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text 2017-06-19 17:58
U.S. Kindle Sale: Miscellaneous
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy L. Sayers
The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful: Three James Herriot Classics - James Herriot
Jack of Shadows - Roger Zelazny
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic - Randy Shilts,William Greider
Silent Spring - Rachel Carson,Linda Lear,Edward O. Wilson
Cheaper by the Dozen - Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.,Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Currently $1.99: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, by Dorothy L. Sayers.  The Golden Compass (aka Northern Lights), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, by Phillip Pullman.  Jack of Shadows, by Roger Zelazny.  Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.

 

Currently $2.99: Three James Herriot Classics (All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful), by James Herriot.  Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh.

 

Currently $3.99: And the Band Played On, by Randy Shilts.  Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-15 20:09
The House of God by Samuel Shem
The House of God - Samuel Shem

Around here the postgraduate system of education in medicine is quite different than the American one, but still I could detect quite a few similarities - because I guess, whereever you are, patients, the medical hierarchy (the ice-cream cone) and what it does to you as intern, is quite the same.

 

So I could relate to the terror of the first rotation, to the thrill of the Emergency Ward, the horror of Gomer City, the internal detachment, the need to hide inside yourself, to witness colleagues being crushed by the system... and also the realization of what's going on and trying to get ahead of it. Unfortunately, I had more Jo's and Leggos than Fats during my internship... because his rules, even though they sound funny and callous at first are hard-learned lessons and much more important than always doing whatever medical science is able to offer.

 

Of course, this novel is also a product of its time, a male-dominated environment where sex is kind of the only relief of stress and pressure - not to say that it's much different nowadays, especially if you work hours that only allow you to go home to sleep but otherwise you pretty much spend your day in the hospital -, but I could have done without the various sexual experiences of the interns. Then again, it's a symptom of this system.

 

Overall, certainly a novel an intern, no matter where he or she works, should read.

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review 2017-06-03 02:57
JFK's EPOCHAL 5-YEAR QUEST FOR THE PRESIDENCY
The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK’s Five-Year Campaign - Thomas Oliphant,Curtis Wilkie

This magisterial, ambitious book traces, in considerable detail, the path John F. Kennedy undertook in his quest for the Presidency between 1955 and 1960.

From the time Kennedy first ran for Congress in 1946, he faced many challenges - both professionally and personally (given the periodic precariousness of his health, which remained largely a secret during his lifetime) - in forging a career in public service. "THE ROAD TO CAMELOT" shows the reader how it was that Kennedy in 1955 (by then a freshman Senator) with the assistance of one of his top aides (Ted Sorenson), a dedicated 'band of brothers' who had played a significant and invaluable role in helping Kennedy further his career (i.e. the 'Irish Mafia', which consisted of Kenny O'Donnell, Lawrence O'Brien, Dave Powers, and Dick Donahue), his brother Robert, and several key Democrats (many of them on the state level) who recognized Kennedy's potential and devoted themselves to him - began the long and laborious task of capitalizing on the national prominence he received from his failed attempt to win the vice presidential slot on the Adlai Stevenson ticket at the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

What is significant is that Kennedy started campaigning across the country in a rather understated way considerably earlier than any of his potential rivals in the Democratic Party. Indeed, the party leadership underestimated Kennedy as did many others. His youth, Catholicism, and his lack of any significant, legislative achievements were regarded as factors that would discount him as a viable presidential candidate. What also struck me as truly remarkable and incredible is the organization that Kennedy and his supporters were able to develop in many of the states (often as a way of bypassing some of the state Democratic Party machines that were either mildly non-receptive or openly opposed to his candidacy) between 1957 and 1960. In the process, future presidential campaigns would never be the same again. For that reason, "THE ROAD TO CAMELOT" is a book that everyone should read who wants to learn how it was that John F. Kennedy overcame many obstacles and defied the odds to secure the Democratic presidential nomination and be elected President in 1960.

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review 2017-05-31 14:26
Take the Cannoli: Stories From the New World - Sarah Vowell  
Take the Cannoli: Stories From the New World - Sarah Vowell

I can already tell I'm going to want to read this again. Essays, I love them. Plus, in my mind, I can hear Vowell as she must have sounded on This American Life, which is where most of these began. There's a few bits of growing-up interspersed throughout, a lot of history, the blackest of humor. Great stuff, perhaps especially on the Trail of Tears and how many different emotions that trip spawned.

So much humor, though.

On the one hand, I think Vowell would be an awesome friend to hang with, laughing at Choo-Choo and working it into every comment because of the way it sounds ("spleen" is a personal fave) on the other, she would someday drag me along on the least appealing road trip ever. Hotspots of the Teapot Dome scandal? Tippecanoe? Some other phrase I only dimly recall from American history, but can't actually place in time or space? She's already done The Hall of Presidents, so I'd be clear of that one. Yet no matter how little the idea would appeal to me, she'd make it fascinating: full of humor and humanity. Maybe we can just get her and Kate Beaton and Bill Bryson to filter all of history for us?

Library copy

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review 2017-05-02 18:09
A good primer perhaps, but the layout is awful.
What You Should Know about Politics... But Don't: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues - Jessamyn Conrad

In light of the recent election and the never-ending election cycle I thought I'd pick this up upon the recommendation of Book Riot (I think?) to brush up on my knowledge. Although I did take general political science courses many years ago in college it seemed like it would be good to refresh myself going forward. So I thought this would be a good read.

 

The book is a primer of US politics, as you can probably guess from the title. Everything from elections to health care to civil liberties, etc. the book says it will tell you what you need to know. Each chapter is a huge block of text outlining the basics with bolded terms and phrases that should be familiar to you if you follow political (or really any) news.

 

That's about it. And unlike most other common criticisms (which seem to center on whether this book is non-partisan or not), I hated something else about the book: It's written in one long, on-going block of text. There are subheadings for subthemes in each chapter, but the book seemed to drone on and on in written form. This format just didn't work for me. And as others say, it probably could have really stood to take certain topics more in depth than not, even though this is supposed to be a basic guide. 

 

I'm certainly not advocating for more pictures or less text, but I was surprised to see this so highly rated when it seems like this could have been at least formatted in a more accessible way. This could also stem from my own personal background where I am *much* familiar with certain topics in this book and not so much in others. So maybe it's me the reader just not being the quite right audience for this book.

 

Wouldn't be surprised to see this pop up in a syllabi classes on political science but I'd argue it's readable without a course to guide you. Borrowed from the library and that's about right. Glad I didn't buy it.

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