Book report: May

A month of heavy non-fiction and historical fiction

Bijal P. Trivedi (2020) Breath from Salt: A Deadly Genetic Disease, a New Era in Science, and the Patients and Families Who Changed Medicine Forever [Audible] Deepti Gupta (narrator)

My great-niece has Cystic Fibrosis. Her grandmother, my sister-in-law, lived to age 46 with it. In the short time since its discovery, CF has morphed from a sure death sentence to a manageable disease, and treatments improve every year. What this book does well is illustrate just how important speaking up is for any treatment to evolve for any disease. Research costs money. Pharmaceutical corporations are profit driven. If any progress is to be made in any rare or uncommon disease, parents, donors, and volunteers need to be persistent and loud. Without the passion of a few scientists and a LOT of families, CF treatments would be decades behind where they are. There are other “orphan” diseases that will require the same tenacity to find better treatments and cures.

I was not a fan of this narrator, but the book was too compelling not to complete.

Catherine Grace Katz (2020) The Daughters of Yalta. Mariner Books.

This is the book for the WW2 history buff who had no idea that Roosevelt, Churchill, and Harriman brought their daughters to Yalta in February 1945. It’s also the book for readers who like a unique point of view for any historical event. Finally, it is the book to teach writer-historians how to take papers, letters, diaries, and interviews and create a well-rounded narrative with sympathetic characters.

There is a LOT of information in this book, very little of which is well-known. Each of the daughters. Kathy Harriman, Anna Roosevelt, and Sarah Churchill played unique roles in serving their famous fathers, yet their involvement was overlooked by other participants, reporters, and then the events that unfolded once the conference ended.

Katz maintains a balanced perspective throughout, sharing the good, the bad, and the tragic in each woman’s life. Other reviews decried the lack of political information about Yalta, but the focus of the book is the daughters, not the meetings. There is sufficient context to understand the importance of the meeting of the Big Three, but the relationships between fathers…

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Defaulting to Grace and other observations

By Stephanie Loomis: Lover of Jesus, Wife, Mom, Ama, Writer, Teacher, Photographer, Singer, Athlete, Artist...a modern Renaissance woman.