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kidzdoc "Stays Woke" in 2018, Chapter 2

This is a continuation of the topic kidzdoc "Stays Woke" in 2018, Chapter 1.

This topic was continued by kidzdoc "Stays Woke" in 2018, Chapter 3.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Apr 24, 11:34am Top

Scenes from Thursday's victory parade in Center City Philadelphia, which celebrated the Philadelphia Eagles's win in Super Bowl LII on Sunday over the favored New England Patriots, 41-33. This marks the first time the Eagles have won the Super Bowl, which was first played in 1967, and the first time they have been champions of the National Football League since 1960. So, yeah, it's kind of a big deal, especially for a fan base as rabid as Philadelphia's is.

The top photo looks down Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the tree lined boulevard that connects City Hall, seen in the top middle, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is seen in the second photo. The main portion of the parade route traveled up the Parkway, and the ceremony was held on the steps leading up to the museum, which is one of the world's great art museums, a stunning work of architecture, and an iconic city structure, along with City Hall, Independence Hall, and 30th Street Station.

Currently reading:


Lisbon: A Cultural and Literary Companion by Paul Buck
Sozaboy by Ken Saro-Wiwa
Deepstep Come Shining by C.D. Wright

Completed Books:


1. Red Star Over Russia: Revolution in Visual Culture 1905-55 by Sidlina Natalia
2. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
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
23. To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O’Connell

Edited: Feb 10, 10:55am Top

Classic 20th Century Novels 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

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!: A Novel by Ishmael Reed
Ladivine by Marie NDiaye
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Pym 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
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
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
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

Edited: Apr 15, 4:11pm Top

The Man Booker International Prize 2018 Longlist:

Laurent Binet (France), Sam Taylor, The 7th Function of Language
Javier Cercas (Spain), Frank Wynne, The Impostor
*Virginie Despentes (France), Frank Wynne, Vernon Subutex 1
Jenny Erpenbeck (Germany), Susan Bernofsky, Go, Went, Gone
*Han Kang (South Korea), Deborah Smith, The White Book
Ariana Harwicz (Argentina), Sarah Moses & Carolina Orloff, Die, My Love
*László Krasznahorkai (Hungary), John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet & George Szirtes, The World Goes On
*Antonio Muñoz Molina (Spain), Camilo A. Ramirez, Like a Fading Shadow
Christoph Ransmayr (Austria), Simon Pare, The Flying Mountain
*Ahmed Saadawi (Iraq), Jonathan Wright, Frankenstein in Baghdad
*Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), Jennifer Croft, Flights
Wu Ming-Yi (Taiwan), Darryl Sterk, The Stolen Bicycle
Gabriela Ybarra (Spain), Natasha Wimmer, The Dinner Guest

*shortlisted title

The Man Booker Prize 2018 Longlist: TBD

Edited: Mar 7, 10:46am Top

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 History of the Siege of Lisbon by José Saramago
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

Edited: Feb 10, 11:02am Top

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

Edited: Feb 10, 11:06am Top

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

Edited: Apr 23, 10:01pm Top

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

Edited: Feb 10, 11:13am Top

Many of us who are long time members of Club Read and 75 Books 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

Edited: Feb 10, 11:16am Top

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

Feb 10, 10:48am Top

This thread is open for business. Please help yourself to a Tom Brady Butterfingers donut, which was created by Dottie's Donuts in Philadelphia this week in honor of Tom Brady's dropped pass in the Super Bowl:

Feb 10, 11:27am Top

That's funny....and just in time for Paczki day in Detroit!!


Feb 10, 11:46am Top

Happy New Thread, Darryl!

Good to see the Eagles celebration continuing. What a great game and great victory that was.

That Philadelphia Museum of Art is a knockout. It's been forever since I've been there. I need to get back, and I want to see what they did in moving the Barnes Collection. (Yes, it's been that long!)

Ian MacKellan in King Lear?! Can't wait!

Feb 10, 11:56am Top

Happy new thread, Darryl. I'm happy for the Eagles even though they did beat the Vikings. Maybe next year it will be the Vikings' turn for the elusive first SB win.

Feb 10, 12:37pm Top

Happy new thread, Darryl.

Feb 10, 12:57pm Top

Happy new thread, Darryl!

Feb 10, 2:18pm Top

Happy new thread, Darryl!
Love the scenes from the victory parade for the Philadelphia Eagles. The fans waited a long time for this win!

Edited: Feb 10, 3:24pm Top

Happy new thread. Always pro doughnuts (even if they have sporting references that pass me by!).

Your planned reads for February look great. I want to get hold of the Penguin book The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers.

Feb 10, 4:30pm Top

Happy new thread Darryl, hope you are feeling better mate and the flu is easing off. Great photos of the victorious Eagles parade, really chuffed for them. Sending love and hugs from both of us dear friend.

Feb 10, 6:50pm Top

Happy new thread, Darryl, hope you are feeling better, and hurrah for Philly and butterfingers!

Feb 10, 7:22pm Top

Happy new thread!

Feb 11, 8:54pm Top

Happy new thread, Darryl. The flu that I had in early January affected my appetite and taste buds as well. Everything tasted salty so foods with lots of salt were inedible. That last about two weeks, the cough lasted much longer. I hope that your sickness doesn't linger on as long but it shouldn't because you had the flu shot, I didn't.

The Wellcome Book longlist looks interesting, particularly the book about Lister and the history of surgery.

Feb 12, 7:32am Top

Happy new thread, Darryl.

>9 kidzdoc: That is a lovely idea. I was also an admirer of the insightful intelligence and understated generosity of spirit that Rebecca possessed. I always looked for her thoughts on books to gauge my own likely impressions and enjoyed her reviews immensely.

I miss her on LT and will glad join you on a tribute read or two to the fine lady this year when books coincide for us - Bulgakov, Saramago, The Long Ships, Soyinka and Petals of Blood in particular.

Feb 12, 10:55am Top

>18 charl08: ouch, hit by a bullet Charlotte, thanks for that.

Happy new thread Darryl.

Are you fully recovered now?

Feb 12, 1:09pm Top

Happy New Thread!

Hope you're continuing to recover. I'm sorry you have to spend your week off feeling less than good.

Feb 13, 12:59pm Top

For those reading (or contemplating) Go, Went, Gone, the NYT has a great article about the Berlin Wall today: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/world/europe/berlin-wall-equinox-east-germany.html?

Feb 13, 1:51pm Top

>26 tangledthread: - Thanks for that link. Such an interesting article

Feb 13, 11:51pm Top

>1 kidzdoc: Woot! I loved the Eagles' win!

>26 tangledthread: So interesting. Thanks for posting!

I have and still need to read Petals of Blood.

Happy New Thread, Darryl!

Feb 18, 6:42am Top

Happy new thread Darryl. Hope you are continuing to recover from the flu.

Thank you for posting the Wellcome books prize longlist on your last thread - I added several of those to my (extremely long) to read list.

Feb 18, 10:10am Top

Happy New Thread, Darryl! I hope you're feeling much better by now?
I just read up on your symptoms on your last thread to see if the virus I had this last week was the same as yours. Sounds at least similar, and I can also report that things taste "strange". I threw out all veggies and eggs from my fridge yesterday, because from smell and taste I can't tell if they're still okay or not (and the neighbors are in Spain, so I couldn't ask or give away).
If boiled dry pasta or oatmeal tastes strange and metallic, at least I know it's my taste buds.

Edited: Feb 19, 8:56am Top

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!

Feb 19, 9:45am Top

Have a good week Daryl. You did it again...In Pursuit of Memory is now on hold at my library.

Also, NPR did a story on an interesting gathering in Atlanta this week:

Feb 24, 8:11am Top

Happy Saturday, Darryl! Glad to see you are starting to feel better!

Feb 24, 8:36am Top

Great to hear re In Pursuit of Memory, Darryl. I've added it to the WL.

16 days already of flu, ouch. Sorry the bad one nabbed you. I hope this potentially tough week goes relatively easy on you.

Feb 24, 8:47am Top

I hope you feel much better, Darryl.

Edited: Feb 24, 10:21am Top

Happy Saturday, everyone! As I had hoped, this week was a much easier one on service, as there were significantly fewer patients on the General Pediatrics census (20-25 less than the previous week), and my two call days were busy without being hideous. There were far fewer patients who tested positive for flu last week, and I anticipate that next week's Virometer from Children's will show a continued decline in the number of positive influenza tests from this week. Hopefully the worst of winter is now behind us.

I seem to have regained my reading mojo during the past two weeks, even though I worked for a full five days each week. I've already finished two books this week, I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O'Farrell, and The Devil Finds Work by James Baldwin, which were both very good. I'll finish at least one book this weekend, Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis, and I'll start reading Coltrane: The Story of a Sound by Ben Ratliff either today or tomorrow. I've now read 10 books so far this year, a mark I didn't accomplish until the end of April last year, and I should do even better in the spring and summer months.

The end of February marks the end of my horrible winter schedule from November through February, during which I work many more shifts than I do the other eight months of the year. Starting in March I'll have roughly twice as many days off as I did these past four months, and I'll be off for the entire month of June again, which, as usual, I'll spend in Europe. I'll spend a week with my parents starting next Saturday (and attend the LT meet up in Philadelphia next Sunday), and I'll travel to San Francisco on my birthday, March 24th, for a four day long weekend, to see a couple of jazz concerts, a play, and hopefully meet up with a couple of former colleagues who moved from Atlanta to SF.

I've written mini-reviews of most of the books I've read on Goodreads, but not posted them here, as I had intended to write longer and more thoughtful reviews of them when I had some free time. I think I'll post those mini-reviews here, and try to expound upon at least some of them starting next month.

ETA: Falling asleep...will catch up later.

Feb 24, 2:20pm Top

>12 tangledthread: Nice. I hadn't heard of pączki before. One of my parents' closest neighbors is Polish, who grew up in South Philadelphia before his family moved to the suburbs. I'm sure I'll see Frank next month, and I'll ask him about these doughnuts.

>13 jnwelch: Belated thanks, Joe. I wish I could have been in Philadelphia during the Super Bowl celebrations, although I doubt that I would have gone to the parade.

I haven't been to the Philadelphia Museum of Art since last summer, but next weekend's LT meet up will include a visit to that great museum.

Yes!!! I'm looking forward to seeing Ian McKellen play King Lear in September, and, of course, seeing you & Debbi again.

>14 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. Now that the Eagles have won their first Super Bowl the Vikings are probably next in line as the most deserving team to end the season as NFL champions. As long as the Eagles aren't in it I'll gladly root for them.

>15 jessibud2:, >16 scaifea: Thanks, Shelley and Amber!

Feb 24, 2:32pm Top

Glad to read you feel recovered Darryl, and that you have your reading mojo back. I'll add In Pursuit of Memory to the wishlist.

Feb 24, 2:36pm Top

>17 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles' first Super Bowl win was a long time coming (the first Super Bowl was played in 1967), and it arguably meant as much to the city as any other NFL champion, especially since all of the other major sports teams in Philadelphia (Phillies, 76ers, Flyers) have won championships in the lifetimes of many of us.

BTW I'm thinking of visiting the Netherlands in early June. I'll keep you, Connie, Sanne, Jacqueline, Mark and others posted once my plans become more firm, hopefully by April.

>18 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte. Hmm...I didn't think the butterfingers reference was limited to sports. Is that word not used in the UK?

The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers sounds good. Have you been able to get a copy of it?

>19 johnsimpson: Thanks, John. I have a lingering bronchitic cough that hasn't improved during the week, but I'm not sure if it's a residual effect from the flu, allergies (many of the trees are now in bloom here), or both. It's only a minor nuisance, though, so I won't complain about it.

How is Karen doing? And yourself? I'll pay a visit to your thread shortly.

BTW, are unwashed Americans like me allowed to say "mate"? I've told Rachael (FlossieT, a formerly active LTer from Cambridge that few of you know and fewer have met, although we are good friends) that she, as an Englishwoman, is not allowed to say "y'all". 😎

>20 ronincats: Thanks, Roni!

Feb 24, 3:02pm Top

>21 drneutron: Thanks, Jim. Are you traveling to Philadelphia for the meet up? If so I very much look forward to meeting you next Sunday!

>22 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. At least two dozen of my physician and nurse colleagues and classmates from medical school and residency were felled by the flu this year, all of whom were vaccinated against it, and essentially all of them I've spoken to or heard from have reported a cough that lasted three weeks or longer, and a loss of appetite and altered taste that lasted for nearly as long. My appetite has essentially normalized, although my interest in some foods I cook and usually like hasn't completely returned yet. I have ingredients to make another batch of Detox Crock Pot Lentil Soup, but I'm not overly eager to make it, although I loved it when I first tried the recipe last month. I'll still make it this weekend, either this evening or sometime tomorrow.

I should have received some protection from the influenza vaccine, but it certainly didn't seem that way. I ran daily fevers from Super Bowl Sunday through the following Thursday, was afebrile the next day, but developed a fever two Saturdays ago. I'm not sure of the last time I had a febrile illness that lasted that long, but I suspect that it may have been when I had strep throat during my freshman year at Tulane University in 1979. I was sick with the flu a decade or so ago, another year when the vaccine was largely ineffective, but I was only sick with fever for 2-3 days.

I've now read four of the books longlisted for this year's Wellcome Book Prize, including three this month (I read The White Book by Han Kang last November), and I've enjoyed all but one of them so far. I intend to read four more longlisted books in March, and finish the longlist in April.

>23 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. Rebecca is sadly missed by many of us, and it pains me to think that I'll never read her thoughtful comments about books and other topics again. I haven't read any books that we share, but I'll plan to get to at least one in March, probably The Lights of Pointe-Noire by Alain Mabanckou, an African author who we are both fond of. I'll almost certainly read Petals of Blood in April or May.

>24 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline. As I just mentioned above, most of my friends and colleagues who caught the flu this year were sick for three weeks, and it's now been exactly three weeks since I first became ill. Other than this lingering cough, which others have also reported, I am finally back to normal, although I do seem to be more tired today than I would expect, given that I slept well most days of the past work week. I took a nearly three hour nap, and another snooze may be in order before dinner.

>25 streamsong: Thanks, Janet. I hated that I had to spend my only off week so far this year at home sick, but I'm far more grateful that I didn't have to work that week, and that I became sick before I was scheduled to visit my parents, as my mother may well have needed hospitalization had she caught this strain of the flu from me. Hopefully I can stay well during the next seven days, and proceed with plans to visit them starting next Saturday.

Feb 24, 3:18pm Top

Good to hear you feel better & even finished some books, Darryl!

>39 kidzdoc: That would be great to see you again. I assumed a longer stay in Europe would not happen this year because of your parents. We have no plans for June yet ;-)

Feb 24, 3:48pm Top

>26 tangledthread: Thanks for posting that NYT article, tangledthread! I glanced at it briefly, and I'll read it more closely later today.

Go, Went, Gone is my favorite of the 10 books I've read so far this year. I may have mentioned previously that I attended Jenny Erpenbeck's talk about the book during the Edinburgh International Book Festival last August; I'll look to see if a video of it has been posted on the EIBF web site yet...no. However, the talk she and Nicole Krauss gave at the 92nd Street Y in NYC late last year about this novel is available on YouTube:


I'll look at it when I visit my parents next month.

The longlist for this year's Man Booker International Prize will be announced on March 12th. I would be shocked, and very disappointed, if Go, Went, Gone wasn't selected.

>28 EBT1002: Thanks, Ellen. I look forward to meeting you in Philadelphia next weekend!

>29 souloftherose: Thanks, Heather. I'm essentially over the flu, and I'm glad that the season in Georgia is apparently on the wane. I've taken care of several very sick kids with it this year, including one boy I saw on Thursday and Friday, and I may have mentioned that at least three patients died in our PICU as a result of influenza infection, along with at least 84 kids in the US, so it's been an awful season for many families.

I'll be curious to see which books from the Wellcome Book Prize longlist you decide to read.

>30 Deern: Thanks, Nathalie! I find it interesting that so many people who were formally diagnosed or suspected of having the flu reported a longstanding cough and significantly decreased appetite, along with alteration of their sense of taste. I had the last of the blackened shrimp pasta I made two Saturdays ago, and fortunately the pasta didn't have a metallic taste to it, and I was able to enjoy it when other homemade foods weren't appealing to me. I don't think I posted that recipe, so I'll do so shortly.

I didn't know that you were also sick. I'm sorry to hear that, and I hope that you're fully recovered by now.

Feb 24, 4:04pm Top

>32 tangledthread: Excellent, tangledthread. I'll have to write a proper review of In Pursuit of Memory, either next week or, more likely, the following week when I visit my parents.

Thanks for the link to that NPR article. I hadn't heard about that conference, so I'll have to find out more about it.

>33 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle! Happy Saturday to you and your family. How is the little one doing?

>34 jnwelch: I hope that you enjoy In Pursuit of Memory as much as I did, Joe.

This case of influenza was the worst infectious illness I've had since I was sick with pertussis and secondary walking pneumonia in early 2000, during my last few months of residency. That infection and the resultant cough lasted for roughly three months, so that illness was definitely worse than this one was.

>35 Ameise1: Thanks, Barbara. I'm definitely better than I was last Saturday, and far better than I was at this time two weeks ago, when I was running a fever and coughing frequently.

Feb 24, 4:08pm Top

>38 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte. I hope that you can find and read In Pursuit of Memory soon.

>41 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. My parents are both doing better, per their report, so I'll proceed with my usual summer plans. I'll know more when I see them next month, but they were in good spirits when I talked to them on Sunday; I'll call them later today or, more likely, tomorrow.

I'll look at the schedule for the Holland Festival early next month, and touch base with you, Sanne, Connie and Jacqueline, along with Claire.

Feb 25, 12:56am Top

>39 kidzdoc: I don't know if Charlotte's comment related to the term butterfingers or the incident in the Super Bowl. I'm certainly familiar with the former and was completely unaware of the latter until I saw your post. I didn't even watch for the ads, this year.

Edited: Feb 25, 9:13am Top

>43 kidzdoc: Thanks for asking, Darryl. Elissa is doing great and no issues lately! By the looks of her and her behaviour you would never guess what she went through if you didn't know about it already.

Feb 25, 7:12am Top

>45 jjmcgaffey: Ah. You're probably right, Jennifer. I watched the second half of the game but missed most of the ads. I'll have to watch them at some point.

Edited: Feb 25, 7:22am Top

>46 ChelleBearss: I'm glad that Elissa is doing well, Chelle! I pray that influenza does not darken your front door this season.

Edited: Feb 25, 2:03pm Top

Planned reads for March:

Compared to What? Characteristics Between Plants, Animals, and Humans by Yesh Yonas
The Impostor by Javier Cercas
The Lights of Pointe-Noire by Alain Mabanckou
Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty
Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
Winter by Ali Smith
Winter by Karl Ove Knausgaard
With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix
The Vaccine Race: How Scientists Used Human Cells to Combat Killer Viruses by Meredith Wadman

Feb 25, 7:41am Top

Morning, Darryl. Happy Sunday. Finally checking in. I hope the workload has been decent for you. How was Fifteen Dogs? I have been curious about that one. I also want to read Smith's Winter. Loved her Autumn.

Feb 25, 7:56am Top

Happy Sunday, Mark! This past work week was manageable, thanks largely to the stellar team of residents and medical students I worked with, along with the decline in patients hospitalized due to influenza infection the past two weeks. I'll likely have a busier week starting tomorrow, since I won't be on the teaching service (the residents write all of the notes, a chore which usually takes 2-3 hours to do when we're busy), but I'll be off for a solid week starting on Saturday, and I'll resume my lighter March to October schedule after that.

I'm over halfway through Fifteen Dogs, and with a little more than 80 pages to go I'll finish it today. It's been superb so far.

I attended Ali Smith's talk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival last summer, during the week in which she had submitted Winter to her publisher. She read the first chapter of the book to us, and I think I can speak for nearly everyone else in the audience in saying that we were all enthralled. She is a modest but entertaining and engaging speaker, as was Karl Ove Knausgaard, to my surprise; I saw him speak in Edinburgh as well.

Feb 25, 8:02am Top

Good Sunday to you, Darryl. I too am looking forward to the Booker International long list. Will you be hosting a thread for the BI as well?

Feb 25, 8:06am Top

>52 Carmenere: Happy Sunday to you, too, Lynda. Yes, I will host a thread for the Man Booker International Prize this year, which I failed to do in 2016 and 2017. I've enjoyed many of the MBIP longlisted books since its format changed two years ago, and I'd like to pay more attention to it this year. The longlist announcement will take place on March 12th.


Edited: Feb 25, 8:24am Top

That's great, Darryl! Thanks!
ETA: Although, in the past, some BI selections are difficult to get my hands on, I've been reading what is available and have found them quite good and would otherwise not have never been picked up on my radar.

Feb 25, 8:57am Top

Glad you are loving Fifteen Dogs. It looks like it has quite mixed reviews, so I was wondering about that. Enjoy your Sunday. I am sure you will be cooking.

Feb 25, 9:05am Top

>55 msf59: Thanks, Mark. I haven't read many reviews of Fifteen Dogs, and none recently, so I have no expectations or preconceived notions about it.

Ha! Yes, I will be cooking later today (another batch of Detox Crock Pot Lentil Soup for dinner, and possibly Garlic Cheddar Cheese Shrimp Grits for lunch), although I'll fit in a good amount of reading as well. A cold front is currently passing through North Georgia, and today will essentially be a washout.

Feb 25, 9:15am Top

>46 ChelleBearss: We have escaped it so far. Keeping my fingers crossed that the end of season is near!

>53 kidzdoc: I'll have to pay more attention to the Booker Prize this year. My attempts at reading it, and my thread, have been neglected for a long time.

Feb 25, 2:08pm Top

>57 ChelleBearss: I'll keep my fingers crossed for your family, especially little Elissa, as well, Chelle. According to the latest FluView from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, influenza acitivity was still widespread and extremely high for most states during the week of 11-17 February, but we've seen a significant drop off in the number of positive tests at Children's during the last two weeks. We'll find out about this week when the Virometer report is published on Tuesday.

I'll continue to pay close attention to both the Man Booker International Prize and the Man Booker Prize in 2018, and post both longlists when they are announced. The MBIP longlist will be announced in a little over two weeks, and the Booker Prize longlist comes out on 18 July.

Feb 25, 4:44pm Top

>39 kidzdoc:, Hi Darryl mate, as far as I am concerned and I am sure Mr Cranswick would agree, we make you an honorary Yorkshireman and that allows you to say "mate". Karen is still suffering with her cold but she had a good day with Amy in Leeds and we went to the cinema today to see Finding Your Feet. I just have a bit of a Catarrh cough but apart from that I am ok.

Hope your lingering bronchitic cough is not causing you too much of a problem and apart from that hope you are having a good weekend mate.

Feb 25, 5:30pm Top

Yep, along with mrsdrneutron! I'm really looking forward to it - like you, my work schedule is crazy busy right now.

Feb 25, 7:13pm Top

Hi Darryl - thought you might empathise with these New Zealand & Australian doctors - The Royal Australasian College of Physicians said an "unknown technical fault" was to blame for trainees not being able to finish their basic training test at sites across Australia and New Zealand.
127 Kiwi doctors must resit biggest exam of their careers after computer glitch

Feb 27, 6:09pm Top

Hi Darryl. I love your reading list for March. I loved Winter by Ali Smith. She has become one of my favorite authors. I'm envious that you got to hear her speak.

I'm looking forward to meeting you on Sunday ~ I'm so glad you are able to join us.

Feb 27, 6:28pm Top

Oh man, is there a meetup in the offing? I wish I could join you. Have a great time, Darryl.

Mar 4, 1:07pm Top

Darryl--Sorry, man. I lost this thread for a bit. Also sorry you got hit with the dreaded flu--glad you are over the worst of it. Cheers for switching to the lighter work load again and I am jealous of you for hearing Ali Smith AND for the meetup. Have fun and make sure there are photos!!

Mar 4, 1:33pm Top

>49 kidzdoc: Great reading list for March Darryl - look forward to hearing more.
(and yes re >45 jjmcgaffey: - Superbowl clueless!)

Mar 7, 11:09am Top

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I decided not to fly to Philadelphia on Saturday, so I didn't make it to Sunday's meet up. I definitely made the right choice, as I was about as exhausted as I've been in a very long time (I did little more than sleep and occasionally read the past four days), and I won't have to worry about returning to Atlanta on Friday after the current nor'easter that is passing through the area. I finally feel rested this morning, although a pulled right pectoral muscle from coughing and a touch of gout have left me a bit hobbled. I'll do some reading and cooking today, and go out tomorrow and Friday to run errands before I go back to work on Saturday. I'll work Sat-Fri, have the following weekend off, then work Mon-Fri. My birthday is on Saturday the 24th, and since I'm off from March 24-29 I've booked a long weekend in San Francisco, along with tickets to see one play, two jazz concerts, and an exhibition at SF MoMA, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Now that I'm finished with my intense winter work schedule I've started to look into travel plans for the next few months. I'll ask for a week of vacation so that I can make my first trip to London in mid-May. One of my work partners and a friend of hers booked a tour of Barcelona, Madrid and Sevilla in mid June, and last week she invited me to meet up with them. I had thought about returning to Barcelona and Madrid this year, so I'll almost certainly take her up on her offer, although I won't join the tour, as I'm familiar with Barcelona and visited Madrid for the first time last summer. I'll probably spend the first 7-10 days of June in the Netherlands, both to attend the Holland Festival and to see Anita & Frank, and hopefully Connie, Sanne, Jacqueline and Mark, who all came to the LT meet up in Leiden two years ago. I'll stay stateside in July, and hopefully be able to spend a couple of weeks with my parents and meet up with LTers in Philadelphia, NYC and Boston then or later in the year. I've already booked a hotel room and flights for the Edinburgh Festivals, and I'll be there from August 16-24. And, as Joe alluded to, I booked tickets to see Ian McKellan's portrayal of King Lear in the West End in mid September, so a return trip to London is in the cards that month. I would love to go back to the EFG London Jazz Festival, presumably in November, and hopefully that will be my last vacation of the year.

I've been a complete slacker in terms of writing reviews, and I won't be able to do so this week, as I thought I would do. I'll try to catch up, sometime...

Edited: Mar 7, 11:27am Top

>59 johnsimpson: Thanks, mate! I shall wear my honorary Yorkshire membership with pride.

I hope that you and Karen are fully recovered from your illnesses. My cough finally abated this weekend, but not until I had a bad coughing fit at work on Friday, which caused me to vomit and to strain my right pectoral muscle, which hurt like heck this weekend and made it difficult to sleep. The pain is much better now, fortunately.

>60 drneutron: I'm sorry that I missed the meet up, Jim! It looks like a grand time was had by all. Hopefully there will be another opportunity for us to get together later this year.

>61 avatiakh: Yikes. I'm sorry to hear about those trainee doctors, Kerry. I and my classmates had to take three such exams, Steps 1-3 of the USMLE (US Medical Licensing Examination), which we were required to pass to graduate from medical school (Steps 1 and 2) and residency (Step 3), and I and my residency classmates had to pass the American Board of Pediatrics Certification Eamination in General Pediatrics to become a board certified pediatrician. Although having to sit for the exam again is a royal pain, especially if it's a lengthy one (the USMLE exams were, IIRC, 16 hour exams held over two days, and were as much tests of endurance as they were tests of knowledge), taking it again wouldn't be as bad as it may seem. The student doctors have already put in the work to study for the test, and if they studied properly it should be easier and less stressful to take it a second time. Hopefully their vacations won't be affected by this failure; that would be a real PITA.

>62 EBT1002: I'm sorry that I missed meeting you on Sunday, Ellen. I hope that you were able to get an early flight back to Seattle today, although being "stuck" in Philadelphia wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, IMO.

I'll probably read Winter next week or the following one. Several of the talks given at last summer's Edinburgh International Book Festival have been transformed into YouTube videos, although, to my knowledge, none of the ones I went to have been so far, including Ali Smith's talk, although it was filmed. If it does become available I'll post a link to it on my thread, and my Facebook timeline.

Mar 7, 11:31am Top

>63 jnwelch: Yep. I'm sure you've seen the photos of the latest Philadelphia meet up, Joe. I'm sure there will be others in the future, and hopefully I, Laura and others can show you and Debbi what a great city Philadelphia is.

>64 Berly: Thanks, Kim. I'm glad to be finished with my horrid winter schedule, and now that influenza is on the wane hopefully our service will drop to more reasonable levels until autumn.

>65 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte. I was too sleepy and brain dead to do much reading over the past two weeks, although I finally finished the John Coltrane biography late last night. Now that I've rejoined the community of the living I should be able to get back on track.

Mar 7, 11:51am Top

>66 kidzdoc: Darryl, I saw Ian McKellan play King Lear at Minneapolis's Guthrie Theater a few years ago. He was fantastic. You are in for a treat - though Lear is such a dark play it is emotionally draining.

Mar 7, 12:36pm Top

>69 Oberon: That's fabulous, Erik! I saw King Lear for the first time two or three years ago at the National Theatre in London, which starred Simon Russell Beale. It was dark and emotionally draining, as you said, and I look forward to Ian McKellen's portrayal of the doomed king.

Mar 7, 12:51pm Top

I also saw McKellen in King Lear at the Guthrie. It was amazing.

Mar 7, 1:08pm Top

Hey, buddy. I finished In Pursuit of Memory and liked it very much. We're getting so close to making major inroads on Alzheimer's . . .

Edited: Mar 7, 1:35pm Top

>71 BLBera: Excellent, Beth. I look forward to seeing the play!

>72 jnwelch: I also liked In Pursuit of Memory, Joe. It was a well written summary of the history of Alzheimer's dementia, and the current efforts to achieve treatment for it, if not a cure, provide hope for future generations.

ETA: I've now finished four of the 12 books longlisted for this year's Wellcome Book Prize, and all of them have been at least very good. I just started reading the novel Midwinter Break by the Northern Irish writer Bernard MacLaverty, which I hope to finish by tomorrow. I intend to read four longlisted books this month, and four more in April.

Mar 7, 5:32pm Top

>66 kidzdoc: Glad you got the sleep you needed, Darryl.
Looking forward to June :-)

Mar 8, 5:53am Top

>66 kidzdoc: Your travel plans sound great! I'll look forward to seeing you in May. I will be in Philly from June 1-10, so I won't be able to hop over to the Netherlands to join you, but maybe I'll catch you in Edinburgh in August, and definitely in London in September. It's good to have things to look forward to!

Mar 8, 7:01am Top

>66 kidzdoc: Glad you chose to recharge your batteries Darryl, and are feeling more chipper. It makes a difference.

I look forward to catching up on your trips to London. I think I'm Leared out though, so will give that one a miss (the last production with Simon Russell Beale was my favourite of four seen I think). I'm sure McKellan will be very fine though. I have seen him on stage many times, and he has never disappointed. We saw him in a production with his buddy Patrick Stewart, of course (with Joe and Debbi).

Mar 8, 9:37am Top

We'll meet eventually! I'll likely be in Florida for the launch in July when you're Stateside. But I'm sure that won't the last time you're in Philly, and we may just need to visit Atlanta some day!

Mar 8, 9:51am Top

Just waving as I try to catch up, Darryl. The Philly meet-up wasn't in the cards for me this time either. As always, it's enlightening to see what you're reading --often things that would not otherwise come to my attention.

Mar 9, 9:19am Top

Happy Friday, everyone! Today is the last of my seven days off from work, before I start of stretch of working 12 out of 14 days. I'm much more rested than I've been at any point this year, though, and with the rapid decline of RSV and influenza (Children's only saw 34 flu positive patients throughout the system last week, compared to well over 500/week in late January to early February) our census has dropped by roughly a third as compared to the worst days we had a month or more ago. I'm sure we'll be busy this weekend, but hopefully not insanely so as we have been for most of the winter.

I finished Midwinter Break, a superb novel by the Northern Irish author Bernard MacLaverty, yesterday, and wrote a mini review of it on Goodreads, which I'll post here shortly. I've now read five of the 12 longlisted novels, so I'm on pace to complete the longlist by the end of April. The shortlist will be announced on March 20, and the winner will be revealed on April 30, so I stand a good chance of finishing all 12 books ahead of the prize ceremony. Here's my current ranking of the longlist:

1. In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer's by Joseph Jebelli
2. Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty
3. I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O'Farrell
4. The White Book by Han Kang
5. Mayhem: A Memoir by Sigrid Rausing

The first four books were very good, and worthy of their selection, but the fifth was a bit disappointing, although not a bad read. I'll start posting reviews, even if they are only mini reviews, over the next few days.

Edited: Mar 9, 10:10am Top

Book #13: Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty


My rating:

This quietly powerful novel, which was selected for this year's Wellcome Book Prize longlist, is set in present day Amsterdam and is centered on a retired Northern Irish couple who has moved to Glasgow and is on a long holiday weekend in the Dutch capital. Gerry was a modestly successful architect, who loves the bottle at least as much as his wife Stella, a former teacher and devoutly religious woman, who struggles against her husband's alcoholism and with a secret that has inspired and possessed her for over 40 years. She is no longer happy living with Gerry, and seeks to use her remaining years to serve God and to repay Him for the dire fate that He spared her from. The author's portrayal of the two characters, and the wonderful city of Amsterdam, is evocative and touching, and I found myself sympathizing with Stella's plight, becoming angry with Gerry's insensitivity and boorishness, yet rooting for the two of them to remain together despite their shortcomings. Midwinter Break is a superb examination of the destructive effects that alcoholism can have on an individual and an otherwise happy marriage, and it certainly deserves a place on this year's so far excellent longlist.

Mar 9, 10:36am Top

>74 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. I'm still hopeful of spending all of June in the Netherlands, Spain, and possibly Portugal. However, my father had an MRI of the brain performed earlier this week, which showed some potentially worrisome findings when he read the report to me yesterday, although more information will be needed before we know anything further. He'll finish a 72 hour EEG (electroencephalogram, a study designed to look for abnormal electrical activity in the brain) later today, and get a bone scan next week. In the worst case scenario I may have to cancel some if not all of my travel plans for 2018, and even consider taking a leave of absence from work. Hopefully none of this will be necessary, though, and both of my parents are otherwise in good spirits and are doing much better overall.

>75 Sakerfalcon: Thanks, Claire. I requested a week off from work during either the second or third week of May, so hopefully I'll be able to travel to London then. I will be off for the month of June, and if I decide not to travel to Europe I'll certainly be with my parents, and if that's the case I'll let you know. My parents have been insistent that I continue traveling as I have done in years past, especially yesterday, but if he receives bad news after the current and upcoming tests have been completed I'll certainly be there for them, especially during my off weeks from work. I will see them in mid April, and hopefully the diagnosis/diagnoses will become more clear by that time, if not sooner.

>76 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline. I did book 4 tickets for King Lear, knowing that Debbi & Joe wanted to see it, and figuring that one of my British friends would almost certainly want that remaining ticket. I'll keep you and the others posted when my travel plans become more clear, and certain.

>77 drneutron: Absolutely, Jim. I'll almost certainly spend 2-3 weeks with my parents in July, regardless of what happens to them, and since I've never visited Florida the chance of me being there that month is less than zero. A visit to Atlanta would be nice, but a meet up in New Orleans might be even better!

>78 laytonwoman3rd: Hi, Linda! We'll eventually meet up in Philadelphia, I'm sure, and I'm long overdue for a trip to Pittsburgh, as I haven't been back since I finished medical school in 1997.

Mar 9, 11:57am Top

>66 kidzdoc: Looks like some great travel plans this year Darryl. I hope we manage to meet up at some stage.

>81 kidzdoc: I do hope that everything turns out well with your father's tests. While my mother's health is very good for her age, I am concerned about her at the moment. Her younger sister, who is her main source of companionship, has been struggling with dementia for a little while, and it has know been decided that she will move into a residential home within weeks. That will be near her daughter's home , which is a long way from where my mother lives, so they will see each other only rarely. I do have concerns about how my mother will cope with this.

>79 kidzdoc: Midwinter Break sounds very good and I also want to get around to Pursuit of Memory at some stage.

Mar 10, 1:28am Top

>79 kidzdoc: glad to hear you have had the chance to get a (well-deserved) rest! It is so easy to live out a packed schedule, we forget to schedule in down time!
Your travel plans sound amazing! You will have a great time, I am sure.

Mar 10, 1:52pm Top

>81 kidzdoc: I hope that your fathers EEG and bonescan don't reveal very worrysome problems, Darryl.

Mar 10, 3:36pm Top

What Anita said, Darryl. And I'm glad you have some great traveling coming up.

Mar 11, 6:15pm Top

I'm posting this here to amuse over a debate on your thread last year, or the year before Darryl:


Mar 11, 6:45pm Top

Hi Darryl, I am sorry to hear about your father's health issues, and will be sending positive thoughts his way. It is always a pleasure to read about your parents and about your close relationship with them.

And I hope you get to see Lear in London! It's my favorite play.

Mar 12, 9:53am Top

Sorry to hear about your father's health worries. I'll keep my fingers crossed that his test results are good. It is hard to accept that our parents are no longer the figures of strength they once were.

Edited: Mar 12, 10:02am Top

Hope that the results of your dad's tests are good Darryl.

Mar 12, 11:02am Top

In case you haven't seen it yet Darryl:

The Man Booker International Prize Long List for 2018

The 13 books on this year's longlist are:

*The 7th Function of Language by Lauren Binet (France) translated by Sam Taylor
*The Impostor by Javier Cercas (Spain) translated by Frank Wynne
*Vernon Subutex 1 by Virginie Despentes (France) translated by Frank Wynne
*Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck (Germany) translated by Susan Bernofsky
*The White Book by Han Kang (South Korea) translated byDeborah Smith
*Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz (Argentina) translated by Sarah Moses & Carolina Orloff
*The World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai (Hungary) translated by John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet & George Szirtes
*Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz (Spain) translated by Camilo A. Ramirez
*The Flying Mountain by Christoph Ransmayr (Austria) translated by Simon Pare
*Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi (Iraq) translated by Jonathan Wright
*Flights by Olga Tokarczuk (Poland) translated by Jennifer Croft
*The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi (Taiwan) translated by Darryl Sterk
*The Dinner Guest by Gabriela Ybarra (Spain), translated by Natasha Wimmer

I have to own I've read None of these, and read something only by two nominees: László Krasznahorkai (Hungary), and Jenny Erpenbeck (Germany)

Shortlist announced 12 April, and winner announced 22 May.

Mar 14, 7:32am Top

>82 SandDune: I hope that we can meet up at least once this year, Rhian. Although my parents' health remains uncertain, I'm now more hopeful that I'll be able to travel as I usually do than I was at the beginning of the year. When I talked to them this weekend they both insisted that I travel for pleasure as much as I could, especially given the time I've spent with them over the past 6-9 months and my busy winter schedule. They seemed to be more concerned about me than I was concerned about them!

I'm sorry to hear about your mother, and her sister. I hope that your mother is able to cope with her sister's upcoming move into a residential facility reasonably well, and that they can visit each other often.

In Pursuit of Memory and Midwinter Break are well worth reading. I've now read 5 of the 12 books on this year's Wellcome Book Prize longlist, and as usual it is another great year for this prize so far. Hmm...when is the shortlist release date? Checking...20 March. I'm still on track to finish the longlist by 30 April, when the winner will be announced. I'm sorry that I won't be in London next month to attend the Wellcome Book Prize Brunch, as I did last year.

>83 LovingLit: Thanks, Megan. You're absolutely right in your comment about scheduling down time in the middle of a packed schedule. I did take a week of vacation in November, to attend the EFG London Jazz Festival, but I didn't think to take a, um, midwinter break in January or February to provide a respite from Winter Madness. I'll be sure to do that next winter, if I decide to work the concentrated winter schedule (November through February) again.

>84 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. I haven't received any new information about my father's EEG and bone scan, but I'll hopefully have time to talk with him by phone tonight.

Mar 14, 7:44am Top

>85 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. I'm looking forward to my upcoming long weekend in San Francisco, and once my group's May schedule is published I should be able to make definitive plans for that month and June.

>86 Caroline_McElwee: Cute! I still think that the jam should be on top of the cream.

>87 banjo123: Thanks, Rhonda. It saddens me to hear about nuclear families that aren't close, especially children that have bad relationships with their parents. Although I appreciate compliments about what I'm doing for my parents I would counter by saying that I don't think I'm doing enough, and whatever it is that I am doing is my responsibility toward them for caring and supporting me over the years, and is nothing out of the ordinary. On the other hand I do think my parents' neighbors have gone beyond the call of duty in their support of them over the past year or so, and I gently reminded my father to thank them for what they are doing, as I did when I talked with their neighbor Bob last week.

Edited: Mar 14, 7:53am Top

>88 Sakerfalcon: Thanks, Claire. My father was in good spirits when we spoke last week, and hopefully that was how he truly felt and wasn't a façade to make me think that all was well. He's upfront and honest with me, though, and it's easy to tell when he is worried or depressed.

>89 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline.

>90 Caroline_McElwee: I did see the MBIP longlist shortly after it was announced on Monday, as I receive Twitter alerts from the Man Booker Prize on my mobile phone. I was on hospital rounds at the time, so I had no time to post anything here or on Facebook until later that day.

I created a thread for this year's MBIP longlist in the Booker Prize group an hour ago. Here's the longlist again, with hyperlinks. The following format lists the author, her or his country of origin, the translator, the title of the novel, and the UK publisher:

• Laurent Binet (France), Sam Taylor, The 7th Function of Language (Harvill Secker)

• Javier Cercas (Spain), Frank Wynne, The Impostor (MacLehose Press)

• Virginie Despentes (France), Frank Wynne, Vernon Subutex 1 (MacLehose Press)

• Jenny Erpenbeck (Germany), Susan Bernofsky, Go, Went, Gone (Portobello Books)

• Han Kang (South Korea), Deborah Smith, The White Book (Portobello Books)

• Ariana Harwicz (Argentina), Sarah Moses & Carolina Orloff, Die, My Love (Charco Press)

• László Krasznahorkai (Hungary), John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet & George Szirtes, The World Goes On (Tuskar Rock Press)

• Antonio Muñoz Molina (Spain), Camilo A. Ramirez, Like a Fading Shadow (Tuskar Rock Press)

• Christoph Ransmayr (Austria), Simon Pare, The Flying Mountain (Seagull Books)

• Ahmed Saadawi (Iraq), Jonathan Wright, Frankenstein in Baghdad (Oneworld)

• Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), Jennifer Croft, Flights (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

• Wu Ming-Yi (Taiwan), Darryl Sterk, The Stolen Bicycle (Text Publishing)

• Gabriela Ybarra (Spain), Natasha Wimmer, The Dinner Guest (Harvill Secker)

The shortlist will be announced on 12 April, and the winning novel on 22 May.

Go, Went, Gone is my favorite book of 2018 so far. I read and enjoyed The White Book last year, and I'm halfway through The Impostor. I enjoyed reading MBIP longlisted books in 2016 and 2017, so I'll read as many of this year's International Booker Dozen as I can during the next few months.

It's nearly 8 am, so I need to start seeing patients. I'll check back in this weekend.

Mar 14, 7:09pm Top

Great list Darryl. I liked The 7th Function of Language and have Frankenstein in Baghdad in the tottering library pile. Look forward to hearing what you make of the list. I don't think I've ever read anything from Taiwan, so will look out for that one.

Edited: Mar 24, 9:04am Top

^I hope you have a great day, Darryl. Miss seeing you around. I hope work is going smoothly and you are getting some reading in.

Mar 24, 9:07am Top

Happy birthday, Darryl. I also have 2 other friends who share this birthday! :-)

Hope you are having a good one!

Mar 24, 12:31pm Top

Happy birthday, dear Darryl!

Edited: Mar 24, 7:32pm Top

Adding to the birthday greetings Darryl.


Mar 24, 8:14pm Top

Happy birthday!!

Mar 24, 11:17pm Top

Now that the basketball is over, I can get back to my computer to wish both you and Rhian a very Happy Birthday, Darryl!

Edited: Mar 25, 5:18am Top

Woo! I finished another long work stretch, as I was on service for 12 of the 14 days that ended on Friday. I'm off until at least this coming Friday, and since I decided to stay in town instead of traveling to San Francisco I'll be able to read and catch up here, in addition to doing some necessary chores.

Catching up...

>94 charl08: I'm glad that you enjoyed The 7th Function of Language from this year's Man Booker International Prize longlist, Charlotte. I look forward to your thoughts on Frankenstein in Baghdad.

I finished Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz last night, which I wasn't fond of. I wrote a brief review of it then, and I'll post it here shortly. I've now read three of the longlisted books, with Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck and The White Book by Han Kang being the other two. I'm also halfway through The Impostor by Javier Cercas, which I mistakenly left behind at my parents' house in January; I'll resume reading it when I visit them in April.

I also haven't read anything from Taiwan, as far as I know. I bought the Kindle version of The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi, along with Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina, so I'll plan to read them next month. Two of my closest friends from medical school emigrated to California from Taiwan as young children, so I'll ask them if they have heard of or read The Stolen Bicycle.

>95 msf59: Thanks, Mark! Work is still busy, as most days that I'm on clinical service I and my partners see patients as quickly as we can and either skip lunch or take 10-15 minute to eat, in order to leave the hospital at a decent time (I try to leave by 6 pm, so that I can take the last Children's shuttle bus from the hospital to the closest metro station), although I often have to finish my progress notes on my laptop after dinner. I usually only have an hour or two, at most, of leisure time after a work day, and this year I've decided that my time is better spent reading rather than trying to catch up with posts on LT. As a result my reading output has increased significantly from 2017; I finished my 16th book of the year last night, so I'm already two months ahead of last year's pace (I finished book #16 of 2017 in late May).

>96 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley! I was beat after my two week work stretch, so I stayed inside, slept and read, even though it was a lovely day. I'll do some shopping, reading and cooking today, and probably meet up with friends during the week to try a new restaurant or two.

Edited: Mar 25, 6:37am Top

>97 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! I'll be in touch with you, Connie, Mark, Sanne and Jacqueline soon, as I'll start making definitive plans for my European vacations this spring and summer over the next few days. I'm supposed to be off from work from 19-27 May, and I plan to travel to London then. I imagine that I'll work the Memorial Day holiday, which starts on 28 May, and I'll be off for the entire month of June as I usually am, as payback for working extra shifts from November through February (it's a vacation free month that combines the days I would normally be off in June, along with the extra days I worked this past autumn and winter). I'm pretty certain that I'll spend a week or more in Amsterdam, and attend some of the events during this year's Holland Festival. One of my work partners and a close friend of hers are traveling to Barcelona, Madrid and Sevilla from 14-23 June on a guided tour; I won't participate in the tour, but I'll likely meet up with them during their free days. I do want to visit Portugal this year, which I'll probably do toward the end of the month, although I may decide to go in early June and either shorten my stay in Amsterdam, or postpone it until later in the year. If I'm lucky and don't have to work in late May then I'll definitely visit Amsterdam, fly from there to Lisbon, and catch up with my partner in Barcelona in mid June. I'll keep you informed once my group's May work schedule is posted.

>98 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks for the birthday wishes and especially the Sazerac, Caroline! As you know, it's my favorite cocktail.

>99 banjo123: Thanks, Rhonda!

>100 ronincats: Thanks, Roni! I suppose you'll be glued to the television this afternoon and evening, especially to watch the Kansas-Duke Midwest Regional final. As an alumnus of an ACC school (Pitt) I'll be rooting hard for KU to take out Dook, and put an end to Grayson Allen's collegiate career.

I should check my standing in the Cardiology March Madness mega-pool ($20 per entry, nearly 450 entrants, winner takes all). My Final Four consisted of Villanova, Arizona, Michigan State and North Carolina, though, so, as I proclaimed on my Facebook timeline, my chance of winning the whole thing is worse than the likelihood that 45 will choose Hillary Clinton as his next Secretary of State.

ETA: Congratulations to the 11th seeded Loyola (Chicago) Ramblers and their 98 year old chaplain and biggest fan, Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, for making it to the Final Four! They weren't favored to win their first tournament game, but they have won four in a row, all upsets.

This year's tournament will always be remembered for Sister Jean and the underdog Ramblers, along with UMBC's shocking upset, and beat down, of top ranked Virginia, the first time that a #16 seed has defeated a #1 seed in the NCAA men's tournament, after #16 teams had gone 0-135 in past games. IMO this is the biggest upset in United States sports history.

ETA (2): I looked at the March Madness pool, and I'm currently in a 22 way tie for 351st place, out of a total of 449 entries. At least I'll finish ahead of the eight people who didn't fill out a bracket...

Edited: Mar 25, 9:11am Top

Book #16: Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz, translated from the Spanish by Sarah Moss and Carolina Orloff


My rating:

This debut novel, which won the Best Argetinian Novel in 2012 and was longlisted for this year's Man Booker International Prize, is set in a rural French village and is narrated by a woman living with her partner and young child, along with her recently widowed mother-in-law. The unnamed woman, who comes from another country, lusts more than loves her man, does not love or want her young son, and is slowly descending into madness, with frequent flights of ideas, homicidal and suicidal thoughts, and recurrent delusions. This was a very difficult and unpleasant book to read, as I found it nearly impossible to follow this unreliable and unstable narrator, and although it may be a worthwhile look into the mind of a mentally ill young woman, it was anything but enjoyable to do so.

Edited: Mar 25, 9:20am Top

The shortlist for this year's Wellcome Book Prize was released earlier this week:

Stay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris
With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix
To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O’Connell
Mayhem: A Memoir by Sigrid Rausing
The Vaccine Race: How Scientists Used Human Cells to Combat Killer Viruses by Meredith Wadman

Of the five longlisted books I've read only one of them, Mayhem: A Memoir, was chosen for the shortlist. I intend to read Stay with Me and The Vaccine Race this week, and get to the other three in April before the winning book is announced on 30 April.

Mar 25, 2:33pm Top

Hi, Darryl. I'm loving the Loyola Ramblers. What an unlikely story! They play really well together. And Sister Jean is a charmer.

You're right, that UMBC upset was huge. This has been a really fun NCAA tournament with the unpredictability.

Edited: Mar 25, 8:08pm Top

>105 jnwelch: I think we're all loving Loyola, Joe, save for those whose alma maters were eliminated by the Ramblers.

The UMBC-UVA game was unbelievable. Virginia had only lost twice all season, but tiny UMBC beat them by 20?! I read somewhere that UVA was a 3000:1 favorite to beat the Retrievers. I wonder what the odds would have been for a 20 point UMBC win?

My favored team, the Villanova Wildcats, are leading Texas Tech by 8 points with 6 minutes to go, despite a horrible shooting performance. Hopefully Nova can hang on, advance to the Final Four, and win it all, for the second time in three years.

Mar 25, 7:40pm Top

We shut Allen down for you, Darryl. Unfortunately, we are now on opposite sides.

Mar 25, 8:03pm Top

Thanks, Roni! I can live with KU beating Nova, but a win by Dook over the Cats would be a hard pill to swallow.

Mar 25, 10:02pm Top

Slightly belated birthday wishes, Darryl.

I am enjoying reading about the Man Booker longlist. I only have the Binet book on the stacks so far.

Mar 26, 8:26am Top

Thanks, Paul! I'll look for more of the MBIP longlisted books when I go to my favorite local indie bookstore later this week.

Mar 27, 7:59am Top

Belated Happy Birthday, Darryl! :)

>103 kidzdoc: Not for me either, that one, thanks for the warning!

Mar 27, 2:24pm Top

>111 Deern: Thanks, Nathalie!

Mar 27, 5:42pm Top

>103 kidzdoc: Um, no. Not for me either. Thank you for reading & reviewing it so I don't have to.

Hope you're having a restful but productive (in a readerly and eaterly way) week off, Darryl!

Mar 27, 8:46pm Top

>113 Storeetllr: You're welcome, Mary. I don't think I could recommend Die, My Love to anyone I know.

I've been catching up on sleep and answering online questions for my recertification examination in General Pediatrics more than reading for pleasure so far this week. I answered 90% of the first quarter exam questions correctly, so I'm off to an excellent start. If I pass this pilot online exam I won't have to go to a testing center to take the traditional four hour exam, which I have to pass to maintain my status as a board certified pediatrician, and keep my current job.

Mar 28, 4:24am Top

>114 kidzdoc: Good luck Darryl! I hope you pass the online exam so that you can get back to reading for pleasure and making travel plans!

Mar 28, 5:51am Top

Good going on the online exam Darryl. I'm sure you will pass the rest to save going to the centre.

Mar 28, 6:11am Top

Happy Belated Birthday, Darryl! I've read the Stay With Me and really enjoyed it. It was on another prize list last year - perhaps the Women's Literature shortlist? I'm not sure, but I recommend it.
And I've had a grandaughter. She is two weeks old now, and weighed a healthy 7 lb s 10 oz. I have a picture on my thread, a ways up . She of course very cute! :-)

Edited: Mar 28, 3:06pm Top

I just started slow cooking a corned beef brisket, along with carrots, baby red potatoes and onion, and I'll add half a red cabbage to it in six to seven hours. Fingers crossed that it turns out well.

>115 Sakerfalcon: Thanks, Claire! I'm finished with the first quarter's questions, and I won't be able to start the next set until April 1. At that time I'll receive a first quarter score, which will more accurately determine how well I've done. Examinees have to answer roughly 70% of the proctored exam questions correctly to pass, so I would be shocked if I wasn't well ahead of the pace to pass the exam.

Taking this exam is only one of the four parts required to maintain my status as a board certified pediatrician; this exam is Part 3. Part 1 is easy enough, as I only have to maintain my status as a licensed physician in the state(s) that I practice in. For Part 2 I have to take an adequate number of continuing medical education (CME) credits, which is required for me to maintain my Georgia medical incense. Part 4 is a Quallity Performance Project, which I'll need to complete by the end of 2020. Other medical specialities in the US have similar four part requirements for their fellows, so everyone in clinical practice has to do this.

My group's May schedule isn't out yet,so I can't make any definitive plans until then.

My mother was admitted to their local hospital late last night with left sided numbness and hypertension. According to my father she didn't have any left sided weakness suggestive of a stroke, but she is getting an MRI of the brain today to look for any changes suggestive of a stroke. Hopefully it will be normal, and she'll be able to be discharged by this evening. Things sound good so far, but if there is anything seriously wrong I may have to reconsider my spring travel plans.

>116 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline. I hope that you're right!

>117 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deb. I'm glad that you enjoyed Stay With Me; I should get to it this weekend, or sometime next week after my upcoming work stretch (Fri-Wed) ends.

Congratulations on the birth of your granddaughter!

Mar 28, 7:25pm Top

Oh! Hope your mom's MRI is okay, Darryl. And good luck with the test. (When I first read it, it looked like you wrote "plot outline exam," and I was all wow, is he writing a book? lol I need a nap.

Mar 28, 7:52pm Top

>119 Storeetllr: Thanks, Mary. My mother's tests (MRI of the brain, EEG, EKG and CXR) were all normal. Her BP is still high, so her nephrologist is going to keep her in the hospital until at least tomorrow. She's in good spirits and feels well.

Mar 29, 4:44am Top

>118 kidzdoc:, >120 kidzdoc: Sorry to hear about your mother's latest health scare, but relieved that the results look normal and she is in good spirits. I can well understand that you would be reluctant to leave the country given the uncertainty. Keeping you and your parents in my prayers.

Mar 29, 8:19am Top

>121 Sakerfalcon: Thanks, Claire. I spoke to my mother again last night; she sounded tired and mentally out of sorts, after a full day of tests and worrying about my father, who returned home earlier that night, but she said that she felt fine and that the numbness that she felt on Tuesday night had resolved.

I talked to my father as well, shortly after he returned home. They are looking forward to my visit next month, but independently encouraged me to continue with my spring and summer travel plans. Unless something drastic changes I'll likely stick with them, although I'll be sure to get refundable hotel rooms and airline tickets.

My group's May schedule still isn't out yet, which is the biggest obstacle to making travel plans for May and June. I was hopeful that it would be posted this week.

Edited: Mar 29, 8:40am Top

>121 Sakerfalcon: Ah! The May schedule has been posted within the past hour, and I won't have to work Memorial Day this year! I'm off from May 19 through June 30, so I won't need to return to the US in late May. The schedule isn't finalized, though, so there is still a slight possibility that I will be needed in late May. If not then I'll plan to fly to London on May 19 or 20, travel to Amsterdam in early June for the Holland Festival, and meet up with Dutch LTers, definitely Anita, Frank and Connie, and hopefully Mark, Sanne, Jacqueline and Diana, then travel to Iberia after a week or two there. I want to go to Portugal, and meet up with my work partner when she and her friend are in Spain (Barcelona, Madrid and Sevilla). They are on a guided tour of those cities, and I may only meet up with them in one or two cities, as I would like to explore other Spanish cities, particularly Tarragona, Málaga, Toledo and Salamanca, and make a return visit to Girona while I'm in Catalunya.

Once our May schedule is finalized I'll be in touch with you, Bianca, Fliss, Rachael & Rupert, and my/our other British and Dutch friends.

One of my two oldest LT friends, deebee1, lives in Lisbon, and hopefully she'll be there in June. Her availability may influence my travel plans in Iberia.

Mar 29, 10:00am Top

>123 kidzdoc: your travel plans sound really good!

Mar 29, 11:08am Top

>124 torontoc: Thanks, Cyrel! After this brutal winter at work I'm very eager to resume my preferred life of traveling to Europe, meeting up with LT and other friends abroad, and reading in earnest.

Edited: Mar 29, 11:17am Top

I made corned beef and cabbage for dinner yesterday, using the brisket I purchased on St Patrick's Day and stored in my freezer:

I cooked it in my slow cooker, as Super Chef Caroline (cameling) had recommended. I lined the bottom of my slow cooker with 10 quartered baby red potatoes, roughly four carrots (I used halved baby carrots), and a coarsely chopped red onion, added the brisket covered with the spice mixture contained with it, added four cups of water and half a bottle of Guinness Stout, and let it cook on high for six hours, adding a coarsely chopped half of a leftover red cabbage head in the last hour. The corned beef tasted great, as did the red cabbage, but the potatoes and carrots were too soft for my liking, somewhere between firm and mushy. I'll definitely make this again, but next time I'll either cook the brisket for four hours or less, or add the potatoes and carrots at the halfway point. I may cook a brisket with only onions and perhaps garlic by itself next time, to get an idea of how long it should be cooked for, as it turned out perfectly.

Mar 29, 2:04pm Top

>123 kidzdoc: That sounds like a long and lovely trip, Darryl.
Have you looked at the Holland Festival yet? I haven't seen anything this year that was interesting enough to book tickets right away. Let me know if anything gets to your attention :-)

Mar 29, 2:56pm Top

Good luck with your exams, Darryl. I imagine you are itching to get back to "fun" reading.

Good that your mom's tests were negative.

Mar 29, 3:05pm Top

I'm glad to hear your mother did not have a stroke, Darryl. I hope her blood pressure can be controlled, and that you can go on holiday with a relatively easy mind. (I know with aging parents you can never 100% relax your concern.) And good luck with the rest of the exams...I'm sure you are well prepared to sail through.

Edited: Mar 29, 4:52pm Top

>127 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita. At 43 days I'm certain this will be the longest paid break I've ever had from work. Because June is my vacation free month I'll only use five vacation days during that time, and I still have up to 23.5 vacation days to use by the end of the year (I can only carry five days over from this year to next).

At the moment I'm inclined to visit London for 10-14 days, travel to Amsterdam by train in late May or early June, spend 7-14 days there, then fly to Iberia from Schiphol, either to Barcelona or Lisbon, and return to the US on 27 or 28 June.

I just started looking at the Holland Festival program this morning, and posted a link to a five minute YouTube video about it on my Facebook timeline. I tagged you, Connie (connie53) and Sanne (Ennas), to see if any of you were planning to attend any of the performances. Sanne said she wasn't, but she proposed meeting up in 's-Hertogenbosch or Nijmegen, which sounded good to me. Connie hasn't replied yet, but last week when I wished her a happy birthday she expressed interest in meeting up in June. I'm not Facebook friends with Jacqueline or Mark, two other LTers I met in Leiden with Claire and her sister Karen in 2016, but I'll touch base with them through LT once my plans are more firm. I'll also look at the Holland Festival program in more detail in the next few days and let you know which performances appeal to me.

>128 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. There are questions to be answered every quarter, and I'll receive the next set on Sunday. I won't know until the end of the year if I've passed the online assessment or not, but assuming the upcoming questions aren't significantly harder I should be in good shape. Fortunately the assessment (MOCA-Peds) has a mobile app, so I can read and answer questions on my cell phone wherever I go, including countries in Europe.

My mother should be home by now, or will be very shortly.

>129 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks, Linda. The biggest concern we have now is adequately treating my mother's high blood pressure, and determining the cause for it. It's very possible that it's due to an aldosterone producing adrenal tumor, as she has a tumor within her left adrenal gland and elevated serum aldosterone levels, and if it's proven that the tumor is producing excess aldosterone it will need to be surgically excised. If that is the case and surgery is planned for late May or June I'll have to reconsider my travel plans.

The exam is going well so far, especially because exam takers are allowed to specify whether they want to answer questions with either an inpatient or an outpatient focus. I find the outpatient questions far more difficult, as I haven't seen patients in a clinic or primary care office for nearly 18 years, whereas the inpatient questions refer to situations I regularly encounter as a hospitalist. The questions I missed were all outpatient ones, and I answered all of the inpatient questions correctly.

Mar 29, 4:52pm Top

Hi Darryl - I've followed your trips in the past and this one sounds equally exciting. Coincidentally, I'll be in Lisbon for a conference from June 4-9, then staying on a few days (probably until the 12th) on my own. If that overlaps with your time there and you plan an LT meet-up, I'd love to be included!

Edited: Mar 30, 11:14am Top

Great, Vivian! It's entirely possible that my visit to Lisbon will partially overlap with yours. Although I would ideally like to meet up with my work partner and her friend in Spain from 14-23 June I don't want to restrict my plans by doing so, and depending on deebee's availability I may fly directly from Amsterdam to Lisbon in the first half of June.

Mar 30, 2:12am Top

Good to hear parents are doing okay & recent scares have not been too serious .....

Holding off any travelling myself while wait for date for small op for my Mum ( cataracts, too not too serious but she is almost blind in that eye now)

Your travel plans sound fun

Mar 30, 9:36am Top

>133 roundballnz: Thanks, Alex. Hopefully the rest of the year will be a smoother one for my parents. My mother may need surgery to remove a tumor on her left adrenal gland if it can be proven that it is producing excess aldosterone and causing her significant hypertension. If so I would like to there for the surgery and postoperative recovery, which may impact my travel plans.

Mar 30, 12:23pm Top

I'm glad your mom is doing ok Darryl. I'm sure you will enjoy some time together soon. Hopefully you will be able to do your European visit without any hitches, and I look forward to catching up when you are in London.

Mar 30, 6:36pm Top

>135 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline. Yes, I'll visit them from 21-25 April, and I have a couple of long weekends coming up before then, so I could take a quick trip then as well. Delta has essentially hourly flights between Atlanta and Philadelphia most days, and the flight time from gate to gate is roughly two hours, so it's an easy trip by air.

I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll be able to spend most of the six weeks I have off in May and June in Europe. The biggest challenge, albeit a fun one, is figuring out what places I want to go, and when, in order to meet up with as many people as possible. It seems to make the most sense to visit London first, followed by Amsterdam, but the Iberian portion of the trip will be the toughest one to figure out. (This is truly a first world problem.)

Edited: Mar 30, 6:42pm Top

Book #17: The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease by Meredith Wadman

Shortlisted for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize

My rating:

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.

Edited: Mar 30, 6:47pm Top

Hey, buddy. Your travel plans sound great, even with first world complications. I'm sorry to hear that your mom may need that tumor surgery - is it fairly routine if she does? I suppose nothing's routine as we get older.

P.S. Whoops, cross-posted with you. Good review of The Vaccine Race.

Mar 30, 7:00pm Top

Hi! Just catching up with you here. I hope your parents' health continues to improve and stabilize. Your travel plans sound wonderful!

Edited: Mar 30, 7:29pm Top

Hi, Jane! It's great to see you here. I've been very neglectful of my Club Read thread, but I'll try to catch up next week on my days off. Thanks for your kind wish about my parents.

I'll have to mention my travel plans on Club Read as well, especially since Mark (thorold) participated in the meet up we had in Leiden, NL in 2016, and I also met Monkey and her husband in Maastricht during that same visit. I'm in the process of making plans with three other Dutch LTers I've met on past trips for June, and I'll certainly see at least some of my British LT friends while I'm there.

Oddly enough I haven't participated in a group LT meet up in the US in at least a couple of years, not counting seeing Joe, Debbi & Becca Welch in Chicago last year. I'll have to do better, at least in 2019 if not this year.

ETA: Woah. I looked at the last recipe you posted in La Cucina in Club Read; that sounds fabulous! I'll have to award you the "LT Super Chef" prize as well, along with Caroline (cameling), and try some of the things you've made.

Edited: Mar 30, 7:44pm Top

Planned reads for April:

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, Stay With Me (Wellcome Book Prize shortlist)
Paul Buck, Lisbon: A Cultural and Literary Companion (Iberian literature and nonfiction)
Javier Cercas, The Impostor (Man Booker International Prize longlist)
Lindsey Fitzharris, The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine (Wellcome Book Prize shortlist)
Alain Mabanckou, The Lights of Pointe-Noire (in memory of rebeccanyc)
Kathryn Mannix, With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial (Wellcome Book Prize shortlist)
Raphael Minder, The Struggle for Catalonia: Rebel Politics in Spain (Iberian literature and nonfiction)
Antonio Muñoz Molina, Like a Fading Shadow (Man Booker International Prize longlist)
Wu Ming-Yi, The Stolen Bicycle (Man Booker International Prize longlist)
Mark O’Connell, To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death (Wellcome Book Prize shortlist)

Mar 31, 1:47am Top

>133 roundballnz: Hope the cataract surgery goes well - my dad had it done, in his one working eye (he's been blind in one eye since he was a teenager), and the difference was huge. They adjusted the lens they put in to replace the cataract and he went from needing driving glasses and strong readers to needing nothing but mild readers - and the colors of things changed too, he was seeing blue as blue instead of green. His old lens, with the cataract, was shifting colors heavily yellow. Your mother may find that the surgery makes a huge difference in her life.

Your travel plans sound fantastic, Darryl - hopefully things with your parents will be calm at that point so you won't have any qualms about taking your trip. My dad is just out of the hospital, on blood thinners to prep for a pacemaker next month - so I know something of how you're feeling about them.

And I think a BB for The Vaccine Race, though I'll probably be annoyed with the politics. It's a fascinating subject.

Mar 31, 5:21pm Top

>137 kidzdoc: Great review on the Vaccine Race, Daryl. I've put it on hold at the library. We'll see how I'm feeling about the internal politics described in the book when it becomes available. My threshold for that kind of stuff is pretty low, given the current political climate in the US.

Mar 31, 5:40pm Top

Hi Darryl! your planned travels sound amazing! One tip I have for Portugal, after our stay there, is to try to learn a few phrases in Portuguese before you go. We tried using Spanish in Portugal, and they hated it. Obrigado means thank you, and once we learned that people liked us much better.

Apr 3, 2:25pm Top

Wow, am envious of the idea of being able to go somewhere for a month and just leave everything behind! (Well, not family and friends, but work issues and concerns...) I literally can't remember when I was able to unplug like that -- probably back in the day before the Internet came along!

Wanted to flag you to two new books coming along. The first will be published next week and may already be on your radar: Woman of the Ashes by Mia Couto, the writer from Mozambique who I think you or Janet may first have mentioned to me years ago. I just got a NetGalley copy -- it's the first in a trilogy, starting in the 1890s, about the Portuguese conquest of one of the biggest African empires, in what would become Mozambique, and a woman caught between the tribes supporting the invaders and defenders in what became a kind of civil war. Then there is "Cancerland" by David Scadden of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, a memoir of his personal encounters with cancer and also his professional life fighting the disease. It won't be out until July. I haven't requested a NetGalley copy, but it's from St. Martin's, FYI.

Apr 5, 8:24am Top

Just checking in after another LT absence (I wish my parents would get that wifi in their new place already...) to wish you a Happy April. Good luck with the next set of exam questions, and of course lots of good health wished for your mum. I hope they'll get that blood pressure under control without surgery.

Apr 5, 11:33am Top

I finished my not too bad five day stretch last night, and I'm off for the rest of the week. I'll catch up on sleep today and plan the rest of the weekend, which should be mostly sunny and a bit cooler than normal for this time of year, though nothing to complain about compared to the rest of the country. I hope to finish two books from this year's Wellcome Book Prize shortlist, The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Dr Lindsey Fitzharris, a medical historian with a PhD from Oxford, and With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Dr Kathryn Mannix, a palliative care physician in the UK. My office space is next to the ones for the Palliative Advanced Care Team members of Children's, so I'll quickly pass this book onto them when I'm finished reading it.

Being the "asshole" that I am I took advantage of Easter Sunday falling on the same day as April Fool's Day, and posted on my Facebook timeline on Sunday a photo of the Greek rabbit stew (kouneli stifado) that I "made" that afternoon. I thought that at least one of my Facebook friends would have challenged me on this claim, because I was at work at the time I posted the photo (and I'm friends with at least one hundred nurses, advanced practice providers and physicians at Children's), the photo I posted was the same one as the link to the recipe, and because, from an American standpoint, it would be cruel and obnoxious to eat rabbit on a day associated with the Easter bunny, especially in a country where rabbit meat is not easily obtained, is rare to find in restaurants, and the animals are far more likely to be thought of as pets or adorable backyard neighbors or meadow inhabitants (it's not unusual to see wild rabbits in my parents' backyard, although they aren't as common as they previously were, thanks to their neighbors' cats and the wild foxes that we see on occasion). No one did question my post, though, and I shamelessly pranked one of my favorite nurses that afternoon, who was both embarrassed and disappointed that I hadn't made rabbit stew and invited her to try some. So, I confessed my prank on Facebook on Monday, as some of you saw. The recipe does look very good, though, and I'm tempted to give it a try this weekend, using either rabbit (which I should be able to get at a farmers' market just east of Atlanta) or chicken. When I do make it I'll post the recipe here, and in The Kitchen.

I finished On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder earlier this week. It's definitely a 5 star read, and an essential book for people in the US and abroad

>142 jjmcgaffey: Thanks, Jennifer. Unfortunately my mother had to return to the ER at a local hospital early Tuesday morning due to severe hypertension, which was associated with numbness and a throbbing frontal headache. Her blood pressure was able to be controlled with IV medications, and she was discharged home later that morning after a CT scan of her head was normal. I'm very worried that if she continues to have severe HTN that she could have a stroke, which could be disabling if not devastating or even fatal. They have been dragging their feet in getting this properly evaluated, and as a result I'll be much more insistent that they make a follow up appointment with the endocrinologic surgeon at UPenn that my mother and I saw together last November. She has an adrenal tumor and elevated serum levels of aldosterone, a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland that is associated with difficult to control HTN if produced in excess. The surgeon suspects that the tumor is producing excess aldosterone, and if that is the case he recommended surgically removing it. I'm hopeful that my father can schedule an appointment with the surgeon for later this month, particularly during my upcoming visit, and that she can have the surgery done ASAP. If the surgery takes place in June then I would ideally like to be there, as she would need to be admitted the night before surgery and need to stay for at least 1-2 days afterward. Because of this I'm hesitant to make definitive travel plans to Europe for May and June until I find out what the surgeon's plan is for my mother.

The Vaccine Race was very interesting, from a medical, scientific and political standpoint, although it is very detailed and not a quick or easy read.

>143 tangledthread: Thanks, tangledthread. The Vaccine Race does touch on a number of topics that are currently relevant within and outside of the US, particularly the funding of biomedical research in the US, the use of human and animal fetal and postnatal cells to grow viruses to make vaccines, the ethics of research studies, informed consent, and the role of industry and government in creating new drugs and vaccines. I'll probably write a more detailed review of it later this year.

Edited: Apr 6, 8:44am Top

>144 banjo123: Obrigado, Rhonda! That's excellent advice, and I'll definitely learn some basic phrases in Portugese before I go there.

>145 Chatterbox: Thanks for letting me know about those two books, Suzanne! I'll be on the lookout for them. I haven't read anything by Mia Couto yet, but I do own The Tuner of Silences.

>146 Deern: Thanks, Nathalie. Hopefully my mother's blood pressure can be controlled with medications alone, but I suspect that she'll need to have her adrenal gland removed first.

Apr 5, 2:04pm Top

I'm sending lots of good thoughts and wishes for your Mom. Scary times, indeed.

Ha on your rabbit stew joke. I wouldn't have caught it, I'm afraid, because rabbit is available in grocery stores here (even though I have never eaten it).

I have a reindeer cookbook put out by the Alaska Department of somethingorother that I drag out occasionally in December.

The Vaccine Race sounds interesting to me. One of the goals of my lab chief was to develop a Chlamydial vaccine before he retired. That one is still elusive. I'll put this on my neverending wishlist.

Apr 5, 6:32pm Top

>149 streamsong: Thanks, Janet.

Nobody picked up on my April Fool's Day prank, and even yesterday one of my friends at work asked me where I bought rabbit meat from, despite my "fess up" post on Monday.

Interesting that rabbit is available in your local grocery stores. I found out from my barber that rabbit is also sold at the Atlanta Municipal Market downtown, which is much closer than the two farmers' markets 10-15 miles east of me. I may go there first, probably first thing Saturday morning.

Doubly interesting on reindeer! I've never had it before, but would be very willing to try it.

I would recommend The Vaccine Race to you more than anyone else here, given your background. I purchased the Kindle version of it; otherwise I'd offer to send my copy to you.

Edited: Apr 6, 6:32pm Top

Sigh. It was probably too carefully considered a prank, and too consistent with what you usually do (i.e. post about your interesting meals.) Maybe some people never even got to the rabbit part. Had you made it more blatant -- i.e. that the rabbit needs to have been white, and that you need to decorate the dish with Easter themed stuff -- you might have managed to gross someone out!!

And rabbit is tasty, especially in a mustard sauce. If I'm going to get all misty-eyed about critters, I have to do so about lamb, too, as I find lambs are adorable. Alas, I love lamb as a dish. Big, big problem. I try to eat as little of it as possible and not to think about it. And focus on fish, about which I really have no emotions at all...

Apr 7, 10:51am Top

>151 Chatterbox: Exactly. That Facebook post was identical to most ones I post on Sunday afternoons, my usual day to cook if I'm not working that weekend, with a photo of the food, a description of it, and a link to the recipe. The only hints would have been that the photo in my post is the same one shown in the link, and my comment that I made Greek rabbit stew "in honor of Easter". Many people didn't realize that Easter Sunday fell on April 1 this year, and they didn't draw the link until my post on Monday, which featured an image that linked Easter with April Fool's Day. Only one person, Erin, one of the nurse practitioners on the Psychiatry service at Children's and one of my closest friends at work, expressed skepticism about my post when I saw her on Monday morning, which was confirmed after she read the confessional post I wrote earlier that morning, although she didn't call me out on my timeline or in a PM.

I also find rabbits and lambs to be adorable, but I can eat their meat without compunction. Rabbit in mustard sauce sounds good!

Lamb is easily my favorite red meat, and I'm pretty sure that I could give up beef if I could have lamb. I don't have lamb, or beef for that matter, very often, as I'm much more likely to have chicken, pork, fish or shellfish instead.

Apr 7, 11:03am Top

After I received a sobering and worrisome message about my parents from a dear friend of mine, my closest friend in high school, whose family lived across the street from ours when we were teenagers and checks in on my parents once or twice a week, I've decided to skip traveling to the UK and the Netherlands in late May and early June, and spend at least two weeks with them instead. Deebee let me know on Thursday that she will be in town (Lisbon) and would love to meet up, so I rearranged my travel schedule and will fly from Atlanta to Lisbon on 6 June, arriving the following morning. I'll stay there until 15 June, then travel by train to either Coimbra or Porto. The train ride from Porto to Coimbra on the fast train takes less than an hour, so I think it makes more sense to make one or two day trips to Coimbra, rather than checking in a hotel in Coimbra for one or two nights and then travel to Porto (I may change my mind, though). I've received lots of helpful advice on Portugal from LT and non-LT friends so far, and I'll read the Baedeker's Portugal guide book I bought a few ago, along with Lisbon: A Cultural and Literary Companion by Paul Buck and Journey to Portugal: In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture by José Saramago over the next two months.

Apr 7, 11:35am Top

I'm sorry to hear that your parents' situation seems to be deteriorating, Darryl. The inevitability of this happening to our older generation does not make it easier to accept or cope with, does it?

I took your FB post about the rabbit stew absolutely seriously, and was envious of your having rabbit to cook with. Many years ago, my brother raised rabbits for their meat, and we often got to share the results. But he found it too time-consuming ultimately, and the only rabbit I've been able to get recently has come frozen---not bad, but it does lose a little something. His were tastier by far; they probably got fed things commercially raised rabbits do not.

Apr 10, 2:36pm Top

>153 kidzdoc: We travelled to both Coimbra and Porto last year and loved both.We only had one day in each so haven't got too much in the way of recommendations, but if you have time definitely go on a boat trip up the Douro.

Apr 11, 7:46am Top

Just catching up with your news, Darryl. I'm sorry to hear about your parents' continuing health worries, and I hope that you can get some better answers about the causes and potential treatments for your mother soon. While I will miss seeing you in May, I totally understand that you should be around for your parents; aside from everything else, it's no fun to be away when you are worrying about things back home. If you happen to be with them in PA in early June maybe we could meet up there? I arrive on June 1st. Your Portugal plans sound great; Porto is lovely and if you have time I highly recommend the Museu Serralves.

I did see your rabbit post and wondered if it was serious or not, but as I was looking on my phone I didn't post a comment. Rabbit meat is more common here than in the US, I think, and my mother loves it.

Apr 11, 8:40am Top

>153 kidzdoc: sorry to hear about your parents Darryl, I hope things improve. Sadly my father died on Easter Sunday. I'm sad, and there is much to occupy me. Luckily I am close to my sister and brother, and we are sharing the load, and supporting each other.

I saw an interesting programme on Lisbon a couple of days ago, and I'm sure you will love it.

Apr 11, 9:22am Top

>157 Caroline_McElwee: I'm very sorry to hear the news about your father, Caroline. I hope that you and your siblings will be able to remember the good times amid the current sadness.

Apr 15, 5:55am Top

>158 Sakerfalcon: Thanks Claire, he will be missed.

Edited: Apr 15, 8:58am Top

>154 laytonwoman3rd: Thanks, Linda. My mother was admitted to the hospital again on Thursday due to another episode of severe hypertension. Her nephrologist is still having difficulty controlling her BP adequately on oral medications, and her neurologist insists that she should not be discharged until her systolic BP is 140 or less off of IV meds. I've suggested to my father that he should speak with the attending and consulting physicians today, and request that she be transferred to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) in Philadelphia early next week if they cannot get her BP under control. As I've probably mentioned previously she has a tumor in her left adrenal gland that is likely producing excess aldosterone, which is almost certainly the cause for her severe hypertension. If it can be proven that the tumor is the cause for her hyperaldosteronism it needs to be surgically removed, according to the endocrinologic surgeon at Penn who my mother and I saw last autumn. She has an appointment to see him on Wednesday April 25, and I'll be able to accompany my parents to that appointment if she is discharged from their local hospital between now and then. I'm hopeful that she can be transferred to HUP next week, though, and have the gland removed then, as she has been hospitalized at least three times in the past two months for recurrent episodes of hypertension, which are getting progressively worse.

On a somewhat related note I just finished reading With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Dr Kathryn Mannix, an outstanding book about end of life care written by a British palliative care physician. I just wrote a brief review of it on Goodreads which I'll post here shortly, athough I intend to write a meatier review of it later this month. This book was shortlisted for this year's Wellcome Book Prize, and of the eight longlisted books (four from the shortlist) I've read so far it's now my favorite, and I doubt that the two remaining shortlisted books I have yet to read will finish ahead of it in my rank order.

I do want to give that Greek rabbit stew recipe a try, although I may make it with chicken the first time that I do. Oh...that reminds me that I should post recipes of the two (actually three) new things I've tried in the past week, Chickpea, Tofu & Spinach Curry, along with Crispy-Skinned Fish (striped bass from Whole Foods MarketO, served with a freshly prepared Italian Salsa Verde that Paola (I forget her LT user name) shared with me on Facebook last month.

Edited: Apr 15, 9:07am Top

Happy Sunday, Darryl. I have not been by in awhile but I knew I had to check in. Sorry, to hear about your parent's continuing health woes. I hope things improve for them.

Glad you were able to read On Tyranny. It is an important book.

Our weather has been awful in the Midwest. I hope you are faring better, down south.

Apr 15, 9:42am Top

>160 kidzdoc: - So hard to manage and be on top of things from a distance! I know that well. I do hope you can get the hospital transfer arranged so that you are able to attend some of the critical appointments with them. I think that will be a big relief of some of the stress for all three of you, going forward. Fingers crossed, Darryl, that things fall into place for all of you soon.

Apr 15, 9:53am Top

>155 SandDune: I'm glad that you enjoyed Coimbra and Porto, Rhian. After getting recommendations from deebee1 this week I've now decided to stay in Coimbra from 15-18 June, and in Porto from 18-22 June, before I fly to Barcelona for a six day stay, I should have time to take a boat tour of the Douro Valley while I'm there. Needless to say I'll take plenty of photos while I'm in Portugal!

After deebee1 recommended staying in the Príncipe Real I booked a room at the Lisboa Plaza Hotel on the Avenida da Liberdade, adjacent to the Avenida metro station and close to the Jardim Botânico. (Ah, she just now sent me an e-mail message, so I'll see what else she suggests in a minute.) I very much need to get city maps of Lisboa, Coimbra and Porto, which I had planned to buy at Daunt Books, so I'll have to order them online.

>156 Sakerfalcon: Thanks, Claire. I'm sorry that I won't make it to London (and Amsterdam) next month, but I feel much more comfortable with this decision to spend at least two weeks with my parents. I think that we should be able to meet up in Philadelphia in early June, depending on your plans and what is going on with my parents. I haven't made flight reservations yet, but at the moment I plan to leave for Atlanta on the evening of the 4th, as I have a relatively early flight (~5:30 pm) from ATL to LIS on the 6th.

Thanks for mentioning the Museu Serralves! I see that it's the most often visited museum in Portugal, and the Fundação Serralves looks like a fabulous place to spend a day.

In one of her messages to me this week deebee1 has encouraged me to strongly consider retiring to Portugal instead of Spain, as her adopted country (she is Filipino, I believe) is a more tolerant one than Spain is. So, this trip will serve as a long desired vacation, along with an examination of it as a potential retirement home.

>157 Caroline_McElwee:, >158 Sakerfalcon:, >159 Caroline_McElwee: Oh, no! I'm very sorry to hear about your father's death, Caroline. I remember you saying that he wasn't doing well earlier this month, My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family.

>161 msf59: Happy(?) Sunday, Mark! I've hardly been on LT this month, so you haven't missed much here. Friday and Saturday were spectacular days in Atlanta, with sunny skies and high temperatures in the low 80s, perfect weather for this year's Atlanta Dogwood Festival in nearby Piedmont Park, which is 1-1/2 blocks from where I live. Unfortunately I worked on Friday and slept for most of Saturday, so I didn't go to it. I'm now mostly caught up on sleep; however today will be a washout, as it's supposed to rain all day, and our temperature will plummet to the upper 30s by tomorrow morning. Given the weather in the Upper Midwest we have nothing to complain about, though.

Apr 15, 10:38am Top

Thanks Darryl. We are adjusting.

Apr 15, 12:21pm Top

So sorry to read about your mum's health Darryl, hope that the transfer is smooth and the operation successful. Your trip to Portugal sounds lovely, I've only been briefly but thought it was a beautiful place.

Apr 15, 1:33pm Top

>164 Caroline_McElwee: Good to hear, Caroline. I'm sure that you and your siblings are drawing strength from each other.

>165 charl08: Thanks, Charlotte. My mother is doing better today, but we don't know if she'll be able to go home today or not. Her BP is under much better control, but I'm pretty certain that it's on IV and not oral medications yet, and if that's the case she won't be able to be discharged.

Edited: Apr 15, 1:40pm Top

Book #20: With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix


My rating: 4-1/2 stars

(A brief review.)

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.

Apr 15, 3:47pm Top

>167 kidzdoc: that drops in my basket Darryl. Gawande's book was outstanding, so anything that bears comparison must be good. We were lucky with dad that he was in his home almost to the end.

Apr 16, 1:58am Top

Darryl, I hope your mom keeps doing better.

>167 kidzdoc: Thanks for the book review, I will look for it.

I would agree about Portugal being more tolerant and diverse than Spain, though we were only in Lisboa. The history is fascinating.

Edited: Apr 16, 11:54am Top

>168 Caroline_McElwee: I would say that With the End in Mind is essentially as good as Being Mortal, although it's a wee bit more useful to clinicians than to lay people. I'll probably go through it again with a fine tooth comb within the next week or two, and I may bump it to a 5 star rating.

I'm glad that your father was able to stay at home nearly to the end of his life. My brother and I were talking yesterday about our mutual concerns about our parents' ability to live in their home, which they have done since 1976.

>169 banjo123: Thanks, Rhonda. She is still in the hospital, but hopefully she'll be either discharged home or transferred to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania soon if her BP cannot be stabiilzed on oral medications there.

With the End in Mind is available in the US, so you should be able to find it locally.

I'll be very, very interested to experience Portugal on a first hand basis, and compare it to Spain. I certainly noticed the near complete absence of black people in Spain, particularly in large cities like Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Granada, Bilbao and San Sebastián, especially compared to London, Amsterdam and Paris. I have felt out of place in Spain at times, although most people I spoke to were very friendly to me, especially after I was able to hold a conversation with them in Spanish. Portugal, in general, and Lisbon, in particular, have been mentioned in every article I've read about the best places for Americans to retire abroad, due to the high standard and low cost of living compared to the US. And, after this week's racist incidents in Philadelphia and suburban Detroit, I'm more than ready to say au revoir to the United States once I hang up my stethoscope and spend my remaining days in Europe.

I can hardly stop thinking of Portugal for more than five minutes, and most of my reading for the next 2-3 months will be focused on that country, along with Catalunya (my current choice of a place to retire), once I finish the Wellcome Book Prize shortlist later this month. I have quite a few books lined up, and will be on the lookout for more in the next week or two.

Apr 16, 11:52pm Top

Book #21: Miró: The Life of a Passion by Lluís Permanyer

My rating:

This is a very good short introductory biography of the life of the great Catalan painter and sculptor Joan Miró (1893-1983), which was written by a long time friend of his. I purchased it for €6,00 from the gift shop in the Fundació Joan Miró, the superb museum on Montjüic in Barcelona that is dedicated to his work, and to those who have influenced and been influenced by him. It provides little analysis of his works, though, so anyone who seeks that information would be advised to look for another book, or, better yet, visit the Fundació in person.

Apr 16, 11:57pm Top

There are lots of Africans in Lisboa, Darryl, as Portugal welcomed former colonists after they dissolved their empire.

But of course, Barcelona is pretty awesome. And the food in Portugal is good, but I did like the food in Spain better.

Apr 17, 4:33am Top

>147 kidzdoc: Great April Fools joke, clearly no one wanted to to challenge your cooking prowess :)

Apr 18, 8:40am Top

Some day we hope to visit Portugal. In the meantime, I'll appreciate it vicariously through you!

Edited: Apr 19, 8:52am Top

>172 banjo123: That's good to hear about the people of African descent who live in Portugal, Rhonda. The one major negative about Spain to me is its lack of cultural diversity, not counting the tourists. I found that both surprising and disappointing, especially in Andalucía, considering that North Africans (Moors) colonized Spain from 711 until the Christians finally conquered Granada in 1491. There were also thriving Jewish communities (Sepharads) in Spain, especially in Barcelona and Girona, as you probably know, but they were forced to first convert to Christianity in the late 15th century and ultimately expelled from Spain. I'll be very interested to learn about the history of Moriscos and Judios in Portugal.

I've started reading Lisbon: A Cultural and Literary Companion by Paul Buck, and included in the Introduction is the following statement:

If you can't manage to speak Portuguese, it's best to speak French, English, German or other languages than Spanish.

I signed up for Duolingo's Portuguese online course on Monday, and I'll try to spend at least 5-10 minutes every day learning that beautiful language before I leave for Lisbon. I also ordered a Portuguese grammar guide for my Kindle, and I'll look for a basic Portuguese-English dictionary as well.

Barcelona is a fantastic city. This will be my fourth visit there, and I'm excited to return, although plans for Portugal are my top priority at the moment.

>173 LovingLit: Ha! A couple of friends at work were skeptical about my post, and I thought that Katie had it figured out early, but no one openly challenged me, on Facebook or in the hospital.

>174 drneutron: I'll take plenty of photos while I'm in Portugal, Jim. Deebee and I are going to meet up on the 8th, and hopefully we'll get together at least a couple more times as well. If current plans play out we might have a nice mini-LT meet up in Lisbon while I'm there. If I like Portugal as much as I expect to I'll plan to visit regularly, as often as once or twice a year, in the future.

Apr 19, 4:40pm Top

>175 kidzdoc: We found French more useful than English in the north of Portugal. The south would be very different, as the Algarve is a big British holiday destination. One thing I didn't like about Portugal was the temperature of the sea - bitterly cold, in my opinion.

Edited: Apr 19, 9:13pm Top

I guess I'll have to start visiting your thread more regularly now that I know you're learning Portuguese and going to visit Portugal. My friend Barbara will also be visiting Portugal this year. My younger son knows Portuguese from having many Brazilian friends and visiting Brazil himself during two summers. I can understand Portuguese if I try (and it's easy for me to read) because of my knowledge of Spanish. I have been corresponding with a Little Free Library steward in Lisbon. I follow his thread on Facebook. If I can't translate something, I'll just use Facebook's automatic translation, although I can understand it pretty well. I'll give you the link to his Little Free Library just in case you'll be near where it's located (you can never tell!).


The steward of this Little Free Library is a retired pediatrician named Joaquim. He retired early because he became hard of hearing (just like me!). I have truly enjoyed writing to him because he credits me with his starting his own Little Free Library (located in a park). It might be fun for you two to meet. :) He does speak English. He was hoping to meet my friend Barbara, but she will be on a tour with two other people, only two days in Lisbon, and will probably not have time to stop to meet him.

I know that you will have plenty to do and this will not be high on your list of priorities, but I thought I'd mention it in passing. :D

Apr 20, 12:12am Top

Woo! One more hour, and my last swing shift (5 pm to 1 am) of the week will be finished! As I mentioned to Madeline earlier I'm running on fumes after four straight busy calls, and I look forward to doing a lot of sleeping on Friday. I can never sleep well during the day when I have to work at night, so I'm sure I'll crash hard once I arrive home.

Good news regarding my mother. She was discharged from the hospital last week, but she was able to see the endocrinologic surgeon at Penn, along with a nephrologist that specializes in adrenal disorders. They both agreed that she needs to have her L adrenal gland removed, as it contains a tumor that is producing excess aldosterone that is causing her to have recurrent episodes of severe hypertension (I'm not sure if it's a pheochromocytoma or not). She will undergo surgery on April 30 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) in Philadelphia, and after one of my partners agreed to cover my backup call that day I'll fly to Philadelphia on April 28, and stay until May 2. From the conversation I had with the surgeon in November she'll need to be admitted the day before, and will need to remain in hospital for one or two days post-operatively. I have to discuss details with my parents, but I plan to stay with her throughout the entire hospital course, and perhaps rent a nearby hotel room if accommodations aren't available for family members in the hospital, especially if my mother prefers if one of her three guys (myself, my brother and my father) is nearby (we're about a 30 minute drive from Penn's campus, so we could easily drive back and forth from the house). Penn's medical center is massive, possibly larger than the huge University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, so I have no doubt that there are plenty of hotel rooms within walking distance of HUP.

Edited: Apr 20, 12:24am Top

>176 SandDune: Thanks, Rhian. My knowledge of French is essentially zero, so I would be better off learning as much basic Portuguese as I can, and holding most extensive conversations in English. I'm comfortable speaking with strangers in Spanish, although I'm not yet fluent, but I don't want to insult anyone by using that language.

Cold sea sounds good to me! I greatly prefer cooler weather (15-25 C ideally, rather than 25-35+ C), and I hope that it isn't blazing hot during my stay there, or in Barcelona.

>177 SqueakyChu: Thanks for that information about the Little Free Library and the retired pediatrician who runs it, Madeline! I'll definitely check it out, and see if the others want to join me. My hotel is next to the Avenida station of the Lisbon Metro (Blue Line), so it will be easy to get to the Quinta das Conchas station where his library is located. I'll definitely post photos while I'm there!

Apr 20, 12:59am Top

In Lisboa, many people spoke English. And a lot spoke Spanish as well, and they were fine with speaking Spanish to Spaniards (there are lots of Spanish tourists there). However, they didn't like it when we tried speaking Spanish. I think if your Spanish is good enough, people won't mind it, but it's handy to have a few words in Portuguese. Obrigada (or Obrigado) instead of Gracias seemed to make people happier.

We were told that in the more remote areas, people only speak Portuguese, so I will be interested to see if that's what you find.

Lisboa is a super fun town, do you know what part you will stay in? I would not advise driving there, but the Metro is great. Also, we did go to a football game, Sporting FC, which was super-fun. Very good fans. Mrs. Banjo says you should go while you are there.

Apr 20, 10:20am Top

>175 kidzdoc: There are also good translator apps for your phone. Type in what you want to say, and some will give you the choice of a spoken or written translation. (Standard translation app warnings probably apply!) I'm also of the 'buy a dictionary' generation. My kids are the ones who constantly remind me 'there's an app for that'.

I hope things go smoothly with your Mom's surgery. Sending good thots for her and her three men.

Apr 20, 10:28am Top

>178 kidzdoc: I was just now catching up on your' mom's situation. I hope her surgery is uneventful and that she will finally be rid of her recurring hypertension. It's good that she has your dad, your brother, and yourself to look out for her.

>179 kidzdoc: It would be such fun if you actually get to meet Joachim. Both of you are such "people persons". I know you'll enjoy getting acquainted. I wish I could be there. It's ideal that he also is a recently retired (yet young) pediatrician. If you should finally decide to retire in Portugal, he might turn out to be an excellent resource. You never know! :)

Edited: Apr 20, 11:33am Top

>180 banjo123: Thanks, Rhonda; that's very helpful to know that I might be able to use Spanish in a pinch if I interact with someone who doesn't speak English and what little Portuguese I'll learn in the next 1-1/2 months is not sufficient. I'll certainly learn how to greet people, ask basic questions ("How much does this cost?", "Where is ____?", "Do you speak English or Spanish?", etc.) and give basic answers before I arrive in Lisboa. Every 2-3 months I take care of a child of Brasilian parents in the hospital, and each time I've been able to speak to them in Spanish, while they reply in Portuguese, and save for me having to ask them to explain an occasional Portuguese word that is not similar to the Spanish equivalent we've had no problems communicating with each other. At the risk of repeating myself I've achieved fluency in Spanish as defined by one of my high school teachers, in that I can speak the language without having to translate most words and phrases from the English, and I can usually converse with Spaniards in castellano (Castilian) with little difficulty, but I know that I'm far from being truly fluent, and occasionally struggle with the language if I'm tired and not mentally sharp. I'll certainly use obrigado to say thank you to people instead of gracias!

At the risk of being a snob I hate hearing some Americans (and Brits) attempt to speak Spanish (e.g, "Yo haaahhblooow English."), especially when they speak loudly and with a horrible native accent, which makes my eardrums rupture and bleed profusely! I can understand why many Portuguese/Spanish/French/etc. people also dislike hearing English speakers butcher their language, and would prefer to speak to them in English instead.

I can absolutely believe that people in small cities, towns and rural areas don't speak much English or Spanish. That seemed to be the case when Bianca and I drove through the Pueblos Blancos (white hill villages) in Andalucía, especially in the town of Arcos de la Frontera, where we spent a few hours en route from Sevilla to Ronda. The people we met seemed very relieved that I could speak to them in Spanish, and could translate when Bianca wanted to talk with them.

I'm staying at the Lisboa Plaza Hotel, which is very close to Avenida station of the Lisbon Metro (Blue Line) on the Avenida da Liberdade, and to the Jardim Botânico. I like your idea of seeing a Sporting CP or other Primeira Liga match in Lisboa, Coimbra or Porto, unless the season has ended prior to my arrival there.

ETA: There are only 4 matches left in the Primeira Liga season, which ends in mid May, so I probably won't get to attend any football matches in Portugal or Spain.

>181 streamsong: Good idea, Janet. I'll almost certainly download a Portuguese-English app for my mobile phone.

Thanks for your good wishes about my mother. Hopefully her BP will remain under reasonable control between now and the 30th.

>182 SqueakyChu: Thanks, Madeline. Hopefully she'll have an uneventful surgery and post-op recovery period.

I definitely want to meet Joachim, both because he is a retired pediatrician (and, therefore, my hero!) and a citizen of a city that may be one that I wish to retire to. Being a fellow book lover also helps, of course. I'll attempt to get in touch with him via the Facebook link that you provided me. Getting input from Joachim and deebee1 will be invaluable, I think.

Apr 20, 12:21pm Top

I do find it strange how very different Portuguese and Spanish sound when you listen to them, when they look so very similar written. I always think Portuguese sounds as if it was closely related to Russian more than anything! (At least European Portuguese does, I don’t know about Brazilian Portuguese).

Apr 20, 12:56pm Top

Hi, Darryl. I'm going to WL With the End in Mind. Sounds really good. Being Mortal had a major impact on how my sisters and I address issues with my elderly father, who we've managed to keep at home so far.

Apr 20, 1:11pm Top

>184 SandDune: I've just started the free online Basic Portuguese lessons offered by Duolingo, and one thing that struck me immediately was the difference in pronunciation of letters and words in Portuguese and Spanish. I'm having to work harder to pronounce Portuguese letters and words not as a Spanish speaker would, and I'll need to continue practicing it nearly every day. I'll be interested to hear Portuguese spoken in Portugal, as compared to the Portuguese I hear from Brasilians, but I expect it to be significantly different, based on what the Brasilian parents I've spoken with have told me recently.

>185 jnwelch: Very good, Joe. With the End in Mind is a good read in itself, but Dr Mannix provides much food for thought about end of life care, for both readers themselves and for those who they care for in their remaining days.

Apr 21, 1:23pm Top

Sorry to hear about your parents' ongoing health issues. I hope that you enjoy your trip to Portugal and your two weeks with them.

The Vaccine Race sounds fascinating. I think I'll give it a bump up the ol' TBR list.

I've been surprised at the positive reception of Midwinter Break around the interwebs. I found it wholly misogynistic, both in its premise and its execution.

Apr 21, 3:22pm Top

Hi Daryl...sending all good thoughts for your Mom's upcoming surgery. How fortunate she is to have you as a son and a medical advocate.

Apr 21, 6:57pm Top

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 that I haven't mentioned here yet.

Book #2: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward


My rating:

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.

Apr 21, 7:09pm Top

Best wishes to both of your parents with their health issues. All good wishes for your mom's surgery and I'm sure it will be a great comfort to have her three guys around.

Nice review of Sing, Unburied, Sing. I'm trying to make my way through a decent number of the Women's Fiction Prize and yes, Sing, Unburied, Sing was certainly searing. A difficult read.

Apr 21, 7:15pm Top

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


My rating:

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.

Apr 21, 7:25pm Top

Book #4: I Contain Multitudes: THe Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong


(2017 Wellcome Book Prize shortlist)

My rating:

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.

Apr 22, 3:51am Top

>189 kidzdoc: I had Sing, Unburied, Sing for Christmas so I must get around to reading it. I thought Salvage the Bones was excellent.

I've also just finished a novel which I think will be in my best of 2018: City of Bohane by Kevin Barry.

Apr 22, 7:32am Top

>189 kidzdoc: I had more mixed feelings about Sing, Unburied Sing than you did Darryl, despite finding it a fine novel.

Here were my thoughts


Apr 22, 10:21am Top

>187 libraryperilous: Thanks, Diana. If I haven't said so already, I'm very optimistic that my mother will do well with the surgery, and that her hypertension, anxiety and bad headaches will improve dramatically within days after her adrenal gland is removed. I'll read more about the expected post-op course for someone who has undergone a unilateral adrenalectomy early next week.

I enjoyed reading The Vaccine Race, but I'm not sure if a reader without a medical and/or biomedical science background would enjoy it as much as I did. I don't want to discourage anyone from reading it, though, as the author does tell a very good story.

I've been surprised at the positive reception of Midwinter Break around the interwebs. I found it wholly misogynistic, both in its premise and its execution.

How so, Diana?

>188 tangledthread: Thanks, tangledthread. I would like to be able to accompany them to all the doctors' appointments that they ask me to, but that wouldn't be possible even if I lived and worked nearby. My father is a strong advocate for my mother, and for himself, which makes me more comfortable that he'll ask the right questions and express his opinions about matters involving the two of them. He can be quite assertive at times, though, and his "ears don't always work", which can make communication with physicians and nurses somewhat difficult, and he sometimes interrupts my mother when she is trying to say something, although she is getting better at insisting that she be heard.

>190 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deborah. Once my mother has her surgery and recovers postoperatively it will be time to focus on my father's health, especially getting his driver's license back. He had to surrender it late last year, as he was thought to have had a seizure in November. He has had normal standard (15 minute) and extended (72 hour) EEGs (electroencephalograms), along with an MRI that was not normal but not worrisome either, and he has not had any seizure like activity since his collapse late last year. Their lives will be much easier once he is allowed to drive again, and I hope to help him regain his license when I return in late May.

I enjoyed Sing, Unburied, Sing and Salvage the Bones, as both books focused on characters that were flawed but very real, and did not pull any punches in portraying them.

Edited: Apr 22, 3:17pm Top

>193 SandDune: I look forward to your thoughts about Sing, Unburied, Sing and City of Bohane, Rhian. At this point it seems that I'll make only one, and perhaps two, visits to London this year though, definitely in September, and possibly in November for the EFG London Jazz Festival, although I may use the autumn break to make a second trip to Iberia.

>194 Caroline_McElwee: Nice review of Sing, Unburied, Sing, Caroline. I could relate to JoJo's sister's near constant need for attention, as that behavior is not unusual for some toddlers I see in the hospital, particularly ones who are chronically neglected by their parents, as she was, or others whose parents are unable to visit them regularly while they are there. My partners and I are currently caring for a moderately and chronically ill toddler whose immigrant parents work several hours away and cannot afford to miss days from work, as their salaries are essential to make ends meet and they would likely be fired if they couldn't work their shifts. The nurses, and occasionally the physicians, function as caregivers and as baby sitters for her, as she wants to be held constantly whenever she is awake. I've held her in my lap a few times while I was writing progress notes on her and other patients on my computer, and whenever I put her down she would cry bitterly.

I agree that Misty was a two-dimensional character, although I'm not sure that there was much else to her. She also reminds me of some of the "meth head" parents I've encountered on rounds, especially ones who abuse or neglect their kids; I can think of one such mother who I could barely stand to spend five minutes with when I met her last month. She kept talking about her own problems, so I interrupted her repeatedly and insisted on discussing her daughter's care, as there was nothing I could or cared to do for her.

If I care deeply about a book's characters, think about their lives after I've read a book, or the characters make me angry enough that I want to throttle them, I know the author has thoroughly grabbed me. Ward was able to do that in both novels I've read of hers.

Apr 22, 11:06am Top

>196 kidzdoc: see, someone's personal knowledge unlocks something I wouldn't know Darryl. The reason why LT groups and real book groups are so necessary.

I agree, even if a negative character gets unde your skin, it's proof of the quality of the writer.

The kids are lucky to have you all.

Edited: Apr 22, 11:46am Top

>196 kidzdoc: - I haven't read anything yet by Ward but your comment:
If I care deeply about a book's characters, think about their lives after I've read a book, or the characters make me angry enough that I want to throttle them, I know the author has thoroughly grabbed me. really rings true for me.

I often feel that way about books I've read and not always necessarily just the *great* ones. You make a good point.

Apr 22, 4:28pm Top

>197 Caroline_McElwee: Right, Caroline. I appreciate hearing others' intelligent perspectives on most topics, particularly books, especially if they differ from my own, provided that childish rants and name calling aren't part of the difference in opinions. On that note, I'm curious to hear Diana's thoughts about Midwinter Break after her comment in >187 libraryperilous:.

I agree, even if a negative character gets under your skin, it's proof of the quality of the writer.

Right. If the character is not portrayed to my satisfaction or is an unbelievable figure I get annoyed with the author, and not the character. I often shake my head in amazement at the ability of authors and other artists to make me "see" what they do, or at least to touch me in some fashion. I must have been doing math equations or playing stickball when God was bestowing artistic talent onto newborn children, as I have zero ability to draw, write, play music, sing, etc., so I'm impressed by, and a bit jealous of, people who were given that gift. (I'm very happy with what I was given, though.)

The kids are lucky to have you all.

I think most of my physician and nurse colleagues would say that we are lucky and blessed to have the kids that come under our care! They continually enrich our lives, as even on my worst and most stressful days a smile, hug or humorous comment from one of them can lift my spirits and make me forget my worries.

>198 jessibud2: Thanks, Shelley. There certainly are times when an author does not portray a character or discuss a topic to my satisfaction, and I want to throw the book (or Kindle) across the room. That doesn't happen often, though, which speaks to the high quality of contemporary authors. Despite what someone said years ago the novel is not dead!

Apr 22, 6:28pm Top

Book #5: Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman, Jr.


My rating:

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.

Apr 22, 7:39pm Top

Happy Sunday, Darryl. Some very fine reading going on over here. I also loved Sing, Unburied, Sing & I Contain Multitudes and I really want to read Go, Went, Gone, which my LT pals are absolutely loving.

Edited: Apr 23, 12:01am Top

Darryl, I think maybe your mention was what pushed me to read Go, Went, Gone. I liked it, but think Sing, Unburied, Sing was better.

appreciated your thoughts on the child characters. My one quibble is that it seemed Jojo was too patient to be real.

I did love hearing Ward speak about her process! One of these days the talk will be on podcast and I can post it.

Apr 23, 2:28am Top

I am sorry to hear about your parents' health problems, Darryl, and hope that everything goes well with your mom's upcoming operation. Have you completed the testing that you were doing for your certification?

Apr 23, 4:46am Top

>200 kidzdoc: that went on my list a couple of weeks ago. I'm glad to see your good review Darryl. So many fine, thought provoking, books at the moment. I hope that somewhere someone is taking note and putting the best research into action.

Apr 23, 9:22am Top

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.

Edited: Apr 23, 9:32am Top

Happy World Book Day! I'm not much of a fan of the whole transhumanist thing either.

Edited: Apr 23, 10:08am Top

>201 msf59: Thanks, Mark! I bought my copy of Go, Went, Gone in Edinburgh last summer, but hopefully it's been published in the US by now. I noticed that Sing, Unburied, Sing was chosen for this year's Women's Prize in Fiction shortlist today, along with the following books:

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (yay!)
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Sight by Jessie Greengrass
When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy

I'll keep the other shortlisted titles on my radar screen, but I definitely won't finish this shortlist in time for the prize announcement. Home Fire may have been my favorite novel that I read last year, and it would have been my choice for the 2017 Booker Prize, so I'll be rooting for Kamila Shamsie to win her first major literary award.

>202 banjo123: I'm glad that you also enjoyed Go, Went, Gone and Sing, Unburied, Sing, Rhonda. Both books will undoubtedly end up on my "Best of 2018" list. I'll have to think about why I gave Erpenbeck's novel a slight nudge above Ward's book; both hover around the 4.5/5 mark, and I may have rated the Erpenbeck book 1/2 star too high.

JoJo did seem preternaturally patient for his age, both with his sister and his abusive mother. However, I have seen some toddlers and young children who were amazingly mature and well behaved for their ages. Earlier this month I took care of a two year old boy who was hospitalized for four or five days, and was by himself for most of the day in the hospital while his foster mother taught school. Many two year old kids would be difficult to manage when left alone, but I didn't hear him so much as whimper or protest all week, he would say "hello" to everyone and "God bless you" when they sneezed, and on the day he left he shook my hand like an adult when I offered him a "high five", and fully opened the partially open door of his room as I was leaving. All of the nurses fell head over heels in love with him (which could have had something to do with his impeccable behavior!), and everyone who met him wanted to adopt him.

I would love to see that podcast of Jesmyn Ward's talk. IIRC she is coming to the Carter Presidential Center, about 15 minutes by car from where I live, later this year to speak about Sing, Unburied, Sing, but I think it's on a day that I'm out of town or working late.

ETA: Yay! Ward is coming to the Carter Center on May 10, a day that I am working but should be able to leave the hospital in plenty of time to attend her talk. I just purchased a ticket for it, and hopefully one or more of my local friends can join me.

Apr 23, 10:37am Top

>230 Thanks, Meg. I'm optimistic about the success of my mother's surgery next Monday, in that I think she'll handle the procedure well and I expect that her symptoms related to the adrenal tumor will rapidly dissipate once the excess catecholamines are eliminated from her circulatory system. She had surgery to repair an abdominal hernia several years ago which she tolerated well, and this procedure, which will be performed laparascopically via a posterior approach, should be less invasive and painful than her prior surgery was.

I won't finish the MOCA-Peds (Maintenance of Certification Assessment for Pediatrics) examination before October, as there are 20 questions that are released at the beginning of every quarter that must be finished by the end of the quarter. I answered 18 of the 20 first quarter questions correctly, and so far 4 of the 5 second quarter questions I've answered, which puts me well ahead of the score I'll need to pass. If I fall of the rails and don't pass then I'll have the opportunity to take the traditional four(?) hour recertification exam in General Pediatrics at a testing center in 2019 (I took the recertification exam once, in 2008 or 2009, and it was a grueling and seemingly endless ordeal). MOCA-Peds is in the second year of its trial phase, and fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics like myself who are eligible to take the recertification exam in 2018 are eligible to take MOCA-Peds, which can be done on any electronic device with Internet capability, including mobile phones via an Apple or Android app, so I can answer questions even if I'm abroad. The especially nice thing about MOCA-Peds, which my pediatrician friends have all loved, is that the questions can be geared toward either an inpatient or outpatient focus. Since I only care for hospitalized patients many the questions geared toward office practice are irrelevant to me, and studying to learn them for the exam is painful. Nearly all of the MOCA-Peds are geared toward what a hospitalist does on a regular basis and needs to know, and because the children's hospital I work at is a large one (nearly 400 beds) and is a tertiary referral center for the state of Georgia and adjacent states, particularly Alabama and North Carolina, we see a lot of interesting and challenging cases, which makes it easier to answer the exam questions than if I worked in a small and not very busy community hospital.

>204 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline. As you said, there are many superb books being published at present, both fiction and non-fiction, that are timely, well written and thought provoking. Locking Up Our Own should gain much wider attention than it previously did, after it was chosen as the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction earlier this month, and hopefully it will be widely read and discussed by the public, and especially policy makers, historians, and public intellectuals. I'll have to go back and read The New Jim Crow later this year, probably during the summer, as I have it on my Kindle.

Edited: Apr 23, 10:55am Top

>206 drneutron: Thanks, Jim! Today will be World Book and Cook Day for me, as I'll read at least one more book today, and cook one or two recipes. I have to use the pound of ground lamb that I defrosted over the weekend today, and very shortly I'll use it to make Eggplant with Lamb, Tomato and Pine Nuts, one of my favorite lamb recipes. I think I've posted it here and on my Facebook timeline, but I'll plan to post it again for my newer FB friends Gina and Marie (the latter being an old childhood friend and current Lutheran minister who I haven't seen in probably 25 years but reestablished touch with last year).

Later today or, more likely, tomorrow I'll also make Greek Chicken Stew with Cauliflower and Olives, another favorite recipe from The New York Times, which I'll post again as well.

As a Christian I find the transhumanist movement to be morally repugnant, as to me it's nothing more than the efforts of far too rich Silicon Valley type geeks to attempt to play God. As a member of an often despised minority group I also fear that some of these transhumanists may decide that certain races such as mine, sexual orientations, and traits are not desirable for their society, and do what they can to select out those populations. I would greatly prefer that these men use their wealth to fund research into finding a cure for Alzheimer's dementia, cancer and other serious and chronic illnesses, rather than waste time with this unrealistic and dangerous pseudoscientific crap.

Apr 23, 2:05pm Top

So glad to hear of your optimism for next week's surgery. It's wonderful that she'll have your presence and support, along with the rest of the family.

I'm making progress on the shortlist, and so far Home Fire is my favorite, closely followed by Sing, Unburied, Sing. I'm in the middle of The Idiot and The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, both of which are enjoyable but so far fairly light. I think I'll have to order the other two from Book Depository as neither is yet available here.

Apr 23, 9:19pm Top

>210 vivians: Thanks, Vivian. I'm looking forward to my mother's surgery, and to seeing how she is afterward, although I'll have to return to Atlanta next Wednesday night and may not be able to see the full extent of her recovery.

I haven't followed the Women's Prize for Fiction closely for the past several years, although I usually end up reading at least two longlisted novels that are chosen as finalists for other literary awards. Hopefully we'll get a chance to discuss the shortlist in person in June.

Edited: Apr 24, 2:31pm Top

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

My rating:

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.

Apr 24, 2:55am Top

I've been to Portugal a few times though my last visit was about 10 years ago. We always enjoyed catching a commuter train up the coast to Cascais, a small fishing village and a visit to Sintra is a must. I haven't been to the north but have spent a bit of time on the Algarve, it's really changed since my first visit in the late 1970s.

Books set in Portugal I've enjoyed are The Crime of Father Amaro & The City and the Mountains by Eça De Queirós, though others of his books are more well known, I still have to read them.
The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon by Richard Zimler - I read this many years ago and enjoyed it then
A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson - a thriller that touches on the modern history of Portugal. Wilson lived in rural Portugal for many years.

Apr 24, 4:50am Top

>213 avatiakh: Thanks for those recommendations, Kerry! I'll definitely visit Sintra, and I'll keep Cascais in mind, although my Baedeker's Portugal guidebook suggests that it's overrun by sunbathers in the summer. A short weekday train ride along the coast, a leisurely walk through the old town, and a seafood lunch at Porto de Santa Maria, as my book recommends, may be an enjoyable way to spend a half day, though. I'll spend most of my first week exploring Lisbon, though, to get a feel for the city as a potential retirement home, as deebee1 suggested.

I'll almost certainly read The Crime of Father Amaro, as I haven't read anything by Eça de Queirós and the only book I own by him, The Maias, is too lengthy to read or to carry. I'll keep the other books you recommended in mind.

I'm in the process of compiling a list of Portuguese books from my library to read over the next 1-1/2 months before I leave for Lisbon. Here's what I've come up with so far for May:

Act of the Damned by António Lobo Antunes
The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
The History of the Siege of Lisbon by José Saramago
Lisbon: A Cultural and Literary Companion by Paul Buck (currently reading but probably won't finish this month)

I'll also read Like a Fading Shadow by the Spanish author Antonio Muñoz Molina, both because it has been shortlisted for this year's Man Booker International Prize and because it's mainly set in Lisbon, during James Earl Ray's 10 day stay there during his two month flight as a fugitive after he assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr on April 4, 1968.

I'll be on the lookout for translated books written by 21st century Portuguese authors in bookshops in Lisbon. With any luck World Literature Today will have an article or issue dedicated to up and coming Portuguese writers.

Apr 24, 5:20am Top

>208 kidzdoc: I have The New Jim Crow on the tbr mountain, a book reviewed and recommended by Rebecca, Darryl. So one of at least two I will read in her memory this year.

Apr 24, 5:33am Top

>214 kidzdoc: The US Kindle edition of A Small Death in Lisbon is only $2.99, so I just bought it, along with The Crime of Father Amaro. I'll plan to read both books while I'm in Portugal.

I also ordered print versions of three short books from Dalkey Archive's Portuguese Literature series: City of Ulysses by Teolinda Gersão, A Man: Klaus Klump by Gonçalo M. Tavares, and The Poor by Raul Brandão. I'll plan to read all three next month or in early June before I leave for Lisbon.

>215 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks for mentioning that rebeccanyc read and recommended The New Jim Crow, Caroline! I've not read a single book for my tribute to her, and I intended to start next month by reading The Lights of Pointe-Noire by Alain Mabanckou, a Congolese author who we both love.

Apr 24, 11:12am Top

>215 Caroline_McElwee: I see that The History of the Siege of Lisbon is another book that Rebecca read and favorably reviewed, so I'll mention that book in honor of her as well next month.

Now that I've finished the shortlist for this year's Wellcome Book Prize 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. Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
3. The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris
4. The Vaccine Race: How Scientists Used Human Cells to Combat Killer Viruses by Meredith Wadman
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 only work two more days for the remainder of the month, so I hope to finish four books between now and then, namely the three books I'm reading now, Lisbon: A Cultural and Literary Companion by Paul Buck, Sozaboy by Ken Saro-Wiwa, and Deepstep Come Shining by C.D. Wright, along with Taller When Prone, a poetry collection by Les Murray, for National Poetry Month.

Edited: Apr 24, 11:23am Top

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
A Man: Klaus Klump by Gonçalo M. Tavares
The Poor by Raul Brandão
The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi

Edited: Apr 24, 2:31pm Top

Book #22: Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

My rating:

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.

Apr 24, 1:41pm Top

>219 kidzdoc: I have this one on reserve from the library so i’ll look forward to it.

Apr 24, 2:29pm Top

Book #8: Mayhem: A Memoir by Sigrid Rausing

Shortlisted for the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize

My rating:

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.

Apr 24, 2:30pm Top

>220 SandDune: Great. I look forward to your review of Stay with Me, Rhian.

I've now posted reviews of five of the six shortlisted books for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize. I'll write one for The Butchering Art sometime tomorrow.

Apr 24, 2:52pm Top

Whoa!! What a bunch of reviews! I have to agree (mostly) with you on Sing Unburied Sing and Go Went Gone. I haven't gotten around to reviewing them yet. Still thinking about all of the dynamics in Sing.... especially the relationship between Leonie & Michael. I loved JoJo & Pop.

Go Went Gone really brings to the fore that human migration is nothing new, it's been going on as long as there have been humans. And I loved seeing Richard's character evolve as he interacted with the refugees.

Apr 24, 2:56pm Top

>223 tangledthread: Thanks! I've only written two reviews in the past week; the others were ones I posted on Goodreads but not here, as I intended to write lengthier ones for y'all but didn't get around to it.

I agree with you about Richard's evolution in Go, Went, Gone. That was probably the most interesting aspect of the novel.

Apr 24, 11:41pm Top

>214 kidzdoc: Even when I mentioned Cascais I thought that it has probably gotten much busier over the last ten years. I've only been in Portugal during the early spring.
I hope you enjoy the Robert Wilson book, he started out with his Bruce Medway crime series set in West Africa where he lived for a few years.

Apr 25, 1:13am Top

Re the comments above (around >184 SandDune:) about the pronunciation of Portuguese - are you (collective you) aware that Portuguese the language was basically invented to be incomprehensible to Spanish-speakers? The languages were pretty similar - dialects - when a Spanish king took (was given? Not sure of the history) the Portuguese throne, and filled his court with his countrymen. The Portuguese, in reaction, started speaking so that these interlopers wouldn't understand them - slurring and emphasizing different sounds. By the time the nations were disentangled, Portuguese was a very different language. Which means that most Portuguese can understand Spanish (whether they will or not is a separate question - I got a lot of odd looks and raised brows when I accidentally used a Spanish word in a mostly Portuguese comment), but very few Spanish-speakers can understand Portuguese.

My parents were stationed in Lisboa for three years, and I visited them several times. I learned just enough Portuguese to thoroughly mess up my (limited) Spanish - and I remember enough Spanish to thoroughly mess up my Portuguese. Oh well.

Apr 25, 7:56am Top

Daryl, have you heard of the book The Cooking Gene? It sounds really interesting...and since you've been honing your cooking skills, thought you might think so to.

Apr 25, 8:58am Top

>225 avatiakh: I'll bet that Cascais is a much quieter and more appealing town to visit in the spring and autumn than in the summer, Kerry. If I like Portugal as much as I expect to then I'll be sure to visit in the off peak months, to get a different view of it. I did request a week of vacation in November, in order to attend the EFG London Jazz Festival and visit friends, but considering that I'll likely be there for two weeks in September I wouldn't rule out a return visit Portugal (or Spain) instead.

Hopefully I'll get to A Small Death in Lisbon in June. If not I'll plan to read it later in the summer.

>226 jjmcgaffey: I did not know that, Jennifer! That's interesting, but understandable. I have noticed that all the Brasilians I've spoken to, including the parents of hospitalized kids I've encountered and a group of young brasileiros I met during a flight from SFO to ATL several years ago when one of them needed emergency medical assistance, understood me when I spoke Spanish to them, and I was able to understand them in part, probably because they were also speaking mainly Spanish rather than Portuguese. I haven't completed any of the Duolingo free online lessons in Portuguese since the weekend, so I'll have to get back to that today.

I use Spanish multiple times nearly every day that I see patients, so learning basic Portuguese won't interfere with Spanish. I won't be able to learn anything more than basic greetings, replies and questions between now and June, and unless I'm addressed in or asked to speak Spanish I won't use that language until I arrive in Barcelona.

>227 tangledthread: I have heard of that book and its author! Thanks for the reminder; I think I'll order a copy of The Cooking Gene now and have it shipped to my parents, so that we can look at it together this weekend.

Edited: Apr 25, 2:02pm Top

Speaking of cooking, I did make Lebanese eggplant with lamb, tomato and pine nuts on Monday, and Greek chicken stew with cauliflower and olives yesterday, for the first time in 18 months. I have been cooking regularly this year, but I've been making favorite recipes that I haven't tried in a year or more much more often than trying new recipes. I use my Pinterest Favorite Recipes board to keep track of ones that I've tried and liked, which has over 70 pins, and I have over 330 pins on my Interesting Recipes board of dishes that sound appealing, so I essentially have my own online cookbook that I can access whenever and wherever I want.

I did try two new recipes this month (actually three, as one is a sauce I used for a new fish recipe), all of which I loved. The weekend before last I made Chickpea, Tofu & Spinach Curry, which I would recommend to everyone but Amber 😉:

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 fairly large garlic cloves, center germ removed and crushed with a garlic crusher
2 tbsp (or more!) fresh ginger, grated
8 dried unsulfured apricots, diced
3 heaped tbsp curry powder
2 400 ml cans coconut milk
1 can 520 ml + 1 can 400 ml chickpeas, drained and rinsed
500 g firm tofu, patted dry and cut into cubes
3 cups packed baby spinach
2 tsp coarse sea salt

a few sprigs of coriander
a squeeze of lime juice
basmati rice


1. Heat up the coconut oil in a wide pot on medium heat.

2. Add onion, garlic, ginger and apricots and sauté for a few minutes, until the onion is translucent and soft.

3. Add curry powder and mix it in well with the rest of the ingredients. Allow the spices to toast for a minute without letting them stick to the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the coconut milk and season with sea salt, mixing well.

5. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the spinach), let it come to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. These are all ingredients that need only 5 to 8 minutes to heat up and absorb the flavours. By then, the coconut milk will also have reduced and become a creamy and velvety sauce.

6. Add the spinach leaves one cup at a time and mix them in right before turning off the heat. They will wilt down in a matter of seconds, and your curry will be ready to serve!

This is a perfect recipe for me, as it is quick & easy, as mentioned, it freezes well, and it makes 6-8 full servings, so this is a good meal prep on weekends and days off. I'll definitely make this on a regular basis from now on.

Edited: Apr 25, 11:28am Top

>229 kidzdoc: - Thanks for that recipe, Darryl. I have just printed it out and subscribed to their site. Easy, delicious and freezes well is EXACTLY what I need and want. I will be trying this one this week! Sounds good and I have almost everything in the house already.

Apr 25, 11:44am Top

>230 jessibud2: You're welcome, Shelley! I'll be on the lookout for similar Indian recipes in the near future.

Apr 25, 12:13pm Top

Phew! Man, when you catch up on reviews, you don't kid around!! Great books. And I've missed your food photos, too. But the coconut milk is out for me. Bummer. Post another recipe soon please! Best wishes to you mom next Monday.

Apr 25, 12:27pm Top

>231 kidzdoc: - I just posted this on the kitchen thread but is it ok to substitute coconut oil with some other oil?

Apr 25, 12:35pm Top

The other new recipe I tried was Crispy-Skinned Fish with Herb Sauce, courtesy of Bon Appétit, using a striped bass fillet that I purchased from my local Whole Foods Market:


2 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional)
1 small garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped tender herbs (such as parsley, dill, and/or basil)
1 Tbsp. chopped pickles (capers, cornichons, or chile)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice or white wine vinegar
6 Tbsp. (or more) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
4 5–6-oz. skin-on black bass, striped bass, snapper, or salmon fillets
Flaky sea salt


Using the side of a chef’s knife, mash anchovies (if using) and garlic on a cutting board until a coarse paste forms. Mix in a medium bowl with herbs, pickles, lemon juice, and 5 Tbsp. oil. Season green sauce with kosher salt and pepper.

Swirl remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet to coat. Season fish generously on both sides with salt and lay, skin side down, in cold skillet. Place skillet over medium heat and let it gradually heat up until fat starts to cook out of fish, about 4 minutes. At this point you may press gently on fish so that the skin is flat against the pan. Continue to cook until skin is super-crisp and flesh is mostly opaque (you can increase or decrease heat slightly if needed, but don’t try to rush it), 8–12 minutes longer, depending on the thickness of the fish. Less fatty fish won’t release as much fat on their own, so you may need to add a splash more oil to the skillet if the skin isn’t getting crisp enough. Turn fish and cook just until opaque all the way through, about 1 minute.

Spoon green sauce onto a platter and carefully set fish, skin side up, on top. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Instead of using the herb sauce called for in the recipe I substituted an Italian Salsa Verde that Paola, a ?formerly active LTer, posted on my Facebook timeline last month:


2 heaped tablespoons salt-packed capers
1 salt-packed anchovy fillet (or 2 anchovies preserved in oil)
1 garlic clove
3 1/2 ounces (100 grams or 1 bunch) flat-leaf parsley
10 basil leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup (60 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. If using salt-packed capers and anchovies (which is highly recommended), first rinse the excess salt off them, then place in a bowl of fresh water to soak for about 15 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. The anchovy will need to have the spine removed: Starting from the tail end, split the anchovy in two lengthways and pull out the spine. You will now have two fillets.
2. Blend the anchovies, garlic, herbs, capers, and lemon juice together thoroughly with a food processor or immersion blender (or chop together with a large kitchen knife or mezzaluna). Add enough olive oil until you have a smooth, paste-like consistency. Taste for seasoning (important, as the salt-packed capers and anchovies will already be quite salty) and add any salt and freshly cracked pepper as needed. Store in a jar in the fridge if not using right away. It will keep well for a week.

I had fish four times that week, using half of a striped bass and half of a red snapper each time, cooking the fillets skin side down for 12 minutes each time. The skin was very crispy and flavorful, and the fish was perfectly cooked through and moist. The one thing I did different after the first time was to put the salsa verde underneath the fish, away from the skin, as the sauce added on top made the fish less crispy. This will be my go to way to cook fish from now on, with or without the salsa verde.

Apr 25, 12:56pm Top

>232 Berly: Thanks, Kim! I have several more reviews to post, which I'll do next week, and I need to write a review of The Butchering Art, which I'll probably do tonight or tomorrow.

I probably won't post as many food photos as I have in the past few years, as I now have a sizable collection of recipes I've made and liked. If I haven't made a recipe for awhile I'll post links to the recipe, as I did for the two dishes I made earlier this week.

Sorry that coconut milk is a no go for you.

Thanks for your good wishes about my mother! I'll keep everyone posted on her condition on Monday.

Post another recipe soon please!


>233 jessibud2: I think so, Shelley.

Apr 25, 1:48pm Top

>229 kidzdoc: I'll give that a go Darryl, though will skip the tofu, not a fan.

Apr 25, 2:40pm Top

>236 Caroline_McElwee: Sounds good, Caroline. I'll be interested to find out what you use as a substitute for tofu, or if you just leave it out. I like firm and extra firm tofu, so this recipe is fine for me as is.

Apr 25, 4:01pm Top

Hi Darryl, I am back getting around the threads mate and hope all is well with you.

Apr 25, 5:24pm Top

>238 johnsimpson: Hi, John! I thought that I would catch up with everyone's threads in this group and in Club Read during my six day off stretch which ends this evening, but that hasn't happened. I should be able to do so by next week, though. I'll visit your thread now, to see how you & Karen are doing.

Edited: Apr 30, 8:05pm Top

I'm in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, along with my father, brother and a dear cousin, waiting for my mother to be moved to her inpatient room after her left adrenal gland was surgically removed this morning. We'll know definitively when the surgical pathology report comes back later this week, but it appears to contain a golf ball sized aldosteronoma, a benign tumor that is probably producing an excess amount of the hormone aldosterone, which is causing her recurrent hypertensive crises. She will likely stay in the hospital for one or two nights, and if all goes well she may be released as early as tomorrow morning. My father will spend the night with her, and my cousin and I will either drive or take a commuter train back to Langhorne. We saw her not long ago, and she is resting comfortably and is in good spirits.

Apr 30, 3:20pm Top

Glad to hear things went well Darryl, and your mom is in good spirits. I hope she gets to go home soonest.

Apr 30, 4:50pm Top

Great to hear that things are looking good Darryl.

Apr 30, 5:03pm Top

Good to read the surgery went well. Wishing your mother a smooth recovery.

Apr 30, 6:32pm Top

Wishing your mom a speedy and uneventful recovery.

Apr 30, 9:33pm Top

Glad to hear your Mom's surgery went well, Darryl.

May 1, 12:30am Top

Hoping for a speedy recovery for your mother!

May 1, 1:57am Top

Thanks, Caroline, Rhian, Anita, Madeline, Mark and Rhonda! According to the last message from my father, my mother is resting comfortably and is free of pain, and her blood pressures are under reasonably good control.

May 1, 2:22am Top

Wow (or, rather, WTF?!). To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O’Connell was chosen as the winner of this year's Wellcome Book Prize yesterday. It was easily my least favorite of the 50+ Wellcome longlisted books I've read over the past decade, and the only one I gave up on, so naturally it won this year's prize. The judges did a good job of selecting the longlist, save for a couple of curious choices, but IMO they completely dropped the ball last night.

May 1, 6:41am Top

I hate when that happens Darryl. Still, I guess one you didn't like, out of 50, isn't a bad ratio. It just makes you mad for the other contenders whose work you valued.

May 1, 9:40am Top

New thread here!

This topic was continued by kidzdoc "Stays Woke" in 2018, Chapter 3.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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