Stories of Comfort Food For Cancer

Book review: All the Wild Hungers by Karen Babine (Amazon / Book Depository) Cancer divides – as its very premise, its cells divide, maniacally, so that one rogue cell becomes two becomes a three-pound cabbage-sized tumor. Yet the same is happening inside my sister in a different way, as her child who was once one cell became two cells is becoming a brand new human being we … Continue reading Stories of Comfort Food For Cancer

The Opioid Crisis Through the Lens of Government, Medicine, and the Personal

Book review: American Overdose, by Chris McGreal Book Depository A former head of the Food and Drug Adminsitration has called America’s opioid epidemic, “one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine.” It is neither a mistake nor the kind of catastrophe born of some ghastly accident. It is a tragedy forged by the capture of medical policy by corporations and the failure of institutions in … Continue reading The Opioid Crisis Through the Lens of Government, Medicine, and the Personal

Nonfiction November: Your Year in Nonfiction

Nonfiction November is finally here! I couldn’t be more excited to see more nonfiction in the spotlight for a whole month and to help with hosting alongside Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness, Katie @ Doing Dewey, Sarah @ Sarah’s Book Shelves, and Julie @ Julz Reads. This week’s (Oct. 29 – Nov. 2) discussion is hosted by Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness: Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the … Continue reading Nonfiction November: Your Year in Nonfiction

The Fall of a Too-Good-to-Be-True Medical Startup

Book review: Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou Amazon Her emergence tapped into the public’s hunger to see a female entrepreneur break through in a technology world dominated by men. Women like Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg had achieved a measure of renown in Silicon Valley, but they hadn’t created their own companies from scratch. In Elizabeth Holmes, the Valley had its first female … Continue reading The Fall of a Too-Good-to-Be-True Medical Startup

Historical Scandal, Murder and Medicine at Harvard

Book review: Blood & Ivy, by Paul Collins Amazon On November 23, 1849, shortly before Thanksgiving, Dr. George Parkman entered Harvard’s Medical College to visit a tenant of his, the college’s chemistry professor, John White Webster. He was never seen again. A familiar figure in and around Boston, Dr. Parkman’s disappearance grabbed plenty of news headlines, both the expected and the fanciful, and generated waves … Continue reading Historical Scandal, Murder and Medicine at Harvard

A Cancer Con Exposes the Sick Side of “Wellness”

Book review: The Woman Who Fooled the World, by Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano Amazon The front cover of the book whispered of a back-to-basics approach to wellness, lifestyle and nutrition. Of course, Gibson had no expertise in any such area. But that didn’t matter. Her credentials were listed in the first words of the very first sentence on the back cover. Social media sensation. … Continue reading A Cancer Con Exposes the Sick Side of “Wellness”

Southern Corruption and the Flawed System Allowing Injustice

Book review: The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist, by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington (Amazon / Book Depository) Despite the relatively low pay of the state positions in forensic pathology, a doctor willing to bend the profession’s guidelines to help supply meet demand could make good money. There are quite a few places across the country where that’s exactly what happened – where doctors have … Continue reading Southern Corruption and the Flawed System Allowing Injustice

Frank Stories of Schizophrenia

Book review: A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise, by Sandra Allen (Amazon / Book Depository) All those fuckers…all of them with their clicking pens and quiet judgment, all of them did not get it. There was something in the sky. This was the best moment of Bob’s life so far. This was when he realized that, no matter what, there was something bigger than all of … Continue reading Frank Stories of Schizophrenia

A Narrative Nonfiction Classic on Cultural Clashes in Medicine

Book review: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman (Amazon / Book Depository) Published twenty years ago this year, this book consistently tops lists of the best (narrative) nonfiction. I was late reading it, but so glad I finally got around to it. This’ll be my last review this year – next week I’ll post my year end best-of lists – … Continue reading A Narrative Nonfiction Classic on Cultural Clashes in Medicine

A Modern Classic on the Surreality of Mourning

Book review: The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity. Those words were the first that Joan Didion wrote after her husband’s death. In case you’ve never heard of it, The Year of Magical Thinking is journalistic legend Didion’s highly praised, often stream of consciousness-style literary … Continue reading A Modern Classic on the Surreality of Mourning

A Braided History of Two Killers in 1952 London

Book review: Death in the Air, by Kate Winkler Dawson (Amazon / Book Depository) In 1952, two killers stalked postwar London. One was a serial killer: an average-looking, mostly unremarkable, middle-aged invoice clerk operating out of a grungy, now-notorious apartment building; the other was far more insidious and claimed many more victims: a suffocating, polluting smog that killed around 12,000 people. Maybe you can guess which got more media attention. Kate … Continue reading A Braided History of Two Killers in 1952 London

Life Lessons Learned in the Service of Death

Book review: The Education of a Coroner, by John Bateson “When it comes to county government, the coroner’s office often is the forgotten stepchild. People don’t want to think about it, and they definitely don’t want to know any details of how it operates.” Longtime Marin County, California coroner Ken Holmes tells tales from his line of work and a long, experienced career, and disproves … Continue reading Life Lessons Learned in the Service of Death