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin. Hot bubble bath + cup of tea + a chapter of a nice chunky fantasy = the most relaxing half hour of my day.
Knowledge to Stop Brainrot
Finally, I think it’s a good idea for me to keep learning new things so that my brain doesn’t melt into a big pink gooey mess, so I’m currently reading The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte. Brusatte’s writing style is witty, engaging and entertaining, and the subject matter is so exciting that the book is actually giving me goosebumps.
As for the books I read with wee Mary? That’s a whole other post, and a whole other source of joy for a bookworm mum.