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This Life

James Wood wrote a tremendous review of Martin Hägglund’s This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom called If God Is Dead, Your Time Is Everything. Since I’ll be quoting a review that quotes the book, we’re two degrees removed from the source, but I don’t have the book yet and there are tons of ideas here I want to mark. Here’s one:


Essie Reading List

Some library books we’ve been reading to Ess recently:


Herman and Rosie is a jazz and NYC-themed love story and when Ess wanted a story read to her in the middle of the night, that’s the one she picked. I think she picked it because it’s long for a children’s book, but it still has a nice gentle pace for late-night.


Library books

Here’s a collage of the covers of the books we currently have checked out from the library:


Ess enjoyed the narwhal and penguin fact books very much. She gets super-interested in different animals; penguins a few weeks ago. It has been ducks for the past few days.


Ess With Her Bones Book

Ess With Her Bones Book

Ess wanted to dress up with this scarf, in preparation for going to The Rainforest Café.

Reading the Bones Book

“I’m tinier than a pinky nail. I’m so tiny tiny tiny in your hand. Wow.”

This is Ess “reading” from her Bones book, one of her favorite books she has ever checked out from the library. The full title: Book of Bones: 10 Record-Breaking Animals written by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sam Brewster.

Drop A Tooth

So I was telling Ess that I forgot a library book at work today, and she’s thinking this through.

“So I should’ve looked through my stuff before I left work!”
“Yeah, you should have, Dada.”
“I have to keep track of my stuff.”
“And at work if you are not doing that, you might drop a tooth on it or get it dirty.”


I Broke My Trunk

Another round of library books Ess is reading — she is rapidly moving beyond board books and into these easy-reader ones. Basic plot seems to hold her attention now, and we see the storylines incorporated into her imaginative play.



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Rocking in My School Shoes

I thought it might be fun to occasionally write down which library books we’ve checked out and are reading to Ess. This is the current stack on our nightstand:


Ess went through a big “Pete the Cat” phase; now that she has those two books just about memorized, she is moving on to other things. (That’s good, because we have to return these books to the library soon.) There’s a call and response in those two Pete the Cat books:


Todd Parr

“Todd!” Ess knows what Todd Parr’s books look like.

Make Way for Ducklings

Make Way for Ducklings

At the Library

At the Library



The book is Baby Beluga (Raffi Songs to Read). There’s music in the back of the book, so I play it on the piano, and Ess sings along with the baby beluga part.

Reading 2

Reading 2



Wearing Mama’s Shirt

Ess calls the book The Best Nest “not” because it is not the best nest. Mykala figured that one out.

Checking out a Book

Checking out a Book








I’ve had this file, 20111229_fa_02.mp3 sitting on my desktop for a while. It’s Terry Gross’s final interview with Maurice Sendak, on the occasion of the publication of his book, Bumble-Ardy. I knew that, in 2011, it made me think when I heard it, but I had forgotten what it was: a creative human, successful in his time, looking back with his hand lightly brushing old scars and lamenting the accretion of new cuts as he watches, unable to affect the marching-on of time: