This book is a collection of 365 quotes, plus a bit of appearance from the characters of Wonder. If you ignore the fact that this book was published b...moreThis book is a collection of 365 quotes, plus a bit of appearance from the characters of Wonder. If you ignore the fact that this book was published by riding the gravy train of the Wonder success, and also ignore the fact that most quotes were well known and you've probably heard of them at least once...then this book is actually a not bad read. My 10-year old enjoyed it.(less)
This book reads like part House, part Grey’s Anatomy and part diary, yet much, much more informative. By bringing us into his every day life and meeti...moreThis book reads like part House, part Grey’s Anatomy and part diary, yet much, much more informative. By bringing us into his every day life and meeting his various patients at New York Presbyterian Hospital’s emergency department, Dr. Brendan Reilly explains, by example, why US healthcare, or more precise, ER care, has evolved into the complicated, hard-to-navigate maze that we see today; why most young med school graduates decide to to become specialists instead of primary physicians, which our country desperately needs.
The title, One Doctor, was used since all we need is this one doctor who's our advocate. Due to the regulation and involvement of the health insurance industry, most of us do not have a doctor who deeply concerns about us, who knows us well, who rallies for the right care in our behalf. On the other hand, we all have a battery of specialists. We have a cardiologist for our heart, a rheumatogist for our arthritis, an urologist for our prostates...and so on. Specialists make much more money, and where we are referred to once our ailment is out of our primary care’s scope. But, they usually do not know our complete health history since they only focus on a specific part of us. Dr. Reilly claimed that the patient with the one doctor that truly care for him, follows him over time and know him well would win this rat race of so-called American healthcare. It’s the difference between life and death sometimes…or worse, between death and insufferable life.
Sometimes when a patient or family says, “Do everything for me, doctor,” it unnecessarily that they want to try everything possible to live. Sometimes they do not want to hurt the family members who can’t let go, or they’re scared, or they have no idea hanging on could be worse than death. It’s the doctor, a good doctor’s job to find out what these patients really want, since some scenarios can be really worse than death. We all have a different trade-off limit between how much we are willing to suffer to prolong our life, it’s also a responsible doctor’s job to find out. From the various cases we encounter along with Dr. Reilly, we acquire a better understanding of the end of life, terminal illness, palliative care (which is not used enough), the quality of life, letting go, who to assign as surrogate and all other choices we might face in the future which we most likely never prepared ourselves for. We also will learn about the not perfect, but needed advanced directives as well.
As Dr. Reilly stated, “Most of the sad stories happen when this process doesn’t start until it’s too late. That’s how all those folks wind up comatose in nursing home and intensive care units, fogged with drugs and flogged by machines, not a prayer of getting better. It’s a living hell—and the only hyperbole in that phrase is the ‘living’ part.”
Dr. Reilly is a brilliant storyteller and great writer, and also a rare doctor that deeply cares for his patients. I can feel his real concern and love for life and the world. I could also feel the empathy he has for his patients and their families by reading the way he put his thoughts on paper. Several of these stories were deeply moving: Mr. Gunther, who endured a progressive form of cancer earlier in life who now faces another one; Mr. Atkins with a rapidly progressive terminal illness, who does not have time to prepare his family for his death; Ms. Rhodik, who refused to speak, but her family’s decisions are endangering her health. Others were down right disturbing: Fred, who decided that “losing his marbles” was never an option…and many more. We also learn about the cost of a misdiagnosis, as well as the cost of doing too much.
This is a deeply moving book with many though-provoking stories, and lots of useful information from a good and genuinely caring doctor who has over 40 years of experience. Read this book, for your elders, for yourself, for your children…and for the hope of a better health care system in the near future. This book will make you a better patient, advocate, caretaker, healthcare consumer and....human.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an advance reading copy. (less)
A 3.5 stars book, but I gave a 4 due to the immensely funny and accurate descriptions of a true introvert, interesting pathological facts of diseases...more A 3.5 stars book, but I gave a 4 due to the immensely funny and accurate descriptions of a true introvert, interesting pathological facts of diseases and the numerous and appropriate quotes from numerous books, movies and plays.
On the other hand, I had mostly unfavorable experiences with pet/animal books. They were either too cheesy, too touchy-feely, have a weak plot, or extremely boring. We know all pet owners love their dogs/cats/other pets to death, and they all seem to be the perfect and loyal companion and friend. However, to have the literary skill to convince your readers to feel the same is another story. The most recent one I had read, Buddy: How a Rooster Made Me a Family Man would had been okay if the author did not boast about himself that much and focused more on his rooster, other pets and his new family.
This fictional story was...not a bad read, but far from the caliber of the books that I had mentioned up there. The story was about Cyrus Mills, who is a Veterinarian pathologist himself, inherited a Vet clinics from his estranged Father after he died. He has some legal issues with his license where he came from (North Carolina), and was hoping to quickly sell the practice to use the money for his legal expense. However, as he encounters one after another of his Father's old clients and their pets, things are not going exactly the way he wanted them to be.
This is truly a character-based book, and defining and building each of these characters was obviously the author's strong suit. There's Cyrus, who's a true introvert and not exactly good with people or pets, so he chose pathology as his emphasis. He believed his Father, the beloved Dr. Cobb, had wronged him and his Mom by spending too much time at work. Lewis, Cobb's old practice partner who seems to be always running some mysterious errands. Doris, the receptionist who evidently showed Cyrus that she takes orders from no one, especially him, Denise, a poor teenager who's pregnant, as well as her cat Tina. A cop who was Cyrus' tormentor in school, a young and smart waitress, a few cougars, a bitter step dad.,,and they all added up to a quite interesting storyline. The author’s writing is what I may have problems with: It’s a bit impersonal in times.
There was also a lost dog, Frieda, but not "dogs" - as indicated in the title. I think the title is a bit misleading. There were definitely no lost dogs, but just lots of dogs (or cats) that the owners can't live without and love. However, there were quite a few lost humans, not literally, of course.
So, to summarize this review: This was definitely a good books to read, but even with the great plot, the wonderful characters, literary references and a few tear-jerking moments, don't expect this book to wow you. The writing lacks a bit of polish and style. However, it will definitely make you smile, especially if you are a pet owner. (less)
Every so often, a book comes along. It’s everything you imagine a great fiction to be. It evokes the tremendous joy of just being able to read, to imm...moreEvery so often, a book comes along. It’s everything you imagine a great fiction to be. It evokes the tremendous joy of just being able to read, to immerse yourself in a book so fully, to jump into a journey where every sense in your body is heightened, and your mind stimulated. Then the last page is turned, you sigh with sadness since you know you will not be able to find another book like this for a long, long time.
Shadow of Night is such a book.
I wrote these in my review of the first book of the trilogy:
“The author has in depth knowledge not only about history, but also science, architecture, Europe, culinary delights and wine… The book immediately reminded me of "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova, since both story took me to places in Europe that I've never been and historical periods that were so enlightening…..The story will be a delight for people who actually enjoy accurate scientific, historical, culinary and geographical information. The author has a wealth of knowledge and a unique style of writing and she's willing to share.”
The review still rings true for the second installment, and more so. For readers who disliked the first installment of the series due to the slowness of the beginning, you’ll be delighted to hear that this book started right at the part where the first book dropped off, and is a thrill ride all the way to the end. You can also find satisfactory answers to most, if not all the burning questions that you had after reading A Discovery of Witches. I know it’s a gruesome wait for the second book in the series, but the wait is well worth it…this book surpassed everything I had imagined it to be.
The story begins right where the first book left off, Matthew and Diana landed in Elizabethan England, 1590, hoping to find the enchanted Ashmole 782, as well as someone to help the spellbound Diana to learn her abilities. You’ll be surprised to encounter real historical characters that came alive under Harkness’ pen. Harkness’ take on Christopher Marlowe, Elizabeth I, Walter Raleigh and others were unique and creative, yet totally believable. I wrote in my review of ADoW how I fell in love with all the characters in the first book, yet I’m equally invested in all the new characters in Shadow of Night, both historical and fictional. It’s heartbroken to realize that these characters live in another space and time, and the only way I could reconnect with them is through the re-reading of this book.
If you loved A Discovery of Witches because of Harkness’ extensive and detailed descriptions of everything, you’re in for another treat. Harkness bought Elizabethan England to life using her professional knowledge and her unique writing voice: fashion, writing, architecture, food, music, writing, cooking, art, jewelries, home decors, smell of spices, and even the sound of church bells…. Be prepared to be immersed into 1600 Europe, from England to France and Prague, whether if you’re prepared or not. I recommend you to drop or finish every other book in your list to get ready for the most sensual ride in your life.
I also love how Harkness incorporated a short chapter of the present after each part of the book. It shows how Diana and Matthew’s interference with the past affects the future. Everything that we do or not do has an impact in future, especially in our loved one and family’s life. Hopefully, history is valued and lessons learned. These chapters showed us how important it is to seize the moment and live your life, because there’s no going back. A few tender moments bought tears to my eyes. Compared to ADoW, the second book is much more emotional.
Romance. Matthew and Diana in the 1600s were not without their problems. Matthew in Elizabethan era was a much more complex and dark character. The society was also less friendly for females, especially a witch with a weird accent. However, fans looking forward to more romance between them will not be disappointed. There are lots and lots of tender moments and love. It made up for what was lacking in A Discovery of Witches.
If I write anymore here, this review will become a book! I do have a few recommendations before you jump in for the journey of your life: 1) Read A Discovery of Witches first. There’s no way you could understand the plot and all the complexity of this book if you don’t know the history of the characters. 2) Many new characters are introduced in this book. Use the appendix/Guide at the end of the book to familiar yourself with them. They are divided by location, quite clever. 3) If you are going to look for a simple, easy read for entertainment, this book is not for you; but if you love history, science, Europe, art, literature, geography, religion, philosophy, (food and wine for ADoW)…then, get this book (and the first).
(Thanks for Penguin Group for allowing me to access an advance ebook for review through NetGalley. This book will be published on July 10, 2012)(less)
I had such a fun time reading this book that I wished it went on forever…
I have no idea Eloisa James was a famous writer before I read the book. Evide...moreI had such a fun time reading this book that I wished it went on forever…
I have no idea Eloisa James was a famous writer before I read the book. Evidently she is a wildly famous historical romance author and an English professor in a University. However, I’m glad that I didn’t know her before I read the book, since I felt like reading the journal entries of a dear friend or the advice giving by another Mother friend with children of the same age. There is no way I could have the same experience if I had known how popular she was.
After recovering from breast cancer, Eloisa took a year off from teaching and her American life, sold her house and car, and moved to Paris for a year. She moved there with her Italian husband, who is also a professor, her teen son and her 10-year old daughter. This book is a collection from her blog and Facebook posts that she had written during that journey. What made this book so fun to read was Eloisa’s wit and humor, and her ability to make every minor detail of her Parisian life interesting.
Here’s one of her passage about skinny Paris women:
“I have discovered at least one secret of thin French women. We were in a restaurant last night, with a chic family seated at the next table. The bread arrived, and a skinny adolescent girl reached for it. Without missing a beat, maman picked up the basket and stowed it on the bookshelf next to the table. I ate more of my bread in sympathy.”
A regular street scene in Paris:
“Archetypal French scene: two boys playing in the street with baguettes were pretending not that they were swords, as I first assumed, but giant penises.”
She also wrote about museums, shops, churches, schools, statues, bridges, parks, French women and men, fashion, people, sights, wonderful Parisian food as well as not-to-miss paintings and pastries. Since I’ve been to Paris before and her detailed and accurate descriptions made me miss the city terribly. Her comparisons of French and American parenting were interesting to read, and quite similar to what Pamela Druckerman wrote about in Bringing up Bebe, another book about France. Her facts about Paris were reliable and accurate; her observations of subtle differences were fun to ponder over. Reading it was like experiencing everything Parisian first hand. Overall, I think it’s a book worth reading, for both people who had been to Paris or not, although it’s kind of short due to the format. (less)
I usually do not read books about love, unless the writing captivates me and the words/phrases in the book make me think. This...moreThis book is about love.
I usually do not read books about love, unless the writing captivates me and the words/phrases in the book make me think. This book drew me in from the first page until the end. The book was written in a narrative, story-telling style that is very intriguing and mythical. Having the majority of the story taking place in Burma also added to the allure.
The story begins when Julia Win arrived Burma, looking for her Father who left suddenly without a trace 4 years ago, leaving her Mom and two children. She met an older man in a tea house who asked her a question:
"Do you believe in love?" "Of course I am not referring to those outbursts of passion that drive us to do and say things that well will later regret, that delude us into think we cannot live without a certain person....a feeling that impoverishes rather than enriches us because we long to possess what we cannot, to hold on to what we cannot." "No. I speak of a love that brings sight to the blind. Of a love stronger than fear. I speak of a love that breathes meaning into life, that defies the natural laws of deterioration, that causes us to flourish, that knows no bounds. I speak of the triumph of the human spirit over selfishness and death."
Thus this unforgettable story begins, a love that transcends 50 years, from Kalaw to New York and back; a love that defies time and distance. The descriptions of Asia and mythical practices and beliefs were very accurate, though unbelievable for most westerners. The ending was quite satisfactory in my point of view. Although I would love to hear more about Julia and his Dad's life in New York, as well as more descriptions of everyday life in Burma, since this story captivated me so. I guess I just didn't want it to end...
I do have a question remain after finishing the book: Is the bond of romantic love is ultimately stronger than the familial one, or are the two incomparable? Can they be exclusive? If they are, which one would you give up?(less)
I'm the kind of person who avoid sad and depressing books when I'm not in an extremely happy and relaxed mood, which I'm not right now...so I was goin...moreI'm the kind of person who avoid sad and depressing books when I'm not in an extremely happy and relaxed mood, which I'm not right now...so I was going to pass on this book when I found out that it's about some teenagers with cancer. I mean, come on...we all have our own real life challenges and problems, who have time to read about some 16-year-olds complaining about life being unfair, unhappy and unfulfilled? However, my daughter was introduced to Green by reading his "An Abundance of Katherines", and really liked him, so I promised her to read along. I was so glad I read this book. It has just become one of my all time favorites.
The story was narrated by Hazel, a 16-year-old girl with progressive thyroid cancer that somehow weakened her lungs so she required an oxygen tank constantly. She met Augustus (Gus) Waters, a previous basketball star that lost a leg to bone cancer, at a support group. Well, of course, they were immediately attracted to each other.
The story is not about cancer, not quite. It's about love, loss, pain, hope, fear, struggle, friends, family...everything that is dear or not so dear to us. Both Hazel and Gus are mature for their age, very wise, humorous and a tad cynical. Reading their exchanges and thoughts was such an enjoyable experience, poetic at times.
"They always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is a not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying."
"I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you."
I'm not going to reveal the ending, or the middle here...which I usually don't like to do in my reviews. I will just say that anyone with a heart will definitely get something out of this book, whether if it's joy, pain or a big hole in that heart...(less)
I love funny and heart-warming memoirs, and this one is one of, if not the best. I'm glad I didn't know Dr. Tony Youn is so well-known, otherwise I wo...moreI love funny and heart-warming memoirs, and this one is one of, if not the best. I'm glad I didn't know Dr. Tony Youn is so well-known, otherwise I would have missed out on this little gem of a book, due to the fact that I usually avoid books written by Hollywood celebrities and the like.
Youn, a Korean American raised by very old-fashioned and stern Asian parents, recounted his childhood experiences up to and included his 4 years of medical school. His father, an OB/gynecologist, decided that Tony was going to be a surgeon right after he was born...and constantly reminded Tony of that; "Family Practice: Work all day, all night, weekend, make no money. Go broke! Surgery only thing. Psychiatry? No. Too many crazy people. Pediatrics? No. Little Kids, little dollah. Surgery! One proceejah, two thousand dollah!" Without doubt, Youn knew he was going to grow up becoming a doctor.
The book wouldn't be so fun to read if Youn lacked either the humor, or his deep understanding of life. I have read lots of so-called humor books that lack substance; the writer tried too hard to be funny. Youn has the talent of presenting us one joke after another within the same page or even paragraph. The humor is always just right. He knows exactly when to stop.
On the other hand, he has a pretty clear and deep sense of what life is all about; what make us human. One of my favorite passage was from his chapter on his Anatomy class, where he found a whole bin full of cadaver hands. This is what he wrote, "Doctors need to be detached, right? Impersonal. What is more personal than our face? Our hands. We use our hands for everything-to touch, to write, to build, to play, to cook, to clean, to feed, to feel, to guide, to caress, to love. Our hands serve us as extensions of our minds and our hearts....." It took Youn four year, or almost four years, to finally understand why he has become a doctor, and what he's going to do with it.
Every little joke, or experience in this book offers valuable insights for other students who's thinking about a medical career...or any student who's facing life. Youn is gifted in his writing style. He probably has the same witty personality that's wise and humorous. No wonder he's so well-known. This book deserves a 4.5 stars, and I'm eagerly waiting for another book.
Wow, a 5-star book and added to my all time favorite. The book received mixed reviews in Amazon, where lots of 5-stars were mixed with one and two sta...moreWow, a 5-star book and added to my all time favorite. The book received mixed reviews in Amazon, where lots of 5-stars were mixed with one and two stars. After finishing the book, I can finally see why. "A Discovery of Witches" is about a woman, who's well-educated and a history professor in Oxford. She came from a line of witches, but reluctant and never learned to use magic since her parents were killed when she was little. The author has in depth knowledge not only about history, but also science, architecture, Europe, culinary delights and wine..The book immediately reminded me of "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova, since both story took me to places in Europe that I've never been and historical periods that were so enlightening.
The bad reviews were from readers that complained about "lack of sex", "too much eating", "too much courting" or "too many food details...." or just plain "boring", but for a science, travel, and history buff like me, it's a delight. It's like a private tour to Europe and back in time, while learning about food and wine along the way. The complexity of the story and in depth descriptions of history and science can turn off younger readers...or readers looking for an easy read like Twilight. The story will be a delight for people who actually enjoy accurate scientific, historical, culinary and geographical information. The author has a wealth of knowledge and a unique style of writing and she's willing to share. Having one or two fully developed characters is fairly successful for a new author like her, but making me fall in love with almost ALL of the characters(>10), that had almost never happened in my reading life. I tremendously enjoyed "A Discovery of Witches"...I hope you do, too. Can't wait for the second book in the series...(less)