“Our reluctance to honestly examine the experience of aging and dying has increased the harm we inflict on people and denied them the basic comforts t“Our reluctance to honestly examine the experience of aging and dying has increased the harm we inflict on people and denied them the basic comforts they most need. Lacking a coherent view of how people might live successfully all the way to their very end, we have allowed our fates to be controlled by the imperatives of medicine , techology, and strangers.” p. 14
This book has come into my life at both a good and bad time. It is never a wrong time to think about our mortality and how we want to spend our last days. However, I have been enjoying my retirement and because things have been going so well, my end days are not foremost in my thoughts.
That is why I needed to read hear now what Gwande is recommending. Thank goodness, no one in my immediate circles is having a health crisis. My mom is 86 and in good health. My husband and I are suffering the aches and pains of being 60 plus, but overall we are well. So now is the time to be discussing what we want when our health deteriorates. It is so much easier to do it without the stress of disease added to the conversation.
What do I consider a life well lived? What measures do I want to take to prolong my life and under what circumstances? Gawande’s book showed me some choices that I did not even know existed. His examples, both personal and from his patients are excellent and really had me thinking about what options I would want.
My mother-in-law always saw her present year as her best. Her question for her doctors was “Will this year of treatment give me a year at the end of my life that is as good as the year I am having now?” It is not that she was in great health, but as she saw it, treatment for cancer, hepatitis C and other diseases did not always give the patient good years after the treatment. Much of what Gawande presents in his book reinforced for me the validity of this question.
If you are looking at long term care for a serious disease, this might be hard to read. Your choices might not include all that Gawande presents. That should not stop you from reading this. Nothing should stop anyone from reading this important work.
I believe that all of us should consider how medicine is shaping our later years and make a conscious decision about what we want. This won’t be easy and I know I don’t want to even think too hard on the issues of aging. However, sticking our heads in the sand will be much worse. ...more
It took me a long time to understand the appeal of mysteries. When I was a child, I couldn’t even stand the suspense of watching Lassie. Even though eIt took me a long time to understand the appeal of mysteries. When I was a child, I couldn’t even stand the suspense of watching Lassie. Even though everything worked out fine in the end, I would leave the room when my family watched that program.
When I started working for the Pamunkey Regional Library, my boss suggested I try talking books. The library system is spread out over four counties in central Virginia and my job required a lot of driving. So I picked up some books on tape and found I liked that form of reading.
I decided to try some of the Grande Dames of mystery – Allingham, Sayers and Christie. I figured those mysteries couldn’t be too bloody and I would just have to deal with the suspense. With audiobooks you can’t turn to the last page to see if it all turns out okay.
I finally understood the appeal of mystery stories, especially series. So when a volume of a series is available for free on BookBub or somewhere else, I download them. That is the long way to say why I read this book by Ryan.
I like the book and I may someday look for the rest of the series. Nell Sweeney is an interesting character and I like how she uses her brain. Her “partner,” William Hewitt is also appealing and smart. Learning about that time period in Boston also has some charm for me. All in all this was a fast, entertaining read. ...more
I am fairly sure that if I had not been reading this novel for ToB X, I would have given up. I have not read anything by McBride since The Color of WaI am fairly sure that if I had not been reading this novel for ToB X, I would have given up. I have not read anything by McBride since The Color of Water and I had a lot of trouble figuring out what he was trying to say with this rewriting of history. The judges and commentators for the Tournament of Books all helped me see how much more there is to The Good Lord Bird than I could see by myself. As many people have said, the fact that the main character is known as Onion does have real significance.
McBride has written a humorous look at one of the turning points of American history. Without John Brown and his attack on Harper's Ferry, I think it would have taken a lot longer for the war among the states to break out. Onion is an original, incredible narrator. He might not be the most reliable, but I believed his version of history while I was reading this tale.
I thank McBride for making me look at this event in a new way. I know that some readers thought McBride was irreverent and occasionally crossed the line from satire to mockery. However, I think his novel is essential to how we view our history and this book will become a classic of American literature.
In the meantime, I recommend this novel to all serious readers, all Americans who think the Civil War is over and to those who want their storytelling laced with humor. ...more
One of the reasons I like reading romances is that most of them are published as mass market paperbacks. Often I can pick them up cheaply and then I dOne of the reasons I like reading romances is that most of them are published as mass market paperbacks. Often I can pick them up cheaply and then I don't have to worry about what happens to them. I keep a few stashed away so that when I go out fishing with my husband, I don't have to think about what might happen while we are on the boat. I dropped one library book in the bay and I don't want to do that again.
This romance kept me entertained for two fishing trips. I wish the fish had been as much fun as this book. (We didn't catch any.) This is the eighth story by Kleypas that I have read and it was as entertaining as all the rest. The books is set in Massachusetts, but the hero came from Henrico County, Virginia. Since that is the next county to where I live, I enjoyed the reference.
As always, I recommend this novel to other romance readers. I can't imagine that there are many who have not read Kleypas, but since this is an early work, some folks many have missed this.
The last book that I read by Alice Hoffman was Here on Earth. I really disliked it. Not only did I not enjoy it, but none of our book group liked it eThe last book that I read by Alice Hoffman was Here on Earth. I really disliked it. Not only did I not enjoy it, but none of our book group liked it either. We did have a good discussion - because we were all so unhappy. Fortunately, one of my friends wrote a favorable review of The Probable Future, so I tried it. I know that sometimes the book isn't the right one for a reader, but that does not mean you should avoid all of that author's writings. It was time for me to try Alice Hoffman again. This was a good place to start.
The Sparrow women have been part of the town of Unity for 13 generations. Where ever Rebecca came from she brought with her the glue that would hold the small town together The gifts that the Sparrows had seem to be a curse for them and a godsend for their community. The same is true for the latest three generations. Elinor can detect lies; Jenny sees others' dreams and Stella is clairvoyant.
Hoffman does an excellent job of combining magic with real life. I could visualize the town of Unity and was able to suspend my disbelief about the magic. I was captivated from the first sentence until the end. The Probable Future is a good story that I found was even better to listen to. The narrator, Susan Ericksen was excellent.
I recommend this novel to those who like a good family saga, to readers who are able to maintain the tension between magic and "reality" and to folks who enjoy the setting of a book as well as the characters since Unity, MA is an important part of this story....more
Maybe because I was already a fan of Lily Conner and knew a lot about the characters from the second volume, but I was not as enthralled with this mysMaybe because I was already a fan of Lily Conner and knew a lot about the characters from the second volume, but I was not as enthralled with this mystery by Michelle Blake. It was good, I am glad I read it, but I was able to put it down when necessary.
Lily Conner is an unusual Episcopal priest, who has the misfortune of having the issues of the church following her around. In this mystery, it is homosexuality. For me, the murder and solving it was secondary to the characters. I like Lily and her friends. I want to sit down and have a conversation with her.
I recommend this book to those for whom characterization is as important as the mystery, for people involved in mainstream churches and for those who might be interested in a book set in Boston....more
This novel exceeded my expectations which were high because I had found the first volume captivating and incredibly fascinating. Anderson continued OcThis novel exceeded my expectations which were high because I had found the first volume captivating and incredibly fascinating. Anderson continued Octavian's story by showing his involvement in the American Revolutionary War. I was totally surprised by how Octavian becomes involved and what happened to him.
Anderson continued his story with excellent writing, attention to detail and attention to history. I learned a lot about what happened to African-Americans during the fight for liberty. I will be thinking about what I learned about that right (liberty) in this book.
I especially appreciated Anderson's afterword. I don't want to give it away, but it helped be resolve my feelings about how the book ends.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in American history, to readers who want a good story and to those who like their conception of the world challenged....more
This book is amazing. First of all, how does Anderson do this? Feed was incredibly good, but so different from this book. Apparently Anderson just wriThis book is amazing. First of all, how does Anderson do this? Feed was incredibly good, but so different from this book. Apparently Anderson just writes really well and can write about anything. What else would explain an author who can write about the future, the past, vampires, and whales on stilts.
I don't want to say that I loved this book, because what happens to Octavian is horrible. But this story grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. I would listen on my compute and driving around town and when I left my car, Octavian would travel around in my mind. Anderson has made me think about slavery and freedom more than I even did before. And that is a good thing. I am thankful to both Anderson and Octavian.
I thought the narrator of the audio book was excellent - one of my friends said she thought his accent was Southern, but I did not hear that. I could tell the characters apart and I knew when Octavian was speaking.
I can't wait until I get the second volume and I will be listening since I now have Octavian's "voice" in my head....more
How I pick the audio books I read is often an unknown even to me. Talking books have helped me to discover mysteries - I really prefer to listen to thHow I pick the audio books I read is often an unknown even to me. Talking books have helped me to discover mysteries - I really prefer to listen to them rather than read them. But most of the time, I just pick up any audio book to occupy my daily drive.
This book is one of those - I needed a new audio book and so I requested this. I had heard that Black's books were interesting and so I decided to try this one since it is the first in the Quirke series. I am still trying to figure out whether I will listen/read another one.
Black has set his book in 1950's Dublin and Boston. I kept forgetting that we were in a time almost 60 years ago - some things felt very contemporary. Fortunately, much of what went on in this story would not happen now. Quirke is much, much happier dealing with the dead as a pathologist than with the living. However, he suddenly finds himself worried about both the dead and the living.
Quirke discovers another doctor fabricating a death certificate. For reasons not entirely clear to Quirke or this reader, the death of this young lady means much to Quirke. It takes him out of his pathology lab, to other parts of Dublin and then to Boston.
The writing in this book is what kept me reading. Benjamin Black (actually John Banville) held my interest with his way with words. The mystery became secondary. Which, for me, was a good thing because it was a very odd "mystery"....more
This book was so much fun. I can't decide if I liked it because of the incongruities or just because Wiggs did an excellent job of making wonderful chThis book was so much fun. I can't decide if I liked it because of the incongruities or just because Wiggs did an excellent job of making wonderful characters. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed this book by Susan Wiggs more than any other book I have read by her and I have read 5 other books by her
Isadora and Ryan are the perfect "romance" couple. When they have their first encounter, they have nothing in common. And for me, that makes for a fun, interesting romance novel. Wiggs comes through one more time for me....more
It has been years since I read a novel by Marge Piercy and I am still trying to decide if ending the unintentional drought was a good thing or not. IIt has been years since I read a novel by Marge Piercy and I am still trying to decide if ending the unintentional drought was a good thing or not. I really like Piercy's poems and often read the poems in the anthologies I own. I just hadn't made time for her novels for awhile and I had enjoyed the ones I had read earlier, especially Gone to Soldiers.
Longings of Women is set in Boston, in a world that I imagine is much like Piercy's own life. The main character is a woman very involved in academics and good causes. Her life has been careening along on the same path for many years, but a number of things happen in this novel to take her off track.
I like the way Piercy uses different narrators and time periods to move her narrative forward. I like a couple of the characters - a lot. My biggest problem is that this book seemed very much like other books I had read by Piercy. I guess I believe that Piercy has political reasons for her books and those reasons have not changed. That is likely much more my problem than Piercy's....more
What do you do when the person who knows you best is killed in a random act of violence? How do you cope? How do you help her daughter cope? These areWhat do you do when the person who knows you best is killed in a random act of violence? How do you cope? How do you help her daughter cope? These are the questions that Buxbaum is attempting to answer in this book.
For the most part I believe that Buxbaum accomplishes what she sets out to do in "After You". Using a book (The Secret Garden) to connect Ellie with her friend Lucy's daughter is a great device. Although I have never experienced the pain this book is addressing - I felt like the story was true and the tale hung together very well.
My only quibble with this book was the description of the book itself in the ARC I received. It claimed that Buxbaum writes in the same style as Jodi Picoult. This does a disservice to Julie Buxbaum. I think she has her own excellent style....more