#BookBingoNW2022: Health or Healthcare Workers

Summer Book Bingo 2022 deadline is looming! As Sept. 6 draws near, here are some suggestions for folks trying to fill their Health or healthcare workers square – two novels that imagine the lives of nurses, plus nonfiction about building healthcare infrastructure, reflections on medical advancements, and two books for common health concerns.

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue
Over three days in Dublin, Ireland during the 1918 flu epidemic, nurse Julia Power works the quarantined maternity ward in an understaffed city hospital where pregnant women with influenza prepare to give birth. (historical fiction)

Lazaretto by Diane McKinney-Whetstone
In Civil War-era Philadelphia, Sylvia works as a nurse-in-training to a local midwife at Lazaretto Hospital, which is an anchor to an African American community. On the night of President Lincoln’s assassination, Sylvia helps deliver the baby of a Black maid, Meda, an event that ties together Sylvia and Meda’s lives. (historical fiction)

Sisters of Mokama by Jyoti Thottam
The true story of six Kentucky nuns who in 1947 traveled to Bihar in northern India to build a hospital, provide necessary medical care, and open a nursing school to train local women. Thottam, of The New York Times, pulls from 20 years of research, 60+ interviews, and the story of her mother, who was one of the young Indian women taken in as a nursing student.

The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town by Brian Alexander
A portrait of a small nonprofit hospital in Bryan, OH that sheds light on health care in America. From fall 2018 through summer 2020, journalist Alexander interviewed hospital personnel, patients, and others to get a full picture of how hospitals survive – or don’t. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2022: Health or Healthcare Workers”

New Fiction Roundup – July 2022

Summer reading continues with these great new releases:

7/5: Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore
After magician Violet Volk disappeared mid-act, her sister Sasha picked up the pieces and moved on. Coming up on the ten year anniversary, with both a podcast host and her niece digging up old memories, Sasha resolves to discover the truth about Violet. (general fiction) A Peak Pick!

7/5: Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola
College radio host Kiki Banjo takes it as her mission to warn the women of the African-Caribbean Society against the players and cads who would break their hearts. But when she’s caught kissing Malakai Korede, who she just called out, she decides to save face by entering into a fake relationship with Malakai. Will they catch feelings? (romance) A Peak Pick!

Continue reading “New Fiction Roundup – July 2022”

Seattle Book Clubs Discuss Abortion

We librarians often witness how life and literature interact, as topics of real world interest to our patrons swiftly show up in requests for reading material, and especially in titles for book clubs. One of the best things about such groups is how the focus on a book can help people to discuss a topic they might not otherwise broach. It comes as no surprise then that lately discussion groups have been requesting fiction that spans the spectrum of the abortion experience. Here are some of the books we’ve been suggesting.

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
After graduating from nursing school, Civil Townsend returns home  to Montgomery, Alabama, and takes a job at a family planning clinic. She soon meets the Williams sisters and is assigned to provide them with birth control – though neither have started their periods nor are sexually active. Civil questions this practice and vows to make a difference. Based on the court case RELF V. WEINBERGER this novel shines a light on the history of coerced sterilizations and the struggle for reproductive rights, especially for women of color.

Daddy’s Gone A-hunting by Penelope Mortimer
Originally published in 1958, this novel was just reprinted. Ruth struggles with being a housewife in the suburbs of London. With the children off to boarding school, the house is stifled by her marriage and her struggle for freedom in an era where a women’s place was her home. When her daughter comes home pregnant, Ruth is terrified that the same life will befall her daughter and tries to arrange an illegal abortion. 

Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro
Funmi, Enitan, and Zainab’s friendship begin in 1983 while attending university in their country of Nigeria. It’s been a few decades since these friends have been in the same room, but here they are at Funmi’s daughter’s wedding in Lagos. The history of their friendship unfolds for the reader – filled with the ups and downs of long friendships and the relationships mothers have with their daughters. Continue reading “Seattle Book Clubs Discuss Abortion”

Teen Women in History

March was Women’s History Month, but it’s always a good time to reflect on the accomplishments and lives of women in the past. Here are seven stories about teens and young women through history.

Jazz Owls by Margarita Engle follows Marisela and Lorena, two jazz owls – young women who work all day to support the war effort and dance all night to deal with the stress of living during World War Two.  When the authorities crack down on the Latino population for their night clubs, wild music, and loose suits, murder follows, and the girls worry particularly about their brother Ray.

They Went Left by Monica Hesse starts with a promise from Zofia to her younger brother when they are liberated from a German concentration camp.  But how in the world will she locate him amongst the millions of refugees?

In The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee, Jo Kuan hides her identity as a Chinese-American cleaning girl while writing an anonymous advice column that gains enormous popularity and some unwelcome attention. Continue reading “Teen Women in History”

New Fiction Roundup – May 2022

Get ready for summer reading with May new releases! It’s a (perhaps surprisingly) good month for new horror releases, as well as new titles from literary favorites, some great romance, and much more.

5/3: Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Cutthroat literary agent Nora takes a girls trip to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina but continually finds herself thrown together with Charlie, a brooding editor that she knows from home. Will they write their own love story? (romance) A Peak Pick!

5/3: Book of Night by Holly Black
Thief Charlie Hall is trying to get out of the business, but she works for some dangerous people: gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to eavesdrop and sometimes kill. With a desperate sister and a boyfriend hiding secrets, Charlie enters the hunt for a book that could unleash a terrifying power. (fantasy)

5/3: Companion Piece by Ali Smith
Pandemics, isolation, companionship, medieval clocks, poetry, and wordplay are rich ground for the author of the Seasonal Quartet. (general fiction)

5/3: The Hacienda by Isabel Canas
In 1820s Mexico, Beatriz accepts a marriage proposal and finds herself at a haunted estate, where she’ll rely on the help of a local priest to save herself and the others who live at the hacienda. (horror)

5/3: The Immortal King Rao by Vauhini Vara
17-year-old Athena recounts the story of her father, King Rao, who overcame being born into the lowest caste in India to become a tech billionaire. Thanks to one of King Rao’s inventions, The Harmonica, Athena has access to all his memories and must use them to absolve herself of his suspicious death. (general fiction) Continue reading “New Fiction Roundup – May 2022”