Are You A Goop?

Bookmarks, Libraries, and Books That Make a Mark

The other day I rediscovered this stash of antique bookmarks in an old tin box. I remember buying this tin as a kid at a neighbor’s estate sale. It was a 1910 era house, a block south of my growing-up house in Denver, and I also took home a brown silk purse containing matching silk gloves. It’s funny what we remember and what we keep as treasures. The tin still contains 14 of these bookmarks, all but one in good shape. I wonder how many I put in my books through the years, or did I deem them too special to use?

Are You A Goop?
The Library Goops (With Apologies to Gelett Burgess

The Goops they wet their fingers
To turn the leaves of books,
And then they crease the corners down
And think that no one looks.
They print the marks of dirty hands,
Of lollipops and gum,
On picture-book and fairy-book,
As often as they come.

Caroline M. Hewins
(See some history of this poem, circa 1907)

I guess I am a goop. I have to admit that I still have a laminated library book, ​The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales​ by Bruno Bettelheim, which I checked out circa 1976 and never returned. That book made a mark on me! I also still have the book report I wrote, standing on my earnest soapbox that children need “scary” fairy tales because they teach us to be brave and to find our inner resources. (I now prefer ​Women Who Run With the Wolves​ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and recently checked out this newer book for the second time, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales.​)

A few months ago, I was at my local library around three o’clock when a group of kids came in after school. The COVID-masked librarian offered them snacks and one kid asked, “Can I take some home for my brother?” “Sure, I’ll put them in a bag for you.”

That moment reminded me that the library is a vessel for community that holds stories, ideas, hopes, and belonging. It’s not so much about every book being checked out and read. It’s the collective shelves packed high and wide that create an invitation to come linger and explore and connect. Of course, we authors hope it’s about discovering and reading our books, too.

When have you found a library book that influenced your life in an unexpected way? When was the last time you explored the shelves to find a book out of the blue?

Did you ever wonder how librarians choose to order certain books—how much is data, how much is heart? I know anyone can request a book for purchase (I’ve done it!).

I am hoping that Resilient Threads: Weaving Joy and Meaning into Well-Being by Mukta Panda MD will find its way into librarians’ lists of books to buy.

  • I hope that teens dreaming of becoming a doctor might find it and see how they too might become a physician and parent and leader, living a life of passion and purpose.

  • I hope that medical students already committed to their purpose and passion might find it and see how to keep their hearts open despite the heartbreak of tending patients within a system needing an overhaul.

  • I hope that international medical graduates who immigrated to the United States to practice medicine will resonate and find courage from Mukta’s similar experience moving here from India, doing her third residency to become licensed in the U.S., becoming a citizen as well.

  • I hope that seasoned mother’s and grandmothers (who may have a bit more time for reading) find it and send a copy to their grandchildren who are in medical school.

One such grandmother recently told me she’s sending the book to her grandson, a pre-med student who is also a musician and football player. I told her about my pre-med cello-playing goddaughter. The hopeful future of medicine lies with those who can keep their hearts connected to what feed their spirits and to their moral core. “We’ve had many conversations about the courage to feel and allow vulnerability,” this proud grandmother said about her grandson, as if crossing her fingers that it will help him become the kind of physician we all hope for.

I told her we’d send him a note and bookmark with the Oath to Self-Care and Well-Being, which Mukta also co-authored to supplement the Hippocratic Oath. I hope he’ll find time to read the book, to randomly open the pages and find a good quote or a real-life example of how a physician goes through a hard time with their heart intact. I hope he’ll notice the pages where Mukta reflects on the influence of her grandparents as one key to her resilience.

Would you consider contacting your local library and asking them to stock Resilient Threads? You can share this endorsement by Midwest Book Review:

A 'must read' for anyone working in the health care community, especially during the once-in-a-century impact of a global pandemic, "Resilient Threads: Weaving Joy and Meaning into Well-Being" will have great value for readers in other stress-filled occupations and circumstances as well. Thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, "Resilient Threads: Weaving Joy and Meaning into Well-Being" is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library Health & Medicine collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Resilient Threads: Weaving Joy and Meaning into Well-Being" is also readily available in a paperback edition ( 9780985566555, $16.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).
—Midwest Book Review

As part of being a winner of a Silver Nautilus book award, Resilient Threads will be featured in a virtual book exhibit at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference on June 23-29. If you could help your librarian be on the lookout for this important book for their local readers, we’d really appreciate it!

Bookmark Giveaway

Let us know if you’d like to receive a bookmark with the Oath to Self-Care and Well-Being. Just reply to this email with your request and mailing address.

You can also print this blog and mail or forward it to your local librarian. Thank you!!