The Book Review Podcast

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Interactive Feature | New Books About Parenting

In The New York Times Book Review, Judith Newman reviews a recent crop of books about parenting, including a revised edition of Thomas Armstrong’s “The Myth of the A.D.H.D. Child.” Newman writes:

While hyperactivity does exist, Armstrong says, educators and parents expect too much calm from our kids too soon, and as a result we pathologize normal child behavior, particularly boy behavior.

As someone who was once vehemently antidrug, I have seen firsthand how medication can change a child’s life (“I imagine this is what it’s like to feel normal,” my son said, after trying Adderall). Nor do I think drugs are a short-term solution that necessarily leads to acting-out and self-loathing. Quite the opposite: I’ve seen medication break the shame spiral that comes with doing badly in school because a child is unable to pay attention, even to subjects he or she enjoys. Nevertheless, medication should be a last resort, and “The Myth of the A.D.H.D. Child” provides many excellent alternative strategies. My teenage son’s favorite: “Use Touch to Soothe and Calm.” “Can we enlist Maria Sharapova for that one?” he asked hopefully.

On this week’s podcast, Newman talks about new parenting books; Bill Goldstein discusses “The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, and the Year That Changed Literature”; Alexandra Alter has news from the literary world; and Gregory Cowles, Parul Sehgal and John Williams on what people are reading. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books mentioned in this week’s “What We’re Reading”:

“Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen

“My Private Property” by Mary Ruefle

“The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame

“Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee

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