I have a new bedtime routine with Miles. The new routine is: no bedtime. Lately his need for autonomy has been… powerful. He had been resisting bedtime for a while and I got tired of battling over it with him. So I decided to try just letting HIM decide when he was ready to go to bed. Even I thought this might be a little insane. But you know what? He goes to sleep at exactly the same time as he did when I was arguing with him about it for an hour or more. Huh.

So before bed, now, we have a little quiet time. I dim the lights in the house and I set up a puzzle or art project for him at the table, or just leave him alone if he’s playing quietly already, and I sit down and read for a while. Not only do I not fight him over bedtime, I also get to decompress a little before I go read him his bedtime stories, and that’s really nice for me!

I’ve been on a big YA kick this summer. I will say I came to the whole YA trend with some skepticism, like, what could possibly interest me about books written for teenagers? But there are some genuinely good books coming out in the genre right now. And yeah, some of it is fluff – that’s okay too. I like fluff sometimes. I also like that a lot of these are in series, so I can delve into one story for three or more books.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. Mike heard about this series on the radio and thought I might like to give it a try. From the beginning I’ve had mixed feelings, but as you can see I’m on the third book (out of five) already! The story follows Clary, a seemingly ordinary teenage girl in Brooklyn, as she stumbles into a world of Shadowhunters (humans with some angel blood in their lineage), demons, vampires, werewolves, warlocks, and other supernatural creatures. It seems like the premise of the world of Shadowhunters who fight demons has so much promise, and for some reason Clare just doesn’t even try to flesh out all of the spiritual and philosophical potential in this scenario. It’s kind of just a teen romance with monsters in it. And yet. I am still reading it. Highly readable, but pure fluff.

Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness. This series is on the other end of the stick. It’s hard to say much about the books without giving away spoilers, but we start out with Todd Hewitt, nearing his 13th birthday when he will become a man, in a world where all men can hear each other’s thoughts (and the thoughts of animals too). He is an orphan who has been raised by two men who were friends of his parents, and he will soon discover that almost nothing that he believes about his life and the world is true. I wish I could say more about the plot that would give you an idea of how rich and complex this story world is, but if you have any intention of reading the book I must leave you the pleasure of letting it all unfold and unfold and unfold. There are some deep questions raised about morality, loyalty, autonomy, the fog of war…. I had a hard time getting past the first 100 pages or so of dialect writing and a seemingly slow pace, but trust me. This series is rather amazing, the kind of fiction writing that you just keep thinking about after you’ve finished a book. Ness has also written some adult novel which I may check out when I finish Chaos Walking.

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris. It might be blasphemous for someone of my age and predilections to admit this, but I have never loved David Sedaris. My favorite white gay male humorous memoirist is Augusten Burroughs. But I saw this title come up on one of my library new release newsletters and gave it a try. It was amusing and enjoyable to read. That’s about all I can say about it, or any other Sedaris book I’ve read. So, there’s that.

Cooked by Michael Pollan. I am not a foodie or into food writing all that much, but I am a Pollan devotee. I love his clear, descriptive writing style and the bemused way he looks at how we Americans are kind of weird and insane about how we interact with food. Mike bought me a copy of this book for Mother’s Day and I am just starting to read it in little bits because I can’t digest (no pun intended) too much of it in one sitting. But it promises to be as good as the rest of his writing.

And that’s about it for me! Just toggling between the Mortal Instruments and Chaos Walking for the rest of the summer probably, and then… we’ll see!

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