TBR List Declutter, Issue 43

Tangent: Attachment Parenting

My daughter is considering residential camps for this summer. She’s done day camps since she was five years old, but sleep-away camp is uncharted territory for us, and we’re all kind of feeling our way around with this one.

When we were expectant parents, my spouse and I made a conscious decision to embrace attachment parenting. There are a lot of different ideas attached to attachment parenting, but for us it meant ensuring that our daughter had a primary attachment figure in her life (I tacitly accepted the unspoken nomination to the position). Her father and I would both do our best to anticipate our daughter’s needs and either meet those needs or be there to support her if we couldn’t (or chose not to) meet them (i.e., it’s not our job to stop her from crying, but it is our job to be there with her while she does). As best we could, we viewed our family as a unit, an integrated whole greater than the sum of its disparate but complementary parts. The goal was and is balance, respect, and a base of support from which our daughter—and later our son, as well—can feel confident moving into adult life.

The data aren’t all in yet, but so far it seems to be working as advertised. When they were little-little kids, they would toddle away from me and do their own thing for a bit, but they always looked back to make sure I was there, always came back for that physical reassurance of my presence before venturing out again. As they’ve grown, it seems like our relationship has continued to be a variation on this theme. They test out their confidence, and I stay attentive to determine when they need a nudge, when they need reassurance, when they need a hug, and when they just need me to stay our of their way. I’m there to listen to their questions and sometimes to answer but mostly to ask questions back. And when they don’t need me, I’m still there, off-stage, but always ready.

Sleep-away camp feels like part of this progression, but it also seems different, more like a leap than a step. In my discomfort, I’m finding it necessary to be careful what I say. It’s important to me that I help my daughter identify her fears and find the answers she needs to feel comfortable—or comfortable enough—without projecting my own fears onto her. It’s important that I reflect back her feelings, not tell her my own. My experiences with sleeping away from home, whether positive or negative, are irrelevant to her experience. Moreover, my experience of her going to sleep-away camp for the first time is for me to work through, not something in which I should involve her. I am the one who supports; she is the one supported, and even then only to the degree that she needs/wants to be.

And there’s the dance: knowing when to step in and when to wait in the wings and watch her live out her experience. I hope I’m up to the challenge. I expect there’s much more of this sort of thing to come.

Visual Interest:

IMG_20180217_154746 (1)

Wondering what this is all about? Check out the introductory post.


Titles 571-590:


Title: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Author: Stevenson, Bryan
Date Added: 3/25/2015

Verdict: Keep. I bought this one not long after it was written, and still it sits on my bookshelf. I want to read it and at the same time I don’t want to read it. I worry that it will leave me feeling angry and powerless—or worse, that it will give me a course of action that I’ll choose not to follow and then feel guilty about it. But these are pretty crappy reasons not to read it. I just need to pick it up and read it.

Project List: none.


Title: Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America
Author: Leovy, Jill
Date Added: 3/25/2015

Verdict: Go. By all accounts, this is a powerful, eye-opening book, but all accounts also describe it as containing a litany of homicide victims, and I’m not sure there’s a lot of value in subjecting myself to that. Causes, yes. Possible solutions, even better. Lists of people who have been murdered…good for depressing me, maybe, but I’ve got that covered.

Project List: n/a


Title: The Map Thief
Author: Blanding, Michael
Date Added: 3/31/2015

Verdict: Keep. I’m culling nonfiction, but reviews suggest this one has a gripping narrative, which is more appealing to me than a moral lesson.

Project List: none.


Title: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
Author: Klein, Naomi
Date Added: 4/1/2015

Verdict: Go. Preaching to the choir. I’m trying to wean myself off of righteous indignation, so I’m going to pass on this one.

Project List: n/a


Title: The End of the World — Again: Why the Apocalypse Meme Replicates in Media, Science, and Culture
Author: Vacker, Barry
Date Added: 4/3/2015

Verdict: Keep. I think I heard about this on To the Best of Our Knowledge on NPR. I’m still interested in it, and not just because my daughter is deep into YA now, which is equal parts vampires, warrior nuns, and apocalypse scenarios (and sometimes all three in one book). Plus, there are so few reviews of this one, I feel like I want to give it a little boost.

Project List: none.


Title: Infinite Jest
Author: Wallace, David Foster
Date Added: 4/3/2015

Verdict: Go. I’m supposed to read David Foster Wallace. I don’t want to read David Foster Wallace. I’m a grown-up, so I don’t have to read David Foster Wallace.

Project List: n/a


Title: Beauty for Truth’s Sake: The Re-Enchantment of Education
Author: Caldecott, Stratford
Date Added: 4/10/2015

Verdict: Keep. My note to myself on Goodreads: “Saw [the author’s] review of The Cave and the Light on Goodreads, went to his blog, and found this, on Classical Education.” This might be a wash, but I’m still intrigued enough to give it a look, if our library system has it.

Project List: none.


Title: Community Ministry
Author: Dudley, Carl S.
Date Added: 5/3/2015

Verdict: Go. Interesting idea in which I am no longer interested.

Project List: n/a


Title: Balancing Acts: Three Prima Ballerinas Becoming Mothers
Author: Gray, Lucy
Date Added: 5/14/2015

Verdict: Go. I no longer find this title compelling.

Project List: n/a


Title: The Good City: Writers Explore 21st-century Boston
Author: Hiestand, Emily
Date Added: 6/4/2015

Verdict: Keep. I almost scrapped this one, but I might find it interesting now that I’m no longer in Massachusetts.

Project List: none.


Title: The Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community
Author: Somé, Malidoma Patrice
Date Added: 6/4/2015

Verdict: Keep. Seems an interesting read about the spirituality of a region with which I am largely unfamiliar.

Project List: none.


Title: A String in the Harp
Author: Bond, Nancy
Date Added: 6/17/2015

Verdict: Keep. Reviews suggest that this is a good book for fans of Susan Cooper’s books. My children and I are fans of Susan Cooper’s books, therefore, this might be a good book for us.

Project List: Read-aloud.


Title: When You Reach Me
Author: Stead, Rebecca
Date Added: 7/2/2015

Verdict: Keep. Another to read with my children.

Project List: Read-aloud.


Title: Reclaiming Prophetic Witness: Liberal Religion in the Public Square
Author: Rasor, Paul B.
Date Added: 8/6/2015

Verdict: Keep. Recently I heard Episode 19 of Stephen West’s Philosophize This! podcast. In it, West tells about the Islamic philosopher Averroes. Apparently Averroes sees it as the responsibility of philosophers to choose the best religion of their day (the religion that best represents philosophical truth) and promulgate it as a means of “conveying truth to the masses.” This person also needs to be on the lookout for a religion that better conveys truth, should one come along, and be ready to convert to and promote it to the masses. Listening to this, I became interested in how this might work in the present day. What religion might I choose to disseminate truth to those uninterested in delving into philosophical thought? Seems like prophetic witness is kind of like this, and the idea of changing religions for pragmatic reasons seems very UU, so a book about UU prophetic witness might be very interesting in this light.

Project List: none.


Title: The Arrival
Author: Tan, Shaun
Date Added: 8/29/2015

Verdict: Keep. Another to enjoy with my children. Some truths are best conveyed without words.

Project List: Read-aloud.


Title: The Chimes
Author: Smaill, Anna
Date Added: 9/11/2015

Verdict: Keep. Dystopian fiction with a musical edge. Sounds worth a look.

Project List: none.


Title: Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self
Author: Rohr, Richard
Date Added: 9/16/2015

Verdict: Keep, B-list. I’m on the fence about this one. I just read-skimmed Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, which is about a similar subject but from a New Agey mishmash of psychology and religious thought throughout the world. I’m interested to see how the topic is presented from a Christian perspective, but I’m worried it will be more of the same. Only one way to find out, I guess. Even though I’m not Christian, it would be interesting to read about a path toward letting go of ego that isn’t just a basic mindfulness practice. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just curious about other ways of going about it.

Project List: B-list.


Title: Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church
Author: Evans, Rachel Held
Date Added: 9/22/2015

Verdict: Go. This one just doesn’t seem all that interesting to me now. Side note: This cover looks remarkably like a cropped/blown-up version of the cover for Dakota, which I looked at in TBR Declutter 42. It could easily be the same church in the same field, just from a different angle.

Project List: n/a


Title: The Broken Kingdoms
Author: Jemisin, N.K.
Date Added: 9/22/2015

Verdict: Keep. I’ve been meaning to read this one from the moment I finished The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms in 2012. I’ve even checked it out from the library, but I still haven’t read it. I still want to, though, so here it stays.

Project List: none.


Title: Lasso the Wind: Away to the New West
Author: Egan, Timothy
Date Added: 10/5/2015

Verdict: Keep. I probably added this because I’m in love with the West(ern U.S.) and at the time I was living about as far from the West as you can get without actually leaving the continent. I’m thrilled to be back in the West again, and I’m still interested in this book.

Project List: none.

Six more titles off the list for a total of 219 of 590 (29.2% of the original 750, 37.1% of the 590 I’ve considered so far).

Any thoughts about which I kept and which I tossed?

One Reply to “TBR List Declutter, Issue 43”

  1. Wonderful post. My daughter went to her first summer sleep-away camp when she was eight. We drove three hours to the coast where she we greeted with camp counselors with wonderful camp names (like firefly and otter.) They played guitars and mandolins as we toured the cabins. Then I left my child alone with strangers. When I picked her up a week later she said, “I just had the best week of my entire life!” She went to the same came in the woods by the ocean for four more years. I like your thoughts on parenting. Good job.


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