Admittedly, the coolest thing about reading is the ability to connect. Connect to other readers online, in your book club or in your local community. Even cooler, the ability to meet the author of books. I’d say this ranks up there with meeting famous movie stars, yeah? Either way, as residents of Iowa City we are incredibly fortunate. While Iowa City, IA may not have the population size of Chicago or New York we maintain some incredibly prestigious literary honors. One of which is our world renowned University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. The other is our designation as a UNESCO City of Literature. Both of which allow us the ability to attract some pretty amazing authors, writers and other members of the literary community.
This year, on October 8-15th, Iowa City will host their annual Book Festival. You can check out the official schedule here. This event brings out renowned authors for book readings, panels, galas, speakers and awards.
As we build up to the beginning of this festival, I wanted to highlight three local authors that will be attending the Iowa City Book Festival this year. The first author is Jon Kerstetter, whom recently published his memoir: Crossings A Doctor Soldier’s Story.
Check back as I will be reviewing additional author spotlights in the weeks approaching the book festival:
- Crossing A Doctor Soldier’s Story by Jon Kerstetter
- The Follow by Eliza David
- Among the Living and the Dead: A Tale of Exile and Homecoming on the War Roads of Europe by Inara Verzemnieks
Crossings A Doctor Soldier’s Story by Jon Kerstetter
Rating: 4 Stars
Publication Date: September 5th, 2017
Jon or more appropriately, Dr. Kerstetter, is a man of many labels and successes, first of which is being an Iowa City resident, but also Doctor, Soldier, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Stroke Survivor and Author to name a few.
I was excited to read Dr. Kerstetter’s memoir as I am a child of both a Navy Veteran and Medical Professional. I was hoping I would achieve the ability to relate to his struggles of crossing between life saver (doctor) and life taker (soldier), but what I found was so much more.
This memoir could have been titled Resiliency as the author proved time and time again his ability to overcome, push onward and achieve.
Resiliency was achieved at every level throughout this book, from Jon’s childhood on a Wisconsin Indian Reservation to his later-in-life start in medical school to his enlistment in the National Guard as a husband and father of four, to ultimately, his stroke and strength to yet again achieve success and become an author. This story was empowering if nothing else. However, where I thought I would relate as a result of my parents, I actually related personally to Dr. Kerstetter’s inner drive. As a reader of Crossings, you will quickly note the author’s drive to achieve more and fear of complacency. Graduating with a degree in business, Jon decided that wasn’t enough so he obtained a masters in business (wow so far this is literally my life). Then after marriage and children, decided business wasn’t REALLY his dream and went back for a medical degree (don’t worry mom and dad I WON’T be doing this). But…even after, achieving a medical degree and practicing emergency medicine he found his career was mundane and sought opportunities to continue towards further success, this came in the form of joining the National Guard.
While Dr. Kerstetter’s career in the National Guard, his many successes and several deployments are incredible feats in themselves, what really moved me was the realness in which he portrayed his recovery from his untimely stroke. The latter portion of this book is dedicated to Jon’s recovery and realization that, as a result of the stroke, he would no longer be able to practice medicine or serve in the military. To be ripped of such a huge part of one’s identity is unfathomable, but Dr. Kerstetter allows the reader to see the truth in his struggle.
Stop by the Iowa City Book Festival Saturday, October 14th at 1PM: Author, Jon Kerstetter, will be reading from his memoir Crossings at Prairie Lights (15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240).
*Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by publisher, Crown, in exchange for an honest review.