Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Book Blogger Appreciation Week!

For BBAW 2010 I'm hoping to post something every day on my book blog. This is a cross-post from over there:

Today is the kickoff of Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2010. I hope to have a new post up each day (and some will include giveaways) to celebrate. The official theme for Monday is First Treasure, but instead of writing about the first book blog I discovered, I'm going to write about a blogger's first book.

I began reading Alexa Stevenson's blog Flotsam in late 2007, just before her son Ames died and the tense wait for her daughter Simone's early birth began. Even though I've been following the story of Alexa and Simone -- now a healthy two year old -- since then, Alexa's memoir is so much more than a rehashing of things she'd already written. Half Baked:  the story of my nerves, my newborn, and how we both learned to breathe is an enveloping page-turner of a book, the kind that actually merits the statement "I couldn't put it down." Even though I knew the beginning and the end of the story, I found myself wrapped tightly in the weaving of the tale.

After several miscarriages and a struggle with infertility, Alexa and her husband conceived twins via IVF. She found herself uniquely qualified for the heightened worry of pregnancy after a lifetime of anxiety and an adulthood spent developing the ability to over-research anything. But as the back-cover writeup admits, Alexa had spent most of her life preparing for the wrong disasters. At 22 weeks and 2 days, after having been told the sexes of her babies and that they looked "ideal," Alexa received the devastating news that Ames had died. For three more weeks, the goal is to keep Simone inside and healthy as long as possible. Then Simone is born, and Alexa is plunged into a motherhood she never expected.

She finds that the personality quirks that once left her nervous and paralyzed have left her uniquely equipped for the numbers and stats that dominate NICU life. The ups and downs of Simone's long hospital stay are relayed with stark honesty and surprising humor. One doesn't usually expect to laugh out loud while reading a story of a very early baby, but Alexa has written that kind of book. The good and the bad, the transcendent and the mundane, the heartbreaking and the unexpectedly funny, Alexa lays it all out and turns it into a fantastic and immensely enjoyable read.

Because she's awesome, Alexa is going to send one commenter a signed copy of Half Baked. For a chance to win, leave a comment on this post (or on the book blog copy) before midnight CST on Sunday, September 19 Thursday, September 30. In the spirit of BBAW, please include a link to one of your favorite blogs so I can discover some new great sites! Residents of the US & Canada only, please.


  1. sarawr9:04 AM

    Oh girl, I would love to win this -- I've been trying to scrape together the cash to buy Alexa's book for weeks.

    I've been really digging Tiger Beatdown lately, so if feminism blogging is your thing it would make an excellent read.

  2. Yes, please! Julia/Here be Hippogriffs is not new in any way, but I see she's not on your list and I never get tired of reading her.
    Though that is less about books and more about children, generally.

    More booky and less bloggy - I hope you are aware of the library comic Unshelved. On Fridays they post book reviews, and I am always discovering interesting things that way. Plus they're hilarious.

  3. Well, I love food blogs, so my pick would be for yummy recipes and fun pictures of cake decorating.

    Also, I'm planning on putting Half Baked on my Christmas list, but I can't pass up the opportunity to try to win a signed copy :)

  4. Hurrah! for books.

    Some of my bloggy favorites:
    Another Jen!

  5. Hello! I enjoyed your review - it was so well-written and shows your obvious enjoyment of this book. I've been wanting to buy it, but with our current medical bills and my upcoming surgeries I couldn't really justify it.

    I would love to read this book...I found Alexa's blog after the fact, but went back to read all about Ames and Simone and I cried and I laughed and I am amazed by her writing at Flotsam.

    Some of my favorite blogs (aside from Flotsam) are:

    Here Be Hippogrifs


    Hyperbole and a Half