Leather Chair Reading! Books That Challenge Your Heart!
I think we all love books where we can get lost in the fictional journeys of wonderful love stories and happy endings…but sometimes it’s good to read books that create thought-provoking insights and challenge our core beliefs, our fears and our daily routines.
“Challenge your fears… find your potential!” Bishop T. D. Jakes
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
This book hit close to home for me, since it is about a nurse on a maternity/NICU unit. I’d actually seen some of my co-workers reading this book over the last few years and was intrigued, but once I found out it was about a nurse and her legal wranglings for something she wasn’t guilty of, I decided the subject matter seemed a little too real, so to speak, and that reading this book might invite bad karma!? But then, as luck would have it, I mentored a nursing student one day who convinced me that the varied and fascinating layers of the plot line would make reading this book well worth my time…and boy, was she right!
The brief summary on inside the cover flap of the book is enough to leave you on the edge of your seat…and believe me, every nail-biting chapter leaves you deeply riveted to the story being told. Small Great Things, takes on contemporary issues that are prevalent in society today, and as a nurse, I couldn’t help but ask myself how I would have handled things if faced with some of the same circumstances!
“Ruth Jackson was a maternity nurse with more than twenty years experience. During one of her shifts, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’d been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, an African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey the orders or does she intervene?”
I love that each section of the book is named after a different stage of labor; a nod to the character’s profession…and the rebirth, of sorts, that each character goes through during the course of this complex, but incredible story!
Jodi Picoult tackles a myriad of tough subject matters from privilege and prejudice to justice and compassion in this novel. At the end of the book, she also outlines how she did extensive research with a cross-section of people and communities represented in this profound story that is based on true events about a woman in Flint, Michigan, who really faced many of the scenarios detailed in this book. Although, a little uncomfortable to read about sometimes, the author doesn’t offer easy answers to some of the age-old conflicts and inner turmoil that many people, even in this day and age, are still trying to fully grasp and find the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we can all do small things in a great way!
The author references this quote in her book, explaining that any good we do, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can have lasting repercussions.
A Shot Guide To A Long Life by David B. Angus, MD
A Short Guide To A Long Life, may be small in size, but contains simple and powerful guidelines on how to greatly improve the quality of life, at least as far as living more healthy is concerned…and in a literal sense, challenges habits we might have that keep us from living with optimal health. I like that it is a handy guide of common sense practices that can help us develop new patterns of personal health care using mostly inexpensive and accessible tools that are based on the latest and most reliable research–you’ll find yourself referring to it often. I especially like that the overall focus of this book is that we should all be better at taking charge of our health and wellbeing and that the code of conduct for physicians should be that of practicing preventative medicine!
“I want doctors to treat towards health…and not treat towards disease.” Dr. David B. Agus
The book is cleverly divided into three concise and easy to understand sections… 1) What To Do 2) What To Avoid and 3) Doctor’s Orders –Dr. Agus believes as I do, that the more concise and doable healthy guidelines are, the more we’re apt to follow through with them. Having worked in the healthcare profession for many years, I find this approach very refreshing!
Each chapter has memorable titles, (ie. “Get Naked”, “Get Off Your Butt More” and “Eat Real Food” to name just a few.) simple pencil drawings, and some questions your doctor should ask you so he can personalize your health care based on your physiology, genetics, value system and individual circumstances. Dr. Agus also strongly suggests that…..
“If your physician treats you like a textbook patient…it just might be time to make a change!”
I found the last chapter, Doctor’s Orders, which gives a decade by decade list of things you should routinely do to create a good health plan for yourself, especially helpful. As with any recommendations found in this book, they are based on scientific research and follow the generally accepted guidelines in the medical community, but if you are experiencing symptoms or concerns that are not within the realm of “normal” for you–be sure to consult your personal physician as soon as possible. I also love the Health Lists compiled at the end of the book–they are the ultimate “cheat sheet” that will help you remember key facts, rules and ideas, regardless of your age, for making healthy living a lifelong quest…including, Top 10 Actions to Reduce Your Risk for Illness, Top 10 Things to Help Educate Kids About Health and Wellness, Popular Weight Loss Myths, and Top 10 Most Useful Health and Medicine Websites.
This book will motivate you to take a good look at the overall health habits you have in place and what ones you might need to adjust to live even better. It will also help you realize once and for all, to find a doctor who is invested in your health and who finds it not only his responsibility, but his privilege to help educate and care for your overall wellbeing…one who holds you accountable by asking all the hard questions.
I love the final bit of advice Dr. Agus gives…
“Don’t make living healthy too complicated…live your life, just try to live it better every day!”
Have you read any good books lately that really touched your heart and helped you grow personally or challenged any bad health habits?
Here’s to happy hearts and healthy living!