Category: Books for Adults

“You Cannot Be Serious” is a seriously great parenting book

When it comes to raising children without completely losing your mind Elizabeth Lyons wrote the book, literally. It’s called You Cannot Be Serious and 32 Other Rules That Sustain A (Mostly) Balanced Mom. [great giveaway after the jump!] Elizabeth is not a therapist, but certainly is an expert with five children under 10, including 8-year old twin boys and a daughter she adopted. So when she gives advice I’m inclined to listen. Especially when it happens to be as funny as it is wise. I found myself feeling much better when I read rules like Repeat after me, I’m...

Read More

Awkward Family Photos proves we are all total goofballs

Having lived through the hippie styles of the 70’s, the new-wave neon of the 80’s, and the regrettable grunge fashions of the 90’s, I have enough embarrassing family family photos to fill a book. A very cringe-worthy, hilarious book. Which is just the idea behind the Awkward Family Photos website that has had us laughing since it launched last year. And now the Awkward Family Photos book gathers their favorite snaps as well as some new ones into one neat paperback that has me doing that snort-laugh thing. Awkward Family Photos is page-turning hilarity: From the strange poses (just...

Read More

The book for him that’s really for you

I’m not a dad, I’m not expecting, and I usually find pregnancy humor about as funny as postpartum hemorrhoids. But I’m happy to admit that Dad’s Pregnant, Too! by advice columnist and author Harlan Cohen was a pleasant surprise. Why? He tells men things that pregnant women are too hormonally and physically exhausted to communicate, such as Don’t touch the pregnant boobs unless specifically invited and Never follow “I’m tired” with “Me too,” unless you want to be an AA–his term for Accidental A$$hole, something the new dad will definitely learn a lot about. The book’s focus is on...

Read More

Geek may be a four letter word, but then, so is cool

My husband’s favorite childhood memory may involve cracking open his brand new Atari game system and having a marathon Pong session, so it’s no surprise that he grew up to be a tad tech-obsessed. Which is why I got him a copy of Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share for Father’s Day. Written by popular Wired.com blogger, Ken Denmead, this book has dozens of family-friendly activities that are as simple as finger painting with wind up toys or as intricate as an amazing project to create a light-up kite. Each chapter includes...

Read More

Dear Dad: I found you the perfect book for Father’s Day

Stumped for Father’s Day? Maybe it’s because I’m married to a photographer (though I don’t think so), but I’m thinking that if Dear Dad from Chronicle Books doesn’t bring a little tear to his eye, he might not actually be human. The volume is filled with breathtaking photos of dads and grandfathers and children all doing what they love best–just enjoying each other, every day. Throw in a few snippets of wisdom about the powerful role dads play in our lives, and you’ve got a little book that packs a wallop. But don’t take my word for it; check...

Read More

Practical parenting. Period.

Do you suppose our parents agonized so much over what kind of parents they were as we do, today? Probably not. And yet, I hate to cast aspersions on folks genuinely seeking guidance on the right way to raise little people into fabulous adults. It’s what we all want, right? It’s also why we all thought “good job!” was the magic phrase… right up until studies informed us that “good job!” was, in fact, ruining our kids. Whoops. Never fear; Ellen Galinsky’s Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs is where data meets common...

Read More

Getting the Pretty Back – Reason #112 why I’m still a huge Molly Ringwald fan

My relationship with Molly Ringwald spans several decades (oh God, that’s scary). From the minute she stepped into detention in The Breakfast Club to the birthday cake-eating moment on the dining room table with the cutest boy ever in Sixteen Candles, I was hooked. And who can forget her iconic style in Pretty in Pink. Yes, she and I grew up together. And apparently still continue to do so. Ringwald has just released a book called Getting The Pretty Back: Friendship, Family and Finding the Perfect Lipstick which I read cover to cover in one sitting. Filled with her...

Read More

This Earth Day, let’s shop till we drop with Big Green Purse

Well, Earth Day is almost here and how am I going to celebrate our lovely planet? By shopping, of course. I kid. Sort of. Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World, the wonderful new book by environmentalist Diane MacEachern and author of the Big Green Purse website, has given me, along with all the other women in the world, a whole new way to approach green living. And, without a word of a lie, shopping is key. We women are the most powerful consumer force in the world. If you can believe it,...

Read More

Prayers for the modern mama

The short, tongue-in-cheek “prayers” you’ll find in Tracy Mayor’s Mommy Prayers are perfect for believers and non-believers alike. Because no matter our faith, we can all agree that yes, we’ve all recited some version of the Before the Meltdown prayer–you know, the one that ends with a desperate plea to just please please please please let us get to the parking lot before all hell breaks loose. It shouldn’t surprise me that a Brain, Child magazine editor like Mayor brings a cheeky we’ve-all-thought-it-even-if-we-haven’t-said-it approach to the parental quest for serenity. This is the perfect gift for every new mom,...

Read More

Just Let Me Lie Down – The working mom’s ABCs of BTDT

Kristin van Ogtrop is the editor of Real Simple, which means that her life as a working mom is full of high-power glamour and nary a regret. Right. Okay, I’ll confess I was worried that might be true, but it turns out that Kristin is someone with whom I’d share a margarita any day, and her upcoming Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom is a hilarious must-read for any mom who’s ever struggled to balance home and career. Just Let Me Lie Down takes us through the entire alphabet of the trials and...

Read More

Raising creative kids – here’s a hint: You’re not starting from scratch.

When my kids were young, the challenge for me wasn’t trying to get them to be more creative. They had access to all my art supplies and were constantly creating all kinds of art creations. My issue was where to store and display, say, a four foot high, blue sculpture made of paper towel and toilet paper tubes all held together with studiously applied tiny pieces of masking tape. Author Whitney Ferre, the founder of the Creative Fitness Center (you might know it from HGTV) takes on this kind of challenge and more in the very good book for...

Read More

Bedtiming – Making sense out of sleep training

After a few weeks of a ridiculous lack of sleep, I decided it was time to do something about it. And do something I did–with much success–thanks to Bedtiming: The Parent’s Guide to Getting Your child to Sleep at Just the Right Age, an awesome sleep book written by Canadian psychologists and parents Isabela Granic and Mark Lewis. Instead of offering up yet another sleep training method, this husband and wife team provides an honest analysis of the most popular theories already out there, and more importantly, explains how they may or may not work based on your child’s...

Read More

Parenting tips from the (cool, funny) mom next door

I used to love reading parenting guides. My oldest child was an overachiever from the start, and the guides served as affirmation that she was a prodigy and I was a model parent. Then my middle child – my obstinate, tantrum-throwing, speech-delayed middle child – was born, and I chucked all those parenting books in the garbage. I really wish I’d had Jen Singer’s “Stop Second-Guessing Yourself” books back then. Creator of the much-lauded virtual community MommaSaid.net, Jen is the kind of mom we all wish lived next door. Her trademark candor and cheeky humor elevates these parenting guides...

Read More

Mominatrix’s Guide to Sex gives new meaning to excellent bedside reading

Most of you don’t know, but my partner at Cool Mom Picks, Kristen Chase (a.k.a. the hardest working mom in blogdom), has all sorts of alter egos. When she’s not finding fabulosity for you here, wrangling three kids, and writing articles all over the place, she’s the author of the popular and hilarious Mominatrix column for The Imperfect Parent. And now, she’s the author of the brand spankin’ new Mominatrix’s Guide to Sex: A No-Surrender Advice Book for Naughty Moms. Pun intended. This is a truly terrific advice book for every mom and mom-to-be, and I’m only biased to...

Read More

Kirtsy Takes a Bow – and it’s well, well earned.

I can’t stop reading Kirtsy Takes a Bow: A Celebration of Women’s Online Favorites. And rereading it. And going back to make sure there’s nothing I missed. The thing is, it’s not just me. An art director friend shirked work for an hour to browse after I handed it his way. Yes, he’s a guy. This witty, thoroughly entertaining compilation from Laura Mayes, co-founder of social news sharing site Kirtsy and occasional Cool Mom Picks contributor, does a phenomenal job of capturing the energy, the inspiration, the humor, the art, the beauty, and the passion that can be accessed...

Read More

Drink This – The perfect gift for wine lovers, wannabe wine lovers, or people who just want to punch pretentious wine lovers

I’ve let my own wine knowledge atrophy since falling in love with someone who makes a point to say that actually, he prefers Northern Rhone wines. (Seriously.) So I was excited when I first got wind of Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s new tome, Drink This: Wine Made Simple which is all about getting the me’s of the world informed and excited about wine – and better able to discuss it all without sounding like some poseur jerkwad. I learned more by page xiii of the intro then I ever did reading (and pretending I understood) Wine Spectator. That’s because Dara...

Read More

Congratulations – you’re a grandparent!

When I told my parents I was expecting, I didn’t tell them I was expecting. I told them we’d done some interesting sightseeing, and did they want to see pictures? And then I gave them my ultrasound photos. If The Grandparents Handbook had been around, back then, I might’ve given them a copy of that instead. (I know; the ultrasound story sounds great, but it took my father forever to figure it out, which kind of spoiled the fun.) Not only would the book be a fun way to announce your folks’ impending status change (heh), it’s chock-full of...

Read More

They grow up so fast. Don’t take bad pictures.

Forget the baby monitor or motorized swing: what I really could have used when my kids were little was photographer and dad Nick Kelsh’s entertaining and smart new DVD, How to Photograph Your Baby, a companion to the classic book by the same name. If you have any idea what an f-stop is or took Photography 101 in college, this DVD is not for you. For people like me, though, How to Photograph Your Baby helps parents take gorgeous baby photos without the suggestion that you buy more expensive equipment. Kelsh comes across as a friendly college professor on...

Read More

Want your kids to love reading? You need to love reading to them.

Evidently reading to your kids is more than just reading to your kids. And seriously pedigreed educational consultant Diane W. Frankenstein explores her concept of “conversational reading” in her excellent resource, Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read. The idea is simple, and probably even common sense: Instead of just droning on, make the process interactive. So this reference guide includes specific books sorted by age, along with questions to help bring each one to life. There’s also a chapter on generic conversation starters that will work for almost any book,...

Read More

What your best girlfriend would say, if she was a pediatrician

To say that I was a neurotic mess with my first baby would be an understatement; every sniffle and bruise had me wondering if I’d broken her. By the second baby, I figured I was an old hand . . . except that he was convinced he could fly and often howled for seemingly no reason. If only pediatrician Dr. Lara Zibners’ If Your Kid Eats This Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay had been available to me back then! I probably would’ve saved myself from a lot of angst. With a background in pediatric emergency medicine, Dr. Zibners...

Read More

It’s Not Me, It’s You. Or wait, maybe it is me. A little.

We’re already fans of the clever, caustic writing of author and fellow parenting blogger Stephanie Wilder-Taylor, so I figured I could give her newest book, It’s Not Me, It’s You, a good skim and craft a review. As it turns out, as each short chapter came to an end, I found myself saying, “Okay…just one more.” Not surprising considering the subtitle is Subjective Recollections from a Terminally Optimistic, Chronically Sarcastic and Occasionally Inebriated WomanThe memoir is a series of short essays about Wilder-Taylor’s life in LA before children, her quest for love, and her failed attempts to start a...

Read More

You say it’s your Birth Day

When I was pregnant for the first time, I developed an unhealthy affinity for those birth documentaries that had previously repelled me.  Something about growing a baby myself made me want to click over and immerse myself in the gory details. A new book from pediatrician Mark Sloan, Birth Day, would have been a far better alternative. Dr. Sloan is a fantastic storyteller, weaving historical information, medical studies, and his own professional experience into a truly fascinating look at childbirth over the centuries. I really like how the level of technical detail and writing style are accessible to just...

Read More

Teacher gifts: Better than buying the teacher a pony

Every year I tell my children’s teachers thank you, and every year it feels inadequate. Often when I write notes to go with various teacher gifts, I write, You totally deserve a pony, but I thought this would make less of a mess. Thank goodness I now have a second offering from veteran teacher Phillip Done in Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind. (We suggested his first book, 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny back in the spring). In Close Encounters, Done continues sharing the best, the worst, the ridiculous, and the touching from his perspective as a...

Read More

Cartoons for the thinking mama

When I was in high school, an artist friend of mine and I wrote a graphic novel during biology class featuring the adventures of our teacher’s prominent nose, thus beginning my love affair with random and edgy hilarity. If you adore the absurd, you are going to love Nicole Chaison’s graphic memoir, The Passion of the Hausfrau: Motherhood, Iluminated which is one part memoir, one part modern illuminated manuscript, and all parts brilliant. The narrative from cartoonist, writer and mom-of-two Chaison is funny enough, but the cartoons that illustrate every page take it to another level. From Chaison’s adventures...

Read More

Excessively motivated parents, your owners manual has arrived

After researching my proposal for my own parenting book (Ahem, Sleep Is for the Weak, shameless plug, shameless plug) I thought I’d read every baby handbook on earth. And, I admit it, I became really jaded and snooty about them. Let’s just say there’s a lot of rehashing going on in the baby humor world and it’s hard to find a fresh perspective. The Perfect Baby Handbook: A Guide for Excessively Motivated Parents is totally different. Talented ex-Radar writer and Details creative director Dale Hrabi has produced a half graphic novel, half biting satire that had me at “competitive...

Read More

Our favorite dolls get ink

We love Melissa Conroy’s Wooberry dolls. The originals are not only designed from her child’s sketches, they’re also handmade. And beyond adorable. In a move that touches my writerly heart, the dolls have gone meta and returned to their paper-based roots in pOppy’s pants, Conroy’s first (and hopefully not only) book. Featuring pOppy and pEnelope, two of Conroy’s signature dolls, this picture book combines photography and drawings and had my daughter and me wondering just how much sewing did Melissa have to do to get this book created? I especially love the postcript by the author’s father, Pat, which...

Read More

You say Maria, I say Mariah. Or, nah. Let’s stick with Maria.

Linda Rosenkranz and Pamela Redmond Satran raised baby naming to an art form with their original 1988 baby-naming book, Beyond Jennifer & Jason – names that practically seem pedestrian with today’s Talullahs and Artemises.  Now the authors are back with Beyond Ava & Aiden: The Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby and I admit there are quite a few people I know who I wish had had this book when they were pregnant. I’ve seen a lot of baby name books, but this one takes the cake for style, originality and lip synch. Some of my surprise favorites included...

Read More

Childrearing advice for when you’ve misplaced your gay uncle

Fellow blogger and Vanity Fair contributor Brett Berk has unleashed on the world his parenting perspective with The Gay Uncle’s Guide to Parenting: Candid Counsel From the Depths of the Daycare Trenches. Berk obviously has no uterus and no children. That said, you may be asking yourself where does he get off giving me advice? But what he does have is nearly twenty years of experience as a classroom teacher and preschool director, plus a wicked directness I find strangely endearing. Forget Supernanny — send me Brett Berk, stat. Certainly this book will offend some people. Berk believes in...

Read More

Let’s panic about babies! (You know you want to)

The funniest thing I’ve seen in a good long time is the satirical new website, Let’s Panic About Babies! which just launched today. Think of it as a cross between What to Expect When You’re Expecting and The Onion. It might even be funnier than the Onion. It might even be funnier  than What to Expect, which was pretty darn funny. (And you know what I’m talking about if you read that passage that cautions you against receiving oral sex when pregnant because it could cause an embolism.) Let’s Panic! hails from the hilarious if twisted minds of popular...

Read More

Design for Children. And of course, their drooling parents.

You know who you are, you design-crazy parents: You scour flea markets looking for vintage picture books to turn into nursery art, you spent more time picking paint colors than pediatricians, and your greatest dream is to discover some lost Eames crib prototype on a street corner somewhere. For you–and me–there is Play All Day: Design for Children. My first thought as I flipped through this wonderful coffee table book was that I should proactively shred all of my credit cards before I start tracking down every single item in the 240 page volume. The authors share our own...

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest