I've tried reading An Instance of the Fingerpost 3 times and have never gotten past the 2nd part, not because it's terrible but I guess I didn't have enough energy to carry through to end, which happens to me with long long books. When this came across my desk I figured, Why Not? I was determined to read this all the way through and am happy I did because Stone's Fall is worth the narrative ride.
The story unfolds backwards in time, spanning the years 1910 to 1867, and is broken up into 3 first-person narrations of different events, all ultimately related but mysteriously so until the very last few pages. I'm a sucker for a long puzzling story only if everything is wrapped up nicely, not to say it has to be a happy ending but one that doesn't leave major questions unanswered and/or gaping plot holes. No real questions remain in the end: we find out exactly why Stone fell out the window and died. The only question I had left was an astonished What the frak? Really?
It takes a certain kind of reader to pick up a door-stopper of a book and read it all the way through, and some may not like the financial intrigue that sets up the story, but for me the characters are what helped carry the momentum to a heck of a finish.
28 articles from 20 publications, top contributor being Smithsonian Magazine with 4 articles.
I'm writing this review eight months after actually readi...more28 articles from 20 publications, top contributor being Smithsonian Magazine with 4 articles.
I'm writing this review eight months after actually reading the book, but I wanted to do what I've done with the other anthologies: list the articles that---even after all this time---I remember clearly because they were so interesting.
In Rome's Basement by Paul Bennett A look at urban spelunkers exploring the depths under Rome.
Plastic Ocean by Susan Casey Disturbing look at what happens to plastic in the ocean---and what happens to the ocean because of the plastic.
Cooking For Eggheads by Patricia Gadsby A chemical and molecular take on cooking food.
Cyber-Neologoliferation by James Gleick The people and process behind updating the Oxford English Dictionary
How To Get a Nuclear Bomb by William Langewiesche Explores the reality of trying to acquire this dangerous weapon.
The Effeminate Sheep by Jonah Lehrer Certainly a different look at what constitutes "normal" in the animal world, and how that reflects on humans.
Neanderthal Man by Steve Olson Always fascinated with anything Neanderthal.
Health Secrets From the Morgue by Michael Perry How the dead can give advice to the living.
The Flu Hunter by Michael Rosenwald How sick birds make for sicker human beings.
The Rape of Appalachia by Michael Shnayerson Coal mining is a dirty business, in every possible way.(less)
I should point out two things that may influence my 5-star review: 1) medical narratives fascinate me completely, and 2) I've grown up hearing the kin...moreI should point out two things that may influence my 5-star review: 1) medical narratives fascinate me completely, and 2) I've grown up hearing the kinds of stories found in this memoir from a family member who has worked in a similar setting. So right from the start this book grabbed my attention and just 2 days later left me looking for other similar titles.
The author shares her almost decade long experience working at the Bellevue Comprehensive Psychiatry Emergency Program (CPEP), which is the "regular" emergency room equivalent for those who are mentally distressed or unstable. The bulk of the story focuses on her years working the weekend overnight shifts, chronicling the patients she encounters and tries to help, and how it affects her over time.
This is warts-and-all account and the inclusion of some sexual peccadilloes is in line with her honest reporting of all her personal battles, including growing frustrations with patients and the start of professional burnout. The patients she writes about are always interesting but limited to the time she spends with them, which is minimal because as she points out toward the end of the book, she only cares for them in a triage setting, helping them get better enough to go elsewhere for (hopefully) longer term care. It is this lack of extended care that eventually wears on the doctor because with the typical severity of the disease afflicting her patients she comes to learn it's better to imagine they've gotten better after leaving the emergency room than to be weighed down with knowledge that, more often than not, they haven't.
This is a very illuminating work about mental health and how it affects patients, doctors, and their families. It is also a telling example of the battle doctors face when they have to have just enough compassion for the patients to care for them but also balance it out with just enough detachment so that they don't get burned out when patients are too difficult or impossible to care for completely. Throw in hospital politics, changes in staff, and a family to the mix and you'll have a good idea just how complicated working in this field can become, and in Weekends at Bellevue you'll see how the author deals with and overcomes these obstacles.(less)
This is a very in-depth look at all aspects of methamphetamine, and while it is a very riveting factual read, it tends to be dry in its presentation,...moreThis is a very in-depth look at all aspects of methamphetamine, and while it is a very riveting factual read, it tends to be dry in its presentation, rather like reading an official report that presents laundry lists of information, facts and figures. (Though to be fair this series is touted on the back as being "written for professionals and serious lay readers..." 5 stars for information, 3 stars for readability.
The book is broken up into 7 chapters:
Chapter 1: Does Methamphetamine Matter? Chapter 2: Listening to Methamphetamine: The Lessons of History Chapter 3: The Physiological Effects of Methamphetamine Chapter 4: The Social Effects of Methamphetamine Chapter 5: Cooking Methamphetamine Chapter 6: Methamphetamine in Rural Communities Chapter 7: Treatment and Recovery Support Resources for Methamphetamine Depenedence
The chapter titles are self-explanatory regarding content. The most interesting facts I learned about meth is how different it is from other drugs like cocaine or heroin in that makers are usually users and that there is no vast amount of money being made in cooking up and distributing meth. Cooking generates enough money to reinvest in making more meth. The book also enumerates just how dangerous and toxic meth labs, meth by-products, and meth trash are to individuals and the environment.
This is reported to be the first in the Library of Addictive Drugs series by Hazelden Press, but at the time of writing this review I wasn't able to find any information on forthcoming titles in the series.(less)