Still looking for something good to read? Here’s the next installment of reading ideas, via book reviews by the student assistants of Gleeson Library.
Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife, reviewed by Simran Kaur
Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent is a real treat for those interested in women’s health. When I started reading and found out the author was a practitioner in Berkeley, CA, and that I actually know a midwife who used to work with Peggy, I was even more mesmerized. The personal stories, hardships, and triumphs told in the tale were ones that any nursing student, new nurse/midwife can truly relate to. She was a key member to the midwifery movement in the 1980’s when midwifery was made difficult because of insurance companies not wanting to provide coverage.
Peggy Vincent discusses concerns about taking birth and turning it into a medical condition that has to be resolved at the hospital. Even low risk births are done at hospitals and in the past lay midwives would do home births to relatively low risk pregnancies and these babies and moms had healthy outcomes. As you read her tales, you wonder if we are relying on technology too often. There are various monitors in the labor and delivery room in hospitals today that are on mom and baby. Imagine the stress this adds on both the mother and baby who are getting ready for such an enduring and laborious (no pun intended) event. Granted, technological advances have saved complicated scenarios in labor but that high level of risk doesn’t necessarily apply to every woman who comes into the maternity ward. We’ve got to move towards a society that believes giving birth at home is the most natural and safe way—it’s not an “alternative” way. After reading this book, I am definitely hooked, and it would be an honor to meet Peggy Vincent herself one day and tell her what an inspiration she is!
The Martian Chronicles, reviewed by Brianna Cockett-Mamiya
Ray Bradbury’s 1950 science-fiction short story collection, The Martian Chronicles, follows the colonization of Mars by humans, starting in the year 1999 with the United States’ first successful trip to Mars, and ending in 2057 with the destruction of most of the population on earth and Mars. Each story in the collection beautifully and poetically embodies a variety of themes: escapism, isolation, failures of colonization and of “the American Dream,” freedom, etc. I’ve read works by Bradbury in the past and thoroughly enjoyed them, and reading The Martian Chronicles gave me an even higher appreciation for his work. Chronicles was not only really beautifully written, it was intellectually stimulating and entertaining. It was also really haunting and each story left me with the same feeling one might get after finishing an episode of the Twilight Zone. This publication honestly made me fall in love with the science-fiction genre. I think it’s been said before that many people who aren’t particularly fans of science-fiction would enjoy this book for the same exact reasons I enjoyed it.