I've had the opportunity to do a good amount of reading this summer. In June, swollen feet meant I had a good excuse to sit in bed with my feet up. And, with a kindle I borrowed from my mom, I've started reading while feeding Julie. I must say, I have always resisted e-readers, but the kindle is significantly easier to handle than a traditional book while breast feeding.
Right before Julie's birth, I finally started The Hunger Games. I devoured the books and was quite close to finishing the trilogy as I went into labor. Of course, it took me several days to finish the last hundred pages. While it won't win any literary excellence prizes anytime soon, I still enjoyed the books. The story was captivating and felt fresh. I had studiously avoided anything related to The Hunger Games before I started reading (mostly out of disdain), so I was happily spoiler-free. In the end, I was quite satisfied.
Since the birth, I've read 2.5 books. Both of my completed books should have come with trigger warnings; they both involve adoption and losing children. I read the first book when Julie was just weeks old, and I sobbed through an entire chapter. The first completed book is Moloka'i, by Alan Brennert. This book starts in the late 1800's and follows the path of a young Hawaiian girl named Rachel. At the age of 7, Rachel was diagnosed with leprosy and exiled to the colony on Moloka'i. The story follows her long and eventful life and intertwines with the history of Hawai'i. I love Hawai'i, so this book was a really fun read. Rachel originally lived on Oahu, and I've been many of the places mentioned. My favorite part was coming to understand more about leprosy/Hansen's disease. I knew there were leper colonies but knew little about them prior to reading the novel. I'd say this one is a must-read.
The second book I finished was Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline. This one is a dual story where we read about a contemporary young woman in foster care while also hearing the first-person narrative of an old woman who was shipped west on an orphan train during her youth. I read many orphan train novels during middle school, so I suppose I have some background here. Even though I knew about orphan trains, I still found the story compelling. Both women struggle with rejection, poor family fits, and not truly knowing who they are. They find each other due to court-ordered community service for the young woman. I did enjoy the novel, but I would mark this one an "if interested" rather than a must read. If you like historical fiction, it's worth a look. The writing is simple, but that does help the reading go quickly.
Finally, I have started The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. As a biology teacher, I should have read this ages ago. This book is why my mom loaned me her kindle. I'm approximately 30% done (I love the progress bar on the kindle!) and definitely into the story. I'm not sure what I expected, but the narrative wasn't it. Still, I am enjoying learning the backstory of Henrietta's family, her ancestry, and the prevailing conditions from the time in which she lived. I'm outraged about the lack of informed consent for medical procedures, and I'm glad cases such as hers paved the way for patient consent laws. I'll try and report more when I've finished the book.
School starts soon, and I'm sure I'll have less time for reading. Still, I love this time of nursing, snuggling, and getting in some quality books. Happy reading!