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Public Health Book Reads

Books covering a wide range of topics for public health discussion.

Fall 2021 Pick: The Spirit Catches You...

Cover Art

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy.    Lia's parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Anne Fadiman's compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest.  Lia Lee 1982-2012    Lia Lee died on August 31, 2012. She was thirty years old and had been in a vegetative state since the age of four. Until the day of her death, her family cared for her lovingly at home.


Don't want to buy the book? Try a library! Suggestions and tips are below. 

Please reach out if you need help finding a copy. 

Lauri Fennell,

Anne Frankel,

Available at Temple Libraries

Public Library Options: Print, Ebook, Audiobook

Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP)

Get a Library Card (Temple students, staff and faculty are eligible)

  • Some libraries are offering an ebook version through Overdrive or Libby. FLP doesn't have it but check your local library or Kindle. 


Find an ebook/audiobook lending library

Your Public Library may have it in print or as an ebook or audiobook.

Use the Overdrive search link to see if your local library offers an electronic version.