Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Short Stack September


September's Very Short Short Stack

Just like I'm not impressed with my reading habits over the past month (such a slump), I wasn't incredibly impressed by what I read. Except for one title.

Before reading about that, though, here's your reminder that the Texas Teen Book Festival is October 7th. My attendance is uncertain (because I'll be doing the Best Little Yarn Crawl in Texas with my mom!) but that doesn't mean everyone else should miss the excellent line-up of authors that will be in attendance. Julie Murphy (Dumplin') will be there, plus Sandhya Menon (When Dimple Met Rishi), and Jennifer Mathieu (MOXIE). I'd ask why October is the best time for everything, but really just look at our weather patterns.

And now for the best title of the month!

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore

When I was in college, I took a class on the history of science that talked about how radium had been treated as a health tonic. It was almost funny because really, how could everyone have been that dumb? It's not like the Curies were going around saying that it was good for you. Kate Moore managed to fill in some of those missing links in a well-paced, horrifying true story. Set in the factories that primarily painted watch dials so that they numbers would glow, Radium Girls is the story of how these women showed up for the best paying gig in town and ended up painfully dying because of it, all while the government agencies did very little to protect them and their employers lied to them. In order to paint the tiny numbers, women would put the paint brush between their lips and shape it into a point. Each time they did, which could range from after every number to a few times a dial, the woman ingested just a little more radium that would sink into her bones. Eventually, women learned that they had to fight back and they fought hard to win compensation for years of doctor and dentist visits and in an attempt to help the families they were most certainly leaving behind. Their stories made my bones hurt, made me cry, and made me so angry that this was allowed to happen. I will think of those women every time I get an x-ray and wear a heavy lead vest to protect me from their fate.


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