Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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book of february: what to expect the first year


Our tiny little baby is officially a one year old. During this past year I’ve had a great time paging through this book during different periods of baby K’s development. They repeatedly reiterate that all babies are individuals and not everyone will follow exactly these guidelines. Yes repeatedly reiterate, because that’s seriously how much they do it.

The story of my receiving this book is a fun one. My mother’s cousin lives on the west coast (of the US) and found out I had not yet gotten a hold of a copy of What to Expect the First Year. So what she did was to send the book to Sweden with a friend of hers who was going anyway. Me and my mother’s cousin’s friend met up in Stockholm where books, pleasantries and some laughs were exchanged.

If you have a brand new little one in your life, or will shortly, I highly recommend this book. Unless you’re one of those people who just cannot heed the repetitive reminders that every baby is different, and instead riles yourself up into a frenzy when everything doesn’t align perfectly. Then you should probably avoid it for your own sanity.

Happy reading!

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book of january: one, two, many

I haven’t had a lot of time for free reading this month. That is to say I’ve done quite a bit of reading, but almost exclusively for my ECE degree. I say almost exclusively because not reading road signs makes driving a whole lot harder.


This book, En, två, många (which translates to One, Two, Many) has all the information you might want regarding mathematics in the early years of life. Of course, in Swedish. 

Side bar: only the first letter of books are capitalized in Swedish. I may have mentioned this before on the blog, but it really baffles me. Every time! So I need to bring it up again now.

I definitely recommend this book for any early educators, people curious about basic mathematical terms in Swedish, or just anyone looking for a good time.

Dig in!


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book of may: svinalängorna

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At one point I thought I’d try to read more in Swedish. Then I started my Early Childhood Education degree (in Swedish) and was buried in textbooks *written in Swedish*. Is it my own fault for wishing to read in Swedish? Maybe Probably.

Regardless, this book is actually part of the course literature in my History of Children and Childhood course. (I’m basically directly translating this stuff, so I could be totally off on what it really should be called). Told from the perspective of a first generation Swedish girl with Finnish parents her journey through childhood is graphically documented and beautifully written. Susanna Alakoski really can write.

The book has also been made into a movie, so you know it’s a good one. I’m not sure if it’s been translated to English, so before I can recommend you read it I should first recommend you learn Swedish.

No probs, right?

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book of march: modern romance

So many people I know were reading this book last summer, I just had to give it a go. And I am sure glad I did.

  
As per my usual I listened to the audiobook version, because Aziz is a funny guy and funny people are funny to listen to. I even noticed some parallels between this funny guy and other funny people. For example he opened his book, like Sarah Silverman, wondering what the listeners would be doing upon listening. Aziz painted a lovely picture of his listener being curled up in bed, enjoying a cup of tea by the fire. Sarah bet on pooping. I’m not saying one or the other is better…but I feel I should say for the record I’m in the first category.

From Aziz I learned that In the 30’s and 40’s people would go as far as they had to to find a mate, but no farther. The “girl/boy nextdoor” is a real thing, and many people clearly loved the ones they’re with already. What I took away from this is that I must have been terrible at finding a mate since I had to go all the way to Sweden to find her.

I also learned that average age of first marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men, and 30 for men and women in big cities. So, again, I follow none of the norms. To be fai Aziz admits to focusing on heterosexual relationships in his book, so I guess I just don’t fit in here. Joking aside I do think there is a lot of fun stuff to take away from the book. But I’m not going to tell you any more about it, you’ll have to just go read it for yourself. 

I will say that there are robots and scientific studies in the book. If that doesn’t pique your interest I don’t know what you’re even doing here.


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book of february: essentialism: the diciplined pursuit of less

I really liked this book. Really a lot.


I’m not sure if it’s because we’re moving soon, or that we’ve just had a baby, but I feel the need to have less things. Not only have less things but do less things. Do less things more effectively. Which is what this book is about.

Now I definitely think you should go read this for yourself, but my big take home was that whenever a choice presents itself to you, in life, love, business, whatever, ask yourself if/how this will help you make your biggest contribution to the world. This is some difficult stuff, it requires one to be a grounded and informed individual. But, something I think is important to remember is that nothing is written in stone, and you should never not do something because of the time it takes. The time will pass anyway. If an opportunity you deem to be important enough to pursue presents itself, then it’s an easy: Yes.

After finishing the book I find myself often asking myself two questions (in my quest to have less possessions and to use my time more effectively):

  1. If I didn’t already own this, how much would I pay for it?
  2. Do I want this enough to struggle for it?

I feel the second question needs some explaining. By combining what I read in this book, and the contents of this article, I ask myself this question for two reasons. If I think I want something I need to first examine the hinders/obstacles ahead of me that may prevent me from getting there. After I have determined the obstacles I need to then determine if I am willing to overcome them. The answers to these questions help me decide if whatever I’m pondering about is truly worth pursuing.

As I said, wonderful book. Go read it!


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book of november: the girl with the dragon tattoo

Stieg Larsson wrote a trilogy. You may be familiar with the books and subsequent Hollywood movie. I hope you’re also familiar with the Swedish trilogy of films and pre-existing mini-series.

I had tried to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when it was a hot item, but that didn’t go so well. I even bought the book before I saw all those movies. However, the beginning was a little hard to get through. I mean it was interesting, and now that I’ve read it, I’m so glad I did, but the first time around I took a little break at around page 60. This time things went a lot better.

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Usually I try to read the book before seeing the film, but in this instance I watched the Swedish films, then the Hollywood version and then read the book. As I’m sure you can tell by the photo above I read the book in English. I’ve heard rumors that the translation could have been better, and I vaguely recall the translator saying he wish he had more time to do a better job. To be honest, at times I did get a good chuckle from the translation. This is probably partially because I now know Swedish to some degree and can clearly see what the initial Swedish would have been.

This book definitely comes highly recommended. I’m definitely reading the next book (The Girl Who Played with Fire) only this time in Swedish. Flickan som lekte med elden.

Side bar: Did you know that in Swedish they only capitalize the first letter of
book and article titles? Fun fact for you on this fine Monday. Also, days of
the week are not capitalized in Swedish. That was the last fun fact for today.

I’m excited to see if I enjoy the book more in its native Swedish. I’m testing a theory on whether or not a book is usually better in the native language of the author. I’ll keep you posted.

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book of june: the power of habit: why we do what we do in life and business

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg was very enjoyable. But, before we get into things I would like to comment on how long the titles of my book of the month books have been these past two months! Geeze! Is that the new thing, ridiculously long titles? I like it. Or at least I’ve really liked these past two books!

The Power of Habit

Anywho! If you haven’t seen my most recent PN post, go check it out, because a big reason for why I read this book was PN. All the talk about habits in PN got my thoughts a churnin’. Luckily, this book gave me some of the answers I was looking for.

First, basically every single habit and lesson in PN is based on thorough research, some of which is touched upon in this book. Second, I think this book should be recommended reading for all those in PN. The book is captivating, touches on a wide range of subjects while still keeping its focus and the interest of the reader. That is quite a feat, in my opinion. At times I was reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing, but I want to claim that Duhigg took a step up in his writing and really kept one focus strong throughout the entire book. Something that is missing from Gladwell’s writing. Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan of both authors (apparently!), but I felt that The Power of Habit spoke to me personally on a level that Gladwell’s books just don’t.

The ending was truly powerful *wink wink*, but I particularly enjoyed the appendix. If you were to only read one part or section of this book (which I don’t actually recommend) read the appendix. The appendix is particularly juicy. Have you read this book? Did you like it? Hate it? Tell me about it in the comments section below!

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