This is both a personal and a historical overview of anxiety, a mental illness that far too many Americans share. In the first decade of this century, the numbers grew to 16.2 million—in fact more Americans see a doctor for anxiety than for back pain and migraine combined. Stossel, who suffers terribly from panic attacks, fear of flying, a nervous stomach, and severe social anxiety, has been remarkably successful as both an author and the editor of The Atlantic.
My favorite section is the opening one titled “The Riddle of Anxiety.” Here he compares how philosophical and psychological greats described the disease. Plato believed that anxiety and other mental problems arose “not from physiological imbalances but from disharmony of the soul.” Hippocrates believed that “body juices” caused madness. He said, “You will find the brain humid, full of sweat and smelling badly.” This description came very close to the author at his wedding, except that it was his body that sweated profusely. He had such a panic attack at the altar that his best man was afraid he would faint. Read more about My Age of Anxiety
It's been said that luck is simply the place where preparation meets opportunity. Thanks to the Testing & Education Reference Center, available through the Library's website, you can prepare for many of life's best opportunities—free.
Oh my, what happens when a novel’s lead character dies on the fourth page? Alas, Dr. Fellowes never made it to Ursula’s birth (at least not this time around)—he was busy treating a man trampled by a bull.
This novel made many “best book” of the year lists. On a cold winter’s night in 1910, a baby girl was born to the Todd family, but alas poor Ursula was born blue. Then she is born again and the family cat, Queenie, smothers her (not necessarily on purpose.) She’s born again and drowns while swimming in the sea with her older sister Pamela.
But in between all the births and deaths, (her younger brother Teddy, has his own run-ins with nasty accidents and reincarnation), a lot happens to the Todd family. Hugh, the father, is a banker, and his wife Sylvie, a rather uninvolved mother. In a style and format all her own, Kate Atkinson has reimagined the historical novel. Read more about Life after Life
“Here's how it is: The Earth got used up, so we moved out and terraformed a whole new galaxy of Earths. Some rich and flush with the new technologies, some not so much. The Central Planets, thems formed the Alliance, waged war to bring everyone under their rule; a few idiots tried to fight it, among them myself. I'm Malcolm Reynolds, captain of Serenity. She's a transport ship; Firefly class. Got a good crew: fighters, pilot, mechanic. We even picked up a preacher for some reason, and a bona fide companion. There's a doctor, too, took his genius sister outta some Alliance camp, so they're keepin' a low profile. You understand. You got a job, we can do it, don't much care what it is.” – Opening Credits
The television series Firefly is a show that many say was never really given a chance. I would have to agree. Produced by Joss Whedon for the Fox Network, the show was originally planned to have a seven year story ark. It was canceled after airing only 11out of 14 filmed episodes. It suffered from a variety of issues. Fox aired the episodes out of order and swapped the times that it aired in an ill-advised attempt to raise ratings. Those who found the show had trouble finding it again. Even with these issues, Firefly gathered such a strong fan following that with the release of the DVDs its popularity has continued to build over time. Read more about Firefly
I’ve read other books by Joan Silber, and I think she is a writer who deserves a bigger audience. If you’re a fan of historical novels, you will enjoy this book. It’s less a novel than a collection of interrelated stories centered on friends of Dorothy Day (or were related to her inner circle). She was a famous Catholic worker who fought hard for the poor.
The first story revolves on a group of young 20-somethings in Day’s New York circle about the time she was getting serious about Catholicism. (She was an adult convert.) In the title story, a young vivacious woman named Vera, loves her life surrounded by smart, interesting people, one of whom she marries. Silber captures the feel of New York City during this time, the freedom young adults experienced living together, going to political meetings, working their day jobs but also doing creative things on the side.
Vera is a sign painter until her employer insults her and then eventually fires her without cause. Although in love with her husband, Joe, Vera is drawn to Day’s boyfriend, Forster, who is also the father of Day’s child. A chance meeting in a park brings Vera and Forster together when they discover the corpse of a poor man who froze to death on a bench. Read more about Dorothy Day's Circle of Friends
Physician, humanitarian, and international journalist Sheri Fink has written an amazing book about what happens to even dedicated professionals in a crises that lasts for days. When a hospital became a flooded, steamy place without electricity, and the media constantly harangued about dangerous people attempting to break in, normal procedures quickly disappeared.
Do you remember that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina much of New Orleans flooded and that the area covered included some hospitals and nursing homes? Do you also recall a heated trial at which one doctor was accused of mercy-killing elderly patients? This well-researched book investigates not only what happened during the five days that NOLA’s Memorial Hospital was flooded but also the people involved: doctors, nurses, the New Orleans city coroner, patients and their families.