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Dear Internet,

I need your advice on two totally unrelated yet very important topics.

Topic 1: What book should I take to the beach next week? I usually take a Stephen King book, as they tend to fill my requirements of being entertaining and relatively mindless but not acting like the reader is a somewhat challenged fifth grader, but I think I have read all his books so that's out. What do you think? No romance novels please, they make me gag.

Topic 2: How important is it (if at all) that you be able to see into the crib from the doorway of the nursery. As we currently have the nursery furniture set up (can you believe I have nursery furniture?) it fits in the room very well but you have to walk quite a ways into the room to see into the crib. Does this matter? Also, how critical is it that the crib not be next to the window, assuming that I am not a total idiot and will cut the cords on the blinds to that they can pose no danger to the child?

Thanks in advance, Internet. I know you won't steer me wrong.


Comments (62)

Have you ever read Mary Higgins Clark? Mystery writer. Her books are entertaining and go by quickly. You bring up good points about the nursery. ( Points that further remind me that I dont know nearly enough to have a baby) Im imagining that being able to see the crib from the door is crucial. That way you can check on the child without potentially waking the child. Do you have good curtains on the windows? Id be worried that the window light might be distracting to the baby.

Since you asked!
Topic 1: no clue.

Topic 2: You should be able to see the crib at least partially from the doorway. You'll find out that you want to be able to peek in on the baby but not go all the way into the room. Plus, if you need to get there in a dash, the closer it is to the door, the better.

I wouldn't put the crib near the window. Even the most insulated windows have drafts/let in cold/let in heat/let in too much light.

Of course, my advice should probably be completely disregarded since my son didn't even call me on Mother's Day and I am sure it is totally my fault for not raising him right!

Mary Higgins Clark is very good, I like her books and also James Patterson, he writes good books.

I say you bring some good romance novels.

Uh, what shore will you be at? Can I wave at you next week if I happen to see you (provided it's the same town)? There's a chance I'll be down as well.

I cannot help you with the second one. I'd probably set my child up in the knife drawer of my dresser, for all I know about nurseries.

Name all the animals
by alison smith

good read.

Not sure what you should bring to the beach. I haven't been to the beach since I was a wee lass.

I don't think it's too important to see the crib from the doorway. Trust me, you will probably hear the baby cry before you even get NEAR the door. And, you'll probably put your hand on the child's body to make sure she's breathing.

Question 1: I'm looking for summer reading suggestions myself, so I'm totally stealing ideas.

Question 2: Are your floor squeaky? Because if you're trying to sneak in and admire your sleeping Beanette, squeaky floors might make that difficult.

Topic 1: I would sugest a book called "The Lovely Bones", not sure of the author, but it was a great read.
Topic 2: I feel it should be in full view of the door, that way you can zip past and check with out going in and disturbing her.

The Lovely Bones is by Alice Sebold is and is a wonderful read, yes.

But you should also read "gods in Alabama" by Joshilyn Jackson because I pink puffy heart her and it's a great book.

The advantage to having the crib NOT visible from the door is that you can open the door without the baby seeing. IMHO that's a huge bonus, as it allows you sneak in more easily.

"Near a window" can be relative, but I wouldn't be near enough that a baby/toddler could reach the panes, personally.

Ha, jennifer beat me to it, I was going to suggest the Lovely Bones if you have not yet read it. I enjoyed it quite a lot.

I'm not sure about the crib thing, that is really a personal preference. Do you want to be able to peek in on her while she sleeps and not disturb her slumber...or just walk by obsessively and make sure she is still there? I would not worry so much if you can see her from the door or not but about the function of the room as a whole. Figure out what you are going to be doing in there and where the most logical place is...where it fits in the room.

I'm all adviced out now...hope no one else needs my help for the rest of the day :)

I love books by Diane Mott Davidson. They are about a caterer married to a cop that solves mysteries. They also have great recipes in them!

I love books by Diane Mott Davidson. They are about a caterer married to a cop that solves mysteries. They also have great recipes in them!

If you can see the crib from the doorway keep in mind that Lima Bean will be able to see you. There will be times when you want to check on her while she's in there but leave her to lay quietly if she isn't yet ready to get up. If she see's you, it's all over.

I like Robert B. Parker, John Sandford, and Karen Robards. Robards writes "romantic suspense" though, and while it isn't all lovey dovey there is sex stuff. Parker and Sandford write about private detectives.

I'm afraid I'm not much help with the crib thing (why not set up a webcam?) but I'd recommend some Augusten Burroughs for good reading.

I prefer mystery novels with female protagonists. My favorites are anything by Laurie King (if you start the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, make sure you read them in order) and the bloodhound series by Virginia Lanier (should also be read in order).

As for the crib thing -- the light is the biggest consideration, IMHO. Is the window facing the east? Do you want the first rays of the sun to wake up Beanette?

1: David Sedaris is good for laugh out loud beach reading and he writes short stories so it's easy to take a break for a quick jaunt in the water. I just finished re-reading American Gods by Neil Gaimen which I took to the beach one year and thouroughly enjoyed.

2: Babies need cribs? Ugh. I am so unprepared.

I found Jodi Picoult books are good holiday reading. Compelling stories, but easy reads. Not her latest 3 though - go for some of the earlier ones. I liked The Pact, Salem Falls and Keeping Faith best.
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith is fun too. But they're small books that you'll zip through, so you'd need to take a few.
Have no idea about the crib, so gave two book suggestions instead!

I just got sucked into Jasper Fforde - the first one is The Eyre Affair, and the second one is Lost In A Good Book. Very quick, mindless but not dumb, and very addictive. (I think there's 4 or 5 books in the series out, but I don't know what the other ones are.)

Can't help you with that whole crib thing, though.

Topic 1: The Lovely Bones is a very interesting novel. Also, I just read "The Bitch Posse" which is probably the best novel I have read this year.

Topic 2: I don't think it will be bad for baby if you can't see the crib from the doorway. Just an inconvenience to you, but somehow I doubt you care. As for the window...I think it's hard in most nurseries to keep the crib away from a window...

I'd say the way you have the crib situated is just fine. The baby being able to see you everytime you go by the doorway is a very good point.

As for books:
*Word Freak: The Competitive World of Scrabble Players
*Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
*Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress
*Confederates in the Attic
*Icy Sparks
*Autobiography of a Fat Bride
*Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing and Havana
*Thank You for Smoking

I haven't read Lovely Bones but I did reac Alice Sebold's memoir "Lucky" and it was very well written. A tough beach read, however, given the material. She was raped while at college and the book deals with that moment of her life.

Oooph. Sorry about that. I always get a little carried away when people ask for book suggestions.


I totally have the BEST book suggestion...I found an author a few years back called Sparkle Hayter. She writes funny, sarcastic and immensely readable crime/mystery novels.

I would particulary recommend these reads for anyone doing something fun like going to the beach.

My favorites are:

Revenge of the Cootie Girls (1997)
What's A Girl Gotta Do (1994)
or Naked Brunch (2003, I think)

Can't help ya on the crib, but it seems like it would be a good idea to see it....however I know several more qualified people than me will tell you why!

I am likewise a fan of Stephen King,.. although my favorite, "The Eyes of the Dragon" isn't quite his usual. I would recommend John Irving,.. both "Cider House Rules" and "The World According to Garp" are great reads. Although maybe not mindless.

Although if I was lucky enough to visit the beach (Wisconsin isn't ready for that yet!) I would take my Harry Potter books!

Topic 1: If you haven't read her, I would recommend Janet Evanovich. Her character is Stephanie Plum, a lingerie saleswoman turned bounty hunter. You don't have to think too much when you read her books, and she'll make you laugh. Good qualities for a beach book. Her first book was One for the Money (she's up to Ten Big Ones).

Topic 2: As is obvious from the responses, crib location is definitely a personal preference. When my three were newborns, being able to see them from the door wasn't enough for me. I needed to check on them close up to make sure they were still breathing, something that I still do even though they are eight and thirteen.

I liked the Lovely Bones but it was a really REALLY sad read. Anything from Janet Evanovich is good,easy reading. I also enjoyed the Mitford series by Jan Karon (and I went into it being doubtful).

I agree about wanting to go IN to see the newborns. And about them being near windows when they are older? I preferred to keep my petite ones as far away from windows as possible.

The book .. no idea.

The crib, my babies slept in a bassinet on my side of the bed for the few weeks. It makes night feedings so much easier if you breastfeed.

I would caution a pregnant mama against reading The Lovely is a good book, but not what I want to kick back at the beach with. I'll second the suggestion for Sedaris...LOL hella-larious!

I found that the placement of our baby crib was a mute point as it was used as nothing more than a clothes hamper. My babies slept with me until...well my J just turned five and she *still* sleeps with me. Ack! Not a shining endorsement for co-sleeping, huh? ; )

Terry Pratchett is a good writer and his work is quite funny.
Re the crib. Definately not near curtains/cables. Babies can be destructive especially if they have snotty noses and are at the stage that they like to grab and pull things. I like to see my crib from the doorway especially since our carpet is noisy for some reason.

I am sure the 27 comments before me said the same thing should be able to see the crib so you can sneak a peek to make sure the wee one is still asleep and not painting the walls with poop.

I read the Lovely bones while preggers and cried through the entire thing. WAY too emotional for someone's whose hormones are already out of control. Beautiful, haunting book, but wait until your hormones are back in check.

Have you read "The Time Traveller's Wife?" It's my favorite of the past year. Beautiful story.

But a really good beach read for you would be "Little Earthquakes" by Jennifer Weiner. It's a book about 3 friends that meet in a prenatal yoga class and their stories over the first year of their babies lives. It's fun, well written (unlike my post here which I am do while simultanously trying to stop my 14 month old from strangling himself with my laptops power cord - he thinks its a fun game and keeps laughing and clapping when I tell him "no")and most of all is VERY true.

MUST READ for preggo women and women with young babies.

By the way - have you gotten to the point in your pregnancy where it's hard to read? I'm a big reader - love reading - by 36 weeks I couldn't even read the Pottery Barn Kids catalog.

Book: The Poo Bomb by Jeff Vogel. Hilarious book about a dad's adventures with his baby girl... was once a website... [and scarily a work of *non* fiction!]

As for the crib? Our kid ain't even getting a room until she is like 5 months, so way to go on that front! :-)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The big one with all 6 books in it. Funny funny funny.

As far as the crib, remember that soon you'll be trying to get the kid to sleep through the night. With that in mind, I always keep the crib as far from the door, or anywhere else that makes it easier to hear the irrational screaming toddler like ajoining walls, as possible.

Oh wait! It's your first, right? Save yourself the trouble of rearranging later & just put it by the door!

I used to prefer to have the crib visible from the door, but I also had a thing about not having the crib under a window. I worried about lightning or tree limbs during our frequent thunderstorms in the summer. Between checking for drafts from a window, avoiding air conditioning drafts, and windows it was a challenge. Just do what you can and what is convenient for you.

Dean Koontz's me it is well worth the read!!!

And it really doesn't matter if the crib is visible from the door because even if it is you will find yourself hovering over it constantly...just to see your baby sleeping :-)

I just finished the most amazing book. It is called the Time Traveler's Wife. And it is so incredible. I'm an avid reader, and this was a standout for me--not just just of the year, but of my reading life. Really saying something. And perfect for the beach too :)

No. Idea on the crib thing. How about cady-corner (diagonal) to avoid window and making peeping easier??? (If that would work).

Looks like you've gotten a deluge of suggestions on books already, but I'll go ahead and toss in my two cents...

Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins (I'm reading it for the fourth time favorite ever! Very funny and easy to read)

The Lovely Bones was good but probably too deep and heavy for beach reading. As is anything by Augusten Burroughs (though I really like everything I've read by him).

Life of Pi is an incredible story and suitable for seashore reading.

Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is a great read, too. Very "womanly" so save it for a hormone surge!

As for the crib issue, I know nothing about that. But let us know what you decide! :)

Have fun at the beach!

#1 - No clue. I can hardly stand reading unless its science fiction. Lord of the Rings?

#2 - No crib near the window because when its sunny out the kid will just get too darn hot, and in the winter you'll get a draft from the window. You will want to see into the crib from the door because you'll be constantly checking breathing even though you have a baby monitor. Its a panicky first-time parent thing.

1. A good beach book I s "The Secret Life Of Bees" if you haven't read it. Or now that the abhorrent movie is out, how about "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" or, ummm a good murder mystery? Maybe J.A. Jance, or Patricia Cornwell?

2. It doesn't matter in the least where the crib is, in fact it's probably better if it's not by the door, since as she gets older if she sees you she'll want OUT!

I didn't read all the comments, so forgive me if I'm repeating...

My SIL's friend lost one of her twins a few years ago to venetian blinds. YOu don't say if these are what are hanging there... Anyways, the 1 year old baby didn't need long cords, she got her head stuck in the strings that make the blinds turn up and down. I would highly recommend you move the crib totally away from the window!

Ah, books. I love them. One of my favorite recent reads was The Time Traveler's Wife. I also liked I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolf. If you haven't read The Pilot's Wife, you'll like that as well, I bet. I think these are all intriguing books, and yet not difficult to read. Have fun - you haven't told us anything about said trip...

1. Any book by John Sanford, Faye Kellerman, or Johnathan Kellerman, Patricia Cornwall.

2. No idea about the crib, been a long time since I had to worry about that..

I'll echo the praise for Middlesex--the weird plot is just normal enough and VERY well-written.

Brendan Halpin is also, imho, one of the best writers out there today. I have learned not to take his books to quiet places because I usually laugh out loud.

Also... the Pat Conroy canon is amazing, though most of them are looong. The Jane Austen Book Club came out a year or so ago but is enjoyable, particularly if you're an Austen fan.

I also just started "The Kite Runner" and it is GREAT. Very compelling, relevant, but not too drag-you-down depressing.

No clue on the crib thing - but for books Elizabeth George writes very good English mystery books (start early in her works, if you haven't read them - while not totally tied together it's much more interesting when you see the overlapping characters/incidents in later books). Speaking of Stephen King - have you read THE DARK TOWER series? I'm saving the last one because I don't want it to end! Ack!! far a book to bring to the beach...i would bring something like "DaVinci Code" or "Rule of Four" - these are pretty interesting books that are easy to get sucked into and won't leave you bored.

as far as the crib thing...i can't see the crib from the doorway to my nursery...or maybe i can...hmmm...i don't think so...but i don't think it really matters.

Topic 1: If you're looking for an easy read I would go with Mary Higgins Clark (her newest is GREAT) or James Patterson. Both are easy to read and usually very good. While "The Time Traveller's Wife" is a great book, I wouldn't recommend it as an "easy read" for the beach.

Topic 2: No clue. I won't be crossing this bridge for a LONG time...

I love James Patterson and really like his new series about the 4 women who work together to solve murders / crimes - Anyway he is now on the 4th one called 4th of July. The first one is called 1st to Die (using numbers in titles in this series). Interesting, yet easy to read. Enjoy your trip. Where are you going? We're off to Myrtle later this week. :) Woo-hoo!

holy crap... i'm not gonna read all the previous comments so forgive the redundancy of mine.

1. if you like historical type novels, i highly recommend anything by Edward Rutherford. i like his in this order: Sarum, London, The Forest, Russka, Princes of Ireland.

2. for me, i like the crib close to the door and far from windows. away from the windows because of light and noise. close to the door just so i can peek my head in and check on the little bugger.

hope some of that helps!

O.K., favorite books:

1. The Time Traveler's Wife (it takes awhile to figure out the cadence of the book, but once you get into it, it's a great read).
2. Annie Lamott's "Operating Instructions" ... about her son's first year of life ... hilarious, touching ...a great read - especially for moms.
3. Dean Koontz - Watchers (has a *great* dog in it, with a Stephen King like twist.
4. Barbara Kingsolver - Animal Dreams.

As far as the crib goes, I think as long as you can stand at the door and see into the crib, you'll be fine.

Happy book shopping and crib arranging!


Okay, I was going to recommend the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde that Dawnie recommended. They're funny.

As for the crib, we could see into The Girl's from the door, but that's just because that was the best place to put the crib. Also, the window was at the end of it and didn't cause any problems. Having seen the pics on Chris' site, I think you're fine on the window placement, but I'd make sure either your blinds make the room really dark or you have some curtains you can pull over them.

Everyone has suggested great books so far - I'm chiming in with whoever recommended the Alexander McCall Smith series. Very simply written, but so much fun and thoughtful as well.

Alas, no thoughts or opinions on crib positioning.

Not seeing the baby from the door can be a plus. That way, you can open the door and peek in without immediately catching the babies eye. In other words, you can check in on her without her knowing you're doing so...

Just a thought!

I enjoy Wallace Stegner, but he's more woods than beach. However, feel free to take along Crossing to Safety if you'd like to get your elements screwed up.

To further my being of no help, I have no clue about the crib.

personally lovely bones is way to depressing for a pregnant woman to read, no offense , but it is morbid and sad.

Read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
good book

on the second one I think you would probably feel safer if you could see into the crib from the doorway,

Just say no the The Lovely Bones!

Great book. Totally inappropriate for a woman pregnant with her first daughter.

I have no other suggestions, but I strongly advise against TLB at this point in time!

You're going to the beach? I'm sooo jealous! I just finished gods in Alabama. It was intriguing, funny and well written. I know the title sounds all sorts of weird, but I love the writer (check out her blog: She's so funny and down to earth. Her book was the same, but much better!

Regarding the crib ... I would not put it under the window. Just me being paranoid I'm sure. But the thought of a baseball, bird, toy, whatever breaking the glass freaks me out. I used to sit outside the door to the nursery and listen/watch to my son babble himself to sleep. Not so important when the baby is young, but as they get older, you'll want to be able to peek in w/o actually going in the room.

#1. Mary Higgins Clark or John Grisham
#2. It only matters if your child is a light sleeper or if you want to be able to look in the crib without going into the room. Windows are okay but avoid getting too close because of cords(obvious), curtains and drafts.

I love reading your blog.

Dean Koontz writes similiarly to Stephen King. I also like Patricia Cornwell.

Looking for funny, Rita Mae Brown.

On topic #1, I say James Patterson. Not necessarily the Alex Cross series, but maybe When The Wind Blows. That was good and not 5th grade-ish.

On topic #2, you'll want to see the baby sometimes FROM the doorway. And the window? Maybe I'm not a good one to ask - I was always terrified of putting his bed by the window because what if someone broke in to kidnap him or something? They wouldn't have to go very far, or even IN the house!

On second thought, maybe Patterson is no good - maybe my problem is too many suspense novels.

i recommend the time traveler's wife. i would think the lovely bones would be too upsetting for someone carrying a little girl.

i'm no help on the crib. sorry.

yeah i like dean koontz and james patterson too.

1. I highly recommend anything by Dan Brown. Highest on my list is Angels and Demons.

I haven't read the DaVinci Code yet, simply because I like to read in bed and hardback books do not make for a comfy curl-up book.

2. When they are under 6 months, I don't think it's as much of an issue. Now, once they start pulling themselves up on the side of the crib, I wouldn't recommend the window view. :)

based on what i've read so far, dean koontz is definitely good. right now, i'm reading a patricia cornwell that's excellent, better than mary higgins clark. one i love - and i'm trying to collect all his novels - is harlan coben...he's great! the reading just flows so easily, you're surprised you're already almost finished.

I like Kay Hooper, Mary Janice Donaldson, Katie McAlister, for easy, beach reads.

What did you end up taking?

I am with Lu: I think you are going to end up with the baby in your room either in your bed or in a bassinet for easy access. Believe me, you will get more sleep the faster you learn to nurse lying down.

Read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding for more about co-sleeping-- also, your baby's first response to your touch is to take a breath, and your baby will pick up your sleep rhythms, so you will fall in and out of REM sleep together (so you won't be dragged by crying out of a deep sleep to another room). You will instead feel her wiggling and start nursing, and both go back to sleep.

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