Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Nevermore: Appalachia, Covid, Our Malady, Doctors Blackwell, Kevin Wilson, Darynda Jones


Stories about Appalachia, trailblazing ladies and combusting children were amongst the topics covered this week.  


Shelved: Appalachian Resilience amongst Covid 19:  Jeanne G’Fellers, Cindy O’Quinn and nine other Appalachian authors came together to publish this anthology of essays, fiction and poetry that have been born from the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic on Appalachia.  Our reader recommended this slender book and stated that it is a very quick read.


The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Women Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine by Janice Nimura.  Our reader was quite taken by this meticulously researched biography of the first two female doctors in the United States, sisters Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell.  Unconventional to say the least, these two trailblazers fought not only a medical system that denigrated women, but societal pressures involving slavery and social reform.  Our reader was fascinated by this biography and recommends it. 


Another look at the medical system, Our Malady:  Lessons in Liberty from a Hospital Diary by Timothy Snyder, was reviewed by our next reader.   This non-fiction book is a recounting of the author’s experience being sick and his treatment in the American medical system.  On December 29, 2019 the author fell horribly ill.  He went to the ER and for a terrifying number of hours involving transport to different hospitals, repetitive testing procedures, mistaken diagnoses and communication lapses, the author was unsure if he was going to live to see the next day.  One of his friends, a Black doctor, was with him, but (the author guesses) because she was a Black woman, no-one paid any attention to what she had to say.  The author reflects on the current state of the medical industry in America and how fragile health and life truly are, and makes the strong argument that we will only achieve freedom in this country when health is considered a human right.  Our reader highly recommends this enlightening, infuriating, hopeful book. 


Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson was the next book to be reviewed.  This quirky fiction book tells the story of the friendship between Madison and Lillian, who were roommates and friends at a boarding school.  Years pass, and Madison contacts Lillian with a job offer to be nanny to Madison’s stepchildren.  The only catch?  The children spontaneously combust when upset.  Whatever could go wrong?  Our reader liked this quirky, humorous book and recommends it to anyone looking for some escapist reading.  


Another reader recommends the Grave series by Darynda Jones for some funny, sexy, mindless reading.  This paranormal romance series revolves around Charley Davidson who is a part time private investigator and full time Grim Reaper.  Charley sees dead people and tries to convince them to “go to the light”, but sometimes (especially if they have been murdered), they don’t want to move on until their case has been solved.  First Grave on the Right was Jones’s debut novel, and has to date been followed up with twelve more books in the Charley Davidson series.  Our reader highly recommends this breezy, fun book series.

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