kidzdoc Cooks, Reads and Resists in 2018
This topic was continued by kidzdoc Cooks, Reads and Resists in 2018, Part 2.
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Happy New Year, everyone! I'm Darryl, and this is, I think, my ninth year as a member of Club Read. I'm in my mid fifties, and for the past 17 years I have served as a pediatric hospitalist, a pediatrician who cares for hospitalized infants and children, in a major children's hospital in Atlanta. I'm a typical Atlanta transplant, growing up in metropolitan NYC and Philadelphia before spending four years in Pittsburgh for medical school before I moved to Atlanta 20 years ago for my pediatric residency, followed by my appointment at Children's.
My reading interests mainly consist of contemporary literary fiction and non-fiction from around the world; medicine and public health; literature and non-fiction about Spain (as I am seriously considering retiring to that fabulous country in 8-9 years); literature, poetry and non-fiction from the African diaspora; and, particularly in the past year and a half, current affairs, particularly in relation to the resurgence of racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and white nationalism, particularly within but also outside of the United States.
I love to cook, and I'll continue to post new recipes in Club Cucina, which Monkey created two years ago, and to travel, particularly to visit friends from LibraryThing I've made in the past decade, especially in the UK and the Netherlands as well as the US. I enjoy organizing and participating in LT meet ups, such as this one in Leiden, NL in 2016:
In past years I've spent most of my LT activity in the 75 Books group, and maintained a very sporadic presence here. Starting this year I'll make Club Read my primary home, as I'll have less time to spend online this year due to my elderly parents' failing health, and my need to study for the General Pediatrics Recertification Examinnation, which I have to take and pass in 2018 to maintain my status as a board certified—and employed!—member of the medical staff at Children's.
I also serve as the administrator of the Booker Prize group in LibraryThing, and will continue to do so. This year I'll also include the Man Booker International Prize, the reincarnation of the annual Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, as I've enjoyed a number of the longlisted books for that prize I've read over the past two years. I'm also very interested in the Wellcome Book Prize, another UK literary award that chooses the best books of the year written about medicine, health and illness. I've been an occasional participant in the Reading Globally group, and I hope to be more active this year than I have been in the past.
The Portuguese: A Modern History by Barry Hatton
The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
The Struggle for Catalonia: Rebel Politics in Spain by Raphael Minder
The Poor by Raul Brandão
1. Red Star Over Russia: Revolution in Visual Culture 1905-55 by Sidlina Natalia
2. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (review)
3. Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck
4. I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
5. Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr.
6. Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance by Mark Whitaker
7. In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer's by Joseph Jebelli
8. Mayhem: A Memoir by Sigrid Rausing
9. I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O'Farrell
10. The Devil Finds Work by James Baldwin
11. Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
12. Coltrane: The Story of a Sound by Ben Ratliff
13. Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty
14. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
15. Winter by Karl Ove Knausgaard
16. Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz
17. The Vaccine Race: How Scientists Used Human Cells to Combat Killer Viruses by Meredith Wadman
18. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder
19. The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris
20. With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix
21. Miró: The Life of a Passion by Lluís Permanyer
22. Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (review)
23. To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O’Connell (review)
24. Lisbon: A Cultural and Literary Companion by Paul Buck
25. A Man: Klaus Klump by Gonçalo M. Tavares
26. Sozaboy by Ken Saro-Wiwa
27. The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla
28. The Impostor by Javier Cercas
These categories are similar to the ones I created in 2017, and I'll make modifications to them throughout the year.
Classic 20th Century Fiction from the African Diaspora
Blind Man with a Pistol by Chester Himes
The Emigrants by George Lamming
The Famished Road by Ben Okri
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (re-read)
Maps by Nuruddin Farah
Moses, Man of the Mountain by Zora Neale Hurston
Native Son by Richard Wright
Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
Sozaboy by Ken Saro-Wiwa
Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins
Notable 21st Century Literature from the African Diaspora
Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa
Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett
Black Deutschland by Darryl Pinckney
The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah
Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat
That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott
The Drift Latitudes by Jamal Mahjoub
Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
Foreign Gods, Inc. by Okey Ndibe
Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Juice! by Ishmael Reed
Ladivine by Marie NDiaye
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Pym: A Novel by Mat Johnson
Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
Wading Home: A Novel of New Orleans by Rosalyn Story
Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
Nonfiction from the African Diaspora
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Beyond Black and White: From Civil Rights to Barack Obama by Manning Marable
Black in Latin America by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith
The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth by Orlando Patterson
Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil by W.E.B. Du Bois
Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin
The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness by Kevin Young
If They Come in the Morning … : Voices of Resistance, edited by Angela Y. Davis
In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture by K. Anthony Appiah
Known and Strange Things: Essays by Teju Cole
Letter to Jimmy by Alain Mabanckou
The Lights of Pointe-Noire by Alain Mabanckou
Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman, Jr.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City by William Julius Wilson
A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music by George E. Lewis
Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
Tradition and the Black Atlantic: Critical Theory in the African Diaspora by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
Autobiographies, Biographies and Memoirs from the African Diaspora
Aké: The Years of Childhood by Wole Soyinka
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
Black Boy by Richard Wright
Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
Frantz Fanon: A Biography by David Macey
I Never Had it Made by Jackie Robinson
The Last Holiday: A Memoir by Gil Scott-Heron
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Mingus Speaks by John F. Goodman
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim by Justin Gifford
Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson by Wil Haygood
Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter by J. Nozipo Maraire
The Man Booker International Prize 2018 Longlist: TBD
The Man Booker Prize 2018 Longlist: TBD
Iberian Literature and Nonfiction
A Bad End by Fernando Royuela
The Calligraphy of Dreams by Juan Marsé
Catalonia: A Cultural History by Michael Eaude
The Dolls' Room by Llorenç Villalonga
Fado Alexandrino by António Lobo Antunes
The Gray Notebook by Josep Pla
The Inquisitors' Manual by António Lobo Antunes
Life Embitters by Josep Pla
The Moor's Last Stand: How Seven Centuries of Muslim Rule in Spain Came to an End by Elizabeth Drayson
The New Spaniards by John Hooper
Obabakoak by Bernardo Atxaga
Paris by Marcos Giralt Torrente
Private Life by Josep Maria de Sagarra
The Selected Stories of Mercé Rodoreda
The Struggle for Catalonia: Rebel Politics in Spain by Raphael Minder
Things Look Different in the Light by Medardo Fraile
The Yellow Rain by Julio Llamazares
Medicine, Illness and Public Health
AIDS at 30: A History by Victoria A. Harden
An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine by Howard Markel
Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic That Remains One of Medicine's Greatest Mysteries by Molly Caldwell Crosby
Asthma: The Biography by Mark Jackson
Bedlam: London and Its Mad by Katharine Arnold
Death in a Small Package: A Short History of Anthrax by Susan D. Jones
Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Doctors Without Borders by Dan Bortolotti
Jonas Salk: A Life by Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs
The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science by Douglas Starr
The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in Our Times by Barbara Taylor
Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine by Andrew Scull
Madmen: A Social History of Madhouses, Mad-Doctors & Lunatics by Roy Porter
The Man Who Closed the Asylums: Franco Basaglia and the Revolution in Mental Health Care by John Foot
Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disorder by David Healy
Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser, MD
The Price of Silence: A Mom's Perspective on Mental Illness by Liza Long
Proper Doctoring: A Book for Patients and Their Doctors by David Mendel
States of Mind: Experiences at the Edge of Consciousness by Wellcome Collection
Reading Globally in 2018: Quarterly Reads
1. Travelling the TBR
2. Japan and the Koreas
3. Between Giants: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
4. Tradition and Change
Voices of Color/Social Justice
Al' America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots by Jonathan Curiel
Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones
A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery by E. Benjamin Skinner
Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America by Tiny, aka Lisa Gray-Garcia
To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War by John Gibler
Dying to Live: A Story of U.S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid by Joseph Nevins
The Ethics of Identity by Kwame Anthony Appiah
Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America, edited by Rubén G. Rumbaut and Alejandro Portes
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
For the Muslims: Islamophobia in France by Edwy Plenel
The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla
A History of Violence: Living and Dying in Central America by Óscar Martínez
The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen by Kwame Anthony Appiah
How Does it Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi
Howard Zinn on Race by Howard Zinn
Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation by Ray Suarez
Latino Immigrants and the Transformation of the U.S. South by Mary E. Odem
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
The Mosaic of Islam: A Conversation with Perry Anderson by Suleiman Mourad
The Muslims Are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror by Arun Kundnani
The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America by Andrés Reséndez
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture by Hisham D. Aidi
Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties by Karen L. Ishizuka
Trans: A Memoir by Juliet Jacques
Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move by Reece Jones
We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness by Alice Walker
What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam by John L. Esposito
Who Are We: And Should It Matter in the Twenty-First Century? by Gary Younge
2018 Wellcome Book Prize longlist:
*Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
*The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris
In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli
Plot 29: A Memoir by Allan Jenkins
The White Book by Han Kang translated by Deborah Smith
*With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix
Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty
*To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O’Connell
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell
*Mayhem: A Memoir by Sigrid Rausing
Behave: The Biology of humans at our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky
*The Vaccine Race: How Scientists Used Human Cells to Combat Killer Viruses by Meredith Wadman
2017 Wellcome Book Prize longlist:
*How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
*When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
*Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal (alternate title: The Heart: A Novel)
The Golden Age by Joan London
Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant
*The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
*The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes by Adam Rutherford
Miss Jane by Brad Watson
*I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
Many of us who are long time members of Club Read were friends of rebeccanyc, who died last summer. I had the pleasure of meeting my "book sister" once, and she was both one of my first friends on LibraryThing, and a huge influence on my reading. We were both huge fans of Mario Vargas Llosa and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, and we share just over 400 books in our LT libraries.
I intend to honor her in 2018 by reading at least 10 books that we share in common.
In Memory of RebeccaNYC
1984 by George Orwell
The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa
Haiti After the Earthquake by Paul Farmer
The Green House by Mario Vargas Llosa
The History of the Siege of Lisbon by José Saramago
The Lights of Pointe-Noire by Alain Mabanckou
The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Metro Stop Paris: An Underground History of the CIty of Light by Gregor Dallas
Of Africa by Wole Soyinka
Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
I would be happy to set up a separate thread to honor her memory if others are interested in joining me.
Planned reads for January:
How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
The Lights of Pointe-Noire by Alain Mabanckou
Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr.
No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein
Rotten Row by Petina Gappah
Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Glad to see you're back, Darryl! Your list of planned reads for January looks fantastic - I'm particularly interested in the Moss and Ward novels.
Question for you (and anyone else who would like chime in): in my grade 12 English class, one of our units has students pick a nonfiction book from a list of 20-30 to read. We have them organized by theme, and the list could use some refreshing. Any nonfiction recommendations that could be read by the average 17 year old? Our categories are: Math, Numbers, and Accounting; Personal Struggle and Triumph; History and War; Horrific Events/Disasters; Science/Social Science; The Arts; and Social Justice. Any input would be most appreciated!
>13 Cait86: Hi, Cait! It's great to see you back as well, and I look forward to your reading plans as well. Signs for Lost Children is the sequel to Sarah Moss's superb novel Bodies of Light, which Rachael (FlossieT), Fliss (flissp) and I all loved. The two of them said that Signs for Lost Children wasn't as good as Bodies of Light, but that it was definitely worth reading. We all enjoyed her latest novel, The Tidal Zone, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Wellcome Book Prize.
I'll have to give some thought to your question. I'll post a reply on your thread in a day or two.
Okay, starred here as well. Yikes! Now I'll have to keep you with you in two places! : )
Best wishes, Darryl! Dropping my star too.
>9 kidzdoc: Setting up a theme read in memory of RebeccaNYC sounds like a very good idea.
>15 Berly: Hi, Kim! It will probably be easier for you and other 75ers to follow me there, although you are more than welcome to do so here.
>16 thorold: Hi, Mark! I didn't follow your thread closely in 2017, but I will do so this coming year, as your detailed reviews of books and authors unfamiliar to me is very interesting.
Thanks for your input. I'll plan to set up a thread in memory of Rebecca later today or tomorrow.
Just dropping off a star over here, as well.
ETA: I didn't know Rebecca well but I admired her greatly. I will join in for some of those books ~~ and thank you for setting up a thread. I love this reading community and I love how we honor those we lose. xo
>13 Cait86: - Hi there,
Not sure if this fits your request but I found Daniel Tammet's Born On a Blue Day to be a really compelling read. Here's what I just grabbed from a quick google, that may confirm my impression that this could work for you:
Daniel Tammet - Wikipedia
Daniel Tammet. (born 31 January 1979) is an English writer, essayist, translator, and autistic savant. His 2006 memoir, Born on a Blue Day, about his life with Asperger syndrome and savant syndrome, was named a "Best Book for Young Adults" in 2008 by the American Library Association Young Adult Library Services magazine.
Favorite Books of 2017
The Assault by Harry Mulisch
Autumn by Ali Smith
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
The Speed of Light by Javier Cercas
The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge
The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I’ll probably follow along over here then Darryl.
>22 kidzdoc: I’m having a really hard time choosing my best of. 2017, at the moment I’m looking at 4 novels, 13 non-fiction and 2 volumes of poetry, but I won’t make my mind up until 30 December.
I have the Coates near the top of the. ‘Early 2018’ pile.
>9 kidzdoc: I like that idea. I came upon one of Rebecca’s gifted volumes recently too.
>23 Cait86: Same here, Cait. I was excited to learn that Kwame Anthony Appiah was chosen as the chair of judges for 2018, so hopefully it will be another good year for the Booker Prize.
At least two other LTers listed Home Fire in their lists of favorite reads for 2017. It's probably my favorite novel of the year. Reservoir 13 just missed making my top 10 list.
>24 Caroline_McElwee: Good to see you here, Caroline. I look forward to your thoughts about We Were Eight Years in Power.
I just purchased eight more ebooks from Verso's end of year sale, for a total of $7.00 (seven cost $1 each, and one book was free):
The Age of Inequality: Corporate America's War on Working People by Jeremy Gantz
The Anti-Inauguration: Building Resistance in the Trump Era by Anand Gopal, et al.
C.L.R. James: The Artist as Revolutionary by Paul Buhle
De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views for a Multi-Colored Century by Elizabeth Martínez
Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School by Stuart Jeffries (recommended by Diana)
The New Poverty by Stephen Armstrong
A People's History of the French Revolution by Eric Hazan
War Primer by Bertolt Brecht
I bought four other ebooks earlier this week:
Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump by David Neiwert
The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale
October: The Story of the Russian Revolution by China Miéville
Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives by Peter Orner
Verso's print books are 50% off, and the ebooks are 90% off, and are either free or cost $1.00 each. The sale ends on January 1st.
I am resisting buying anymore E-books till i have read a good chunk of my unread ones, funnily enough when i dropped into to library today October: The Story of the Russian Revolution was there ... so picked it up
>27 roundballnz: Admittedly I purchased every Verso book published this year that was of interest to me; it's hard to pass up ebooks that cost more than $1.00, and if time wasn't a consideration I would read all 12 books I bought in 2018.
Well done on getting October. I look forward to your thoughts about it, as I assume that you'll read it before I do. I'm far more interested in learning more about the Russian Revolution after the three or four centennial museum exhibitions I saw in London this year, two at Tate Modern last month, and at least one at the Royal Academy of Arts earlier this year.
Darryl, it's wonderful to see that CR will be your primary hang-out this year! You're way more ambitious and productive than I, but I love reading your posts. I'm looking forward to your review of AIDS at 30 - I read widely in the early years, watched friends die, and I'll be interested to see what the overview is now and whether it's worth catching up. Have a great year of reading! (But where do you get the time??? I'm retired and couldn't keep up with you.)
Thanks, Marge! I haven't been a good member of Club Read in years past, as I've spent far too much time trying to keep up with the flurry of threads in the 75 Books group and spent less time reading, writing reviews, and reading the excellent reviews here. I'll stay active in both groups, but I intend to spend much less time online, especially after I return to work on Tuesday.
I hope to get to AIDS at 30 this year. I'll almost certainly read How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS, though. HIV/AIDS is still very prevalent in Atlanta, where I work, although it doesn't seem to be as rampant as it was in the late 1990s, when I was a resident and saw a sizable number of pediatric AIDS patients.
But where do you get the time???
Ha! That's a question I am frequently asked by my colleagues at work, most of whom are amazed at my reading output. I watch essentially no television, unlike many of them, which provides me with many more hours to read on work days and especially off days than they have. I'm also single and childless, which helps as well.
I'll post my last review of 2017 here, since I wrote it not long ago.
Humanity: How Jimmy Carter Lost an Election and Transformed the Post-Presidency by Jordan Michael Smith
This Kindle Single describes the downfall and public disgrace of President Jimmy Carter, after his resounding defeat to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential election, and his resurrection and reinvention after he left the White House, which transformed and transcended the role of former US presidents, earned him the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, and assured that he would be remembered as a humanitarian, a compassionate Christian, and an influential world leader, rather than the bumbling, ineffectual and inflexible president that he was widely perceived as being.
In the aftermath of the devastating presidential defeat, in which he lost 44 of 50 states to Reagan, Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn returned to their home in Plains, Georgia both humiliated and impoverished, due to the failure of the family business. His sister, Ruth Carter Stapleton, encouraged him to embrace Christ in the 1960s, when he became a born again Christian, which was influential in his moral beliefs as a politician, but also a hindrance as it led to his inability to achieve compromises and build coalitions with opponents during his presidential years. These strongly held beliefs did serve him well as a private citizen, as he decided to use his former position to accomplish good deeds and influence others. First, he dedicated the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center, located in the heart of Atlanta, to the goals of world peace, eradication of communicable illnesses in developing countries such as Guinea worm disease and river blindness, and the oversight of important elections throughout the world. He and Rosalynn were also influential in transforming Habitat for Humanity from a small organization dedicated to building homes for the poor into a multimillion dollar organization operating throughout the country.
Jordan Michael Smith does a fine job in chronicling Jimmy Carter's post-presidential activities, and his influence on the presidents who have succeeded him into using their position as former world leaders to benefit humanity, instead of enriching their own coffers, as Carter's predecessors were best known for. "Humanity" is a readable and informative introduction to this fine man, who has inspired untold public officials and private citizens to follow in his footsteps.
>32 baswood: Most of us who live in Atlanta are fond of Jimmy Carter as well, Bas. The Carter Presidential Library is close to my home, a little more than three miles away. I'll go there in mid-January to see Kevin Young talk about his latest book, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News, which was chosen for the 2017 National Book Award for Non-Fiction. Young is a professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University here in Atlanta, where I completed my residency in Pediatrics, and he serves as the poetry editor of The New Yorker and as the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library. I don't own this book yet, but I'll buy it at the reading if it's available, which it should be, or beforehand if it isn't.
Yes, Carter has certainly shown that, presidential success or not, the high profile can give one the opportunity to do really good things for the world. I admire him greatly.
But on another note, Darryl, ahem, why, oh why, did you have to mention the Verso sale??? Now I've got 6 new books on my Kindle TBR shelf:
The S Word by John Nichols
The Balfour Declaration: Empire, the Mandate and Resistance in Palestine by Bernard Regan
October: The Story of the Russian Revolution by China Mieville
Ten Myths About Israel by Ilan Pappe
The Age of Jihad: Islamic State and the Great War for the Middle East by Patrick Cockburn
The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale
Happy New Year, Darryl. May it be better than last year. Of course I’m following and happy you’ll focus here. I do think you need a few more themes, though.
Hi Darryl, wonderful reading plans and recommendations as always. I'm glad you'll be here more as I find I can't keep up with the 75 Books threads! I look forward to keeping up with your reading, culture and travel this year (and perhaps sharing some of it in Edinburgh if we manage to coincide)!
Thanks for setting up the thread in memory of RebeccaNYC, what a great idea.
Hi Darryl--like you I will probably be concentrating most of my LT time over here in Club Read.
Several of our favorites of 2017 coincide: Home Fire, Lincoln in the Bardo, The Gene, and Another Day in the Death of America. I read it years ago, so it was not in my 2017 list, but The Assault is also a favorite. I also included Reservoir 13, which you say just missed your list.
I see you are reading Sing, Unburied Sing. I loved Salvage the Bones, and was so looking forward to Sing, Unburied Sing, but I was terribly disappointed in it. I won't say why now, to avoid spoilers for you (don't know how far into the book you are--the beginning was great), but I'm interested to see what you think. My review explaining my reasons is on the book page.
>34 auntmarge64: Spot on, Marge. Jordan Michael Smith, the author of Humanity, did a nice job of comparing Jimmy Carter's post-presidential activities with those of his predecessors, who mainly used their former positions as world leaders for personal financial gain, particularly Gerald Ford, and the presidents who followed him, who have been more likely to use their influence for the public good.
Oops...sorry about mentioning the Verso Books end of year sale. At least it wasn't costly, right?!
>35 dchaikin: 😄 Thanks, Dan! I am determined to have a more focused and productive reading year in 2018, despite personal challenges that will make it more difficult to do so. I actually do have one other undeveloped theme that I would like to focus on, either this year or in 2019, which would involve reading the works of liberal theologians like Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cornel West, and books by moral philosophers such as Kwame Anthony Appiah.
>36 wandering_star: Thanks, Margaret. I've also had a hard time keeping up with threads in the 75 Books group, and unfortunately my OCD tendencies have meant that I've spent more time trying to catch up there than reading the excellent reviews and thoughtful comments in Club Read. I have several good friends in 75 Books, including a not insignificant numbeer of members who I meet up with in person on a regular basis, so I'll remain active in that group for the foreseeable future.
I hope to be able to go back to Edinburgh this coming August. However, my parents' health has taken a decided turn for the worst in the past six months, and they are in need of much more help now than they did a year ago, which will undoubtedly put a huge dent in my travel plans for this year. I'll book a refundable hotel room for Edinburgh this week, and hopefully I'll be able to meet up with you, Fliss and others for the Festivals this summer.
I'm glad that you and others liked my idea to honor rebeccanyc in 2018, and hopefully that will be a good way to honor her, and what she meant to this group, and to LibraryThing.
>37 arubabookwoman: - I agree that Sing, Unburied, Sing was not as good as Salvage the Bones, but I did not dislike it. Regarding your reviews,
>37 arubabookwoman: That sounds good, Deborah. Yours is one of the threads that I have neglected the past year or more, so I intend to follow you more closely in 2018, especially since our reading tastes are quite similar, as you mentioned. I think I liked Reservoir 13 a bit less than you, others and especially Rachael (FlossieT) did. Rachael recommended it to me last year, when she and her husband invited Fliss (flissp) and me to Sunday roast at their home in Cambridge in April, well before the Booker Prize longlist was announced. I did enjoy it, though, and IMO it was certainly deserving of a spot on last year's Booker Prize longlist.
I'm now 1/3 of the way through Sing, Unburied, Sing, and I'm enjoying it so far. I briefly glanced at your review a couple of days ago, and saw that you weren't that keen on it. I'll almost certainly finish it by this weekend, and I'll be sure to post a review of it this week or next.
>38 kidzdoc: Really sorry to hear about your parents, Darryl. I hope they have a good year.
Ahh your organization & lists always make me so jealous! XD So glad you're going to be more over here again this year! That's another incentive for me to try to be around more, haha.
Sorry to hear about your parents, hopefully things are able to improve a bit for them.
>38 kidzdoc: Have you read much about King before? I think he actually wasn't much of a theologian, just a very intelligent insightful man. I'm currently finishing up I may not get there with you: the true Martin Luther King, Jr which has been quite enlightening, both good & bad. I'm not quite done, but I'd likely recommend it to anyone looking to get a clear full picture of him. :)
I'm intending to start Sing, Unburied, Sing shortly as well. J bought it me for Christmas.
>1 kidzdoc: Club Read my primary home
Hmm, your 75er thread has over twice as many posts, but maybe that is Other People and not you.
Happy New Year!
75ers are super chatty, which is why I've never been inclined to go over there. Not that there's anything bad about that, just I could never possibly keep up with anything at all with the crazy amount of posting, so would wind up off sitting in the corner alone, lmao.
Making a note of your thread. Looking forward to following your reading again.
Happy New Year, Darryl! I'm looking forward to more chat about books, art, theatre, food, current affairs and everything else - online if not in person, this year. I hope you had a good Christmas and New Year with your folks, and that their health stabilises in the coming months.
Wishing you a year of great reading and travels!
>13 Cait86: Not sure it quite fits the theme, but I love The Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford Stoll. It might fit into Math, Numbers, Accounting. Stoll was a junior sysop in...Berkeley? in the early days of the World Wide Web, and discovered some slight discrepancies in his data (well explained, since he was just figuring out computers himself at the time). He tracked them down, tracked who was doing what through the Web, and ended up uncovering a spy...and then had to convince those who could actually deal with a spy what he'd found. The tech is very retro (mainframes, and this new email thing), the quest is complicated, but he's an excellent writer and I found (find) it fascinating. I've probably read it half a dozen times. I didn't read it the first time until I was probably in my mid-twenties, but I think it would be quite as accessible to someone around 17.
I've read some of his other work, which is just as well written but it turns out he's a digital curmudgeon. It is therefore rather amusing, unintentionally (this "internet" thing is useless, people say they can use it for learning but it doesn't go fast enough for videos and email is too complicated and waah wahh...).
And if you have kids who would enjoy the gory - I just finished The Knife Man about John Hunter who pretty much single-handedly developed scientific surgery (as opposed to cutting by the rules of the classical medical books, from Roman times). Lots of literal blood and gore, as he performed thousands of dissections of people (mostly grave-robbed bodies) and animals; quite a bit about medical "science" of the day and how he and his students transformed it. Could fit into Science or Personal Struggle. It does end sadly, as he died abruptly and a lot of his work was suppressed or destroyed - but despite that, his work and that of his students (some of whom have names people will recognize) changed the medical world entirely.
>51 jjmcgaffey: Thanks Jennifer! Those are both great suggestions, and I will share them with my colleagues. Your first suggestions makes me realize that we should probably have a tech category, since that is a major area of interest for a lot of kids.
>42 wandering_star: Thanks, Margaret. I also hope that 2018 will be a better year for my parents than 2017 was, but I fear that won't be the case.
>43 .Monkey.: Hi, Monkey! I'm glad that you'll also participate in Club Read more often in 2018. My presence here will be mainly limited to my days off from work, for at least the first quarter of the year or until the inpatient census slows down. We had a quiet start to the year, but by week's end there were nearly twice as any patients on the General Pediatrics census. The busier we are the longer our days are, and the less time I'll have to read and to post on LT on work days. Fortunately I'm off this weekend, but I'll use today to mainly catch up on sleep and finish Sing, Unburied, Sing, and tomorrow to go to the supermarket, cook for the upcoming work week, and do other household chores.
Thanks for your kind comments about my parents.
You may be right in your assessment of Martin Luther King, Jr. as less of a theologian than a deeply religious and moral man, especially in comparison to Reinhold Niebuhr and others. I really need to read more of MLK's works, especially since he is a native Atlantan; the barbershop I go to is located on the same intersection as Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Daddy King, MLK's father, served as pastor in the first half of the 20th century, and a short walk away from the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site, where his grave is located.
>44 Caroline_McElwee: I'm glad to hear that you're also enjoying Sing, Unburied, Sing, Caroline. I have just over 70 pages to go, and I'll certainly finish it this afternoon. I noticed this week that this novel is the inaugural book of the new PBS News Hour-New York Times Book Club, which I'll follow closely and probably participate in frequently, as those are my two favorite media sources.
>45 SandDune: Excellent, Rhian. I look forward to your thoughts about Sing, Unburied, Sing.
>46 avidmom: Good to see you here, avidmom!
>47 qebo: Happy New Year, Katherine! I expect that my 75 Books threads will have far more posts than my Club Read threads will, and I'll do my best to stay active in both groups, but it will be far easier to do so here.
BTW, have you heard about the LT meet up in Philadelphia on Sunday, March 4th? I'm planning to go, provided that I can get time off from work that weekend.
>48 .Monkey.: Right, Monkey. It's a very chatty, and friendly, group, both online and in real life, as I've met over 20 75ers in the US, UK and the Netherlands, some of whom I would consider to be close friends. It would be hard to cut ties with that group, but I also value the members of Club Read, some of whom I've also met in real life (present company included!).
>49 mabith: Hi, Meredith! I followed your thread last year, although I didn't comment on it often, and I'll continue to do so in 2018.
>50 Sakerfalcon: Hi, Claire! Happy New Year to you, Karen, and the rest of your family. I think it's highly likely that I'll visit London in 2018, although perhaps not four times as I did last year. I'll also go ahead and make hotel reservations for Edinburgh for mid to late August for the upcoming Festivals, now that Fliss has mentioned that she'll be there from 17-22 August. I'll be off during the month of June again, and although I may not be able to spend the entire month in Europe, as I usually do, I don't see why I can't spend at least two weeks there. I'll keep you and others posted as the year progresses.
>51 jjmcgaffey:, >52 Cait86: Thanks for mentioning The Knife Man, Jennifer. I'll be on the lookout for it.
>54 kidzdoc: LT meetup
I had seen mention on... lauralkeet's thread? That's also the first weekend of the Philadelphia Flower Show, which I haven't been to in awhile, so perhaps I could combine events.
>53 kidzdoc: I'm glad, too! :D Well hopefully you will have more free time for reading and chatting in a little while. :)
Yes exactly, he was more for religion (and politics, as far as it concerned the bettering of the world, at least) than actually delving into theology. In the book I mentioned, Dyson actually lists a handful of names of those who influenced King, which you may be curious to look into instead of King himself. I took note of the names myself so I could do that very thing, lol. If you're interested, they were: Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Barth, Niebuhr (who you've mentioned already), Tillich, and Wieman.
Ooh I didn't realize you were so close to his area! Have you gone to the church? I'm Jewish and not religious, lol, but I think it'd be quite nice to see Ebenezer.
>55 kidzdoc: Indeed, they have always come off plenty friendly! And naturally it only makes sense to want to stick with friends! :) I've considered joining there before, but when I get bogged down (which in terms of LT means lots of threads with lots of posts in them) I get overwhelmed and tend to run away, hahaha, so it would not be the place for me. XD
Looking forward to your comments on Sing, Unburied, Sing. It's one my book club is tackling in April as well as one of the books competing in the Tournament of Books, so I'll be reading it soon.
>55 kidzdoc: Want it? I enjoyed it, but I don't think I'll reread any time soon, and I'd be happy to get it out of the house. PM me your address (or whatever address you'd like it sent to) and I'll pass it on.
>26 kidzdoc: wow, that is an incredible haul for so little money! I am amazed. I really want to read October: The Story of the Russian Revolution, and have it on my library WL. I am intrigued by The End of Policing, too, so will go check that one out....not necessarily from the library, I mean go to the book page here on LT and see what it is about :).
I couldn't get into Salvage the Bones so probably wont read Sing, Unburied, Sing.
Hi Darryl -- great to see you here. It's really tough to deal with declining parents, but I know yours are in the best of hands (and cooks). I've become more of a lurker than a really active participant, but I do read your thread with great interest.
>56 qebo: You're right, Katherine. The meet up will be held on Sunday, March 4, and although plans are still under development, we'll probably meet at 30th Street Station around 10:30 am, and wrap up the day at 4 pm. I've requested that weekend off from work and received a verbal acknowledgement from my partner who makes our work schedule, so once my group's March schedule is published I can figure out if I'll be going and make flight reservations.
>57 .Monkey.: Thanks, Monkey. All of those names of thinkers who influenced MLK are familiar to me, save for Barth and Wieman.
I've visited the old and new Ebenezer Baptist Churches, which are across the street from each other. They, and the barbershop I go to every two weeks, are within a 15 minute drive from where I live, so I should go there more often, especially when there are events during weekdays.
Yes, several current and former members of the 75 Books group are close personal friends, some of whom I see multiple times per year in the UK.
>58 RidgewayGirl: I'll probably write my review of Sing, Unburied, Sing next week, Kay, as I'll be off from work for all but one day between this coming Saturday through the following Friday.
>59 jjmcgaffey: Yes, I would like to read your copy of The Knife Man, Jennifer! Thank you in advance; I'll send you a PM with my home address shortly.
>60 LovingLit: I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy Salvage the Bones, Megan. That being the case I wouldn't recommend Sing, Unburied, Sing to you.
I'll probably read October and several of the other Verso e-books during my travels away from Atlanta this year, which is when I like to carry as few books as possible with me and use my Kindle whenever I can.
>61 janeajones: Thanks, Jane. It will be easier for me to participate later this year, when our inpatient census slows down. At the moment we are inundated with kids hospitalized as a result of contracting influenza, causing fevers and poor feeding in babies and toddlers, along with bronchiolitis and pneumonia in those age groups, and asthma attacks in toddlers and older kids. Last week there were over 350 kids who tested positive for influenza A or B throughout the Children's system, which is assuredly the worst outbreak I've seen in my 17+ year career as a pediatric hospitalist.
I'm glad your next week is light. I hope you're staying safe in this icy, snowy weather. I'll pick up my copy of Sing, Unburied, Sing next week, when I have an appointment near the bookstore I like.
Hi Darryl, thanks for the interesting review of Humanity.
You have very interesting categories and lists of planned reading, and I'll be following your reviews with interest.
>63 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay. That light week (off six days out of seven) was sorely needed, as the week before and this past seven day work stretch I finished last night were the busiest ones that I and my partners have had in the nearly 18 years I've worked at Children's. We hit the century mark for the first time late last year, as there were 100 or more patients on the General Pediatrics service in the hospital I work at (which has well over 300 beds), and this year we've had at least that many patients at least half a dozen times, including twice so far this week. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has reported that this is the worst flu season in recorded history, which has a lot to do with our increased census. I was the pediatrician on call for the hospital yesterday, and I admitted four kids with influenza from noon to 8 pm, along with a dozen others. At least three children have died in our PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) so far this year, and several of the two dozen or more that I've cared for have been quite ill, many of whom were critically ill and were admitted to the PICU before they were stabilized and transferred out to our service. The vast majority of the kids I've seen were unvaccinated, including all of the sickest ones, so even though the vaccine reportedly isn't very effective this year it probably prevents severe cases that require hospitalization. I've seen at least two dozen kids with influenza since the New Year, and I haven't become sick yet, save for mild URI (upper respiratory infection) symptoms that lasted for less than a day two weekends ago, so I'm left to conclude that the vaccine worked for me.
I did finish Sing, Unburied, Sing last month, but I haven't had time to write a proper review of it yet. I have a night shift (8 pm to 8 am) to work tomorrow night, but after that I'll be off for a full week, so I'll review it, and the other three books I read in January, then.
>64 chlorine: Thank you, chlorine! I'll write reviews next week, and I'll follow your thread closely as well. I've glanced at it, but I haven't looked at it in a couple of weeks, due to my busy work schedule.
My planned reads for February will consist of books written by or about authors from the African diaspora, in celebration of Black History Month. I'll try to read the following six books, four works of nonfiction, and two novels of historical importance:
The Devil Finds Work by James Baldwin
The Famished Road by Ben Okri (winner of the 1991 Booker Prize)
Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis (winner of the 2015 Giller Prize)
Frantz Fanon: A Biography by David Macey
Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman, Jr.
Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance by Mark Whitaker
>65 kidzdoc: I was just thinking the other day that you hadn't been here for some time. Sorry to hear this is because things were so difficult at your hospital. Apparently the flu is hitting hard here in France too. I hope your week off will allow you to rest and that things will be quieter when you come back to work.
>66 kidzdoc: I had no idea that February was Black History Month. Maybe that'll be a good occasion to finally read the autobiography of Malcom X which has been on my wishlist forever. Do you think it's accessible for someone who is French, white, and truth be said, quite ignorant of Black History in the US?
Man, I hadn't thought about matching my reading to the month at all, I should do that! I'd already yoinked Frederick Douglass from the shelf to read soon but with no particular time frame. I will pick out some more!
>67 chlorine: The autobiography of Malcolm X is excellent. It doesn't matter who you are.
>67 chlorine: Right. I and my partners, all pediatricians who work in a large (nearly 350 bed capacity) children's hospital just outside of Atlanta, are far busier from late fall through early spring than we are in the other 8-9 months of the year. I'm a 0.8 FTE (full time equivalent), but from November through February I'm a 1.0 FTE, so I work far more days than I usually do in the other months of the year, as our needs are far greater in our busiest four months. However, those extra days come back to me in June, when I'm off from work for the entire month without having to use any vacation time. I just have to get through the rest of this month, and the following eight months will be far less grueling (or should be, at least).
Yes, February is Black History Month in the US, although the celebration in the UK is at a different time of the year, and, IIRC, it only lasts for one week. It's been a very long time since I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which I did in high school...yikes...40 years ago, but I think that you would get a lot out of it, and perhaps more than I did back then, or would now.
>71 kidzdoc: Will do! I think I will start with him (after I've finished the Dostoevsky I'm currently reading), since I think he's been waiting the longest.
>67 chlorine: accessible, >70 kidzdoc: high school...yikes...40 years ago
Hah. I read it in 6th grade. 48 years ago. Plucked off either my parents' or the neighbors' bookshelves w/o context. Not the sort of thing that would've been assigned here at the time, even in a city school. I remember writing an illustrated book report, probably remaining essentially clueless.
>75 qebo: 6th grade is what, 11 years old? That does seem a bit young. :) What did you think of it at the time?
>65 kidzdoc: reading your schedule, just want to say thanks for what you and your staff do. Also, I’d love to read your thoughts on any of those ten books.
The longlist for this year's Wellcome Book Prize, my favorite literary award, which celebrates "the many ways in which literature can illuminate the breadth and depth of our relationship with health, medicine and illness," was announced earlier today:
Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀: Sickle-Cell Disease, Nigeria, Fiction
This Nigerian debut is the heart-breaking tale of what wanting a child can do to a person, a marriage and a family; a powerful and vivid story of what it means to love not wisely but too well.
Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything – arduous pilgrimages, medical consultations, appeals to God. But when her relatives insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. It will lead to jealousy, betrayal and despair.
Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria, ‘Stay With Me’ sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of its surroundings. Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ weaves a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about our desperate attempts to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak.
The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris: Surgical Medical History, Non-Fiction, Victorian History
The spellbinding story of a visionary British surgeon who changed medicine for ever. In ‘The Butchering Art’, historian Lindsey Fitzharris recreates a critical turning-point in the history of medicine, when Joseph Lister transformed surgery from a brutal, harrowing practice to the safe, vaunted profession we know today.
Victorian operating theatres were known as gateways of death, Fitzharris reminds us, since half of those who underwent surgery didn’t survive the experience. This was an era when a broken leg could lead to amputation, and surgeons were still known to ransack cemeteries to find cadavers. And in squalid, overcrowded hospitals, doctors remained baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high.
At a time when surgery couldn’t have been more dangerous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: Joseph Lister, a young Quaker surgeon. By making the audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection – and could be treated with antiseptics – he changed the history of medicine for ever. With a novelist’s eye for detail, Fitzharris brilliantly conjures up the grisly world of Victorian surgery, revealing how one of Britain’s greatest medical minds finally brought centuries of savagery, sawing and gangrene to an end.
In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli: Disease and Disorders, Medical Memoir, Non-Fiction
A fascinating and very human story of the Alzheimer’s epidemic that affects millions of people around the world – and the race against the clock to find a cure.
When Joseph Jebelli was 12, his beloved grandfather, Abbas, began to act very strangely. Before long, Abbas didn’t recognise his family any more.
Now a neuroscientist, Dr Jebelli has dedicated his career to understanding Alzheimer’s disease, which affects 850,000 people in the UK and many millions more worldwide. In this, his first book, Jebelli explores the past, present and future of Alzheimer’s disease, starting from the very beginning – the first recorded case more than 100 years ago – right up to the cutting-edge research being done today. It is a story as good as any detective novel, taking us to 19th-century Germany and postwar England; to the jungles of Papua New Guinea and the technological proving grounds of Japan; to America, India, China, Iceland, Sweden and Colombia; and to the cloud-capped spires of the most elite academic institutions. Its heroes are expert scientists from around the world – but also the incredibly brave patients and families who have changed the way scientists think about Alzheimer’s, unveiling a deadly disease that took us centuries to track down, and above all, reminding everyone never to take memory – our most prized possession – for granted.
Plot 29: A Memoir by Allan Jenkins: Gardening, Autobiography, Family History
A beautifully written, haunting memoir, ‘Plot 29’ is a mystery story and a meditation on nature and nurture. It’s also a celebration of the joy to be found in sharing food and flowers with people you love.
As young boys in 1960s Plymouth, Allan Jenkins and his brother, Christopher, were rescued from their care home and fostered by an elderly couple. There, the brothers started to grow flowers in their riverside cottage. They found a new life with their new mum and dad.
As Allan grew older, his foster parents were never quite able to provide the family he and his brother needed, but the solace he found in tending a small London allotment echoed the childhood moments when he grew nasturtiums from seed.
Over the course of a year, Allan digs deeper into his past, seeking to learn more about his absent parents. Examining the truths and untruths that he’d been told, he discovers the secrets to why the two boys were in care. What emerges is a vivid portrait of the violence and neglect that lay at the heart of his family.
The White Book by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith: Living, Grief, Death
A stunning meditation on the colour white – about light, about death and about ritual.
From the author of ‘The Vegetarian’ and ‘Human Acts’ comes a book like no other. ‘The White Book’ is a meditation on colour, beginning with a list of white things. It is a book about mourning, rebirth and the tenacity of the human spirit. It is a stunning investigation of the fragility, beauty and strangeness of life.
With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix: Palliative Medicine, End of Life, Memoir
In this unprecedented book, palliative medicine pioneer Dr Kathryn Mannix explores the biggest taboo in our society and the only certainty we all share: death. A tender and insightful book that will revolutionise the way we discuss and approach the end-of-life process.
Told through beautifully crafted stories taken from three decades of clinical practice, this book answers the most intimate questions about the process of dying with touching honesty and humanity. Mannix makes a compelling case for the therapeutic power of approaching death not with trepidation but with openness, clarity and understanding.
‘With the End in Mind’ is a book for us all: the grieving, the ill and the healthy. Open these pages and you will find stories about people who are like you, and like people you know and love. You will meet Holly, who danced her last day away; Eric, the retired head teacher who, even with motor neurone disease, gets things done; loving, tender-hearted Nelly and Joe, each living a lonely lie to save their beloved from distress; and Sylvie, 19, dying of leukaemia, sewing a cushion for her mum to hug by the fire after she has died.
These are just four of the book’s 30-odd stories of normal humans, dying normal human deaths. They show how the dying embrace living not because they are unusual or brave, but because that’s what humans do. By turns touching, tragic, at times funny and always wise, they offer us illumination, models for action, and hope. Read this book and you’ll be better prepared for life as well as death.
Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty: General Fiction, Literary Fiction
An intense exploration of love and uncertainty when a long-married couple take a midwinter break in Amsterdam.
A retired couple, Gerry and Stella Gilmore, take a holiday – to refresh the senses, to see the sights and to generally take stock of what remains of their lives. But amongst the wintry streets and icy canals we see their relationship fracturing beneath the surface. And when memories re-emerge of a troubled time in their native Ireland, things begin to fall apart. As their midwinter break comes to an end, we understand how far apart they are – and can only watch as they struggle to save themselves.
To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell: Non-Fiction, Transhumanism, Medical Ethics
An engaging and often astounding exploration of transhumanism, the philosophical and technological movement that is working on an update of the human machine.
Transhumanism is a movement whose aim is to use technology to fundamentally change the human condition, to improve our bodies and minds to the point where we become something other, and better, than the animals we are. It’s a philosophy that, depending on how you look at it, can seem hopeful, or terrifying, or absurd. In ‘To Be a Machine’, Mark O’Connell presents us with the first full-length exploration of transhumanism: its philosophical and scientific roots, its key players and possible futures. From charismatic techies seeking to enhance the body to immortalists who believe in the possibility of ‘solving’ death; from computer programmers quietly redesigning the world to vast competitive robotics conventions; ‘To Be a Machine’ is an Adventure in Wonderland for our time.
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O'Farrell: Memoir, Survival, Motherhood
A Sunday Times no 1. bestseller, this is a memoir with a difference – the unputdownable story of an extraordinary woman’s life in near-death experiences. Insightful, inspirational, intelligent, it’s a book to be read at a sitting, a story you finish newly conscious of life’s fragility, determined to make every heartbeat count.
A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. Shocking, electric, unforgettable, Costa Novel Award winner Maggie O’Farrell’s memoir is a book to make you question yourself. What would you do if your life was in danger, and what would you stand to lose?
Mayhem: A Memoir by Sigrid Rausing: Addiction, Family, Memoir
A searing memoir about the impact of addiction on a family.
In the summer of 2012 a woman named Eva was found dead from a drug overdose in a London townhouse. Now, writing with singular clarity and restraint, writer and publisher Sigrid Rausing tries to make sense of what happened.
‘Mayhem’ is a deeply personal memoir, and an attempt to understand the deadly and elusive syndrome of addiction. Rausing’s anthropological training informs the writing – the book is as sceptical and incisive as it is lyrical. She raises questions, and resists easy answers, drawing us into a deceptively simple structure. Addiction is a family disease, and Rausing gradually reveals its subtle dysfunctions, until we come to understand the text, the quest itself, as a sign of the author’s almost invisible entanglement in the disease. The mystery that unravels is that of Rausing’s own journey – the story of addiction from the point of view of a family member. It is a story that almost by definition has no resolution – the causation and course of the disease are rarely discovered. Rausing ends her book with a meditation on an art show in New York, entitled ‘Unfinished’ – an apt end to a book that is both a work of art and an investigation.
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky: Human Behaviour, Evolutionary Science/Psychology, Non-Fiction
A groundbreaking synthesis of the entire science of human behaviour by “one of the best scientist-writers of our time” (Oliver Sacks).
Why do we do what we do? ‘Behave’ is at once a dazzling tour and a majestic synthesis of the whole science of human behaviour. Brought to life through simple language, engaging stories and irreverent wit, it offers the fullest picture yet of the origins of tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, war and peace.
Robert Sapolsky’s ingenious method is to move backwards in time from the moment at which a behaviour occurs, layer by layer through the myriad influences that led to it.
We begin with the split-second reactions of the brain and nervous system…
Then we consider our response to sight, sound and smell in the minutes and seconds beforehand…
Next he explains the interactions of hormones, which prime our behaviour in the preceding hours and days…
He proceeds through the experiences of adolescence, childhood and fetal development that shape us over our lifespans…
And continues over centuries and millennia through the profound influences of genetic inheritance, cultural context and ultimately the evolutionary origins of our species.
Throughout, Sapolsky considers the most important question: what causes acts of aggression or compassion? What inspires us to terrible deeds and what might help foster our best behaviour?
Wise, humane, often very funny, ‘Behave’ is a towering achievement, powerfully humanising.
The Vaccine Race: How Scientists Used Human Cells to Combat Killer Viruses by Meredith Wadman: Medical Ethics, Immunology, Popular Science
The epic and controversial story of the major scientific breakthrough that led to the creation of some of the world’s most important vaccines.
Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant. There was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated fetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia produced the first safe, clean cells that made possible the mass production of vaccines against many common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would go on to effectively wipe out rubella in many countries.
This vaccine and others made with those cells have since protected hundreds of millions of people worldwide, the vast majority of them preschool children. Meredith Wadman’s account of this great leap forward in medicine is a fascinating and revelatory read.
The shortlist for this year's Wellcome Book Prize will be announced on March 20, and the prize will be awarded on April 30.
>72 chlorine: You're welcome!
I've read one book for Black History Month so far, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr., and I'm halfway through my second book, Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance by Mark Whitaker, which I'll finish later today or tomorrow.
>73 .Monkey.: Sounds good, Monkey.
>74 torontoc: I'm glad that you liked Fifteen Dogs, Cyrel. I may decide to read it this weekend, and save The Famished Road until next week.
>75 qebo: Well done, Katherine!
>76 chlorine: I'd also like to know what Kathering thought of The Autobiography of Malcolm X back then. I can't remember many details about it, but I did enjoy reading it.
>77 dchaikin: Thanks, Dan. This winter has easily been the worst of the nearly 18 years I've worked at Children's, mainly due to the influenza epidemic, which claimed me as a victim this weekend, after I finished a 9 out of 10 day stretch. Fortunately I'm off from work this week, so I can recuperate at home. As you've probably heard the vaccines available in the US are poor matches against the prevalent subtypes of influenza, A (H1N1), A (H3N2) and B. A significant number of my physician and nurse friends have also contracted the flu despite being vaccinated, and it has hit all of us hard. I've had daily fevers (100 F or higher) since Monday, and I was probably febrile during my Sunday night shift (8 pm to 8 am), the first day that I became noticeably ill. Last week there were over 500 kids who tested positive for influenza A or B throughout the Children's system, and apparently the influenza pandemic in the US has several more weeks to go.
>78 Sakerfalcon: Sounds good, Claire. I'll probably start reading The Famished Road sometime next week.
Thanks for the detail on the Wellcome longlist. So many book bullets there - I could pretty much enjoy most of those from your description.
>80 kidzdoc: what Katherine thought of
Sorry, age 11 has receded into the murky depths of my mind, so about all I remember is the fact itself along with bits and pieces about neighbors who wouldn't mean anything to you all.
>79 kidzdoc: Wellcome Book Prize
My first choice when I'm seeking suggestions for my RL book groups. Every so often I manage to be persuasive.
>79 kidzdoc: Aha! I have been looking out for this post. Some very interesting sounding books here. I will look forward to your reviews.
>80 kidzdoc: Sorry to hear you're sick Darryl. I hope you recover quickly.
I had never heard of the Wellcome book prize, this is quite interesting and the selection is nice!
Sorry to hear you've succumb to the flu as well. I had it before Christmas but sounds like it wasn't as bad as many others.
Hope you feel better soon, Darryl. The flu in the UK is pretty vicious this year too, with some of the media reporting on a near daily basis stories of children and young people who have succumbed from sepsis. As a parent of young kids I find this very alarming as the symptoms to watch out for reported by the NHS seem very general and difficult to differentiate from normal flu symptoms. What would raise alarm bells for you as the difference between the two?
Darryl, two of the Wellcome books appeal to me in particular: With the End in Mind and Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. Thanks for keeping us alerted to such interesting content! Hope you are doing better.
>89 VivienneR: Vivienne have you departed your thread from CR this year or have I missed it?
>90 AlisonY: Hi Alison, I've been dithering. I still haven't made up my mind. But I miss you all so I may be back.
I hope you are feeling better, Darryl.
Michael and I saw "Black Panther" today, have you seen it yet? We wanted to see it and support the film generally. I really enjoyed it.
I am not your negro won best documentary at the BAFTAs. Well deserved.
>93 Caroline_McElwee: - That is good to hear. You are right, it is very deserving. It is playing here again at my local doc cinema. I saw it when it first came out.
Oof. Another Monday is here, and another potentially grueling week on service. I didn't do much other than read and sleep this weekend, so it felt like one day off instead of two. I did finish two books from this year's Wellcome Book Prize longlist, In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli (excellent and inspiring), and Mayhem: A Memoir by Sigrid Rausing (mediocre and disappointing). I'm on the teaching service with the medical students and residents this week, and the kids are off from school due to winter break, so this should be an easier week at work, and hopefully I'll be able to catch up here before next weekend.
I'm nearly completely recovered from the flu, save for a lingering bronchitic cough and a hoarse voice. Most of my friends who have had the flu were sick for three weeks, and it's been 16 days since I first became ill, so I'm on par for the course.
Have a good week, everyone!
I'm glad you're on the mend!
I'll keep an eye out for In Pursuit of Memory.
Sending good wishes for a week that's as calm as possible, Darryl! I hope that cough goes away soon.
I can see why the Wellcome Prize is your favorite, that's a really great looking list of books. Definitely going to try to track some down.
Hi Darryl. Sorry you had the flu and I'm glad you're on the mend.
Your brief comment has piqued my interest in In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s. Part of me wants to stick my head in the sand but I do want to learn more about this terrifying disease.
I very much enjoyed Stay With Me last year and both I Am, I Am, I Am and Midwinter Break also look good.
It sounds like you'll be able to join our not-so-little meet up in Philly next month. I'm super excited to meet you!
>95 kidzdoc: Sorry to hear about the flu. Many of my friends have had it and the cough has gone on for as much as 6 weeks. Just being nosey....did you get the flu vaccine?
>54 kidzdoc: LT meet up in Philadelphia on Sunday, March 4th
Sorry you won't be there, but to the extent that I've been lurking on LT this year I can quite see that you would need a break.
D--Sorry to hear that you had the flu. Hope you are well on your way to recovery. Oregon is one of the few states not hard hit. Knock on wood.
Hi Daryl, finally caught up with your thread. Intimidated by the sheer number of postings here.
What did you think of Locking Up Our Own? It's been on my list for a while now & I am consciously trying to read more about race in America. I hope you have made it through flu season now.
Sorry that I've been AWOL here for nearly two months! My group had a hideous winter caring for patients in the hospital, which was easily the worst of the 18 winters I've worked as a pediatric hospitalist for Children's. I've also been busy with my elderly parents, who have both had significant health scares in the past six months requiring multiple hospitalizations. Fortunately things seem to be settling down and taking shape with them, and I'm now off of my concentrated winter work schedule, so I'll have more time to read, participate in Club Read...and travel!
I haven't left Atlanta since early January, but I'll visit my parents in the Philadelphia area from late May through early June, and then take my first vacation of the year from June 6-28. I'll spend one week in Lisbon, and meet up with deebee1, who is not currently active here but is well known to long time LTers; she lives there. Vivian (vivians) from the 75 Books group will also be there, and hopefully we'll be able to meet up; another LT friend may visit Lisbon as well. I'll spend three days in Coimbra and four days in Porto, then fly to Barcelona for a six day trip before I return to Atlanta. I'll go to Edinburgh for the Festivals from August 16-24, and meet up with Fliss (flissp) and probably Margaret (wandering_star) as I did last year, and in September I'll spend roughly two weeks in London, and meet up with my UK friends and with Joe (jnwelch) and Debbi Welch (walklover), two LTers who I regularly meet up with in London and Chicago, their home town. I think they are planning a short trip to Amsterdam, and since I cancelled my plans to go there in June I may join them, in order to meet Dutch LT friends that I've made on my visits there in 2015 and 2016.
If anyone is going to be in Portugal or Spain in June, please let me/us know!
My reading from now through June will focus on Portugal, starting with Lisbon: A Cultural and Literary Companion by Paul Buck, which I started reading on Monday.
>96 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay. It took nearly three weeks to fully recover from that case of influenza, which was similar to what my friends at work went through. Fortunately(?) I didn't have to take any sick days, as I was off from work for roughly 10 days during the height of my symptoms, including the 6 out of 7 days when I was running fevers nearly constantly.
In Pursuit of Memory was a superb read, but an even better one was With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Dr Kathryn Mannix, a British palliative care physician with more than four decades of experience. It, like In Pursuit of Memory, was chosen for this year's Wellcome Book Prize longlist, by Dr Mannix's book made the shortlist as well. I've read four of the six shortlisted books so far, and I'm certain that this book will be my favorite to win the prize.
>97 Sakerfalcon: Belated thanks, Claire! Sorry for the extremely tardy reply.
>98 mabith: Right, Meredith. The Wellcome Book Prize has now eclipsed the Man Booker Prize as my favorite literary award, as the books chosen for it since its inception have all been at least very good, with this year being no exception. I've read eight of the 12 longlisted books so far, and I plan to finish the shortlisted by the end of the month, in advance of the award ceremony on April 30, and the remaining two books later this year, before I go back to read the books from last year's longlist.
>99 janemarieprice: Thanks, Jane; I'm glad that you're fully recovered from the flu as well, although I'm sorry that you coughed for six weeks! Rats...I wish I had seen that recipe for honeyed lemons, although I'll definitely keep it in mind the next time I get a bad viral infection.
>100 EBT1002: Although In Pursuit of Memory and With the End in Mind cover two grim topics, Alzheimer's dementia and end of life care, both are well written, accessible to the lay reader, engaging, and provide the reader with hope and inspiration. Both books will undoubtedly make my 'Best Books of 2018' list.
I'll read Stay with Me next week, along with To Be a Machine by Mark O'Connell, to finish up the Wellcome Book Prize shortlist.
I'm sorry that I didn't make it to last month's LT meet up in Philadelphia, and won't make it to the one there in May. We'll eventually get together one of these days!
>101 tess_schoolmarm: I did get the flu vaccine; that is a requirement for the medical staff in the hospital I work in, and that is probably the case for all clinicians who care for patients in the US. In the past 25 years I've only developed two full blown cases of influenza, after being vaccinated every year from 1993, my first year of medical school, through 2017, and both times the vaccine was a poor match against the circulating strains and provided little or no protection to the majority of people who received it.
>102 qebo: Right, Katherine. I've done very little during my days off from service this year, other than catch up on sleep, do necessary chores, and read when I wasn't too brain dead to do so. I'm far better rested than I was at this time last month, and I'm now ready to start traveling and visiting friends.
>103 Berly: I'm glad that Oregon, unlike Georgia, wasn't badly hit by the flu, Kim. Sadly at least three children died due to complications of influenza in the hospital I work in earlier this year.
>104 fannyprice: Hi, fannyprice, it's great to see you here! I plan to be more active here in the coming months, now that life has slowed down considerably. I have a lot of mini reviews that I posted on Goodreads, including Locking Up My Own, which was announced as the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction earlier this week, and I'll start posting them here later this week or sometime next week. (I'm currently working the second shift (5 pm to 1 am), and so far I haven't needed to admit any patients to the hospital.)
We continue to have a few proven cases of influenza, based on the weekly Virometer report that Children's posts on Tuesdays. I think there were only five positive results last week, compared with nearly 600 in the worst week in late February. The CDC has reported that there may be a slight uptick of influenza B in the near future, but if it has taken place it's not a substantial one.
>105 kidzdoc: Really glad to hear that your parents' health situation has stabilised, Darryl.
>108 wandering_star: Thanks, Margaret. My mother has an adrenal tumor, probably a pheochromocytoma, that is producing excess amounts of molecules called catecholamines, which can cause severe hypertension, anxiety attacks and headaches, all of which she has had, and these episodes are worsening, as she has been admitted to the hospital at least three times in the past two months, and was sent home from A&E one other time. On Wednesday she had a follow up appointment with the endocrinologic surgeon at Penn (the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia) who I saw with her in November, along with a nephrologist who specializes in adrenal gland disorders, and she will have the gland surgically removed at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) on April 30. Fortunately I'll able to be there for the surgery, as I'm now off from work from April 28 to May 2 after one of my partners graciously agreed to cover my shift on the 30th. It's a laparoscopic surgery, so it should be relatively easy and simple, and she'll be observed for one or two days post-op. Hopefully this will take care of this recurrent problem.
>109 kidzdoc: I'm glad you've got some answers and that the surgery will go ahead while you're around. I hope it is successful.
>110 Sakerfalcon: Thanks, Claire. I think we're all optimistic that the surgery will be a successful one, and that it will eliminate many of the symptoms she has been suffering with for the past few months. These tumors are typically not malignant, so she shouldn't need chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
I made flight reservations for Philadelphia from May 23 to June 4, so hopefully we can meet up in early June.
I'm glad you're back! Caring for aging parents is quite a task, although I was pleased to know what a hospitalist was when they mentioned that my mother would be cared for by one during a hospital stay. I hope all goes well with your mother's surgery and her recovery is quick.
>111 kidzdoc: That would be great, maybe some time on Sunday 3rd. I'll be staying in Fort Washington.
Glad to hear there is some practical resolution to your mom's problem Darryl. I'm sure she will be relieved her three guys won't be far away.
I hope to catch up with you, Joe and Debbi in September. I will have started a new job by then, but have 2 weeks off planned 1-16 September, though will be in Northern Ireland 5-10 Sept. My first visit. Walking in my father's early footsteps with my sibs.
>112 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay! I hope that the hospitalist that cared for your mother provided her with good care. My parents have found it helpful for me to accompany them to their appointments, particularly when my mother and I saw the endocrinologic surgeon at Penn in November, as he and the surgery resident were able to explain the plan to me, so that I could explain it to my parents and brother afterward.
>113 Sakerfalcon: A meet up on the 3rd sounds good to me, Claire. I'll be in closer touch as the date approaches.
>114 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline. You're right in saying that my parents are both very pleased that I'll be able to be in Philadelphia for her surgery later this month, and will see them for two weeks in late May and early June. Hopefully I can see them for a week or so in July as well.
Congratulations on your new upcoming position! I've requested two weeks off in September to return to London, to coincide with Debbi & Joe's stay (IIRC they will be there from 6-25 September). I'll keep you in the loop when I get confirmation of my request.
Your parents are lucky to have your experienced assistance. I hope the procedure clears up your mother's problems.
Sending best wishes to your Mom -- lucky her that you are available to be there with her! Your Europe trip sounds wonderful as per usual. : )
>117 janeajones: Thanks, Jane. I'm very happy that I can be of help to them, as partial payback for the 50+ years that they supported, influence and encouraged me. After I accompanied my mother to her appointment with the surgeon in November I felt strongly that the adrenal tumor needed to come out, and after several attempts I was able to convince my father earlier this month that she needed to see him in follow up ASAP. He took it from there, got her an appointment to see him, and a nephrologist who works closely with him, on Wednesday, and both specialists agreed that the gland needs to come out. Thankfully the surgery will take place during a period where it was easy for me to make one simple switch to be able to be there with my parents and brother for a five day stretch before, during and after her surgery, rather than the following two weeks that would have required multiple schedule switches for me to be there.
>118 fannyprice: Thanks, Kris!
>119 Berly: Thanks, Kim! I'm chomping at the bit to visit Portugal, especially since meet ups with two and possibly three LTers in Lisboa are highly likely, especially with deebee1, one of my first two LT friends (along with akeela), who lives there. SqueakyChu put me in touch with a retired pediatrician who lives in Lisboa and runs a Little Free Library there, so I'll definitely make it a point to meet him and chat about our mutual interests in medicine, books, and life in Portugal as a retiree.
I've been far behind in posting book reviews on LT so far this year, so I'll start with the mini reviews I've posted to Goodreads so far.
Book #2: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
This searing and unforgettable novel, which deservedly won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2017, is set in the town of Bois Sauvage, a rural community along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. The book's main character is Jojo, a 13 year old boy who is wiser than his years and lives with his African American maternal grandparents, his young sister Kayla, and his mother Leonie, a troubled woman addicted to drugs and to her white lover Michael, the son of a racist town sheriff, who is nearing the end of a three year prison sentence at the notorious Parchman Farm in the Mississippi Delta. Jojo despises his neglectful mother, but admires his grandparents, particularly Pop.
Two ghosts appear throughout the novel, both young black men who died violently and represent the dark heritage of the Deep South. Their lives are intertwined within the stories of the living characters, which provides a cultural and historical backdrop to the narrative, and ties the past with the present.
Even though it's only the first week of January I don't think that I'll read a better or more memorable novel than Sing, Unburied, Sing in 2018. Jesmyn Ward has written another masterpiece, following her previous novel Salvage the Bones, which also won the National Book Award for Fiction, making her the only woman and the only person of color to win this prestigious award twice.
Naturally, as soon as I boldly proclaimed that Sing, Unburied, Sing would be my favorite novel of the year I liked the next one I read even better.
Book #3: Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck
This is an absolutely superb novel set in Berlin, in which a recently retired and widowed university professor in Berlin befriends several African refugees, who were forcibly expelled from Libya, migrated from Italy to Germany, and seek asylum in a country whose government does not want them. This may be the best novel I'll read this year.
I should probably stop making "Best of 2018" predictions in January! Having said that, Go, Went, Gone is still my favorite novel of 2018 to date. I attended Erpenbeck's talk about the novel at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last year, as she spoke alongside Jason Donald, who read from his somewhat similar novel Dalila. Go, Went, Gone was chosen for this year's Man Booker International Prize longlist, but disappointingly to me it didn't make the shortlist.
This book deserves a much better review than this one, so I'll re-read it and post some additional thoughts this summer.
Book #4: I Contain Multitudes: THe Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong
(2017 Wellcome Book Prize shortlist)
This fascinating and informative book by the acclaimed British science writer Ed Yong explores the symbiotic relationships between microorganisms and more advanced life forms, including humans, and how these beneficial and sometimes harmful interactions affect our bodies' health and ability to function effectively, and the features that allow pathogenic species to colonize and infect us. Yong describes historical studies of these relationships, along with current research that could potentially transform how we treat infections such as elephantiasis, river blindness and Clostridium difficile colitis in humans and similar devastating ones in other species.
Book #5: Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman, Jr.
Winner, 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction
This superb book by James Forman, Jr., a professor at Yale Law School, former public defender in the District of Columbia, and son of the late civil rights activitist and SNCC leader James Forman, picks up after Michelle Alexander's influential book The New Jim Crow in its analysis of the mass incarceration of and long prison sentences meted out to poor African Americans as a result of the War on Drugs that began in the 1980s. Forman demonstrates that these harsh policies, which have decimated individuals in poor minority communities, were championed in part by African American leaders such as former Washington mayor Marion Barry, former US Attorney General Eric Holder, and other prominent mayors, police chiefs, and politicians, in an effort to reclaim these communities from the ravages of the heroin epidemic of the 1960s and 1970s, and the crack plague of the 1980s and 1990s. These well meaning leaders did not foresee the detrimental effects of these policies on nonviolent and even violent offenders, who face imprisonment or the inability to get a decent job or stay employed if they are caught with, for example, small amounts of marijuana during traffic stops by police, and have led to an increase to police harassment, brutality and killing of young men who are caught Driving While Black or Walking or Standing While Black. Forman argues for a roll back in the harshest of these policies and sentences, starting with nonviolent offenders and juveniles who are first time offenders, and increased government and private programs to provide support to at risk youth who are trapped into making bad decisions and risk becoming unemployable and hardened criminals as a result.
Happy World Book Day, everyone! Earlier this morning I finished my fifth book from this year's Wellcome Book Prize shortlist, Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo, which was very good, and I plan to finish, or Pearl Rule, the last shortlisted book by this evening, To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O’Connell, which I anticipate that I'll loathe. It's a work of gonzo journalism (ugh) that describes the transhumanist movement, which I refer to as the "new eugenics". Fortunately it's a short book at 240 pages, but I'm not sure I'll make it that far.
I've now read nine of the 12 books longlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize, and I'll probably have read 11 of them by April 30, the date of the award ceremony, as I plan to also read Plot 29: A Memoir by Allan Jenkins this week. I just download the Kindle edition of the one remaining book, Behave: The Biology of humans at our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky. It's nearly 800 pages in length, so there is no way that I'll finish it by next Monday. This has been another outstanding year for the Wellcome Book Prize, and I'll post my longlist and shortlist rankings after I finish Plot 29.
>128 auntmarge64: I wish I did! My reading has tailed off significantly the past few years, as I used to be able to read well over 100 books per year but only read 50 (or less) last year. I'm doing more reading this year, but I've only finished 22 books so far, including the novel I finished earlier this morning. I've written mini reviews on Goodreads for at least half of the books I have read, so I'm posting them here in small batches, and will write reviews of the other books over the next month or two.
Book #23: To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O’Connell
2018 Wellcome Book Prize shortlist
Pearl Ruled after 70 pages. This work of "gonzo journalism" about transhumanism (the new eugenics) may be of interest to Silicon Valley geeks, sci-fi fans, and others who naïvely believe that humans can be cryopreserved and achieve immortality. As a Christian I find this movement to be morally repugnant, and the money spent trying to play God would be better used to support research to cure Alzheimer's dementia, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. This book was a curious and disappointing choice for this year's otherwise outstanding Wellcome Book Prize longlist, which concerns medicine and health rather than pseudoscience and fantasy, and in the 10 years that I've followed this prize this is easily the worst and least appropriate of the 50+ longlisted or shortlisted books I've read.
>131 janeajones: Ha! To Be a Machine never stood a chance with me, Jane. I would never have bought this if it wasn't chosen for the Wellcome Book Prize longlist: the topic is an offensive one to me; its inclusion meant that a far more appropriate book IMO was left off of the longlist; and, I dislike gonzo (garbage) journalistic style. I held my nose and skimmed through it, hoping to find a reason to continue, but after 70 pp I couldn't stand it anymore and couldn't justify wasting any more time on those loathesome transhumanists. I have no doubt that many people will like this book, but it's definitely not one for me.
Book #22: Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
2018 Wellcome Book Prize shortlist
This debut novel is set in Nigeria from the 1980s to the 2000s, and is centered on Yejide and Akin, who met as students at the University of Lagos and married soon afterward. Yejide's childhood was a difficult one, as her mother died just after giving birth to her, and as a result she was ignored and reviled by her father's other wives and her step siblings. Akin was the first son of a middle class family, whose strong willed and influential mother approved of his education and the lifestyle it afforded him, but imposed upon him her Yoruban beliefs, which she believed to be superior and more authentic than the Western culture he learned in school.
Yejide and Akin loved each other deeply, but fell into trouble when they were unable to conceive, to the great dismay and disfavor of Akin's mother, referred to as "Moomi" throughout the novel and his father's other wives. Moomi, believing that the problem lies with Yejide, searches for a second wife for her son, who must bear a child to preserve the family's lineage, even though his younger brother Dotun and his wife have already produced several children. After an extensive search she finds a second wife for him, and he reluctantly agrees to accept Funmi even though he does not wish to have relations to her, which damages the trust and love that Yejide had for him. Funmi does not bear Akin a child, and due to intense pressure from his mother and Yejide's burning desire to bear a child he hatches a secret plan to ensure that it will happen.
For the first 100 pages or so I had no idea why Stay with Me was an appropriate choice for the Wellcome Book Prize longlist, but once I realized where the story was going it became much more interesting, and its relevance as a book about medicine, health and illness became apparent. This was a very enjoyable and often gripping novel about marriage, childbirth, the pressures that supposedly well meaning family members can have on a young couple, and cultural differences, with a sprinkling of humor and the trouble that ordinary Nigerians faced under martial law in the late 20th century. I look forward to reading more of this talented young author's work in the near future.
I've now finished the shortlist for this year's Wellcome Book Prize, my favorite literary award, and read 10 of the 12 longlisted books, so I met my goal of finishing the shortlist before the announcement of the winner this coming Monday, April 30. I think I'll save the two remaining books until later this year. Here's my final shortlist rating:
1. With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix
2. The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris
3. The Vaccine Race: How Scientists Used Human Cells to Combat Killer Viruses by Meredith Wadman
4. Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
5. Mayhem: A Memoir by Sigrid Rausing
6. To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O’Connell
Dr Mannix's book about palliative care would be a great choice for the prize, but I would be satisfied if any of my top four books won. The Rausing was mediocre, and the O'Connell was an inappropriate and regretful choice for the longlist, nonetheless the shortlist. I'll post reviews of the other shortlisted books later today and tomorrow.
Book #20: With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix
This outstanding book, which was shortlisted for this year's Wellcome Book Prize and was written by a palliative care physician in the UK, describes several remarkable people she cared for at the end of their lives, their families and other loved ones, and her experiences and lessons learned during her four decades in clinical practice. Dr Mannix demystifies and humanizes the experience of death for her patients, their families, and especially her readers, as people who have or very likely will care for a dying person, and will ultimately succumb to death themmselves. In addition to being an engaging and, dare I say, heartwarming read, it is also richly filled with lessons and advice for current or future use.
With the End in Mind, similar to Atul Gawande's recent book Being Mortal, is an outstanding contribution to the topic of end of life care, and as such it is a book that would be of benefit to everyone.
This book certainly deserves a better review than this one! I'll read it again this summer, and post a more comprehensive and meaningful one at that time.
Book #17: The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease by Meredith Wadman
Shortlisted for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize
This book chronicles the life of Dr Leonard Hayflick, who rose from humble beginnings as a poor Jewish kid from Southwest Philadelphia to become the inventor of the first human diploid cell line, and to determine that these and other normal human cells can only divide a limited number of times before they die, which later became known as the Hayflick limit. One cell line, WI-38, created while he was a staff member of the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, became the host for viruses used to create effective vaccines against rubella (German measles) by Dr Stanley Plotkin, and against rabies, by Dr Hilary Koprowski, the long time director of the Wistar Institute, and his colleagues. Hayflick is portrayed as a dedicated and driven but underrecognized researcher, whose dogged persistence and willingness to skirt established norms allowed him to gain recognition for his discoveries, but led him to fall afoul of the National Institutes of Health, which derailed his work at the height of his career.
In The Vaccine Race, Wadman also describes the devastating effects that congenital rubella had on affected infants and their parents, along with rabies, an infection that is nearly always fatal if not diagnosed in time. The book also covers the fierce internecine battles within the Wistar Institute, and amongst the research teams who worked feverishly to become the first to have their vaccines created and approved for public use, while undermining their competitors at the same time. The massive egos of these researchers and the government officials charged with approving the vaccines are on full display as well.
The Vaccine Race is an extensively researched and well written account of the major players in the development of human diploid cell lines for research, and the vaccines that were successfully created by using them, particularly Hayflick's WI-38 line. The book is written for the general public, and Wadman does a fine job of explaining detailed and complicated scientific and medical information. It is a lengthy read, but a rewarding and entertaining one as well.
Book #8: Mayhem: A Memoir by Sigrid Rausing
Shortlisted for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize
This memoir, written by the current owner of Granta magazine and Granta Books and the granddaughter of a wealthy Swedish businessman, concerns the tragic story of her younger brother Hans, who was addicted to heroin and cocaine along with his wife Eva, who died as a result of a cocaine overdose in 2012. Because of the Rausing family's wealth and prominence Hans' and Eva's struggle with addiction generated widespread media coverage in Sweden and the UK, particularly after the cover up of Eva's death by Hans. Sigrid's book is an effort to reclaim the narrative from the sensationalistic coverage, and portray her family and her brother and sister-in-law in a more favorable and well rounded light. I found this book to be mildly interesting, but not as enlightening or as revealing as I would have hoped.
>135 kidzdoc: - I forgot I had that on my wish list, Darryl, but it's available so I've downloaded it. Glad to be nudged.
>138 auntmarge64: Excellent. Kathryn Mannix and I were exchanging thoughts about With the End in Mind, palliative care, and medical practice not long ago on Goodreads. She seems to be as thoughtful and compassionate in our brief conversation as she was in the book, and I would love to attend one of her talks in the UK and meet her in person.
Thanks, Meredith! I hope that you and your group enjoy Sing, Unburied, Sing. I'll attend her talk about the book at the Carter Center in Atlanta next month.
>121 kidzdoc: I have both Sing, Unburied, Sing, and Go Went Gone on my TBR shortlist. And on the medical front I just picked up (being a former neuroscience major in college, this was a non-brainer--get it?!) The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind by Barbara K Lipska. Great books and reviews here, Darryl!
Darryl, best of luck with your mom's surgery.
Your Portugal trip sounds lovely. Saramago is one of my favorites. I greatly enjoyed The Stone Raft in which the Iberian peninsula breaks off from Europe and galavants about the ocean. Highly recommended.
>144 janemarieprice: Thanks, Jane. I'll keep you and everyone else posted on how she does. Fortunately I'll be able to be there from two days pre-op to two days post-op, before I have to fly from PHL back to ATL next Wednesday.
I'm all but chomping at the bit to start my vacation in Portugal. It's quite strange that a visit to Barcelona is the least interesting part of my trip, even though it's my favorite European city (this will be my fourth trip there in the past five years). I'm seriously thinking of retiring to Iberia when I retire, hopefully in five to eight years, but deebee1's encouragement to consider Portugal as a retirement home makes me that much more eager to visit, and to look at Lisboa, Porto and Coimbra as potential places to move in comparison to Girona (Catalunya) or Bilbao (País Vasco), the two medium sized Spanish towns that appeal to me more than any other ones (Sevilla, in Andalucía, would be on my list, but it's too danged hot there).
I loved The Stone Raft! It wouldn't take much to get me to read it again in June, as it's my favorite novel by Saramago, after Blindness. Thanks for mentioning it.
ETA: Saramago is in my top five list of favorite authors, along with James Baldwin, Mario Vargas Llosa, Flannery O'Connor, and Carson McCullers.
ETA (2): Have you been to Portugal, Jane?
>134 kidzdoc: Always the same, isn’t it? If there’s one book on the shortlist you really hate ...
>145 kidzdoc: Lisbon is a lovely city. If I were going I would take The year of the death of Ricardo Reis with me, I think. For some reason I’ve never got on with Blindness. But Night train to Lisbon is probably the best novel about Lisbon by a Swiss philosopher...
>148 thorold: Always the same, isn’t it? If there’s one book on the shortlist you really hate...
Exactly. I'll give you one guess on which book was awarded the Wellcome Book Prize last year.
I'm all but chomping at the bit to visit Lisbon, along with Coimbra, and Porto, and probable day trips to Sintra and Braga. I read The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis many years ago, but I don't remember a thing about it, so a re-read would certainly be in order. I loved Blindness, which I read just after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998.
Ha! How many other novels about Lisbon have been written by Swiss philosophers?! I did purchase the Kindle edition of Night Train to Lisbon, so I could read it while I'm there.
Planned reads for May:
Act of the Damned by António Lobo Antunes
The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
City of Ulysses by Teolinda Gersão
The History of the Siege of Lisbon by José Saramago
The Impostor by Javier Cercas
Letter to Jimmy by Alain Mabanckou
The Lights of Pointe-Noire by Alain Mabanckou
Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina
Lisbon: A Cultural and Literary Companion by Pau Buck
A Man: Klaus Klump by Gonçalo M. Tavares
The Poor by Raul Brandão
Sozaboy by Ken Saro-Wiwa
Book #24: Lisbon: A Cultural and Literary Companion by Paul Buck
This book is part of the Cities of the Imagination series of nearly 40 books that explores the arts, culture and history of some of the world's great cities, and was written by a British poet, translator and playwright who has visited the Portuguese capital numerous times. Starting at the Praça do Comércio, the square of commerce which sits along the Rio Tejo (River Tagus) that was built after much of the city was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, Buck provides the reader with a short history of Lisbon and its important place in Portuguese and European history. He introduces us to the concept of saudade, the nostalgia for the past that infuses the city and influences fado, the mournful musical genre that Lisbon is best known for. The Praça do Comércio sits between the city's two main ferry terminals, the Terreiro do Paço and the Cais do Sodré, and the author uses this vantage point to describe the first impressions of it by several famous writers, most notably and notoriously Lord Byron, along with Henry Fielding, Anais Nin and Paul Bowles. Several movies filmed in the city are mentioned in this section and subsequent ones, along with novels written by non-Portuguese visitors.
After leaving the river our tour guide takes us to central Lisbon, the heart and oldest section of the city, and introduces us to its preeminent writer, the poet and novelist Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), whose sculpture is featured outside of his favorite meeting place, the Café a Brasileira in the Chiado neighborhood. As we "walk" through these neighborhoods Buck introduces us to several of the city's other authors, in particular the Nobel laureate José Saramago, Teolinda Gersão and Antonio Tabucchi, who was born in Italy but spent most of his life in Lisbon. We view the city from several miradouros, designated vantage points on one of the city's numerous hills, visit the Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden), with its hundreds of topical plants, and the Gulbenkian Museum, where we learn about two major modern artists, Maria Helena Vieira da Silva and Paula Rego, go to a fado house and listen to singers influenced by Amália Rodrigues and hopefully hear morna, the music from Cape Verde, Angola and Mozambique, watch a jazz set in the tiny Hot Clube, and finish with a meal of bacalhau (salted cod) and port wine in an all night restaurant. On subsequent days Buck takes us to the other major neighborhoods to the north, east and west, along with the historically important towns of Bélem and Sintra.
Lisbon: A Cultural and Literary Companion is a superb introduction to the Portuguese capital, particularly for first time visitors like myself who are interested in its history, culture and vibe. Paul Buck's portrayal of Lisbon is affectionate and enticing without being overly effusive, and I plan to go through this book once more before I make my first visit to the city next month.
151> I didn't know about this series. Looks like they cover a few cities we'll be visiting this summer when we go to Scandinavia. Thanks for the tip.
>152 janeajones: You're welcome, Jane. I own five of the books in this series, but the only other one I've read is Seville, Cordoba and Granada: A Cultural History, which I read just before I visited Andalucía two years ago. I may read Edinburgh: A Cultural and Literary History before I return there in August, and get to the books on Madrid and Catalunya sometime next year.
>154 chlorine: I own seven of Antunes's books, but strangely enough I've only read two of them, the novel The Land at the End of the World, which I thought was mediocre, and The Fat Man and Infinity, a collection of his newspaper articles (crónicas) and descriptions of working class people in Lisbon, which was absolutely brilliant. Hopefully I'll get to at least two or three of the novels I own by him in the next two months.
Which books of his have you read?
I have a ticket to see Jesmyn Ward speak next week, at the Carter Center in Atlanta on Thursday. I noticed that Laura of the 75 Books group will also see her speak next week, in Philadelphia, so I suspected that she may be on a book tour this month, and that is the case. Next week she'll be in Cambridge on Monday, Brooklyn on Tuesday (at St Francis College), Philadelphia and Washington on Wednesday, and Atlanta on Thursday. After that she'll go to Chicago, Austin, Houston, New Orleans and Pass Christian in the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Here's a link to her schedule, with more details:
My ticket cost a little more than $18, but it does include a signed copy of the paperback edition of Sing, Unburied, Sing.
Book #25: A Man: Klaus Klump by Gonçalo M. Tavares
This strange, dark and choppy novella is set in an unnamed war torn country in, presumably, the last quarter of the 20th century and concerns an amoral man who is incapable of feeling love, hate, joy or despair. He is a modestly successful book publisher before the war, but during the strife he is captured and imprisoned by government soldiers for a crime that is not clear to this reader. After his escape from prison he joins the resistance and becomes a feared guerrilla fighter, and at the conclusion of the war he takes over the family business, finding success through determination and sheer ruthlessness.
Other characters are present in this book, but seem to be more ethereal than real, and Tavares breaks up the narrative with frequent comments about war and the human condition which are apparently meant to convey wisdom and understanding, but left me cold, confused, and annoyed with the unwanted interruptions in a mildly interesting story.
Gonçalo M. Tavares (1970-) is one of the most acclaimed contemporary Portuguese novelists, whose books have been translated into English and other languages. Unfortunately he doesn't seem to be an author for me, and I cannot recommend this quirky novella.
>155 kidzdoc: The books I've read by Antunes are, in order, Tratado das paixõoes da Alma (Treatise on the passions of the soul) which doesn't seem to be translated to English, The splendor of Portugal and Eu Hei-de Amar Uma Pedra (I have to love a stone) (also not translated to English apparently). I've read them all in French.
I was blown away by the first because I discovered Antunes's unique (in my experience) writing style. He made me understand what stream of consciousness is about. But after reading The splendor of Portugal I'd retrospectively say that this first one is less indispensable. The third one I also thought inferior to The splendor of Portugal but also very well worth the read.
I made Baked Avocado Eggs for the first time this morning, using two halves of a large avocado and two large eggs. The one on the left is tomato basil, and the other one is cheddar cheese with chives:
The recipe comes from a video which I posted on my Facebook timeline yesterday. I didn't see a written recipe for it, but watching the video is all you need. Here's how you make it:
1. Slice one large avocado in half.
2. Scoop out a sufficient amount of the avocado fruit, so that one egg (medium or large) will fit into the center
3. Place one whole uncooked egg in the center.
4. Add salt and pepper, then whatever toppings you prefer.
5. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for 15 minutes.
6. Add any additional toppings.
The video showed four types of baked avocado eggs: no toppings; bacon (precooked, and added before baking); tomato basil (add the tomato before cooking, and the basil afterward); and cheddar cheese with chives (sprinkle grated cheddar cheese before cooking, and chives afterward).
The cheddar cheese with chives baked avocado egg was perfectly cooked after 15 minutes. However, the tomato basil one was larger, and it took 25 minutes for the egg to cook thoroughly, as I didn't cut the avocado evenly and I scooped out too much of the fruit of the avocado. Both avocado eggs tasted great, and I'll make this on a regular basis from now on.
>159 kidzdoc: Sounds interesting — I’ll have to give that a try. If I can find any avocados that big. Most of the ones they sell here would only work with a quail’s egg...
>160 kidzdoc: Yes I've noticed that much more of his works have been translated to French than to English, and I wonder why. It may be because of the physical proximity between the countries.
The avocado eggs seem delicious!
One of my favorite breakfasts is called avocado toast. Basically mashed avocado spread on toast with a poached egg and salsa on top. I’ll have to try this baked avocado.
>161 thorold: In the US, or at least in Atlanta, we can buy several types of avocados, including larger ones with a smooth skin, such as the SlimCado, which I bought yesterday, and the smaller Hass avocado, which is the most common variety grown here.
It would be impossible to make baked avocado (chicken) eggs with Hass avocados!
90% of the avocados grown commercially in the US come from California, with most of the rest coming from Florida and Hawai'i. Oddly enough the label on my SlimCados indicates that it was grown in the Dominican Republic.
>162 chlorine: There are very few novels by Portuguese (or, for that matter, Spanish) authors that are translated into English and published in the US. I hope to find more translated books while I'm there.
The avocado eggs were very good. I may make another one for dinner tonight.
>163 NanaCC: I love avocado toast! I prepared made it myself, but it seems like a snap to make. I may try it next weekend.
>163 NanaCC: Avocado toast seem quite yummy too! BTW when I was in Vietnam I had avocado smoothies, which were quite delicious.
Sunday is my usual day to cook, and today for lunch I tried a recipe that Jane posted in La Cucina earlier this year, Almond, Dill and Sardine Bucatini, which was created by Fabio Tabocchi of the Washington, DC restaurant Fiola:
One 4½-ounce tin sardines in tomato sauce
⅓ cup good olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 teaspoons Espelette, divided
3 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
½ pound bucatini
½ cup roasted and salted Marcona almonds, roughly chopped
¼ cup finely chopped dill, plus more to garnish
1 lemon, finely zested and juiced
Flaky salt, to finish
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Lay the sardines on a paper towel and, working one at a time, use a sharp paring knife to fillet each fish from head to tail (see the video). Remove and discard the fish bones and reserve the sardine fillets and tomato sauce.
3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and garlic, and cook, stirring often until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of the Espelette and continue to cook until the garlic is soft and translucent (without browning), 2 minutes more. Stir in the chives, half of the sardines and the remaining 1 teaspoon of Espelette; remove from heat and season with a pinch of salt.
4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until almost al dente, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
5. Add the reserved tomato sauce to the sauté pan and return to medium-high heat. Add the pasta, almonds and dill, and thin out the sauce with ½ cup of pasta water, cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in ¾ of the lemon zest and the remaining sardines. Cook until the sauce is mostly reduced, another 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the sauce consistency and season with pasta water, salt and lemon juice.
6. Divide the pasta between 2 bowls and sprinkle the remaining lemon zest over top. Garnish with a pinch of flaky salt and dill, and serve.
Publix, my preferred supermarket in Atlanta, didn't have tinned sardines in tomato sauce, so I added 1 tbsp of tomato sauce at the beginning of step 5. I didn't have and couldn't find Espelette, so I used hot paprika instead. I'm not a fan of dill, so I used less than half of the recommended amount. My one quibble with this recipe is that the garlic shouldn't be cooked on medium high heat, as it turned brown in less than a minute, and made the pasta a little bit bitter. Other than that this tastes fabulous, with a spicy and rich complexity that is unlike any pasta that I've ever tasted. As I mentioned on my Facebook timeline this should not be served to children, the elderly, and those with delicate palates, but I would highly recommend it to everyone else. Thanks, Jane!
>165 chlorine: Mmm. I haven't had an avocado smoothie yet, but I'd like to give it a try. I have two SlimCado avocados left to use, and I'll look for a recipe for that now.
>164 kidzdoc: There’s definitely nothing like that in our local supermarket. Avocados stop at about 15cm, as far as they are concerned. I’ll have a look next time I go to the city market - there are quite a few traders there from the Caribbean.
>166 kidzdoc: You’re obviously practicing for your visit to sardine country!
>168 thorold: I haven't looked for avocados during my past visits to Europe, but I'll also be curious to learn what types are sold there. From what I read Spain is the largest exporter of avocados to the rest of the continent.
Right! I'll be in Lisbon for the Festival of St Anthony from June 12-14, and for the Dia da Sardinhas on June 12. The parade on that night takes place on the Avenida da Liberdade, and my hotel, the Lisboa Plaza, is a stone's throw away from the avenue, and the Avenida metro station, so I'll definitely watch it. The sardines in Portugal appear to be massive, and since I love seafood I'm sure that I'll have my fill of them that weekend.
>164 kidzdoc: I'm glad you posted that picture before I tried making the avocado eggs - all we have in my area is Hass. Some of them get large (though the largest I ever had was not commercial but off a local tree! It was easily 8 inches long and quite plump), but I suspect the largest commercial ones are about the same size as >168 thorold: 's - 15 cm or 6 inches long. My sister went from California to South Carolina and back, and mentioned that she used to be able to find the huge smooth ones there but hasn't seen any here.
I tried another new recipe for lunch yesterday, Tomato Spinach Shrimp Pasta:
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz (220g) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika or more, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
6 oz fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz (220g) penne or spaghetti
2 tablespoons high quality olive oil, optional
1. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet, on medium-low heat. Add shrimp, red pepper flakes, paprika, Italian seasoning and salt in the skillet and cook on medium heat until shrimp is grilled cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove shrimp from the skillet and set aside.
2. In the same skillet, add chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh basil leaves, fresh spinach, and chopped garlic. Cook on medium heat about 3- 5 minutes until spinach wilts just a little and tomatoes release some of their juice. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning, if needed. Cover with a lid and keep off heat.
3. Cook pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain pasta and add to the skillet with the tomatoes and spinach. Reheat on low heat, mix everything well, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
4. Once pasta and veggies are off heat, add grilled shrimp back and drizzle with good quality olive oil just before serving, for an extra taste. Serve the shrimp pasta immediately, enjoy!
Notes: Keep pasta al dente because they will soak up a bit of the sauce. Also don’t overcook shrimp at the beginning, otherwise they will dry up.
I made a double batch of this pasta, so that I could use up the spinach, tomatoes and shrimp I had on hand. The pasta tasted a bit bland overall, so I added two tbsp of lemon juice and more black pepper, which helped somewhat. Although this isn't a bad recipe the use of fresh tomatoes made the pasta very watery, and as a result the penne didn't blend well with the other ingredients. I would suggest using canned diced tomatoes that have been fully drained, and adding perhaps a small amount of leftover pasta water if needed when cooking the tomatoes and spinach. I'll probably add tomato paste to the penne next time as well. This is an easy and quick recipe, though, which serves four people and is suitable to make for dinner during the work week.
>173 VivienneR: Great, Vivienne. Please let me know if you try these recipes, and if your husband likes them. I also posted a recipe for Crispy Skinned Fish with Herb Sauce to La Cucina last month, an easy way to prepare fish that will be my go to recipe for cooking fish from now on. The herb sauce is a nice addition, but the fish tastes great without it.
Golden Man Booker Prize shortlist
''The shortlist for the Golden Man Booker Prize was announced today (Saturday 26 May) during a reception at the Hay Festival. This special one-off award for Man Booker Prize’s 50th anniversary celebrations will crown the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize.
"All 51 previous winners were considered by a panel of five specially appointed judges, each of whom was asked to read the winning novels from one decade of the prize’s history. We can now reveal that that the ‘Golden Five’ – the books thought to have best stood the test of time – are: In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul; Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively; The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje; Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel; and Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders."
"Readers are now invited to have their say on which book is their favourite from this shortlist. The month-long public vote (http://themanbookerprize.com/vote) on the Man Booker Prize website will close on 25 June. To help the public decide, the website will feature videos of each judge discussing their choice."
"The winner, as chosen by the public, will be announced and presented with a trophy at Golden Man Booker Live, the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival at Southbank Centre on 8 July 2018 at 7pm. The star-studded event will feature the five judges debating their shortlisted books, along with readings from actors."
I've read all five books on the shortlist, and Wolf Hall is easily my favorite. I encourage everyone to vote, especially if you've read two or more of these books, and let us know what book you chose. I'll start a thread in the Booker Prize group, and declare a winner based on your votes.
Book #28: The Impostor by Javier Cercas
This remarkable book by one of Spain's most celebrated authors is a biography, historical novel, and a psychological analysis of Enric Marco (1921-), a notorious Catalan narcissist and mediopath with nearly as many lives as a cat, who gained fame by claiming to be a survivor of a concentration camp during World War II but was disgraced after it was discovered that he was actually a volunteer worker in Germany during that time. Cercas compares Marco to Don Quixote, as both men reinvented themselves in middle age after leading banal lives, Alonso Quixano/Don Quixote as a medieval nobleman and Enric Marco as a mechanic, in order to become heroic, courageous and admirable characters. Unlike Don Quixote, Marco sought the limelight and the adoration of the public to validate his fradulent existence, which bears more than a little similarity to the current President of the United States. However, Cercas also implies that Marco is a Spanish 20th century Everyman, as his lies mirror those of nearly all Spaniards who passively accepted the fascist rule under Generalísimo Francisco Franco for four decades, but rejected him after the country's rapid transition from dictatorship to democracy after his death in 1975.
Cercas spent well over a decade writing this book, which was based on original research along with numerous interviews with Marco in Barcelona. Both men manipulate each other for personal gain; Cercas does so in order to complete the book, and Marco seeks to reclaim himself as a hero after his public downfall. The only fictional component of the novel comes toward the end, in an imagined conversation between the two men in which each describes the other's hidden motives, weaknesses and desires.
The Impostor is an impressive, multilayered work in keeping with Cercas's other novels about rebels, men who stood up and said "No" in the face of authority or public opinion, and paid a heavy price as a result. I have read all of Cercas's books that have published into English, and in my opinion this is his most impressive work, because of the great effort he put into writing it, his analysis of himself as a flawed man who is not all that dissimilar from Marco, and in portraying Marco as both a sympathetic and a repulsive man.
The judges for this year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction announced that the award will be withheld this year, as none of the 62 novels under consideration “prompted unanimous, abundant laughter”, they said, instead only managing to provoke “wry smiles”.
>177 kidzdoc: It must be particularly disappointing for all those comic authors who believed that at least they still had the Nobel as a fallback, but now that's cancelled as well...
I've always had my doubts about that prize and the way it posthumously appropriates Wodehouse's name. I'm pretty sure he would have (a) disapproved of the idea that anyone except P.G. Wodehouse should get a prize for writing comic fiction(*) and (b) argued that getting "experts" to judge comic fiction was just stupid - he saw comic writing as a trade, with selling big piles of books to a laughter-hungry public as its own built-in reward for those who mastered it.
>176 kidzdoc: Nice review! I'll reserve judgement on whether I agree with you that it's his best (I've still got El monarca de las sombras sitting on the shelf waiting for me), but it is a very impressive book.
(*) cf. The clicking of Cuthbert: "No novelists any good except me. Sovietski — yah! Nastikoff — bah! I spit me of zem all. No novelists anywhere any good except me. P G Wodehouse and Tolstoi not bad. Not good, but not bad. No novelists any good except me."
>178 thorold: Ha! I shall not miss the absence of the Wodehouse Prize or the Nobel Prize in Literature this year. Perhaps I'll read The Clicking of Cuthbert or something else by Wodehouse instead.
I'm a huge fan of Javier Cercas, and I've read all six of his books that have been translated into English so far, The Tenant and the Motive, The Soldiers of Salamis, The Speed of Light, Anatomy of a Moment, Outlaws, and The Impostor. Outlaws is my favorite book, but The Impostor is, to me, his best one. It's been awhile since I read The Soldiers of Salamis, so I'll have to go back to it to determine if I think it's a better book.
I plan to buy a copy of El monarca de las sombras when I visit Barcelona in three weeks. As I probably mentioned I'll spend two weeks in Portugal starting on Thursday before I fly from Porto to Barcelona, and I'm in the process of compiling a list of novels and works of non-fiction by Portuguese authors and about Portugal by non-Portuguese writers to read this month.
Planned reads for June:
The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
City of Ulysses by Teolinda Gersão
The Crime of Father Amaro by José Maria Eça de Queirós
Fado Alexandrino by António Lobo Antunes
The Gray Notebook by Josep Pla
The History of the Siege of Lisbon by José Saramago
The Inquisitors' Manual by António Lobo Antunes
Journey to Portugal by José Saramago
Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina
The Poor by Raul Brandão
The Portuguese: A Modern History by Barry Hatton
Rick Steves' Snapshot Lisbon by Rick Steves
The Struggle for Catalonia: Rebel Politics in Spain by Raphael Minder
Sostiene Pereira is another lovely little novel abut Lisbon (albeit written by an Italian), in case you’ve got a little gap in your suitcase!
I loved Pereira Declares! That book earned five stars from me, and it wouldn't take much to get me to read it again when I'm in Lisbon, even though I have plenty of good books lined up already.
Book #29: Everybody Loves Kamau! by W. Kamau Bell
W. Kamau Bell is a former stand up comic and current author and radio and television series host, who is probably best known as the star of the CNN documentary series United Shades of America, which is in its third season. This short story, which was published earlier this week as part of the Amazon Original Stories series on love in the 21st century, is centered on Bell, his wife Melissa, and her Sicilian grandfather, who originally did not accept or acknowledge Kamau when she introduced him to her large family once they began to date seriously. Bell briefly describes his past life, how he met Melissa at a comedy club in San Francisco, and her eagerness to introduce him to her family, since, as she said, "Everybody loves Kamau!" Everybody in Melissa's family did love, or at least like, Kamau, but once her grandfather turned his back on him it adversely affected his relationship with them. Thanks to Melissa the two men eventually established common ground, and became much closer after the birth of Melissa and Kamau's two grandchildren.
Everybody Loves Kamau! is a sweet and touching story about love and family, which will make you smile and appreciate the importance that family members can have on the budding relationships of young couples.
I tried several new recipes on my parents when I visited them over the past week, mainly summery dishes that are healthy and relatively easy to make. The first new recipe I tried was Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes and Summer Herbs, also known as pasta con salsa crudo:
About 1-1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, halved or quartered if small, diced if large
2 cans olive oil-packed tuna or 1 pound mozzarella cheese, diced (optional)
2/3 cup pitted oil-cured black olives, halved, or 1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped, or 3 tablespoons capers (optional)
2/3 cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, parsley, mint, chives, cilantro, scallion tops, or a combination), more for garnish
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
About 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds short pasta, like fusilli, farfalle or penne
Hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
Up to 4 hours before serving, put tomatoes in a large bowl and sprinkle all over with salt. Set aside for 30 minutes, then drain off liquid.
Add tuna and its oil, olives or capers, if using. Add herbs and zest. Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and stir gently, flaking tuna into pieces. Cover and set aside at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
Cook pasta in plenty of boiling salted water. Drain very well. Combine tomatoes and pasta well, then taste and add more oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add red pepper flakes if desired. Sprinkle with pine nuts, if using, and chopped herbs. Serve immediately.
I love this pasta, with its bright mixture of fresh herbs and tuna; I didn't use mozzarella cheese, red pepper flakes or toasted pine nuts, but I'll add the latter two ingredients the next time I make it. I enjoy summer pastas, and I'll make this on a regular basis from now on.
Darryl, would this work as a cold summer salad, say, the next day if there are leftovers?
Hey, Darryl, Just stopping in to see what you are reading. Looks like a lot of good books! You've come a long way as a reader in your years on LT, don't you think?
>188 avaland: Hi, Lois! 2018 has been a better reading year than last year was so far, despite a crazy busy work schedule for the winter and early spring, and my reading output will pick up now that I'll be off for most of the summer. I don't report back to clinical duty until July 2nd, and I have vacations planned for each of the next four months.
You're right; I'm reading much more broadly now than I was when I first joined LT in 2006, and made my first contacts with other readers two years later. Several past and current members in this group have been amongst my best influences, especially for literature in translation and literature published by women outside of the West (thanks, Belletrista!).
What is more remarkable, and unexpected, are the close personal friendships I've made with LTers, especially in Europe, a handful of whom I've gone on vacation with, and a larger number I've met abroad once or far more frequently. I'll arrive in Lisbon for the start of a three week holiday in Portugal and Spain, and Friday I'll spend the day with deebee1, who was one of the two LTers who first reached out to me, along with akeela. She lives there, and after she shows me the old neighborhoods of Lisbon we'll meet another LTer for dinner in Almada, the city just across the Rio Tejo from Lisbon. Thanks to a different LT friend I'll spend the afternoon with a fellow pediatric hospitalist who is a Lisboeta and runs a Little Free Library in the Parque das Quinta das Conchas. I'll also meet up with LTers in Edinburgh in August, in London and the Netherlands in September, and back in London in November. Oddly enough it's been nearly two years since I've met up with anyone in the US, so hopefully I can manage that when I visit my parents in Philadelphia in July.
On Wednesday, the last full day with my parents, I cooked crispy skinned salmon, using the simple recipe I posted in April on my thread and in The Kitchen, along with Spring Time Risotto (Gennaro's Risotto with Asparagus, Courgette and Peas), using a recipe by Gennaro Contaldo that I saw on Jamie Oliver's Food Tube channel. A link with written instructions is available here, but I just followed Gennaro's straightforward instructions in the video.
1.2 vegetable stock (from powder or home-made)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
350 g arborio rice
125 ml dry white wine
1 courgette, cut into small cubes
8 asparagus stems, finely chopped
100 g podded fresh or frozen peas
30 g butter
40 g parmesan, grated
1. Pour the stock into a saucepan, bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and leave it gently simmering.
2. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and sweat on a medium heat until softened. Stir in the rice with a wooden spoon and coat each grain with the oil.
3. Add the wine and allow to evaporate, stirring all the time. Stir in the courgette, asparagus and peas. Add a couple of ladles of hot stock and, stirring continuously, cook until the stock is absorbed.
4. Add more stock and repeat. Continue adding stock, cooking and stirring in this way for about 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked. It should be soft on the outside but al dente on the inside.
5. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter and parmesan with a wooden spoon. Leave to rest for one minute, then serve.
This was my first time making risotto, and it wasn't hard at all, although you do have to stir the risotto nearly constantly; I cooked the fish after the risotto was done. My risotto is darker than the ones pictured in the video and the link, as the vegetable stock I used was dark brown in color. I used Pinot Grigio wine in the recipe. There are some differences between the written instructions and the one in his video; I would strongly suggest watching the video, which is quite entertaining. My mother and I liked this recipe, and I'll make it, and other types of risotto, in the near future.
I'll start a new thread, as this one is approaching the end of its shelf life, and since I'm leaving for a three week trip to Portugal (Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto) and Spain (Barcelona, with day trips to Girona, Tarragona and possibly Zaragoza) this afternoon it will be easier to do so on my laptop than my tablet.
Just catching up on things here
>184 kidzdoc: Sounds delicious and im growing tons of herbs this summer!
>191 kidzdoc: My favorite risotto recipe I've found is this celery and kale one from NY Times: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014500-celery-risotto-with-dandelion-greens-or-kale
This topic was continued by kidzdoc Cooks, Reads and Resists in 2018, Part 2.
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