Happy Valentines Day, loves! Today I’m joining a bunch of awesome bloggers in celebrating one of our first and truest loves, books! Here’s what I’ve been reading lately: (I received both of these books from NetGalley in exchange for my honest reviews.)
Bellvue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital by David Oshinsky
Amazon * Goodreads
I love history. I love medicine. Put them together and you get this totally fascinating look back at the history of the infamous Bellevue Hospital in NYC. With history dating back to the very beginnings of the country, the hospital’s history is also New York’s history, with the issues facing the practice of medicine echoing the bigger issues faced by the country (then and now), including poverty, racism, gender equality, war, medical ethics, and on and on.
I learned so much about the history of medicine in general from this book. I didn’t know that hospitals were originally only for the poor. At that time, anyone who could afford it would be seen by a doctor at home, since medicine was still considered a craft rather than a profession, there was no concept of a sterile environment and no fancy equipment. In early years, alcohol was one of the most abundant “medical supplies” at the hospital. (Oh, the healing power of booze!) I laughed in the sad way over the note about how early medical schools weren’t hard to get in, and they would “admit just about any white male student able to afford the costs.” This is highlighted in my Kindle with the note “We now reserve this for political office.”
For such a serious (and at times gory) subject, I was surprised by how many times I laughed reading this. One example:
“As late as 1888, Bellevue’s specialist in childhood diseases insisted that diptheria, a deadly bacterial infection, resulted mainly from inhaling the dam gases that rose from the sewers. (He also warned against the danger of kissing a cat.”
Also, there was an early Bellevue doctor named Valentine Seaman. Do with that what you will.
My (not so) Perfect Life – Sophie Kinsella
I remember kind of enjoying Kinsella’s first “Confessions of a Shopaholic” book (despite constantly thinking it should be called “Confessions of a pathological liar”), but didn’t like the sequels much because the main character was just too unbelievable and unrelateable. I enjoyed her newest book, “My Not So Perfect Life” *so* much more. It’s written in the same chatty first person style, and is great when you’re in the mood for the kind of fiction that’s just light and fun. There was one incident in the middle of the book that reminded me of the antics of her too zany to be believable character from the Shopaholic books, but overall the main character from this book is so much more likeable, which made all of the difference for me. I was a little sad that the “big twist” was something I figured out near the beginning of the book, but that didn’t detract much from my overall enjoyment.
I read this one in a day, and it gets my thumbs-up as a good plane/beach/it’s 13 degrees outside so I’m spending today under the covers book. I read this genre a lot more when I was in my early 20s, but this was a nice reminder to pick up something a little less serious now and then.