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In partnership with Care Alliance Health Center and the Cleveland Public Library, the Joseph’s Home Book Club (currently on hiatus) provided current and former residents with the opportutnity to read and discuss a wide variety of books. Participants read the same book and shared their thoughts and feelings about the themes and characters in the book. The book club also included components specifically targeting health literacy, or the level to which an individual can understand, evaluate and use health information. The integration of the health literacy component helped the men to become more proficient in understanding health information and managing their medical conditions.

The Christian Science Monitor took interest in the Joseph’s Home Book Club and published an article on February 28, 2008. The article can be accessed by
clicking here.


Participants in the Joseph’s Home Book Club had the opportunity on two occasions to meet with the authors of books they read. In May of 2008, the club was invited to the main branch of the Cleveland Public Library to hear Anne Fadiman, the author of the book, “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.” Ms. Fadiman had spent eight years researching this fascinating true story of a Family and their epileptic young daughter’s experiences with Western medicine. The family emigrated to America from Laos and Vietnam and did not speak English upon their arrival. Their culture had no written language of its own, and many English language concepts were indecipherable to them. The family was incapable of explaining their daughter’s illness to the American doctors who treated her repeatedly and erroneously, unaware that she was epileptic. This book prompted discussions among book club participants about the importance of taking an active role in one’s own health care and making decisions about when and how to seek care. After Ms. Fadiman’s presentation, the Joseph’s Home Book Club, as well as members of the book club at 2100 Lakeside Shelter, who read the same book, attended a private reception with Ms. Fadiman and had the opportunity to learn more about her personal insights and experiences one-on-one.

Later that month, the Joseph’s Home Book Club traveled to the Lakeshore Library to meet Sister Souljah, the author of “The Coldest Winter Ever.” Throughout the story, the book’s narrator, an adolescent female, shares her experiences with grief, abandonment and loss. But as she matures, she learns that many life lessons are learned through making choices, both good and bad. She also realizes that no matter what happens in her life, the confidence, trust and belief she has in herself are her most powerful tools.

Other books the Joseph’s Home Book Club has read:

· The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
· The Cheating Culture Why More Americans are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead
· Gifted Hands, The Ben Carson Story
· Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Middle Class Lost its Mind?
· The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
· The Kite Runner
· Different Seasons
· The Giver
· Makes Me Wanna Holler
· Blonde Faith
· Dreams From My Father
· The Things They Carried
· Iron & Silk
· The Last Street Novel
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