Friday, January 4, 2013

Bookshelf Update and a Flyby Book Report

It's been a while since I've written about any of the books I'm reading. I realized that when I took a look at my "On My Bookshelf" gadget. You may not have ever noticed it. You can look now, over to the right and scroll down until you see the words "On My Bookshelf." If you're ever curious about what I'm currently reading, that's where you'll find your answer!

Reading is super important. Period. As a childbirth professional, it is of the utmost importance that I continue to read and learn about my field and stay up-to-date with information and techniques for my clients. As a person, it's important that I continue to learn and grow and use the parts of my brain reading requires! Yet another reason why I'm addicted to NPR - it's so good for us emotionally and mentally to listen, learn, stretch our opinions and grow...but NPR is a whole 'nuther post.

In addition to not updating my bookshelf in some time, I've gotten lazy with my book reports and must apologize. If you're a parent, you know as well as I do that it's hard enough making time to read books let alone write reports on them! Thankfully I finished most of the ones on my previous list; I just don't have the time to write whole posts about each one, so I'm going to do a quick flyby book report on my previous list of books!

  1. Every Last One by Anna Quindlen - This one was on the bargain table at Barnes and Noble. I picked it up because I LOVED Rise and Shine by the same author and hoped this one would be as good. It wasn't. It was an interesting story about a family who endured a terrible tragedy and how they overcame it, but it just really dragged on and on and seemed to have an overarching sad feeling. Except for the ONE climactic part in the book, there were few parts that hooked into me to keep me reading. And there were more than a few typos which is annoying when you consider how much money was spent editing and publishing a book like that. I know now why it was on the bargain table!
  2. Birth Matters by Ina May Gaskin - I did actually write an initial book report on this one when I first started reading in my post about The Legacy of Ina May. It's probably best that I not try to write just one post on this book because it would be very long. I borrowed this one from the library, but really should own it. I cannot stress the importance of this book within the realm of understanding childbirth in our country. Childbirth is truly in crisis in our country. We have one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the WORLD despite the fact that we spend astronomical amounts of money on health care and maternity care compared to all other industrialized nations. To understand why that is, you really have to understand the history of modern obstetrics as well as the physiological process of childbirth itself. If you are a doula or childbirth professional, or a member of our society you really must read this book. I'm not kidding. We need people who aren't even connected to the childbirth community to take a look at what's going on (and more importantly what isn't), wake up and help draw attention and make changes! 'Nuff said. Read it.
  3. Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O'Brien - I borrowed this one from a neighbor and actually returned it before I even opened it, and I'll tell you why. I made a conscious choice to remain blissfully ignorant. At the time, I didn't have the emotional capacity or budget to really change my family's eating habits and I knew that if I read this book it would put me over the edge of "knowing too much to turn back." I have since changed my stance (read my resolution post - #1 is about getting real) and will be asking her to borrow it again!
  4. Birth Partner by Penny Simkin - Honestly, this one is always on my bookshelf. It's an excellent reference book for childbirth professionals, and is always within reach. I think at the time I put this on my list, I was using it as a reference point for a particular part of my birth plan manual I was writing at the time. If someone close to you (like your wife) is having a baby, it's a must read. If you're pregnant, buy it for your husband or partner and use every bribe in the book to get him or her to read it!
Whew! Now that we've gotten through that, it's time for an update. Before I can get to my current list, I actually need to add in a few audio books I've listened to in the meantime! See how behind I was on an update?!
  1. Look Me In the Eye: My Life with Asperger's (audio book) by John Elder Robison - Oh my gosh. Excellent book. One of my favorite library borrows. My stepson has Asperger's and I am constantly trying to learn and understand him better so when I saw this one, it was a no brainer. Fascinating account, ready by the author himself who relays his life experiences expertly. It was encouraging for me to hear an account of a man who was able to adapt to "normal" life so well in spite of his challenges and is a successful entrepreneur, husband and father. If you know anyone with Asperger's (or even if you don't), this is a fascinating read.
  2. The Hunger Games (audio book) by Suzanne Collins - So great! I'd already seen the movie but wanted to read it too. There is a LONG waiting list for this one at the library. It was months before I got the email that it was ready for me to pick up, and in fact, it's been weeks since I requested the second book in the series and I still haven't heard a word! 
Okay! Now that we've gotten through THAT, below are the books CURRENTLY on my bookshelf!

  1. What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (audio book) by Malcolm Gladwell - This book is just super interesting. It's like listening to the best of NPR. It's hard to explain the premise but it's a collection of stories of entrepreneurs, business owners and various people who somehow totally transformed the industry in which they worked because of their unique perspective, passion or tenacity. Very interesting and inspiring. 

  1. Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block - This one is going up there with my must reads. Can't give full report yet since I've just started it. But it's SO important in understanding childbirth practices in our country to truly grasp the concept of Normal Birth. If you understand what Normal Birth is, it's easy to look at modern maternity and obstetric care and see that something is terribly wrong.

  1. Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills by Raleigh Briggs - This is no question the cutest book I own. This handwritten book shares a wealth of information about how to clean your home and body with natural, non-toxic recipes, how to compost and garden and oh so many other things. It was a wedding gift from a dear friend of mine (Thanks Sally!!), and I'm so glad I'm finally getting around to devouring it. As I delve into the world of essential oils for health and beauty in my family, I'm loving trying out all the recipes for natural personal care products!

  1. Natural Babycare By Dodt, Colleen K. - This one isn't new. I've actually owned it for years. Just revisiting as I revamp and create some new products for my personal care line. Good stuff!

  1. Homebirth in the Hospital: Integrating Natural Childbirth with Modern Medicine by Stacy Kerr MD - I haven't even cracked this one open yet. No wonder with four other books to juggle, huh? As a doula, I have to remain neutral on the "natural" childbirth field. I support women no matter where they give birth and no matter what options they choose in birth. Though I do have many clients seeking a more natural experience, the vast majority of women I serve and know give birth in hospitals. Integrating natural methods of childbirth into hospital routines and practice is something I do on a daily basis, so I'm interested to read this perspective, especially from a doctor! 

Double whew! That was a lot to spit out. I hope to give full reports on each of these going forward. Now, what are YOU reading??

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