Need Recommendations, Need Change

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I’ve been short on reading material lately. Okay, not really. I’ve been studying to take my state lisencure test in Early Childhood Education, have been over-zealously monitoring my Submittable page (like always) to make sure I’m still in the running for that fellowship I would possibly cut off a toe for, and marched on Saturday  for the 9,000 causes (racial equality, equal pay for equal work, access to birth control for all classes, LGBTQ rights, not having a p*ssy grabber as a president, no Dakota Access Pipeline, etc.) I believe in. However, I need more/better reading material for the .005 minutes of free time I get while in the bath every night.

I’ve read, then re-read, then thrice read Alona Andrews’ Innkeeper Chronicles. It’s amazing, but I think I’ve devoured it so many times that the emotional impact is starting to lessen. I need some time away from the series so that I don’t forget how unique and fun it is.

I just read Paniha’s Taniwha by A.W. Exley, part of another series that I really liked. However, I’m finding that the farther the story veers from Cara and Nate, the less I’m really interested. I’m all for the highlighting of supporting characters, but these side stories just aren’t where the heart of the tale is. The writing is still beautiful, sometimes shocking, and gives that warm gooey feeling to my insides with the ending. Perhaps it’s my mood that’s just not connecting with Loki the hawkish captain.

I loved The Clockwork Heart and The Paper Magician, both of which had that gritty but still otherworldly quality that I seek out specifically in my book choices. I’m in love with steam powered, clockwork driven alternative England. I feel about the genre the way my husband feels about Star Wars. Like it’s a fantastical world brimming with sky pirates and invitations to flout convention at every turn, like my alter ego could really belong there (although, let’s be honest here, I am a soul who totally gets the dark side).

I also gave in to the longstanding contender on my To-Read list, A School For Unusual Girls. It was YA fiction that was way better than I expected (hence my reading the second book as well). But I read the books so quickly I’m left with no other stories that whet my appetite at hand.

I’ve sampled four different stories off of Amazon. They were all okay. I didn’t purchase any, though. I can’t decide if I want a feel good read, a tumultuous personal growth, a coming of age, an alternative history…sigh. I’m restless. My tastes reflect that. Let me know what’s next on your reading list and maybe it’ll be my next go-to!

Going back to my first paragraph, I want to insert a little knowledge (research based!) on here about something that matters a lot to me.

I remember my professor in my freshman year of Sociology explaining that she did a lot of her research and outreach in a Spanish speaking country in rural areas that had little access to healthcare or even secondary education. The women there had many, many children (on average I believe she said it was seven). Therefore, the women were denied the opportunity to go outside of their homes for jobs since they were typically breastfeeding, pregnant, or recovering from labor. The women knew of birth control and used it thanks to the professor’s research and nonprofit but had developed local midwives tales that the prolonged use of it would hurt them. Therefore, they’d use it for six months or a year and then stop. Inevitably, they’d fall pregnant again. The kicker is that the women expressed displeasure with being constantly pregnant. They knew they were missing out on life outside the walls of their homes. They knew that, in other places, women did more than cook, clean, and raise a gaggle of children. However, their misinformation led them to repeating the same cycle over and again, which led to high infant mortality rates. Not a good scenario.

I want to quote The National Campaign here- “Pregnancy planning in general, and the use of birth control in particular, are directly linked to a wide array of benefits to women, men, children, and society, including fewer unplanned pregnancies and abortions, more educational and economic opportunities for young women, improved maternal and infant health, greater family wellbeing, and reduced public spending. The Benefits of Birth Control in America: Getting the Facts Straight discusses those benefits in greater detail, making the case for why publicly funded contraception is so incredibly important.”

What has stayed with me more than the facts and statistics, more than my professor’s hard expression which didn’t mask all of the tears, was the thought of what life was like for those young women in those rural, out of the way areas. To imagine myself, eighteen years old  with two or three babies clinging to me. With a farm to care for. With a husband whose every gentle touch could lead to another baby, more work, more recovery, more isolation. With only a small understanding of the world outside my own village and family. That, it scares me. I was so young at eighteen, so incapable of caring for little dependent lives. The specter haunted me of that eighteen year old girl crying over the loss of a pregnancy, the resources of her body too depleted to carry another little precious life to term so quickly after the last. Because even overwhelmed, you love your children. You feel them moving, growing, blooming to life within you. The loss of that…unnecessarily…I just can’t. Heartache. To quote a medical site regarding pregnancy spacing, “multiple, closely spaced pregnancies are still the most prevalent cause of death among pregnant females worldwide.”

Please read. Please KNOW. 

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