What You’re Reading

Elisabeth Buck, president of United Way of Central Iowa, is reading “A Fall of Marigolds” by Susan Meissner (Berkley, 2014): “Our United Way staff book club selected this novel for its latest discussion. The book follows a beautiful scarf that links two women living 100 years apart—one during September 1911 and another during September 2011. As someone who sews quilts to give as gifts, I am fascinated by how this piece of clothing can connect women through generations and am drawn into the stories surrounding each of their lives.”

Dr. Angela Walker Franklin, president and CEO of Des Moines University, is reading “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back” by Elisabeth Rosenthal (Penguin Press, 2017): “As a president/CEO of a health sciences university, I am always intrigued with books that focus on medical education and/or the business of medicine. Elisabeth Rosenthal, a physician and writer who is currently the editor in chief of Kaiser Health News, presents a provocative view of how health care became a big business and challenges us all to figure out how to ‘take it back.’ She talks of how the medical system has been overrun by organizations that may seek to exploit for profit as opposed to putting the ‘care’ back into health care. The message of restoring health care to being a ‘caring endeavor’ resonates with me as we look to prepare the next generation of health professionals in a world that sometimes appears to forget the compassionate, human touch.”

Angela Ossian, executive director of Metro Arts Alliance, is reading “The Prince of Tides” by Pat Conroy (Houghton Mifflin, 1986): “Set in the low country of South Carolina, Conroy captivates with openly emotional honesty, lurid family stories and lush prose. His sprawling 500-page story is about Tom Wingo, an unemployed high school teacher who confronts his past when he travels to New York to help his gifted yet suicidal twin sister, Savannah. Conroy’s writing both sings and bleeds as he traces the amazing history of the Wingos from World War II through the final days of the war in Vietnam and into the 1980s.”

Ossian also is reading “How to Train a Wild Elephant and Other Adventures in Mindfulness,” by Jan Chozen Bays (Shambhala, 2011): “So much of our life is lived unconsciously and in haste. Constant distractions and disruptions can easily deplete our energy. How do we reclaim personal power and focus? This book is filled with mindfulness practices that can lead to clarity, resourcefulness and innovation for improving one’s life. The author, a pediatrician and Zen teacher, developed 53 simple and practical exercises that easily can be applied to your daily life. This should be on everyone’s nightstand!”

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