Friday, September 09, 2005

Divining Women -- SPOILER ALERT

Eerily, Divining Women hit closer to home than I expected. Since the setting is during the 1918 flu epidemic, I expected the baby to die from influenza. She did die -- but due to her cord being around her neck! That was one of Caroline's problems (the lesser problem actually since the cord being in a knot was much more of a problem.) I am so thankful that I live in a time when c-sections are possible, and I'm so thankful that my nurses were on the ball, and I'm so thankful my water broke early...God is good.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Motherhood has invaded my reading sanctuary

As an intellectual (in my opinion) expectant mother, I looked forward to continuing my voracious reading habits after the baby was born. Books, at least, would be my world to which to escape that didn't involve being a mother. Somehow pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing have invaded my reading world -- and I'm not even considering the expected Dr. Sears, What to Expect, Dr. Weisenbluth, or So That's What They're For -- books that I consult at least monthly. I'm talking about my reading-love -- fiction.

Caroline and I venture to the public library every other week for a new treasure. I have a list of books I want to read (mostly bestsellers and new releases), but those are often checked out. In those cases, I just wander the shelves looking for inspiration. I've just so happened lately, unintentionally (or perhaps subconsciously) to choose novels that significantly relate to motherhood.

First there was the book I chose because it's bookjacket description reminded me of one of my all-time favorite novels, Thorton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey, because this novel (whose title I cannot remember) examined the ways various seemingly unrelated individuals' lives intersected. Upon reading, I discovered that the common thread was parenthood and parental adventures! Then, when looking for a Susan Vreeland book that the Milwood Book Club would be discussing and finding it checked out, I chose Vreeland's newest book, Life Studies, which tells the stories behind some of Europe's masterpieces -- including "The Wetnurse Angele feeding Julie Manet" painted by new mother Berthe Morisot of her baby with the nursemaid. At this point in my own motherhood, I felt much like a nursemaid. Since I enjoyed delving into the artworld presented in Vreeland's book, I choose The Girl with a Pearl Earring next. Though it isn't the central story, the mistress of the home in the novel is persistently pregnant, birthing about ten children over the course of the novel. I'm now reading Kaye Gibbons's new novel, Divining Women, about the 1918 flu epidemic. One of the main characters is an expecting mom.

Perhaps the books I've read and enjoyed throughout my life have had mother's as central characters and now I'm reading with my maternal literary critic hat on and noticing these women in a deeper way. Likely so.