Book Recommendations from GBFs Past…
December 27, 2015
by Teresa Hughes
Do you have any non-fiction readers in your family? If so, two fascinating books were presented at the Gaithersburg Book Festival this year that you may want to consider recommending. They provided firsthand experiences about two Washington, D.C., landmarks – Walter Reed Hospital and Rock Creek Park.
The history of these local landmarks comes alive through their work, and I learned details about these places that I had never realized before. Walter Reed was the premiere hospital for the U.S. Army from 1909 to 2011, treating wounded soldiers from World War I through the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And did you know that Rock Creek Park is twice the size of Central Park in New York City? Designated as a federal park in 1890, Rock Creek is as old as the nationally treasured park, Yosemite.
“Run, Don’t Walk: The Curious and Courageous Life Inside Walter Reed Army Medical Center “
Adele Levine worked as a physical therapist with the most severely wounded patients before the closure of Walter Reed. Her stories are unforgettable and ultimately inspiring. She spoke about the dark humor of the patients, the unusual motivations, the camaraderie of the therapists and staff, the volunteers and the celebrated guests who toured the facility. Her humility in speaking of her personal struggles grounds you in the reality of what it must take to work this type of job – the emotional toll of each day. I cried reading about her father and laughed out loud at her impulsive rug shopping story. It is so easy to identify with this author! The closing of this building will not result in a forgotten history as long as stories like Adele’s are told. Good memories and bad – part of Bethesda’s history.
“A Year in Rock Creek Park: The Wild, Wooded Heart of Washington, D.C.”
As our area becomes more congested, I relish the opportunity to escape all the traffic and commercialism and spend some time outdoors. I knew that I wanted to hear Melanie Choukas-Bradley speak about her year exploring Rock Creek Park. Her descriptions of this urban wilderness will make you want to visit this 33 mile stretch respite (Laytonsville to Georgetown!) yourself. And the history of the park itself is vast. Melanie provides the background for the mill sites and history of the activity during the Civil War. If you find yourself wanting to read more of Melanie’s work, she has also written “City of Trees: The Complete Field Guide to the Trees of Washington, D.C.” and two books about Montgomery County’s Sugarloaf Mountain – “Sugarloaf: The Mountain’s History, Geology, and Natural Lore the Mountain’s History, Geology, and Natural Lore” and “An Illustrated Guide to Eastern Woodland Wildflowers and Trees: 350 Plants Observed at Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland.”
I discovered these authors and both books, which I highly recommend, through the Gaithersburg Book Festival. Another wonderful reason to mark your calendars for May 21, 2016!
Teresa Hughes is a member of the Gaithersburg Book Festival planning committee.