Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blue Water, White Water (2011)

by Robert Samuels

Without self-pity, former New York City newspaperman and prize-winning magazine editor, Robert C. Samuels tells his own harrowing story of medical survival. He's filled it with tears, humor, love and triumph. "Audacious, brilliantly written, Blue Water, White Water, is a rare, first-person look at a world that is often closed to the average person. It is well worth your time," raves an early critic. "A riveting, vivid story!" Jan Dye Gussow, author of Growing Older: A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables. "Producers will pounce. This book IS a movie!" Carolyn Fox, Entertainment News Calendar. "Should be required reading for all medical and nursing students! A must read!" Nursing Professor Barbara Riso, R.N. "Wow! Written with an amazing ability to portray a true, horrific story that keeps readers glued to the page and laughing at the same time," Peggy Whalen, R.N. "A powerful description of genuine helplessness," Tyler Lucas, M.D.

This is an important and amazing insight into survival in a hospital setting. Chaotic and funny by turns, Samuels' story is an important one and is told with eloquence and, at times, gallows humor. DJE

There was a fine review by Abigail Zuger in the NY Times on March 12, 2012.

Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die (2011)

by John Katz

Jon Katz has written meaningfully about the cherished bond between humans and animals—especially our intense connection to our pets. Now, in this moving and thoughtful book, Katz addresses the difficult but necessary topic of saying goodbye to a devoted companion, and offers comfort, wisdom, and a way forward from sorrow to acceptance.

When Jon Katz first brought Orson home, he couldn’t predict how this boisterous border collie would change his life, most notably by inspiring him to buy Bedlam Farm. Yet for all of Katz’s years as a dog owner, Orson’s death shook him in a deeply profound way. “I was embarrassed by my grief,” he remembers. “What right did I have to fall to pieces over a border collie?”

Drawing on personal experiences, stories from fellow pet owners, and philosophical reflections, Katz provides guidance and support for those in mourning. By allowing ourselves to grieve honestly and openly, he posits, we can in time celebrate the dogs, cats, and other creatures that have so enriched us. With great compassion, Katz compels us to consider if we gave our pets good lives, if we were their advocates in times of need, and if we used our best judgments in the end. In dealing with these issues, we can alleviate guilt, let go, and help others who are undergoing similar passages.

Full of empathy, insight, and sage advice, Going Home is an invaluable guide and touchstone for anyone who has lost a pet. Jon Katz honors the animals that have graced our lives and reveals their truly timeless gifts: unwavering companionship and undying love.