Volume 2, Resources 10: Diverse Bookshop Search and Unexpected Public Health Book Recommendation

Hi friends! The therapist search was a bit rocky to start with (I noped out of one option before we even met) but I found someone that I’m looking forward to working with. Coincidentally, this crossed my timeline:

<Tweet from @tessabelllle that says, “The worst part about getting a new therapist is catching them up so I made a PowerPoint to help” and then has a screenshot of a PowerPoint presentation titled “My Trauma: 1997 - Present”>

And I was like, “HAHAHA that’s brilliant and silly” but then I was like, “holy shit, maybe this is brilliant…” but no, I’m not going to make a slide deck for my first session no matter how much I want to. I’m trying to have fewer things on my plate so I don’t need to create more homework for myself.

Today’s a resource day, so let’s get to it!

Resource #1: Libro.fm’s Bookshop Search

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I want to do a more explicit post. Libro.fm has a bookshop search on their page at https://libro.fm/indies. You can also navigate to it by clicking Explore at the top of the homepage, then Find Your Bookstore under the “Get To Know Us” section. You’ll get brought here:

You can filter for Physical Bookstores vs. Online Bookstores and narrow by Distance for Physical shops. The best part, in my opinion, are the filters. You can filter by:

  • Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) - Owned

  • Author-Owned

  • Black-Owned

  • Disabled-Owned

  • Indigenous-Owned

  • Latinx-Owned

  • LGBTQ+-Owned

  • Woman-Owned

Yes, the circles next to the choices look like radio buttons but you can actually choose more than one filter. If you find a bookstore and click “choose bookstore,” unfortunately, that does not take you to the bookstore’s website. It just means that any audiobooks you buy through Libro.fm will give some credit to that particular bookstore (I give my credit to my neighborhood bookshop). Also, the search is not exhaustive and only lists the bookshops that partner with Libro.fm but it’s a good start. But, as a bonus, here is a direct link to Libro’s blog posts on Black-Owned, Author-Owned, AAPI-Owned, Indigenous-Owned, and Latinx-Owned bookshops. Logically, any future such round-ups will also be accessible through that link.

Resource #2: Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World by Vivek H. Murthy

Book recommendation time! Content warnings for suicide, which includes a graphic description, and drug use.

Dr. Vivek H. Murthy is the 19th & 21st Surgeon General of the United States. While he was serving as the 19th Surgeon General, he found that there was a common thread among the “major” public health issues like addiction, violence, anxiety, and depression. This common thread is loneliness.

This book is a deep dive into loneliness as something that everyone experiences at some point and also loneliness as a major public health issue. He also talks extensively about the shame that can happen around loneliness, how it’s something that people don’t talk much about, that we often feel like it’s our own fault if we experience it, or that we alone are the only ones who deal with loneliness. This book was written pre-pandemic and I imagine that some of this has shifted, but not necessarily enough.

Together isn’t entirely gloomy. It has some beautiful, uplifting stories about people who recognize loneliness for what it is and have organized to combat it in their own lives and their own communities, sometimes creating programs that reach further out to other parts of the county. There is also an exploration of loneliness in various cultures which is fascinating and it resonated deeply. Dr. Murthy also discusses isolation, childhood loneliness, and the effects of loneliness and isolation on children. Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Murthy offers ways to combat loneliness, which has been especially hard to do during this pandemic.

This book has altered the way I look at the world and at my relationships and community and for that alone, I highly recommend it.

That’s it for this week! You can shop any books I’ve mentioned in this newsletter at my affiliate shop, The Infophile’s Bookshop, and support independent bookstores. If you want to send me some snail mail, you can find me at P.O. Box 21481, Oakland, CA 94620-1481. If you want me to send you some happy mail, feel free to give me your address.

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