Sunday, May 20, 2018

Portraits of Resilience

by Daniel Jackson
MIT Press 2017

This is an important book. The students, faculty, and staff who are portrayed are bravely candid. 

The impetus for the book likely derived from and attempt to understand and impact on the high suicide rate of MIT students.  There are many reasons for this and it is not the purport of the book to delve into them.  Suicide rate is the tip of the iceberg of depression, anxiety and burnout and sometimes just bad luck that patients experience; and MIT with its rigorous curriculum may be a more stressful venue for students than most, if not all, other institutions of higher learning.

Portraits in Resilience is a must read for any in the caring or teaching professions.


Friday, January 12, 2018


by Cory Taylor, (2016)

Everybody dies too early or too late.  Sartre

Cory Taylor was a brave, articulate, outspoken Aussie 
who died in 2016, at age 61, of melanoma. This 
memoir is honest and raw. It describes a chaotic 
family with lots of dysfunction. 
At 141 pages, it's a short book that is a quick, easy 
educational read for care-givers and patients.

If you are interested see Google Docs Notes

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Mothers

by Brit Bennett

This is an important novel about the abortion with special reference to the African-American community.  It was written over a seven year period by an author who was 24 when it was published in late 2016.  It is a captivating story that gives insights into abortion, the black community, teenagers and the striving of some kids to choose a differentlife.

NY Times Review.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Spy of the First Person (2017)

This  Final Work by Sam Shepard Reveals His Struggle With Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Shepard explored his condition [ALS] through his writing — in vivid, precise prose that transformed his worsening symptoms into something akin to poetry.  It is an unvarnished, intimate portrait of a man facing the end of his life, as he reflects on his past and observes how his own body has betrayed him.

When Shepard began working on “Spy of the First Person” in early 2016, he could still write by hand. But a few months later, as his illness worsened, that became impossible. So his daughter, Hannah, bought him a recorder, and would set it up by him and leave him to dictate in the garden of his home in Kentucky.

Sam Shepard, NY Times Obit.

Monday, November 27, 2017


Why ‘Wonder,’ the Movie, Can’t Best the Book It’s Based On
By MARIA RUSSO NOV. 24, 2017

Like most people who love the best-selling book “Wonder,” I’ve been thrilled by the success of the movie version. It captures beautifully the book’s central premise, that we should choose to be kind and inclusive to people like Auggie Pullman, the protagonist, who was born with facial  deformities that are at first shocking to look at. The young actor Jacob Tremblay, wearing mask like makeup that rearranges his features, gracefully inhabits the role of Auggie not only by showing his pain and vulnerability, but also by convincing us of one of the secret weapons of R. J. Palacio’s  book: Auggie is fun, clever and generous, and the kids who call him “the freak” actually have the most to gain by his friendship. So I feel gratified that the movie seems to be catching on — but also, I’ll admit, a bit wary.

Also see: Wonder, The Movie

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Reclaiming Resilience

I was in the seventh grade when I first began to identify as trans and express my gender identity as a girl...This shift in my personal aesthetic made me feel good about my body, confident in my appearance and at ease in social settings where my peers were also exploring, changing and growing.

Janet Mock was a black and Native Hawaiian trans girl from a single-parent home. I was not naïve. I knew that struggle was part of my coming of age, so I wore a smile every day as part of my armor. I didn’t want anyone to see that I was in pain, that I felt like I did not belong and that my body, my clothing, my being was wrong.

From NY Times Op-Ed piece 2/23/2017

Janet Mock’s first book, Redefining Realness, is a brilliant, raw, educational journey with a transwoman that takes her from being a child and follows her through hormone therapy and transitional surgery in Thailand.  It is important reading for educators, parents, health professionals and anyone with an open mind.  I listened to the Audible book and that makes the story even more poignant as Janet narrates her own story.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Beyond the Thin Blue Air

by Lu Spinney

This important and riveting  memoir recounts the devastating injury sustained by the author’s son, Miles, a handsome, bright, and adventurous 29-year-old who crashed while snowboarding in the Alps.

About her book, the author writes, “there is a strange contradiction in writing about a private experience and making it public. I’ve just written a book about a subject that for five years I not only avoided but found bitterly painful to talk about. To discuss my son Miles’s situation with anybody other than family or closest friends felt like a betrayal of his privacy; it was too intensely private to share. And now I’ve written a book about it.

The book reflects on traumatic brain injury, minimal conscious states, long-term care, quality of life, the effects on the family of the injured person and much more.  It will be valuable reading for any health care worker and others interested in these issues.