Ok, so I didn't get as much accomplished this month toward my 30 before 30 list as I would have liked... but, I did finish 2 books...
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I've read several of Austen's works over the years, and portions in literature classes, but never Sense and Sensibility in it's entirety (although I have seen the movie).
I enjoyed the story, although I felt it moved at kind of a slow pace, compared with Austen's other works. The gist of the story is: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are sisters, but have very different personalities. Elinor is sensible, rational, and always tries to do her duty. Marianne is passionate, creative, and can be somewhat given to flights of fancy. Both the sisters fall in love and have their hearts broken, but what's interesting is how they each deal with the emotional issues they face. As the story develops, so do the characters... Marianne realizing the world does not revolve around her and endeavoring to take a more steady approach to life and Elinor realizing that there is a time for passion as well as duty. In the end, the sisters grow closer together and do end up happy in love, although not quite in the way they had originally expected.
As with most of Austen's works, this is not a quick read. The language and terminology of the day take some thought and time to absorb the meaning. That being said, I did enjoy the book and do recommend all women read it at least once in their lives. The themes of love, devotion, selfishness, and honor are timeless.
Confession: It actually took me more than a month to read... but I'm counting it as my March fun book since I read most of it in March.
2. My educational book of the month was The Birth Book by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears. My midwife recommended it to me, and it has been very informational. Although a few portions of the book are out of date (it was published in the 90's), the large majority of the information is very solid. It has given me a much better grasp on the process of birth, common medical interventions and how to avoid them, and what's "normal" in terms of labor and delivery.
I'm very much a "I want to know what's going to happen before it does" kind of person, so what better way to be prepared than to do extensive research. I feel the Sears' provide a thorough description of what's going on with your body during pregnancy, labor and delivery... all from a pediatrician's and RN (childbirth educator)'s point of view... not to mention they have 7 children of their own...
Although much of the book is geared toward natural childbirth, I believe that any woman will benefit from reading this book. It gave me a lot of things to think about and do further research on. So, if a complication arises at the hospital, I'm not as prone to say, "ok, whatever you think". I'm more apt to come back with, "why do you feel this is necessary" and "is there a less invasive procedure that will accomplish the same thing", knowing now that often there are alternatives that may be less convenient for the physician, but lower risk or more to the benefit of the mother/baby.
I pray that I will have a complication-free labor and delivery, but since there is always the possibility that something unexpected may happen, I believe it pays to do your research ahead of time and know what options you have available to you.
All that to say, I learned a lot of valuable information from this book and do recommend it highly to pregnant women (as early on in their pregnancy as possible).