May Reads | The Life of K: May Reads

Saturday, June 6, 2015

May Reads

While I'm off at my doula retreat - a wonderful weekend where we get to relax, eat, and talk birthy stuff - it's time to talk books! I didn't spend as much time reading in May as I did in April (see my April books here), but that's not surprising - not every month can be a 6-book month.

Here's what I read:

26. The Doula by Bridget Boland

From Goodreads: It might seem like birth and death lie at opposite ends of a spectrum, but to Carolyn Connors, they are mirror images. Caro is no stranger to death, having grown up in a funeral home, but after witnessing her mother's miscarriage and her brother's tragic drowning as a child - neither of which she is allowed to discuss - she chooses to become a doula, celebrating the arrival of life rather than its departure. 

When her glamorous lifelong best friend, Mary Grace, calls with the exciting news that she is pregnant, Caro packs up her life and leaves home to be MG's birthing coach. But tension escalates between Caro and MG's domineering husband, Brad, and the sensitive doula's advice falls on deaf ears. MG cuts off all contact until complications with her pregnancy leave her with no one else to call. Hurrying to the unborn child's rescue and watching the life drain from her best friend's body, Caro thinks the nightmare can't get any worse. . . . 

Until Brad accuses her of medical malpractice. For the first time in her life, Caro must confront the painful guilt, loss, and shame that have trailed her from the past, leading her to the most profound rebirth of all.

On the doula theme.. The Doula is a book I borrowed from a doula friend. It's nice to see books with a doula as the main character. Some of the explanations about what a doula does were dry and some of what the character did (like advocating for her clients instead of helping them advocate for themselves) wasn't right, but I liked the book. It's the best doula fiction I've read.

27. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

From Goodreads: Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything" — at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf's Department Store.

This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.
I have a bunch of Dessen's books on my Kindle so when I run out of stuff I read one of hers. And like the rest, this book was okay. Not great, not awful, but okay.

28. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

From Goodreads: In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a party of moose hunters. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild.

Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir. In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his cash. He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and , unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented. Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away. Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.

I remember seeing bits of this movie when J watched it. I was intrigued but not enough to pick up the book for a few years. I'm glad I finally did though. The story of the young man who went into the bush in Alaska and didn't make it out was interesting. The author seemed really invested in the story - he covered it for a magazine and then wrote the book after researching for another 2 years or something - but often used big words that were really distracting. I count myself as educated, but some of the words were beyond me.

I've included associate links to the books on

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