You'll love this one...!! A book club & more discussion

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Group Themed Reads: Discussions > April 2018 - Medical Theme

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message 1: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15393 comments If the two chosen books are not to your liking, you can read something else that fits 'Medical Theme'.

In order to receive a badge you must:
1. have completed the book before or during April 2018.
2. discussed it in this thread. Discussion must be more than "I read the book and I liked it". Discussion requires something more substantial and analytical of what you read, for example, thoughts, opinions, impact it had on you, what was your favourite part, was it what you expected it to be like etc. You may also like to review the book and post a link to the review in this thread. Please refer to our group spoiler policy for further information.
3. Report that you have read AND discussed the book in the reporting thread (include a brief summary of what you thought of the book).

General Rules:
1. Please mark your spoilers with the spoiler tags along with mentioning what stage of the book you are at so other's don't get a nasty shock. Chapter numbers/titles are generally best as they are the same across all formats and editions. See our spoiler policy
2. The book may be combined with the Year Long Challenge, Topplers, and Monthly Challenges.

Happy reading!


message 2: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 50050 comments I've read both the featured books, so I'm going to read Call the Midwife. I may not get to it for a couple of weeks though.


message 3: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments I may read Year of Wonders if I have enough time for it.


message 4: by Cherie (last edited Apr 02, 2018 10:08AM) (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20275 comments I think I am going to read The Beacon at Alexandria for this month's theme. It is my ZZ challenge pick for Leo, Stone-Carnelian.


message 5: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 887 comments all three books to go to my TBR 😅
would like to read all three..let us see though..


message 6: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20275 comments siriusedward wrote: "all three books to go to my TBR 😅
would like to read all three..let us see though.."


I already read YoW and have CtM on my TBR shelf.


message 7: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 887 comments I read The Plague by Albert Camus last year and loved it.
Yow can be a very different pov of the plague.


message 8: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15393 comments I'm not sure yet what I'll read. I'm not that interested in the chosen reads, so like Sandra I might read YoW if I have the time.


message 9: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20275 comments siriusedward wrote: "I read The Plague by Albert Camus last year and loved it.
Yow can be a very different pov of the plague."


Thank you for the book suggestion, siriusedward. I will look for it. I really enjoyed YoW.


message 10: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 887 comments You are welcome, Cherie.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

For April's medical themed book, I read:
Making Rounds with Oscar The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat by David Dosa Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat by David Dosa
My Review

There is a well written synopsis on Goodreads for this book, so I won't repeat that here. I will say the story is just as much about Dr. David Dosa, the staff, the patients and their families at Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, as it is about a cat.

Why would I recommend this book? Although it is a frightening subject and one that people tend to avoid, I learned much about the effects of Alzheimer's disease on individuals and just as importantly, their caregivers. According to the Alzheimer's Association, currently an estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer's dementia. Although was difficult to read about the patients experiences told through the lens of Dr. Dosa, given the statistics, it isn't a subject that should be avoided. Hearing about a special animal such as Oscar, and the comfort he provided to patients, their families and also the medical staff, somehow gave the book the "positive" balance it needed.


message 12: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 50050 comments I've started Call the Midwife. I'm enjoying the mix of history about midwifery interspersed with Jenny Worth's experiences in the East End of London during the early 1950's.

Since I recently finished watching the BBC TV series on Netflix, I can't help but compare the two. The TV series focused on wrapping up each episode into a cohesive tale, showcasing individual social issues - wife/child abuse, child abandonment, abortion, single mothers, etc. The book isn't defined in quite the same way.

I feel like I know and love all the characters. The casting matched the characters in the book quite well and I can picture them as I read.


message 13: by Janice, Moderator (last edited Apr 11, 2018 07:28AM) (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 50050 comments Yes, you certainly may, Dee. It's a little harder to have a discussion when you're the only one reading it. You may make comments as you read it, or once when you finish it. You just need to be somewhat analytical about it.

It's interesting that you and I are reading similar books. Both are memoirs from a midwife.

Where is your book set? The book blurb doesn't reveal that. Nor does it state when it was set.


message 14: by Sarah, Moderator (new)

Sarah | 18198 comments There does seem to be a lot of books about midwifes recently.


message 15: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 887 comments Janice wrote: "I've started Call the Midwife. I'm enjoying the mix of history about midwifery interspersed with Jenny Worth's experiences in the East End of London during the early 1950's.

Since..."


It does sound very interesting.


message 16: by siriusedward (last edited Apr 11, 2018 11:32AM) (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 887 comments Sarah wrote: "There does seem to be a lot of books about midwifes recently."

If you don't mind romance theres this Virgin River (Virgin River, #1) by Robyn Carr


message 17: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 11, 2018 04:38PM) (new)

Janice wrote: "I've started Call the Midwife. I'm enjoying the mix of history about midwifery interspersed with Jenny Worth's experiences in the East End of London during the early 1950's.

Since..."


Janice, I agree the characters in the tv series matches with the book characters well. Coincidently, for the medical theme, I had started listening to Shadows of the Workhouse, which is the second book in the Call the Midwife series. About a third of the way in, I realized the book didn't have much to do with midwifery. It is mainly about Sister Monica Joan's, Frank's and Peggy's childhood experiences in a workhouse.


message 18: by siriusedward (new)

siriusedward (elenaraphael) | 887 comments I have decided on When Breath Becomes Air as it will also count for the ZZ challenge .


message 19: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 50050 comments Lisa A ⛱️ wrote: "Janice, I agree the characters in the tv series matches with the book characters well. Coincidently, for the medical theme, I had started listening to Shadows of the Workhouse, ..."

I hadn't really considered reading beyond the first book. Are you enjoying Shadows of the Workhouse? I might be interested in Sister Monica Joan's story.


message 20: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 12, 2018 06:04AM) (new)

Janice wrote: " Lisa A ⛱️ wrote: "I hadn't really considered reading beyond the first book. Are you enjoying Shadows of the Workhouse? I might be interested in Sister Monica Joan's story.
...."


Well, I haven't finished reading book #2, but so far I think I enjoyed Call the Midwife more. Shadows of the Workhouse is a much darker story. The workhouse stories are told from Joan's, Frank's and Peggy's perspectives, which doesn't always come across as entirely believable. (Jennifer Worth's story telling shines when she writes about her own experiences, versus retelling someone else's experiences when the author wasn't present.) It was interesting learning about Sister Monica Joan's childhood though, as it explains a lot about her personality. After looking at some reviews on Goodreads, it seems some readers skipped book #2 and read Farewell to the East End: The Last Days of the East End Midwives instead.


message 21: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 50050 comments I listed to a section today about prostitution. I found it to be quite upsetting. She talked about the brutal life that these girls and women were forced into. (view spoiler)


message 22: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 50050 comments siriusedward wrote: "I have decided on When Breath Becomes Air as it will also count for the ZZ challenge ."

I hope you enjoy it, Elena.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Janice wrote: "I listed to a section today about prostitution. I found it to be quite upsetting. She talked about the brutal life that these girls and women were forced into. One thing that was alarming was that ..."

That is upsetting and I can understand why you need some reading balance. There is so much needless suffering in the world, both past and present, and it can chip away at one's optimism.

In contrast to the books, it seems the tv series did a good job of presenting the sad reality of people's situations but also presented some lighter, happier experiences. I don't recall season one of Call the Midwife well though.


message 24: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 50050 comments I think the TV series lightened up some of the darker moments included in the book. Mary's story was not told in it's entirety in the tv series. The book goes back to her life in Ireland and the situation that made her seek out a better life in England. Her entrapment into prostitution was detailed along with statistical information in the book. Most of that was not included when filming the series. It seemed to focus more on the adoption of her baby and its aftermath.

Life in the docklands and tenements of the time was never easy, and the book/TV series exposed some of the situations. Jenny Worth talked about the crowded living arrangements and that people were quite used to raising a family in a two room apartment (flat). Can you imagine people's reactions today if there were 2 adults and 6 children living in a 2 room apartment?


message 25: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20275 comments Your spoiler, Janice, from message 22 is horrifying.

Re Raising families in... So, in 1957 we lived in a two bedroom house single family house. My parents in their room and my two brothers and two sisters and me in the other bedroom. I know it is not the same, but in square feet area, my daughter's two room apartment today is the same size as my first house which had three bedrooms. In my area today, there are two and sometimes three families living in single family houses, because of the high rental rates.


message 26: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 50050 comments I finished my read for this theme - Call the Midwife.

Jenny Worth did a great job bringing the people she encountered come to life. I felt like I got to know them right along with her.

While some of the situations were dark and rather disturbing, there were events that were light and amusing. Sister Evangeline had quite an interesting way of breaking the ice. I really liked that Jenny was able to see beyond the despair that she observed to see the beauty, joy and hope. The ending was quite inspirational.


message 27: by Renee (new)

Renee (elenarenee) | 1633 comments Janice Call the Midwife is one of my favorite books. I would have loved to been practicing during that time period. It seemed they has much more autonomy then i did.


message 28: by Janice, Moderator (last edited Apr 14, 2018 11:14AM) (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 50050 comments My friend's sister just retired as midwife. She worked out of the hospital in Scotland. Did you work out of the hospital as well?

Jenny Worth had worked in a hospital before she went to East End. She talked about how restrictive it was. Perhaps because these midwives were doing home births, they had more autonomy. They weren't bound by the hierarchy of hospital politics.

Maybe it was the setting and not the time period.


message 29: by Renee (new)

Renee (elenarenee) | 1633 comments I was a labor and delivery nurse here in the states. Midwifes were not part of the culture until the late 90's. And even then there scope of practice was very limited. I love what I did but the total care the midwifes in the book give was my dream.


message 30: by Janice, Moderator (new)

Janice (jamasc) | 50050 comments It's even less practiced here in Canada. I may be mistaken, but I understand students here need to go elsewhere for training and certification.


message 31: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15393 comments Sandra wrote: "I may read Year of Wonders if I have enough time for it."

Have you started it Sandra?

I started this morning. Not sure if I'll finish in time though. I never picked it up before because of the cover, for some reason I don't like it all and gives me the impression it's going to be a very religious book. I was pleasantly surprised by the first 1.5 chapter though.


message 32: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments I didn't started it, Peggy, but I have checked it out from the library and have it here at home. I am still reading The Good People, very slowly since I am reading kind of half an hour each day. I might try to catch with you if I manage the last 180 fast enough.


message 33: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15393 comments I'm about 1/3 into Year of Wonders (chapter called Sign of a Witch) and it's great so far. (view spoiler)


message 34: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15393 comments Interesting though, to read about the things people believed in in those times, and also the cures proposed by doctors and surgeons.


message 35: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20275 comments I don't think I will get to a book for this month. I will have to check and see what happened to my library book request for The Beacon at Alexandria


message 36: by Cherie (last edited Apr 24, 2018 01:17PM) (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20275 comments Seems like my request for the printed copy of The Beacon at Alexandria got dropped with my recommendation for them to purchase the book in ebook format and for them to notify me if they purchase it and add me to the top of the list. That has not happened before. Most of my recommendations are all still open, except for the one I had already bought a copy of to read. I think there are a few bugs in their recommendation system. If I get it by Thursday, I might have time to read it. If not, it will still apply for a task on my ZZ challenge.


message 37: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments Peggy wrote: "Interesting though, to read about the things people believed in in those times, and also the cures proposed by doctors and surgeons."

This comment from Peggy made me realize the book I am reading, The Good People fits the medical theme. *face palm*. Cures, medicines, a "witch doctor", illness are discussed along the whole book, mixed with cultural beliefs about "spirits" and the kind. Even chapters are titled with the names of different medicinal herbs.
Would you agree with me, people who read this book before? Peggy, Lisa, Margo?


message 38: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments Peggy wrote: "I'm about 1/3 into Year of Wonders (chapter called Sign of a Witch) and it's great so far. [spoilers removed]"

I still have 80 pages to go in my book, and I am sure even if I start YoW right now I won't be able to finish it on time. Unfortunately.


message 39: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15393 comments I actually thought the same thing Sandra, when you mentioned the book yesterday. I think it fits the theme :)


message 40: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (sanlema) | 9571 comments Great!

Well I finally finished The Good People and I am a little disappointed. I think I will rate it 3.5 stars. Although Hannah Kent is truly beautiful, the book felt too long. For most of the time nothing is happening, and I also felt it was kind of repetitive.
Illness and remedies were a major theme. I am always interested in exploring all the medicine mixed with beliefs, and witch doctors, and Ireland is always an beautiful setting.


message 41: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15393 comments Only a few people have posted in the reporting thread so far. Don't forget to do so in order to get your badge!


message 42: by Peggy, Moderator (new)

Peggy (pebbles84) | 15393 comments I'm 80% done with Year of Wonders. I'm really enjoying it, although I find myself skimming over the sermons and psalms. It's very interesting to see how villagers in the 17th century responded to the Plague and its consequences. The blurb says it was based on actual events from some town. I really hope there will be some more background information at the end.


message 43: by Cherie (new)

Cherie (crobins0) | 20275 comments My library finally notified me that my book, The Beacon at Alexandria was ready to be picked up on last Friday. I started it, but there was no hope for me to finish it by April 30th.
No group read badge for me again this month, but not all is lost because it will fit into my ZZ Challenge.


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