I’m especially pleased that I was selected to read and review an advance copy of first novel Gifted: A Novel, by Nikita Lalwani. It was my first choice of all the books offered. You see, LibraryThing has created an Early Reviewers group in conjunction with Random House. How can I say no to a free book?

It should make a pleasant change of reading pace from a book I’ve been devouring today, which is Birth: The Surprising History of How We are Born. It’s excellent if slightly traumatic reading about the history of midwifery and obstetrics, tools and fads, cultural differences toward women and birth, and occasionally gruesome details about what women have endured (and still do in many parts of the world). Some might say I’m dotty to read it at this time, but really I find it fascinating. And it inspires my gratitude that I’ve found a doctor and hospital birthing center that I feel confident about. (I’m also scared of this great unknown event that will happen too. Yet I’m focusing more on the excitement of it. Just wanted to come clean, though.)

To round out the the subject matter, I also began reading What Are Old People For?: How Elders Will Save the World. As a middle-aged mom-to-be, I’m no longer young, but I’m not old — it’s an interesting life stage. I’m often disbelieved when I tell people my real age, because (they say) I look so much younger! And I don’t act old! What is “old” supposed to act like? I tire of this “amazement,” which really isn’t flattery. It’s ageism. I notice it in myself, too, this tendency to look at a woman my age who might have more wrinkles than I, and to judge negatively. Other times I’ve caught myself simply not seeing (I mean, really looking and registering) and older person (in a grocery store line, perhaps). Perhaps this book will tweak my perceptions.

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