Well Being

Distract me, please

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I used to read voraciously. Now, I can barely get through a chapter before I fall into the deepest sleep for about three hours when I am awoken by little cries or screams, or by my husband shaking me awake and saying “the baby needs you.”

Still, I can't spend all of my time in my own head. I need a break from myself. Here are my top five books for encouraging the need for escapism in the new mother's bedstand reading.

5. I Don't Know How She Does ItTold as diary entries, a la Briget Jones, the daily grind of Alison Pearson's fund-manager mother in London's City is too soft-hearted to be hard, too hard to be soft-hearted and bound up in familiar contradictions in a world that is truly unreal.

4. Playing HouseCanadian author Patricia Pearson (no relation to Alison) cooked up a heroin who is an edgy lefty-magazine editor in New York who suddenly finds her meetings with famous intellectuals makes her very, very tired. Pregnancy does that to people.

3. Watermelon Marian Keyes and her collection of stories surrounding the lives of six Irish sisters never disappoints me. In this one, Claire delivers her beautiful baby girl and during this moment of happy vulnerability, her husband dumps her. And, the story gets much, much happier from there.

2. Little Earthquakes : A Novel (Washington Square Press)Pregnancy, birth and motherhood are not to be undertaken alone. New mothers need girlfriends. And, the chance to have a really good cry. Jennifer Werner never disappoints with the right mix of a little melodrama and a little reality.

1. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Today Show Book Club #8) OK. It's not chick lit..err… I mean…it isn't exactly contemporary women's fiction, but it is escapism. Detective Precious Ramotswe is my new favourite fictional character because she is decent, kind, adventurous, and intelligent in a way that is not intimidating and unlike most mysteries, the five books in this series are not dark or violent. I find them deeply reassuring for their positive outlook onto this planet and the people it shelters.