Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Book group update

Last night was my third book group meeting. We read a book by a local author. It was Some Things Are Unbreakable by Kate Willette. I highly recommend it. I even have a copy if one of you wants me to mail it to you.

When i say this book is local, i mean really, really local, as in one of the people mentioned in the book lives next door to me.

The library arranged to have the author present at our book group. How cool is that? It was interesting to meet her after reading this book about her family. Although she was comfortable in front of our little group, she seemed like a private person not quite sure what to do with the familiarity that her book engenders in the reader.

I just realized that i like what i call Real Life Medical Drama or Doctor Books. In the New York Times Magazine every week the first thing i read is the Diagnosis feature. In Discover Magazine (back when my parents loved me enough to buy me a subscription every year) i always turned first to the Vital Signs column.

Some favorite books:

My Own Country: A Doctor's Story by Abraham Verghese (i LOVE this book)
The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese
Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
Sick Girl by Amy Silverstein (I somehow ended up with two copies of this one, if anyone wants one of them let me know.)
Not By Accident: Reconstructing a Careless Life by Samantha Dunn
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison
Just Checking by Emily Colas
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman (Another favorite)

And stuff like that. Know any good books for me?


flutter said...

Lucky by Alice Sebold

and The History of Love

Marshamlow said...

I don't think I have ever read a novel about medicine, how weird is that. I would love for you to send me that book if it hasn't already been taken. I will swap you for one of my recent reads, however none are about medicine but I can give you a brief description and you can pick one or more. It does sound like you are enjoying your group. I am curious if you learned any dirt about your neighbor in the book.

fiwa said...

How cool - I'll see if I can lay my hands on a copy at the library.

The best book I've read in recent memory is "Prodigal Summer" by Barbara Kingsolver. I could not put it down.

Anonymous said...

Just bought tonight after reading a good chunk sitting on the bookstore floor:
"The Scalpel and the Soul: Encounters with Surgery, the Supernatural and the Healing Power of Hope" by Allan Hamilton, MD.

Love the Gawande's stuff. Try "How We Die" by Sherwin Nuland, MD. Woof.

Have all of Jamison's stuff. Try: "Undercurrents: A Life Beneath the Surface" by Martha Manning

Particular fave: "A Slender Thread: Rediscovering Hope at the Heart of Crisis" by Diane Ackerman. Everything this woman writes is stellar.

Like Anne Lamott. See "Travelin' Mercies" and her "Plan B". Just great.

Girl, I could go on.

Oh, oops, where's my manners? Hello to you. I'm new here. Name is Wendy.


jaded said...

It's funny that you mention Discover Magazine, I was reading that same column today. I can't waste my ten minute reading allotment on just ANY magazine.

thailandchani said...

I have a list a mile long, of course. Now I will add some of your recommendations to it. :)

meno said...

flutter, i HATED The Lovely Bones, so i have been reluctant to pick up Lucky. But maybe i will try it. Thanks for the suggestions.

marsha, e-mail me your address and i will send it on. My e-mail is over on the side bar. No dirt about the neighbor.

fiwa, i liked her book about Pigs in Heaven. I will look for that.

wendy, wow, you are into these books as well. I will check these out. I really appreciate the suggestions and welcome!

patches, i know, i should re-sunscribe, but my favorite part are the medical mysteries.

chani, if i had to pick one book out of these for you, i would pick "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down." I think you would really get it.

crazymumma said...

It's young for you I know, but I am embracing the Harry Potter series out of solidarity of obsession with my eldest.

Vanessa said...

I know I'm new but I too love books. If no one else wants it, I'd love to have Sick Girl and would be happy to pay you for shipping. Great list, I too, love this type of writing and will check out many of these.

A favorite of mine? Another Day in the Frontal Lobe by Katrina Firlick

Gordo said...

How about medical/forensic drama? My wife loves Kathy Reichs, the tv show Bones is based her characters.

Mrs. Chili said...

Hey, if you're sending out free books, count me in!!

Dianne said...

I'll have to check out your list meno, thanks.

Isn't it fun to go to author events?

Lynnea said...

I'm afraid I'm going to have to be all take and no give as I haven't ever read a medical genre book. I may need to check it out, though I'm one of those squeamish people so I don't know. However, this post is like a giant candy store for me and if there's one thing I love more than candy, it's books books books! Thanks for the recommends.

meno said...

crazymumma, i have been there, done that. At least i have listened to 6 of them on tape and read the last.

vanessa, e-mail me your address and i will send it on. My e-mail is on the right sidebar. You don't need to pay the shipping, just give it to someone else when you are done. Thank you for the suggestion! I am going to need to start a list.

gordo, i am not familiar with that one, although i have heard of it, but do love House.

mrs.chili, i have a copy of Sick Girl left. If you want it, send me your address in e-mail.

dianne, it was my first one. I liked it because there were only about 10 people there.

maggie, getting a new bunch of books makes me feel as happy as a pig in mud. So i get you! You would love Some Things are Unbreakable.

Anonymous said...

I read "Not By Accident" and really liked it as well. Made me look at my son differently, he's very accident prone, two broken arms, broken back, not to mention all the sutures.

We have an author coming to my book club this month. He lives in Edmonton and I'm quite nervous about it as we don't discuss the book we're reading that much. I have warned him though.

Sorry I have no good books to recommend.

furiousBall said...

I am reading a fantastic book right now, Rosa Lee by Leon Dash. Sad, but amazing.

Anonymous said...

hmm. my library doesn't have it yet.

I tried but could not find the name of an interesting novel I read about a Bog man.

I really like anything to do with forensics, autopsy-type stuff.

TTQ said...

I haven't read either, but these two popped out as must reads rom your list: A Sick Girl (which is a term I would knock somebody off their block if they said it to my face.) an an Unquiet Mind For meI'm not sure which came first the mental illness or the physical instance..

Liv said...

I loved The Birth of Venus. But, you know, I'm so busy reading new-agey books that you'd be bored to tears with my list.

mamatulip said...


It's fabulous, simply fabulous. Not 'real life', but there is quite a bit of medical in it.

luckyzmom said...

I used to devour Robin Cook and Patricia Cornwall (I love Dr. Kay Scarpetta).

urban-urchin said...

I just read "Beautiful Boy" by David Scheff. It was a pretty riveting account of his son's meth addiction and how his family deals with it- I am waiting to read Nic Scheff's book "Tweak: Growing up on Meth" I think it's called which is his account of his addiction. I am also reading "The Kite Runner"

I love Dr. books too. I'll check out your list.

Mona Buonanotte said...

I get Discover magazine and I also love that feature. Do you watch those surgery shows on cable? They're totally addictive, and I've seen enough of 'em that I'm pretty sure I could perform a relatively successful tummy tuck now....

lu said...

In the purely adult realm, Kate Braestrup's memoir "Here If You Need Me: A True Story" -If you like Lamott
"The Perfect Mess" by Erik Abrahmson and David H. Freidman-For embracing the right brain.

"Last Night at the Lobster" by Stewart O'Nan- Who know closing a Red Lobster could be so entertaining.

Unknown said...

Hmmm...no doctor books, but if you follow the 'Ponies from Betelgeuse' link on my site, Jo has a second blog called 'Sinus arrhythmia', all about her life as a nurse. She's an _excellent_ writer.

Ortizzle said...

Hmmm... I don't have time for reading of any sort except my books and articles for grad school. But I am also fascinated with that. There's a cool program on the Discovery Channel that you might like called "Mystery Diagnosis." Here's a link to the internet page: http://health.discovery.com/fansites/mystery-diagnosis/mystery-diagnosis.html

Dick said...

I like anything by Nelson DeMille. Best known is probably "The Generals Daughter." You no doubt have read at least one of Robin Cooks medical stories. They are kind of SciFi like but he is a MD so knows a lot about what he writes about. For at least some of them he maybe goes a bit beyond what is medically possible now but is probably on the horizon.

Mermaid Melanie said...

Thank you for the list. I am reading Christopher Moore right now. He is hilarious.

Bob said...

I don't read Dr.books, but I read this last summer and it is tangentially medical - Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. Also vaguely related is: Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition: Science Slightly Over the Edge by Ed Regis.

Lynn said...

One book that I really enjoyed was called "The Physician" by Noah Gordon. It's an old book, but one definitely worth reading! btw, was wine served?

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time and Light.

Anonymous said...

Drat, forgot the author of the above is Leonard Shlain.

Ohohoh! Also "A Natural History of the Senses" by Diane Ackerman.

Both non-fiction, both thought provoking and enlightening.

peevish said...

Thanks for the recommendations.

I'm all about The Mitfords (letters) right now. I've only got about 80 pages to go and the 4 who are still alive (at this point in the book) are getting so old it is killing me to read on. But I love peeking into their lives in this way. They (the sisters) are so funny and sharp.

meno said...

deb, it was a different interpretation for "accident." I found that fascinating.

furious, i'll check it out, but i am not very good at sad.

de, too bad, if you remember the bog man book, let me know.

ttq, Those are both very good.

liv, my husband was into the new age stuff for a while. Now he's into natural history.

mamat, i have read Middlesex, an you are right, it was fabulous.

luckyzmom, i have read quite a bit of Patricia Cornwell and liked it, until i got tired of how grumpy Kay was.

u-u, i think the two of them are from around here because they have been interviewed on the local radio stations and in the paper lately. It sounds really harrowing.

mona, i have not watched the surgery shows. I'd probably love them but it rarely occurs to me to turn on the TV.

lu, thanks for those recommendations. They sound interesting and i will add them to my list.

nancy, oooooh, i love nurse books too.

ortizzle, thank you, sounds right up my alley.

dick, i have never read Robin Cook. I associate them with the horror genre, which scares me.

melanie, i read Lamb by him not too long ago. It was funny!

bob, i read Stiff! It was so interesting. Who knew what all could happen to our bodies???

lynn, I think i read that years ago. It might have been what started me on Dr books.

franki, that sounds like one my husband might like. I'll add it to the list.

peevish, i have seen that book. I'll have to check it out.

sari said...

I just finished "The Book Thief", which I thought was an excellent book (about a German family during WWII).

Have you ever gone to Goodreads? You can put in books you've read, books you want to read, and your review. You can see what your friends are reading and get recommendations. They even have this cool little widget that you can put on your sidebar that shows the last 12 or so books you've read and what you think of them.

Anonymous said...

I am so bogged down with New Yorker magazines that I'll never be free to read a book again. I too turn first to the Diagnosis column in the Times Magazine - if I can get it before my husband steals the crossword. Reading is great, reading is fine, I wish I could read all the time.