April Reads | The Life of K: April Reads

Sunday, May 17, 2015

April Reads

Oh my goodness. It's half way through May. When did that happen? Needless to say I've been busy. Not as much time anymore to read or write. Last month was a full one though. Onward!

20. World War Z by Max Brooks

From Goodreads: The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. "World War Z" is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

J recommended this book to me and I tried to read it. We don't have the same taste in books and when I started it and had nightmares I promptly put it down, but I'm glad I picked it back up. I really enjoyed this zombie story, including how it was told with each chapter being an interview with a survivor of the war against zombies. There was so much thought put into what would happen including things like them surviving underwater and freezing in the winter and thawing in the spring. So many parts made me cringe and think about whether I would survive such an event (not likely). It got me thinking in the same way Station Eleven did.

21. That Summer by Sarah Dessen

From Goodreads: For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She's nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister—the always perfect Ashley—is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley's reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.

Well, I can hardly even remember reading this book. Obviously not a great novel.

22. Transformed by Postpartum Depression by Walker Karraa

From Goodreads: Transformed by Postpartum Depression is a poignant tale of 20 women’s journeys through postpartum depression and the growth that they experienced as a result. These women described severe suffering as they had been taken completely by surprise by their depression. They also experienced failure of care providers to screen for or treat depression, and finally reached a place where they determined that they would do whatever it took to recover. These women not only survived their ordeal, but emerged stronger than they were before. Transformed by Postpartum Depression is a deeply rich, compelling journey. These women creatively engaged and transcended their “diagnosis,” truly transforming themselves, their relationships, and their lives finding self-empowerment within their personal creative journeys of healing.

I was sent this book in order to write a review for International Doula, DONA's magazine. It didn't take me long to read the book, but it took a while to write the review. The information in the book was good, but the layout and editing weren't. The book was set up like a PhD thesis, which it was, and the mistakes were distracting. If you're interested in maternal mental health, including postpartum depression, sure, read this book. Otherwise, don't.

23. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

From Goodreads: Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

I feel like I'm always reading books on parenting in an attempt to be a better parent. One I read last year I really enjoyed... it was about simplifying (toys, books, routines). I applied some of what I learned but lost steam. J's mom bought this book and lent it to me. It's about how to tidy your house in one go (but don't be fooled, the author says this often takes 6 months). So it's not about parenting, but about making the house a happier place.

The author is a little crazy about how she thinks about and describes houses and possessions - like they have feelings. She owns her crazy and the book is full of practical tips like to tidy by category instead of by room for example. The process is this: start with an idea of what you want your space to look like, the feeling you want from your house. Then start with your clothing (breaking it down if you have too much), books, papers, miscellaneous, and sentimental items.

The only rules: handle every item and keep only what brings you joy. My problem is that I want to dive in to the things that are super obvious. I also see things of J's or the kids that I want to purge, but I'm going to try her method (so popular in Japan she has a 3-month waiting list!) and start with my vision and my own stuff in hopes that J and the kids will follow after they see my progress.

I can always dream, right?

24. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham

From Goodreads: A groundbreaking guide to raising responsible, capable, happy kids

Based on the latest research on brain development and extensive clinical experience with parents, Dr. Laura Markham’s approach is as simple as it is effective. Her message: Fostering emotional connection with your child creates real and lasting change. When you have that vital connection, you don’t need to threaten, nag, plead, bribe—or even punish.

This remarkable guide will help parents better understand their own emotions—and get them in check—so they can parent with healthy limits, empathy, and clear communication to raise a self-disciplined child. Step-by-step examples give solutions and kid-tested phrasing for parents of toddlers right through the elementary years.

If you’re tired of power struggles, tantrums, and searching for the right “consequence,” look no further. You’re about to discover the practical tools you need to transform your parenting in a positive, proven way.

Another parenting book. Another attempt of mine to be a better parent. My thoughts? Meh.

25. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

From Goodreads: Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood--the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers--Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah--the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past. Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women's society.

This book was recommended by a very popular doula and business woman in the US who lead a business training I attended. She's a smart lady and helped give us the push we needed to start National Capital Doulas. So when she raved about this book, I knew I'd pick it up.

I loved it. It's not my typical read, but it's a story about women and more and more I find myself gravitating towards woman issues. I think my inner feminist is maturing. If you are a woman, please read this book. I'll leave you with some of my favourite lines.

Why had no one told me that my body would become a battlefield, a sacrifice, a test? Why did I not know that birth is the pinnacle where women discover the courage to become mothers? But of course, there is no way to tell this or to hear it. Until you are the woman on the bricks, you have no idea how death stands in the corner, ready to play his part. Until you are the woman on the bricks, you do not know that power that rises from other women - even strangers speaking an unknown tongue, invoking the names of unfamiliar goddesses. p. 224

Just as there is no warning for childbirth, there is no preparation for the sight of a first child. I studied his face, fingers, the folds in his boneless little legs, the whorls of his ears, the tiny nipples on his chest. I held my breath as he sighed, laughed when he yawned, wondered at his grasp on my thumb. I could not get my fill of looking. p. 226

There should be a song for women to sing at this moment, or a prayer to recite. I was overcome and bereft, exalted and ravaged. I had crossed over from girlhood. I beheld myself as an infant in my mother's arms, and caught a glimpse of my own death. I wept without knowing whether I rejoiced or mourned. My mothers and their mothers were with me as I held my baby. p. 226

Those are affiliate links so if you click them and buy something I'll get a teeny bit of money. I'll probably use it to buy chocolate.


  1. I watched World War Z so long ago I can't remember whether I liked it. This is not unusual for me.

    1. Me neither, which is why I write things down!

  2. I love World War Z. I watched it in the movie house, and totally loved it. It's a different kind of zombie movie (Not sure if I loved it so much because of Brad Pitt. lol). I will surely check out your other book selections. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I didn't know it had Brad Pitt! I'll have to watch it!