Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Opening my Heart: A journey from nurse to patient and back again by Tilda Shalof

Have you seen the “Make death wait” commercials on television? I find them unsettling, and therefore an effective reminder to take heart health seriously. February is Heart Health Month and the library has many items for those who wish to learn more. Tilda Shalof has seen both sides of the Canadian health care system. She is a Toronto intensive care nurse who has recently written Opening my heart, a firsthand account of her experience as a patient in need of open heart surgery.

She had never seen taking care of herself as a priority until she could no longer ignore her extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pains. As Tilda comes to grips with the fears and concerns of her diagnosis, the OR, ICU, the cardiac ward, her recovery, rehabilitation, and her return to work, she gains new insights into the patient’s perspective.

Tilda’s open-heart surgery to replace a faulty valve took place at Toronto General Hospital. Her views on our Canadian health care system are well informed and interesting. This book is written with warmth and humour, and offers clinical detail as well as Tilda’s personal journey of healing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

Are you a romantic? Seeing that Valentine’s Day is coming up, I thought it’s a good time to focus on romance. Every romance lover has an opinion about what is the greatest romance novel ever. So I turned to an unbiased source, the Reader’s Digest list of the best love stories of all time. The book they rank as #1, is Colleen McCullough’s, The Thorn Birds.

The epic family saga of the Cleary family isolated on an Australian sheep farm is truly an unforgettable novel. The story is centered around beautiful and headstrong Meggie Cleary, and the man she desperately adores, Ralph de Bricassart, the handsome young parish priest. Although Fr. Ralph rises to the inner circles of the Vatican his passion for Meggie haunts him all the days of his life. Many probably watched the TV series many years ago, but if you haven’t ever read the book, it’s definitely worth it.

On the library’s facebook page, you’ll find a link to the Reader’s Digest list in case you’re curious what other titles are found there. What I found interesting is that half the titles were written by men, so there’s definitely something there for everyone.