Book Review: The Surgeon’s Mate by Patrick O’Brian

Author: Patrick O’Brian
Title: The Surgeon’s Mate
Publication Info: Blackstone Audiobooks (2005), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
ISBN: 0786177845


The Aubrey/Maturin series picks up where The Fortune of War left off, and the surgeon’s mate of the title is not Stephen Maturin’s surgical assistant but his on again/off again romantic interest Diana Villiers. I’m always turned of by the Villiers storylines because she is a dull and disagreeable character.  Fortunately the Maturin-Villiers story is balance by some seafaring adventure and battles, spying and intrigue, and even our lead characters locked in a French prison.  I’m a bit thrown by the timeline as it seems this book takes place 4 years prior to The Fortune of War but it’s a rollicking good tale all the same.

Rating: **1/2

Book Review: The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D.

Author: Harvey Karp, M.D.
Title: The Happiest Toddler on the Block
Publication Info: New York, N.Y. : Bantam Books, 2008.
ISBN: 9780553805215


Karp’s follow-up to The Happiest Baby on the Block offers very practical advice to parents for dealing with the toddler years of 1 to 4 years old.  I think it’s an even better book partly because it avoids the “infomercial style” of writing and is a more practical manual.  The basic gist of the book is that when a child starts to throw a tantrum the parent should acknowledge what is upsetting by repeating back it back (“the fast food rule”) and to use a simple vocabulary of words called “toddlerese” that toddlers will understand most when they are upset.  This book doesn’t have all the answers, for example, what to say to your son when you have no idea what is making him upset.  Overall though I found it a book with useful advice and practically organized.

Rating: ****