Every Moment Is Shining And Perfect
A Couple of Yesterdays Ago

Listen

I have a book emergency.

I need a new series that Steve and I can listen to together. We just finished book seven of Naomi Novik's Temeraire series (book 6 was slow to the point of being deadly - all trade negotiations - but we persevered and seven was better) and now we're at loose ends.

I need an audiobook recommendation for the narrow alleys where my taste and Steve's taste intersect. Maybe historical fiction that steers clear of bodice ripping? Sci-Fi that's not scary? Fantasy that is smart? Humor that isn't a Family Circle collection? Books that we have both read and enjoyed in the past include the divine Aubrey-Maturin series and the Lymond series by Dorothy Dunnett. I was hoping that someone had recorded Lymond, actually, but apparently no one did. Oh, if it helps, in television we both revered Rome, Deadwood and Battlestar Galactica.

Please advise. I have learned through driving Patrick a million miles to school that listening to books together is an experience unto itself and a very pleasant one at that.

(Oh! And we liked Harry Potter and Septimus Heap and the Golden Compass and similar whatnot.)

PS In answer to your question, no, I didn't read Amy Chua's book, mostly because I have not yet finished every other book ever written. I did, however, read her article in the Wall Street Journal (go ahead and read it here if you're just back from Mars and missed it the first time) and that was what I was referencing when I talked about changing Patrick's font. I went back today and re-read the article after a number of you recommended her book and I have to ask - what? Why? Is it completely different in book form? Because I am having a hard time imagining chapter upon chapter of that as a fun read; in fact I had to read the article in small chunks today because the whole thing made me feel... anxious.

You know what was fun, though, was asking Patrick to read the article when he got home from school and then listening to him read parts aloud to me for emphasis.

["Hey Mom! 'Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment'... I think you should encourage me to go to Colorado and then support me while I ski there."

When he was done we talked about his impressions from the article. Overall he thought Chua had some good ideas and agreed with her on the importance of sticking with things.

"Like swimming?' I asked.

"No," he said, "she specifically mentions that she thinks Westerners spend too much time with sports."

"Oh you mean like skiing," I said.

"Whatever," he said.

We talked about success and how different people might define success very differently. I asked him who he thought was successful ("Bill Gates") and why ("He made a ton of money but more than that his work has allowed people all over the world to communicate with each other.")

I said, "You know, speaking of parents and children and getting into capital G Good schools: Bill Gates went to Harvard but he dropped out before he graduated."

Patrick said, "Probably had too many sleepovers*."

For a moment I wondered if Patrick had just made a rather sophisticated (shall we say, French?) joke but then I realized he was indulging in a little dig at the article. I positively reinforced this by laughing.

PPS But seriously. I need a new audiobook-for-two. Stat! Please help!

*In the article Chua says that in her quest to raise high-achieving children she never let her daughters do things that might distract them, which included attending sleepovers or having playdates.

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