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Search tags: 7-nonfiction
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review 2017-10-20 23:22
The Road to Little Dribbling – DNF @3%
The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain - Bill Bryson,Nathan Osgood

This could not catch my interest. It seemed kind of amusing, but my mind kept wandering. I’m not sure if this is just not a good book for the audio format or if I’m just not in the mood. Or maybe because it’s a sequel and I haven’t read the first book. I gave it my minimum 20 minutes of audio time before DNF’ing. No star rating given as I suspect my disinterest has more to do with me than the book. 

 

Audiobook borrowed from my public library. Nathan Osgood’s performance was fine.

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review 2017-10-16 02:11
Murder in the Bayou - DNF
Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8? - Ethan Brown

I’m more than a little disappointed that I couldn’t get through this book, because I genuinely like true crime and from what I’ve read about it, this was great investigative journalism by the author. But the audiobook performance was just not working for me. It sounded like the narrator was reading a news article that he just didn’t find very interesting. I gave it more than my minimum 20 minutes of listening for audio before deciding to DNF, but I’m not rating it, as my issues with it are due to the audio performance rather than the writing or content. Maybe I’ll try this one again sometime in the bound format.

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review 2017-10-15 15:04
Hospice Whispers: Stories of Life ★★★★★
Hospice Whispers: Stories of Life - Rev Dr. Carla Cheatham

A short book and quick read that uses brief vignettes to illustrate some key principles of providing hospice care. The principle audience is chaplains, but I feel it provides good, useful information for all professions, and probably even for lay people who may be looking for ways to support family or friends who are going through an end of life experience.

 

Thoughts:

  • Snippets of science-based knowledge regarding the patient experience and abilities at end of life and through the progression of dementia and how physical changes can impact a person’s ability to perceive and process information and to communicate. Using that knowledge, we can look for ways to help people find peace and contentment at end of life. The focus can shift from what they can no longer really do as they decline physically and cognitively, but to what they can still do.
  • Offers examples of practical tools and techniques to connect with patients and their families
  • Reinforced over and over – we cannot presume to know what the patient and family need. We are not the experts on knowing what their end of life experience should look like. We must be respectful to the ethic of autonomy and dignity that we are called to honor. For some people, it’s physical closeness and prayer. For some, it’s popcorn and games of dominoes. For some, it’s watching TV shows that may include violence and explicit sexual content.
  • Reminder that there may be family history and dynamics that we don’t know about, so do not make assumptions based on the information available to us. We cannot make judgements, determine who is right or wrong, make excuses, or take sides in conflicts. We can only use the information to “be more aware of how the grief process and medical care are being impacted by those patterns”.
  • Reminder that we are not there to “fix”, only to provide support at end of life. Must develop the ability to just “be with ourselves”, not filling up the silence with noise and distractions, so that we can just “be” with our patients, and to “sit with compassionate equanimity” in the midst of another’s spiritual, emotional, or physical pain.
  • Hospice workers must set boundaries and engage in self-care, and bring a healthy and full self to their work, not look to take self-fulfillment from the patients and families that they are there to help.

 

Quote: “Chaplain, if one more kind, loving, well-intentioned, good-hearted person tells me my momma is in a better place, I’m gonna slap the shit out of them!”… I took her hands and said, “On behalf of all the kind, loving, well-intentioned, good-hearted but misguided people who say stupid things, I am so sorry. And when you slap the shit out of them, tell them you have the chaplain’s permission to do so.”

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review 2017-06-06 23:15
The Phenomenon ★★★☆☆
The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed My Life - Rick Ankiel,Tim Brown

I was not a fan of Ankiel, as he didn’t play on my favorite team or even in the same league, at the time he was most famous/infamous. So I was aware of his name, and had vaguely heard of him in connection with the yips, but knew nothing of his story. I found his memoir interesting, and his determination to return to baseball admirable. Even more admirable is his decision to give back to the sport and to players who are suffering a similar experience, in the hopes that, if they can’t overcome the anxiety and have a successful career in baseball, then at least they can move on to other things with courage and pride and still lead a happy and productive life.

 

Audiobook, purchased via Audible. The author reads his own work, and does as well as can be expected from someone who is not a professional voice actor.

 

EDIT: Here's an amazing video that shows his disastrous playoff outing when he suddenly lost the ability to throw strikes from 60 feet, to his return 9 years later as a centerfielder with an amazing ability to throw out runners at the plate from 300 feet away. And yet, he was later booed because the yips still kept him from even being able to throw a ceremonial first pitch on a little league field. 

 

https://youtu.be/lpR-ysdP1mk 

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review 2017-05-26 11:29
The Road to Jonestown ★★★★★
The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple - Jeff Guinn

This was a thorough examination of the evolution of The Peoples Temple from its socialist ideals and Christian roots to a cult willing and able to commit the 1978 atrocity of mass suicide and murder of over 900 men, women, and children. It examines as much as can be known of Jim Jones, the Temple’s founder and ultimately deranged leader. It provides a study of several members, both survivors and deceased. From this, the author lays bare the mechanism by which a group of committed idealists and vulnerable believers can be led down the path to deranged behavior, enthusiastically participating in atrocities committed upon themselves and others, giving up all control to a single man in spite of clear evidence that he is a charlatan.

 

Guinn does this with remarkably little judgement. He provides facts and observations and conclusions, from a variety of points of view, and pays the reader the compliment of allowing them to judge or not. As a result, the story can be a little dry at times, but in this case I much prefer that to a sensationalized faction.

 

I was surprised by two things. One: The similarity between the techniques used by Jones and Temple leaders to subjugate their followers and those common in domestic violence situations, where outsiders say, “I don’t understand why anyone would put up with that, why didn’t they leave?”

 

The other: The Peoples Temple, at least in the beginning, performed great good. They turned lives around, provided a haven for the disenfranchised, and made material inroads in systemic societal racism. But because the Temple idealists who were committed to these goals were willing to overlook the warning signs of Jones’ unethical and immoral behaviors, feeling that the ends justified the means, they were really as much to blame for that final massacre as Jones himself. They were willing to make excuses for him, to enable him, in order to use him and his power to achieve their own ends. First small violations of ethics, then another, then another, then another, until any means necessary seemed natural and acceptable. Let that be a lesson to us all.

 

Audiobook, purchased via Audible. Competently read by Jeff Newbern.

 

Previous Updates:

5/20/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564040/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-6

5/20/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564153/the-road-to-jonestown-16

5/21/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564258/the-road-to-jonestown-20

5/21/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564338/the-road-to-jonestown-21

5/22/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564529/the-road-to-jonestown-34

5/25/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1565457/the-road-to-jonestown-59

5/25/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1565592/the-road-to-jonestown-70

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