The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.
Part 2: God's Hotel

Part 1: God's Hotel.

Apologies for once again going off the radar for an extended period of time. Now that the weather is nicer it's harder to convince the Little CRs to stay in and watch Peg + Cat while I type away. I can read in the backyard while I ignore them, but it's hard to drag the laptop out there to work.

In honor of the short week, I'd like to spend the next few days on an absolutely fascinating book that you definitely should read. Yes, I am recommending this one, not just "suggesting" it, as they teach you in library school. Whatever. Screw you, library school. If I want to tell someone they should read a book from now on, I'm just going to own it and tell someone to read a book. Hilariously enough, this book was recommended to me by my sister, and even though my sister is one of my best friends and our tastes are nearly exactly the same, I still put off reading this book for a while because I am just THAT independent when it comes to my reading choices. So that's fine. Don't read this one right away just because I told you to. But read it sometime.

The book is God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine, by Victoria Sweet. As its subtitle says, it's a book about one of the last "almshouses"--hospitals designed solely to care for the sick poor--in America: San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital.

Sweet is a doctor, but is one with more than just a passing interest in the history of medicine. While working at Laguna Honda, she also pursued a Ph.D. in the History of Medicine, with a special interest in the medical knowledge and practice of the Christian mystic and nun Hildegard of Bingen. In this memoir, which encompasses a large chunk of her life, she relates her experiences working at the hospital, what she learned in her Ph.D. studies, and her take on the landscape of health care has changed over the last couple of decades.

And that should be enough to pique your interest for now; if you've had any sort of dealings with the health care "system" over the past few years, I'd imagine you have some thoughts on it (and how it's been changing) yourself. More to come...