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Case Managment Focus: ’23 Summer Reading

05 Jul, 2023 Anne Llewellyn

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Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) -- I hope you had a Happy 4th of July! I am excited to introduce my 2023 Summer Reading list to readers of Workers Compensation.com. I have produced this list every year since 2014 around this time to share recommendations from family, friends, and case management colleagues. The list is made up of individual books as well as series that were contributed by various people. I also added TV/Cable Series recommendations as this was requested last year.

I hope you enjoy the 2023 Reading List and use the suggestions to "get smarter," relax, to get to sleep on a sleepless night and to just enjoy a good read at the beach, the pool, your backyard, or a comfortable chair in your home.

Please feel free to share the list with your family, friends, colleagues, and book clubs. If you have a book you want to add, put it in the comment section and I will add it to the list. My sincere thanks to all who contributed!

I am going to kick off the list with contributions from Mary Beth Newman, a friend and colleague from my professional organization, the Case Management Society of America. She is an avid reader and has been a regular contributor to this list since its inception. This year she shared several books in various genres for the 2023 list.

Here we go!

My absolute favorite from the past year: Demon Copperhead: A Pulitzer Prize Winner by Barbara Kingsolver

Intensely imaginative sci-fi: The Ferryman: A Novel by Justin Cronin and Ascension by Nicholas Binge

Intriguing historical fiction: The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See, The Foundling: A Novel by Ann Leary

The Golden Doves: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Contemporary and unforgettable: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro, Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng, The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

A little different but oddly enjoyable: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, The Handyman by Bentley Little, The Maid by Nita Prose

Another longtime friend and case manager colleague, Connie Sunderhaus shared these two books: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid and The Boys from Biloxi by John Grisham

Next are suggestions from my cousin, Kate Shovlin. She shares the following books:

Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane;
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid;
Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline;
Savor, A Chief Hunger for More by Fatima Ali;
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver;
The Prince of Tides and Lords of Discipline, both by Pat Conroy
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

My sister in law, Trisha Douville, is an avid reader and contributes to this year’s list with the following recommendations:

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby VanPelt
The Diamond Eye Kate Quinn House in the Pines by Ana Reyes
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
The Book of Lost Names by Kristen Harmel
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Ordinary Grace William by Kent Krueger
Before and After by Lisa Wingate
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Staying with family, my husband, Corky, shared one of the books he read this year: The Last Honest Man by James Risen.

Facebook Friend Susan Haibeck suggested: A Death at the Party by Amy Stuart

Long time friend and CM Colleague, Diane Soule shared a couple of books she liked. They are:

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
Horse by Geraldine Brooks
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Next up is Jane Thomas Crawford, a long time friend from Quota International. Jane is an avid reader and shared her "best of" list for this year’s Summer Reading List:

Lady Clementine (Winston Churchill’s wife), The Only Woman in the Room (Heddy Lamar) and The Personal Librarian (about JP Morgan’s personal librarian) written by Marie Benedict
The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin about Truman Capote and his swans-Babe Paley, Slim Keith, C.Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness and Pamela Churchill
The Midnight Library-Matt Haig (different, but I absolutely loved it)
The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
Verity by Colleen Hoover
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult (my first introduction to death doulas)
Daisy Jones and the Six as well as Maybe in Another Life both by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Another long time friend and Quota sister, Elaine Reyes shared her latest read: The Secret Book of Flora Lea by Patty Callahan Henry. Very good.

Pam Walter, Facebook colleague shared Where Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I really enjoyed it and gave it 5 stars! I love that she took the time to write a review. We need to do more of this. Here is her review on Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2507854214

Next up are my long time best friends since 6th grade, Liz Wooster, and Grace Carr. Both are avid readers and shared their recommendations for the 2023 Summer Reading list.

Here are Liz’s recommendations:

Ernie Plye and the Story of WW II, The Soldier’s Truth by David Chrisinger
Hang The Moon by Jean Walls
The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
Beyond that The Sea Laura by Spence-Ash
The Nightingale Affair by Tim Mason

Here is what Grace Shared:

Deadly Engagement Veronica Speedwell Mysteries by Deanna Rayburn
A Georgian Historical Mystery from Alec Halsey Mysteries)
The Bride Wore White by Amanda Quick (and any books by Amanda Quick)
Step on a Crack, the Michael Bennett series by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
Mistress Firebrand by Donna Thorland (All the books in this series are great)
One of my all-time favorites - The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Jane and a Year Without Summer by Stephanie Barron. These are Jane Austin mysteries. This might be around the 15th book I have all of them and sadly there is only one more that she will be writing as Jane Austin passes in her 40s.

Robin Guinn Kimmel long-time Facebook friend and colleague from the National Nurse Team shared:

Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things both by Cheryl Strayed;
The Last Thing He Told Me, Laura Dave;
The Librarian of Burned Books, Brianna Labuskies;
Masie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear;
The Howard Boys by Ron Howard
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue by V. E. Schwab;
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus;
Master Slave, Husband Wife by llyon Woo

Stefani Daniels is a long time friend and case management colleague shared:

How to Find Your Way in the Dark by Derek Miller
Lessons by Ian McEwan
Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Stout
Blood Sugar by Sasha Rothchild
The Eighth Detective by ; Alex Pavesi
Sharks in the Time of Saviors; Carson McCullers by Kawai Washbourn
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

Susan Black Gilpin, long-time colleague and Facebook Friend shared Horse by Geraldine Brooks. I loved it because it was a beautifully written tale of strength and perseverance.

Sandra M Stimson, long-time friend and colleague who recently retired, shared the Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

Patient advocate friend and colleague Caryn Isaacs shared The Bartender's, a surprising Irish North American tale of hard work and love, by Ivan Doig, a native Montanan.

Ellen Honig, long-time case management colleague also shared The Covenant of Water, by Abraham Verghase. He wrote Cutting for Stone quite a few years ago. It was also a fabulous book.

Maureen Ferguson, a long-time case management friend from New England, shared a book from Jodi Picoult that I read and loved called Mad Honey.

Johann Achim Beißel a long-time case management friend from Germany suggested The Book of Why by Dana Mackenzie and Judea Pear.

I am ending this year’s list with contributions from Michelle Knaub, a good friend and case management colleague from Plantation, Fla. We work together at Athena Forum. Here are some of the books she shared. Love that she gave a short description for each!

Small Mercies by Dennis Leanne. This book gets 5 stars. It is set in Boston in 1974 with bussing to desegregate the schools as a background, and a powerhouse of a female protagonist whose daughter does not come home one night. Great read from beginning to end.

Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich: set in Appalachia, the protagonist is a good man, a sheriff who comes from a family of criminals.

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell: also set in Appalachia, the protagonist is a 16 year old girl who must find her father who skipped bail and her relatives are also criminals who are a rough lot. This was made into a movie starring a young Jennifer Lawrence.

Bird’s Eye View by J.F. Freedman: Great author, and this is a great story. Protagonist is a thirty something high achiever who goes to live in a shack on his mother’s property in lower Chesapeake Bay in Maryland where he drinks, takes drugs, hooks up and photographs birds. One day he photographs a murder by mistake and realizes his powerful neighbor is involved. Great backstory of a group of Sandhills cranes who are blown off course and end up nesting nearby. His description of the birds and his developing relationship with them help in his quest for redemption. Love this book, I’ve read it twice. Other great reads by this author are House of Smoke, and Against the Wind. The author can get a little dark at times, but he’s real and his books are vey good.

Karen Slaughter: Her books are great. start with Kisscut which is set in a small Georgia town where the protagonist is Sara, the town’s pediatrician and coroner and her ex-husband, Jeffrey, (who she still loves) the sheriff. Great writing and fascinating characters make these books hard to put down. The love story between Sara and Jeffrey is especially powerful.

Lisa Scottoline: Great author, she was a lawyer, and her books are all set in Philadelphia. I recommend the series with Bennie Rosato, Mary DiNunzio and Judy Carrier. These women are all attorneys, and they are a hoot! Great characters, snappy dialog and my beloved hometown as a background make me love these books. Mary’s Italian parents from South Philadelphia are especially funny. Light reading compared to what I usually read but sometimes that’s just what you need.

In the Woods by Tana French: Her books have won numerous awards and her protagonists are drawn from a detective squad in Dublin. Each new book uses a character that was in the previous book in a secondary role as the main character in the current book. Great wring and great plots make her books a winner.

The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye is an epic romantic adventure novel set in the mountains of India. What a great story. A young, orphaned boy, Ash is raised as a native by an Indian surrogate mother against the backdrop of the Indian Sepoy uprising of1857. Ash befriends and falls in love with Juli, an Indian princess with whom he engages in a forbidden romance. Juli lives as a second class citizen due to several factors that should be discovered by reading the novel, which is epic in scope. It has sold millions of copies, was made into a movie and I’ve read it three times.

Michelle helped me get interested in TV shows over the past few months. Here are her recommendations:

Amazon Prime -- The English, starring Emily Blunt. Beautiful photography and great production values drive a powerful story with another powerhouse female protagonist.
HBO Max -- Man on Fire. Denzel Washington and a young Dakota Fanning star in this great movie.
Hulu -- Denzel Washington in The Equalizer. The wonderful Denzel in a good story with a great supporting cast is definitely a winner.
Netflix -- The Last Kingdom is a 5-star historical drama series about a young boy, Uhtred, who is captured by the Danes after they kill his father on the battlefield and raised as one of them by a Danish warlord. The Saxons, Danes and Vikings are all part of the story as England moves to become a United Kingdom. There are battles but also several love interests for Uhtred , the show has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Highly recommended.
Netflix -- Alone. Ten participants are dropped into the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a back containing 10 items they chose to bring Hatchett, ax, flint, fishing hooks and line etc.). They must make a shelter to protect them from the winter cold and snow, fend off wild animals, and find food and water. If they get hurt or just can’t take anymore, they can tap out (leave). The last one remaining gets a million dollars. Ten seasons, good show. It’s fascinating to watch them build their shelter and then make and execute their survival plan. I found myself cheering for every fish they caught!
Netflix -- The Queen’s Gambit is an awesome series, hard to describe but different and powerful.
Netflix -- Dr. Foster is a great BBC drama. It’s only 5 episodes and is about a woman, Dr. Foster, who finds a blond hair on her husband’s coat. She is a brunette.
Netflix -- The Bodyguard, starring Rob from Game of Thrones and Dr. Foster from the aforementioned show. Another great BBC show.
Netflix -- Ozark, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Sons of Anarch. All great series.

Well, that’s it for 2023. Hope you take time to look up all of the books and sign out a few from your library for your summer reading!

Have a great summer and thanks again to all who contributed.


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    About The Author

    • Anne Llewellyn

      Anne Llewellyn is a registered nurse with over forty years of experience in critical care, risk management, case management, patient advocacy, healthcare publications and training and development. Anne has been a leader in the area of Patient Advocacy since 2010. She was a Founding member of the Patient Advocate Certification Board and is currently serving on the National Association of Health Care Advocacy. Anne writes a weekly Blog, Nurse Advocate to share stories and events that will educate and empower people be better prepared when they enter the healthcare system.

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