Tuesday, June 24, 2008

In that genre

So I have been told that Parentonomics possibly falls in the genre of parenting books combined with humour, where humour and economics are interchangeable in the book publishing world. For that reason I thought I should read some recent books in that genre. This is something I haven't done for some time. Indeed, the last time was pre-children with Paul Reiser's Babyhood. I pulled that one off the shelf and it is still pretty funny. It is a book that is pre-blogging but in many respects it really reads like a collection of little posts (something I have tried to avoid when putting together Parentonomics).

Anyhow, following on the comedian angle, recently released is a book by Kevin Nealon. I used to watch him on Saturday Night Live and I think he occasionally pops up in movies. But I chose that book primarily because I was sitting at the next table to him in an LA airport lounge last year and he looked pretty much like the picture on the front of his book. Interestingly, he had bought a Sony eBook reader just as the Kindle had come out and I was puzzled about this. Maybe it was for the flight only to discover he was going to need a computer to get at those books.

His book is about his experience in pregnancy -- not his really but his wife's. He is 53 and so is older than the average parent and also, his celebrity lifestyle defined much of what he was going through. There was lots of angst about having children and feelings about life in general which gave him an excuse to recount previous non-parenting incidents with random abandon. It had its moments but there was not alot that I found easy to relate to. Nonetheless, I suspect that if you are pregnant (or close to one who is) this would be a good read.

That said Nealon's promotional videos on Amazon are fun. In this example, he shows how to save money working out how to babyproof your house. We had the same idea but we just invited over friends with toddlers. That still seems to me to be a better experiment aside from the 'interfering' parents who didn't let some things run their course.

The final book I picked up is an edited volume by Heather B. Armstrong. She picks the best of parenting bloggers and has them write about Fatherhood. But surprisingly, the chapters do not read like blog posts but really a collection of stories. One of these I have linked to before (on Star Wars), but the story by Matthew Baldwin that likens pregnancy to The Return of the King was an absolute classic (here is a taste of that). And there are some others that hit the mark. This is definitely one to take a look at the next time you are browsing.

But all in all I was assured that perhaps what I am offering is a little more unique. It is a crowded genre but I took some comfort that somehow I have emerged from the parenting experience with a distinct perspective.