Get Rec’d with Amanda – Volume 61


Last time, I featured mostly fiction and one true crime book. This time, it’s half and half, but I’ll be honest that none of these are uplifting. For the fiction, get your tissues ready. The non-fiction titles skew more toward activism and systemic racism.

  • Legacy

    Legacy is an illuminating and stirring journey of a book.” —Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times- bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist

    The rousing, captivating story of a Black physician, her career in medicine, and the deep inequities that still exist in the U.S. healthcare system

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, it never occurred to Uché Blackstock and her twin sister, Oni, that they would be anything but physicians. In the 1980s, their mother headed an organization of Black women physicians, and for years the girls watched these fiercely intelligent women in white coats tend to their patients and neighbors, host community health fairs, cure ills, and save lives.

    What Dr. Uché Blackstock did not understand as a child—or learn about at Harvard Medical School, where she and her sister had followed in their mother’s footsteps, making them the first Black mother-daughter legacies from the school—were the profound and long-standing systemic inequities that mean just 2 percent of all U.S. physicians today are Black women; the racist practices and policies that ensure Black Americans have far worse health outcomes than any other group in the country; and the flawed system that endangers the well-being of communities like theirs. As an ER physician, and later as a professor in academic medicine, Dr. Blackstock became profoundly aware of the systemic barriers that Black patients and physicians continue to face.

    Legacy is a journey through the critical intersection of racism and healthcare. At once a searing indictment of our healthcare system, a generational family memoir, and a call to action, Legacy is Dr. Blackstock’s odyssey from child to medical student to practicing physician—to finally seizing her own power as a health equity advocate against the backdrop of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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  • Meredith, Alone

    Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander

    The fiction in this edition of Get Rec’d leans more on the emotional side. Fair warning! The main character has severe depression and hasn’t left her home in over three years. This is for readers who felt moved and/or seen by Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

    You’ll be laughing and crying as “the brilliant author of this brilliant book” introduces Meredith, who, after spending three years inside her house, figures out how to rejoin the world one step at a time (Gillian McAllister, author of the Reese’s Book Club pick Wrong Place Wrong Time). 

    She has a full-time remote job and her rescue cat Fred. Her best friend Sadie visits with her two children.  There’s her online support group, her jigsaw puzzles and favorite recipes, her beloved Emily Dickinson poems.  Also keeping her company are treacherous memories of an unstable childhood and a traumatic event that had sent her reeling.

    But something’s about to change. First, two new friends burst into her life.  Then her long-estranged sister gets in touch.  Suddenly her carefully curated home is no longer a space to hide.  Whether Meredith likes it or not, the world  is coming to her door…

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  • Micro Activism

    Micro Activism by Omkari Williams

    I spend a lot of time on social media, sometimes to my detriment, and I admit getting bogged down in finding ways to speak out about current issues and be an “activist” in my own way. Micro Activism is for people who want to get into activism at their own pace and comfort levels

    Everyone can be an activist with the guidance of Omkari Williams, a life coach who guides readers in identifying their “activist archetype” and mapping a personal action plan for engaging in small, change-making activities with potentially big impacts.

    In this age of social justice, those who don’t necessarily want to lead a movement or join a protest march are left wondering, “How can I make an impact?” In Micro Activism, former political consultant turned activism coach Omkari Williams shares her expertise in empowering introverts and highly sensitive people to help each of us, no matter our temperament, find our most satisfying and effective activist role. Using Williams’s Activist Archetype tool, readers discover their unique strengths and use this to develop a personal strategy. To ensure sustainable involvement, Williams encourages starting small, working collaboratively, and beginning locally. Advice on self-care practices, burn-out prevention, and profiles of activists engaged in a range of activities and causes (from voter registration to craftivism, literacy programs, community gardens, and more), provide readers with the inspiration and practical know-how needed to engage in small, doable actions that make a lasting impact.

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  • The Whalebone Theatre

    The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn

    I think I’d recommend this one for Maisie Dobbs fans. It isn’t a series and does lack the episodic feel of the mysteries, but if you want a great leading character in a similar time period and plenty of chances to cry, give this one try.

    NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK • A transporting, irresistible debut novel that takes its heroine, Cristabel Seagrave, from a theatre made of whalebones to covert operations during World War II—a story of love, family, bravery, lost innocence, and self-transformation.

    “Absolute aces…Quinn’s imagination and adventuresome spirit are a pleasure to behold.” —The New York Times

    “Utterly heartbreaking and joyous.” —Jo Baker, author of Longbourn

    One blustery night in 1928, a whale washes up on the shores of the English Channel. By law, it belongs to the King, but twelve-year-old orphan Cristabel Seagrave has other plans. She and the rest of the household—her sister, Flossie; her brother, Digby, long-awaited heir to Chilcombe manor; Maudie Kitcat, kitchen maid; Taras, visiting artist—build a theatre from the beast’s skeletal rib cage. Within the Whalebone Theatre, Cristabel can escape her feckless stepparents and brisk governesses, and her imagination comes to life.

    As Cristabel grows into a headstrong young woman, World War II rears its head. She and Digby become British secret agents on separate missions in Nazi-occupied France—a more dangerous kind of playacting, it turns out, and one that threatens to tear the family apart.

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