Summer reading, part 2

Books. I love 'em. Here's a few more I've read this summer.

1. Certain Girls, by Jennifer Weiner. I know! Chick lit! Not my usual genre but I was at my mom's and ran out of material so I picked it up. I wound up finishing it on the plane home. Weiner is a great natural writer. Surprisingly, I liked it and then went to a bookstore and she was all over the place.

2. Scary, No Scary and The Man Suit, two books by Zach Schomburg. Oh my god. Loved them. Zach is a great poet. The poems are funny and surreal and child-like and dreamy. Lots of wolves and legless bears too. Check out a poem here.

3. The Ice Storm, by Rick Moody. So I'm a bit late for this party, but at least I came. This was a fun book...except for the kid getting electrocuted at the end. And all the unhappy suburbanites. And meaningless sex. But there were lots of 70s cultural references and since I was born in 1967, they were extra-funny. After I finished I rented the movie, which was almost as good, but Kevin Kline was way too sexy to be the dad.

4. Dearly Devoted Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay. I've never seen the show, but I'm interested in serial killers. Oooh, dark passenger! I can see why this is a popular series.

5. Pinocchio Vampire Slayer, by Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins. This graphic novel does just what its title says. Pinochio purposefully lies and his nose grows and he stakes vamps with it! Stylish black and white illustrations and a super-quick read. I mean like thirty minutes quick.

I just started Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem but haven't really gotten into it yet. And I'm looking for a good crime thriller. Any suggestions are welcome. There's still a month left before school starts!
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Parenting: Why Breeders Rule

Some psychologists have revised Maslow's Pyramid of Needs--and it has stuck in my craw. Here's why.

The original pyramid had self-actualization at the top. You take care of your basic needs--shelter, food--then you get love and respect and self-actualize by doing what gives you joy: running, teaching, macrame, writing, baking bread, yoga.

But the revised pyramid puts parenting at the top! In fact, the top three are mate acquisition, mate retention, and then parenting.

I don't doubt that many people find self-actualization in parenting. The soul-crushing love, the willingness to put your life before another's. But not me. In fact, I made a choice to remain childless. My husband and I have been married eight years and we didn't reproduce. Not that I don't love children and my many friends with adorable sprouts--I do! I'm no child-eating witch.

But the new pyramid implies that one can't be truly happy without reproducing. And, for that matter, finding a mate. That seems reductive, breeder-centric, biologically based. And insulting.

I'm 43, so it's way too late for me to be truly happy, according to the new pyramid. Nevertheless I'm happy with the decision I made. I don't miss the children I didn't have.

Here's a suggestion: Let's revise the Pyramid again--and put banana cream pie at the top!
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