Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Book K: Fabookulous June 6, 2011

King of the Road by Alex Debogorski

Book description:

Between bear hunting, drag racing, doughnut spinning, cattle rustling, gold prospecting, and too many near-death experiences, it’s amazing that Alex Debogorski ever found time (or lived long enough) to spend twenty-five years hauling freight over frozen lakes to the most remote ouposts of the arctic. In King of the Road, Alex jams his storytelling into overdrive for a memoir that’s equal parts action-packed, outrageous, tender, and hilarious. You’ll find out how he once caught fire in the middle of a brawl, how easy it is to get killed driving a coal truck, how the sound of cracking ice is something you can never get accustomed to hearing, and what it’s like being the improbable star of a hit TV show. The true tales of this larger-than-life ice road trucker are not to be missed.

Having never watched the show Ice Road Truckers I came across this book when it was advertised in People magazine. I kicked back at the pool, opened up to page one, and all I can say is “Wow” from the first word. Alex Debogorski has lived quite a life and has many a tales to share about the hair raising ways of his youth through life as a family man. I could have done without the stories of life on the farm and the rough treatment of some of the animals. Sure those things happen, and it’s part of farm life, but I am a sensitive reader and love the animals, so personally could have done without those stories.

My dad has owned and operated his own trucking company for 25+ years and I used to work for him full time (though now it’s just a few nights a week). I’ve always been fascinated by the Peterbilts, all the buttons, knobs, controllers. I’ve enjoyed learning about the permit process, the heavy loads, weight requirements, DOT requirements, etc. And while reading Debogorski’s stories, I can just imagine riding along the highway listening on the CB radio as he tells crazy tales, some sad, some funny, some mind-blowing, and some heartwarming. In fact, after reading about some crazy driving escapades of a teenage Alex, I could hear the hootin’ and hollerin’, I felt the wind blowing and I thought I was watching a movie screen. I caught myself afterwards and even read the story again because it felt so real. Debogorski is quite the story teller and I enjoyed every minute of his wild days.

Stories of sleeping behind the wheel, speeding, and not paying attention are careless and dangerous. But thankfully Alex points out he is not glorifying irresponsible driving (particularly if young audiences are paying attention) but he is just telling it like it happened. But when he talks about a trip to visit Louise (his high school sweetheart and now wife and mother of their 11 children), he was tired and closes his eyes for a few minutes. Upon opening them, he is moments away from running into the train up ahead and sure enough, he hits the train. With all the danger Debogorski has faced and all of the “mishaps” that he’s endured, it really is a wonder (by the grace of God) that he is alive to tell about them.

With a new season of Ice Road Truckers just beginning, I spent time this weekend watching some episodes of the show to see what it was all about. I’m pretty sure it’s my new favorite show. It’s unbelievable the conditions these drivers haul through and deal with. But one of the more striking things is that they probably just view it as all in a day’s work. A dangerous day’s work. The banter between Alex and his rival, Hugh “the Polar Bear” Rowland, is comical and after researching more into the show and merchandise available, I realized Hugh has a book as well: On Thin Ice. Is it a coincidence that the two drivers on the series who have books out are rivals on the show, in constant competition? HA! Fine by me, I’m already in line wishing for a copy of Hugh’s book on 🙂

Thoroughly enjoyable, King of the Road will keep your interest from start to finish. Cheers to Alex for surviving himself and sharing about it!

5/5 stars



Book A: LibraryLove June 1, 2011

A Mother’s Circle by Sandra Kunhardt Basile with Jean Kunhardt, M.A. and Lisa Spiegel, M.A. of the Soho Parenting Center

Book description~ A Mother’s Circle chronicles the experiences of nine new mothers in a parenting discussion group led by Jean Kunhardt and Lisa Spiegel. “A Mother’s Circle is informative and reassuring,” writes Miriam Arond, Editor-in Chief of Child Magazine. “It will help you feel confident and supported, qualities that are so important in helping you enjoy this wonderful new stage of your life.” The revised edition covers important topics such as feeding, separation and attachment, marriage, co-parenting and a woman’s identity. The first chapter defines Responsive Parenting, a thoughtful approach that allows parents to make more finely-tuned responses to their baby’s needs, whether it is setting a limit or nurturing and coddling. The expanded chapter on Sleep includes a Sleep Chart to help parents track the progress their babies in learning to sleep through the night.

What an amazing resource! While having lunch with one of my mommy friends from high school 2 months into my pregnancy, she insisted that if I read ONE parenting book it be this one. I couldn’t be happier or recommend this enough. Whether you’re a first time mom or adopting a child, or even plan to raise a family, I highly recommend you pick this up! The book takes a much less “preachy” approach, but a “village to raise a family” type approach. The Soho Parenting Center is an amazing place where new mothers come weekly to discuss, as a group, their concerns and talk openly with other new moms in their same shoes. “A Mother’s Circle” shares fears, concerns, and issues raised by the mothers in the group, and real life examples of how to overcome them using psychology, medical knowledge and overall common sense. I loved how the book was separated by category (Responsive Parenting, Feeding, Changes in Marriage, Sleep, Your Mother’s Legacy),which touch on more than just poopy diapers and spit up. Also, it’s easy for medical or psychological professionals to write a book, but it’s another to read first hand accounts from mothers over a decade.

The book offers so many useful methods, techniques, and ideas that can help you through the first year with a newborn/toddler. Each child is different and reacts different, as do each mother and father. The book also offers sample feeding schedules for each stage (newborn, 3-6 months, and for when you begin introducing solid foods).

The two most important sections I wanted to touch on:

1) Sleep Work

2) Your Mother’s Legacy

Sleep Work

This book takes the stance that withholding sleep from your young baby is as damaging as withholding nutrition, as sleep is the foundation of a baby’s development. Without proper amounts of sleep each night, a baby will be more fussy during the day, and cannot possibly have the energy to focus on its developmental stages. The book focuses on techniques that when done properly, can help you and your baby achieve a full night’s rest as early on as you decide to commit to the process. The chapter on sleep work carefully outlines how parents can use time-tested methods, psychology, and patience. Starting with 0-3 months, the transition phase 3-4 months, then working up to sleeping through the night at 4-12 months, the chapter then fleshed out topics like crying, when spouses disagree on methods, sleep charting (and gives a sample template), supporting one another, being consistent, and early morning wakings. I felt like my eyes were open so widely to so many things and reasons for why many parents get frustrated that they can’t get their kids to sleep through the night. I feel like my husband and I have a heightened awareness having read this, and are thankful we’ll have each other along the way to lean on.

Your Mother’s Legacy

Regardless of whether you had an amazing childhood, were adopted, or had a lukewarm relationship with your mothers, its inevitable that through pregnancy and child rearing, issues from the past will surface. This section was very though-provoking and profound for me and I highly suggest this to anyone who has questions about how to deal with their past and views on maternal role models.

Takeaway- you are your own person, not bound by the shackles of past hurts, regrets, or expectation. No one is perfect. No mom is a perfect mom. However, by bringing a child into this world, it IS your responsibility (in my humble opinion) to try your best and ask for help when you need it; this is non-negotiable. 🙂

4/5 stars

11 down, 15 to go!

Up next: The Wednesday Letters & The Philosophical Baby