Books of 2019 – Numbers 19, 20 and 21 – Hold Still by Sally Mann, Graphic Medicine Manifesto, and Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

After this group, I think I am due to take on something a little lighter for my next read. I do have volume 2 of Barnaby waiting for me…

My latest reads were all quite good. I have had the Sally Mann autobiography, Hold Still for a while now and had even started to read it once. I have no idea why I didn’t finish it since she is not only a beautiful writer, but the book is interspersed with photos and bits and pieces of her life as a person of the South and as a photographer. That kind of book format is hard for me to not love. If you know Sally Mann and her work, probably one thing that you will remember about her is the controversy about photographs that she took and published of her children – without clothes or partially clothed. She discusses that period quite a bit and she recounts how the photos and the reaction to them impacted her family. She also tells compelling stories of both hers and her husband’s families that make for page turning reading. 

Graphic Medicine Manifesto is a compilation by several writers (many healthcare professionals) who have been integral in the initiation of the graphic medicine movement. The focus of this effort is to bring graphic story telling into medicine to both help the professionals relate more to the personal narrative of those they care for, but also as an outlet for difficult conversations, events, and feelings. The book is a combination of academic discussion of the rationale and examples of the compelling works that are now being used in medical schools.

Say Nothing – A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe tells the story of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Keefe writes a history of the re-initiation of the IRA in the 1960s and 1970s. He introduces the reader to a group of young people initially wanting to follow the peaceful message of Martin Luther King to protest the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants in British-ruled Northern Ireland. When attacked and seeing no other way, this peaceful movement morphed into a paramilitary organization that was ruthless in its mission to change history. The violence from all sides was horrifying and ever-present during the decades of the conflict. Keefe centers the book around the disappearing of a widowed mother of ten children who is taken from the family apartment and not seen alive again. Beginning in the 1960s and reporting up to a revelation made while writing the book, the story is compelling and chilling.

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