Did you know that reading fiction has health benefits? These gains from reading fiction books range from improving empathy , lowering the risk of dementia and increasing longevity to improving brain connectivity. With this knowledge of the health benefits of reading fiction and in celebration of National Medical Librarians Month, a request was sent to the Brickell Library staff to recommend titles. Check out the staff picks below!
“The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis” by Caroline Kennedy I chose a book of poetry titled “The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis” by Caroline Kennedy. The book features a mix of adult and children’s poetry by well-known poets such as Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, E.E. Cummings, and many others. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend this book to others. I’ve already purchased multiple copies to gift. Natasha Williams, Circulation Assistant
“Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese An incredibly unbelievable, yet realistic family story, epic in scope- the characters and relationship of the woman doctor and her eventual husband is a fabulous love story. I also like that the telling evokes a time and place – Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) over decades and generations. The political turmoil and the culture of its people is enthralling. I went online to explore more about Ethiopia, because the story enchanted me so. The practice of medicine, integral to the plot, is fascinating and moving. You won’t want to put it down once you start reading. Ann Moriarty, Circulation Assistant
“The Doomsday Book” by Connie Willis The Doomsday Book is an award winning novel written by science fiction writer Connie Willis. This book will appeal to science fiction fans and historical fiction readers alike. In this riveting novel, we follow Kivrin Engles, an Oxford time-travelling history student, while she experiences the Black Death first hand. Kirvin’s arrival in 1348 England during the Christmas season was unplanned and a result of a technological error compliments of a gravely ill colleague. While Kivrin deals with the Bubonic Plague an Influenza epidemic ravages her England of 2054. Of course,there’s a bit of romantic love in this book, too. For her stellar efforts, author Connie Willis rightfully won the 1993 Nebula and Hugo both for best novel. Read this – you won’t be disappointed! Ruth Smith, Outreach Services Coordinator
“The Gilly Salt Sisters” by Tiffany Baker The Gilly sisters were duty-bound to divine the town’s future by throwing salt into the December’s Eve bonfire. While Jo continues scraping salt off the marshes, Claire marries into the town’s most prominent family and uses her new position to turn the residents against the Gilly salt. This 2013 effort by Tiffany Baker is a complex tale of family, betrayal, guilt and revenge. Much of the novel is backstory, which I felt slowed the narrative’s pace, leaving a hurried resolution and predictable epilogue. Still, it’s a richly woven tale with intriguing characters, lushly described scenery, and a finely tuned relationship between two sisters which helps cover the inconsistent storytelling. I leave it up to the reader to decide whether there is redemption in the end. Carolyn Gilliland, Inter Library Loan Assistant
“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio The fictional book I’d like to recommend is actually a middle grade book. “Wonder”, by R.J.Palacio, is about a boy named August who has a facial disfigurement due to a complex medical history. The story follows him as he starts a new school and navigates his feelings as well as the perceptions of his schoolmates during this transition. I highly recommend this book because the reader gets to experience what August is thinking and going through since the story is told in his perspective. It’s a wonderful story of how we can overcome misconceptions and learn to be empathetic towards others. Esther Sarino, Clinical Medical Librarian
Curious to learn more about fictional reading and health benefits? Visit the links below: Reading Helps You Forget About Your Worries And Relax (Mayo Clinic)
Want To Read Other’s Thoughts? Try Reading Fiction (National Public Radio)
Your Brain On Fiction (New York Times)
To discover more about health issues and current data, search Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Edward E. Brickell Medical Sciences Library collections and databases by visiting the library’s website.
This blog is about consumer health topics of interest to the general public and a vehicle to promote the Edward E. Brickell Medical Sciences Library and library outreach events.
Ruth M. Smith, MLIS and Esther May Sarino, MLIS