Are you looking forward to cold weather and stressful holidays? Relax, this is the perfect time to curl up with a good book. Members of Martin Library’s newest book club, York Reads, highly recommends two titles for you to enjoy this holiday season.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Ruth Jefferson, an African American labor and delivery nurse at a hospital conducts a checkup on a newborn baby. Soon she finds out that she is not welcome to be that baby’s nurse. Ruth learns that the baby’s parents are white supremacists and she is not allowed near that baby because of the color of her skin.
The baby’s nurse has an emergency to tend to and asks Ruth to just watch him for one moment. As she does, the baby goes into cardiac arrest and dies. Ruth is charged with the murder of the baby.
Assigned to a public defender who wishes to keep race out of the courtroom, Ruth agonizingly goes through trial while trying to keep her family afloat, her privacy maintained and her sanity in check.
This story, told from alternating viewpoints, touches upon things that make you think. What would you have done? Who do you feel sorry for? Can people truly change?
This book has the power to make you question everything you believe about race and privilege.
This book, read by nearly everyone in the book club, has been our most talked about book since we started in September of 2017.
A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
“Everything beautiful has a story it wants to tell, but not every story is beautiful.”
Another book with alternating perspectives, this one alternates between Ellis Island in 1911 and Manhattan in 2011 with the same emotional tug as Small Great Things.
In 1911, Nurse Clara is mourning the loss of her love in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. She delves deep into her role as a nurse on Ellis Island as a way to escape the grief. During her stint as a nurse, she becomes obsessed with the scarf one immigrant has arrived with, the history behind it and what it means for present time.
On the tragic day of September 11, 2011, Taryn is heading to tell her husband at the World Trade Center the news they have been hoping for—she is pregnant. Unfortunately, her husband is in the towers and she finds herself on the street running for her life. A stranger gives her a scarf to cover her face with. When she sees the photo in a national magazine, she begins to unravel that day, her life, and the history behind the scarf.
The book ties together the two women, their lives, and their grief. Both women are in an endless cycle of grief and unsure about where to go in the future. Recommended for those who like historical fiction, alternating perspectives and stories that connect over time.