In the days leading up to Memorial Day weekend, it is fitting to recognize health-care workers and the war on coronavirus. These medical “soldiers” who are staffing the hospitals and caring for the sick while risking their lives on a daily basis deserve our utmost gratitude. For many of us, it would be impossible to walk in their shoes.
It’s difficult to imagine working in a medical capacity during ordinary times, let alone in a pandemic. Thinking about caregivers and all that they are doing now makes me want to salute medical staff in general for their service. If you are fortunate enough to be sheltering comfortably in place, please join me in reading about the extraordinary experiences of health-care providers. You can download all titles from the Mechanics’ Institute Library catalog.
The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital by Alexandra Robbins - A much-lauded journalist chronicles a year in the lives of four hospital nurses. Gripping and real, read if you dare.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - The memoir of Stanford neurosurgeon Kalanithi’s journey after being diagnosed with lung cancer. What happens when the doctor becomes the patient? What makes a life worth living? Nominated as a 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist and a 2016 Goodreads Choice winner.
These Healing Hills by Ann Gabhart - At the close of World War II, Francine Howard learns that the soldier she planned to marry is in love with someone else. Devastated, Francine heads for the Appalachian Mountains to train as a nurse-midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese - The story of conjoined twins, orphaned at birth and adopted by two physicians. This coming-of-age novel written by an Ethiopian-born doctor contains detailed descriptions of many medical procedures and interventions. When first published in 2009, the book was on the New York Times Bestseller List and President Barack Obama’s summer reading list.
The Andromeda Evolution by Daniel Wilson - The long-awaited sequel to Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain carries on his literary legacy of big, bold, and top-secret experiments gone awry. Fifty years after the original Andromeda incident, nothing has happened until now. Deep in the Amazon jungle, a group of scientists is investigating a deadly, self-replicating microparticle structure that is growing exponentially.
Oil on cardboard of Lillian D. Wald by William Valentine Schevill, 1919. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.