Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Okay, so first off, I know this book sounds depressing- Harvard professor begins to experience symptoms that go beyond mere forgetfulness- bewilderment at what the items on her own to-do list could mean, not being able to find her way home in familiar surroundings, etc. She is soon diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, and most of the story follows her descent into dementia, while her family and loved ones attempt to cope, she works for as long as she can, and tries to hold on to recognizable pieces of herself. No, this is no lighthearted romp through the land of mental illness, but it feels important, like Genova is giving a voice to those who can no longer speak for themselves, and she does it all with dignified honesty. Yes, this is fiction, but she evidently did the kind of in-depth research this topic demands, and this is the only novel to ever receive the stamp of approval from the Alzheimer's Association. I read this book weeks ago, and I still find myself thinking about it. A must-read.
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
My sister Kelli told me about this book that she read as a child: "You mean you've never read the one about the post-WWII little Japanese girl who gets leukemia because of the atomic bomb radiation and whose friends and family try to help her make a thousand paper cranes believing it will save her, but it doesn't and she dies anyway and it's the saddest book ever?" To which my response was "SIGN ME UP."
This book will take you maybe 15 minutes to read. It is tragic, heartwarming, quality children's lit.
The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear by Seth Mnookin
I have friends and family on both sides of the vaccine debate; I myself come down most decidedly on one side. I am not going to make this blog a platform for this debate, as I do not want the comments section to become a filth-arium of spewing vitriol and hatred. I will tell you that I love this book. I will tell you that I have read it twice so far. I will tell you that I gave it five stars on Goodreads. I will tell you that if this blog were a classroom and I were the professor and you were my to-be-pitied students, this book would be required reading.
That is all.
The Thief (The Queen's Thief Series #1) by Megan Whalen Turner
A boy with a talent for thievery must steal a legendary talisman under threat of death. Terrific fantasy quest YA literature, with a healthy subtextual morality lesson. I'm only two books into the series, and am really enjoying it so far. I've been reading a substantial load of heavy fiction and nonfiction recently, and Turner's books have been wonderful escapist page-turners when I need a break from Alzheimer's and pro- vs anti-vaxxers and little Japanese girls dying from radiation poisoning.