It’s a mix today, with a new thriller and two very different fictional books involving medicine and another not-so-distant plague.
“Blood High North” by Fredrick Soukup (Grape leaf press, $17.99)
A young woman living a difficult life in a small town in northern Minnesota faces ugliness in many forms, including her family, in St. Paulite Fredrick Soukup’s second novel, “Blood Up North” (after “Bliss “). It is a dark and gripping story of old murders, parental cruelty, dysfunctional family and drug addiction.
The story is set in the winter woods in Backus, Minnesota, which one reviewer called a fictional town. But Minnesotans know there is a real Backus, near Brainerd.
Cassandra (Cass) Schmidt longs to get out of her town, where she is connected to so many people and so many dark stories. Cass takes care of her paternal grandmother, a shrill woman who chews tobacco and knows how to use a firearm. Her father, a violent career criminal, beat her and her brother, Jack, and she suspects he murdered their mother. Her uncle, the city cop, is corrupt and her cousins are quick to bully their grandmother.
Jack, who is addicted to drugs, and Cass have always been best friends, and when Jack asks her to hide the drug money he stole, she does it out of love. When she learns that there is a bounty on Jack’s head and ruthless drug dealers are after him, she must resort to the violence she hates.
Cas. who is a tough woman, attracts the sympathy of readers thanks to the author’s clear description of her:
She wasn’t quite sure what Jack meant when he called her “the baddest of us all”, but she believed him. It was not that she herself was cruel, but that she was not frightened by the cruelty of others and, no less, by that of circumstances. For her, the omen of doom that presided over their meager existence in Northwoods was not so horrible. Because she, unlike so many in Backus, didn’t want it and didn’t abuse alcohol and drugs to hide it, she felt ready – or as ready as she could have been. being – to face it. Impatient, even.
Soukup will discuss his novel at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, February 18, at Next Chapter Booksellers, 38 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul. $5. Attendance will be limited to 50 people in order to respect social distancing. Tickets required. Go to: nextchapterbooksellers.com/event/blood-north-fredrick-soukup.
“Hidden Mercy: AIDS, Catholics, and Untold Stories of Compassion in the Face of Fear” by Michael O’Loughlin (Broadleaf Books, $28.99)
Would you be surprised to learn that St. Vincent’s, a Catholic hospital in New York, was ground zero during the AIDS epidemic? The hospital contained the first and largest AIDS ward on the East Coast at the very time Cardinal John O’Connor was fighting gay rights.
The story of nuns, priests and lay men and women who felt called by their faith to help the men who were dying at the onset of this nasty disease is one that Chicago-based Michael O’Loughlin tells in this illuminating book that should be read. by everyone, even those of us who are not Catholic or affected by AIDS.
The title of the book comes from a letter to the author from Pope Francis, who wrote: “Instead of indifference, estrangement and even condemnation, these people allowed themselves to be touched by mercy.
O’Loughlin’s book grew out of his podcast “Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church.” He is gay and Catholic and his personal journey is woven into the story. Why, he wondered, did Catholic gays and lesbians remain in a faith that rejected them? What did it do to their emotional and mental health?
It talks about people like Sister Carol Baltosiewich, a nun who moved to New York from a small town in Illinois and visited gay bars, learning about and understanding the lives of the AIDS patients she cared for. . Father William Hart Nichols, a gay priest, saw himself among the many gay men dying of AIDS and spoke out publicly, believing that gay priests had a unique role to play in the crisis. David Pais, a lifelong HIV survivor and a Catholic, lost his partner to the disease and was one of the first volunteers at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
St. Vincent closed in 2010, and O’Loughlin points out that LGBT issues continue to trouble the Catholic Church. But protest groups like ACT Up, which have disrupted church masses, have brought AIDS to the public’s attention, and O’Loughlin is putting faces to the Catholics who have helped them.
O’Loughlin will present her book at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 20 at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 4537 Third Ave. S., Mpls, presented by Dignity Twin Cities (LGBTQ Catholics) and Clare House, which provides housing for people living with HIV and AIDS, and the Outreach Project. Sign up at: stjoan.com.
“The Naked City” by Caroline Bunker Rosdahl (Bunker Hills Media, $16.95)
Clever publicist Caroline Bunker Rosdahl calls Rosdahl “the Minnesota bestselling author you’ve never heard of.” And she is right.
Rosdahl is the author of “Textbook of Basic Nursing,” a bestseller now in its 11th edition, celebrating its 53rd anniversary. The book was used to train nurses around the world from the mid-20th century through the 21st.
“The Naked City,” written for the general reader, is anecdotal, easy-to-read paragraphs about the author’s experiences as a nurse in hospitals, public health, schools, and mental health units, as well than as an educator. The title of the book comes from the author’s promise to give readers “a full frontal look behind the curtain”.
Along the way, Rosdahl compares her days in the field, beginning with receiving her student cap in 1958, to the new equipment and methods nurses use today. For example, he was taught to pump an “iron lung”, in the event of a power failure, so that the patients inside the huge machines could continue to breathe. Today, these machines that kept patients alive are artifacts.
A 1960 graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, Rosdahl worked with physicians who were research giants in cardiac and bariatric surgery, including C. Walton Lillehei, Owen Wangensteen, Richard Varco, and Henry Buchwald. .
And as if she didn’t have enough on her plate, she joined the University of Minnesota Marching Band.
Rosdahl’s most significant contribution to nursing education was to introduce the use of behavioral goals in his development of a practical nursing curriculum. Behavioral goals are now incorporated into her basic nursing manual.
On a historical note, Rosdahl was born in Sauk Center, Minnesota 84 years ago and met local author Sinclair Lewis when she was 10. His father, the poet Frank Bunker, was a good friend of Lewis’s father, Edwin, the town doctor.
AND A VALENTINE FROM MAUD
Minnesotan Maud Hart Lovelace is best known for her books Betsy, Tacy. but she also made short ones. “The Valentine Box,” illustrated by Ingrid Fetz, was first published in 1966 and has been reissued by Minnesota Heritage Publishing ($15) with a lovely old-fashioned lace cover.
Written for kids just starting the chapter books, it’s about Janice, who’s new in town and worried that no one will put anything in the Valentine’s Day box in class for her. She loses her purse with the valentines inside, but she and a boyfriend find it and all ends well.
And for those of us with fond memories of paper dolls, Minnesota Heritage also has a 19th Century Betsy, Tacy & Friends Paper Doll Book, illustrated by Eileen Rudisill Miller. There are dress clothes, play clothes and other outfits for girls and elegant evening outfits for their parents.