Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gretchen recommends "Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care"

Marty Makary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital and professor of health policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, has written an eye-opening expose into the state of today’s hospitals and the broken health care system.  In clear details, he writes about regrettable experiences he witnessed during medical school and beyond, and he backs these horrifying stories with shocking statistics like a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that found that as many as 25 percent of all hospitalized patients will experience a preventable medical error of some kind.  Makary points out that modern medicine relies on information, yet this same data, including infection rates, number of surgeries performed, and death rates are unavailable to patients and their families making critical decisions.  There is often a business push to do more procedures, prescribe certain drugs, or admit more patients for financial gain.  Despite these grim facts, Makary is hopeful that the tide is turning towards greater transparency, an improved culture within the medical field, and more accountability.  This book is recommended for all adults; it just might save your life or that of someone you love.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Kathy recommends "The Fever Tree"

The Fever Tree transports us to the colonial mining towns and “diamond rush” of South Africa in the late 19th century.  The story begins in Victorian London, where Frances Irvine is used to a life of leisure and privilege. When her father dies suddenly leaving her alone and penniless, Frances is forced to choose between becoming a live-in nurse for her aunt's children or moving to South Africa and marrying family friend, Edwin Matthews. While on the ship bound for South Africa, Frances falls in love with charming William Westbrook, who appears to be everything Edwin is not. Once in South Africa, Frances must learn to adapt to a life filled with hardship, disease, greed and injustice which her upbringing has totally left her unprepared for.  Beautifully written with cinematic descriptions, Jennifer McVeigh brings to life colonial South Africa. You can almost feel the dust in your throat and the unrelenting sun on your skin.

Highly recommended for adults.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Beth recommends "The Age of Miracles"

I thoroughly enjoyed this powerful and haunting coming-of-age story, author Karen Thompson Walker’s debut novel.  Julia is a young teen growing up in California – a good daughter and conscientious student, she plays soccer, the piano, and spends time with best friend Hanna.  Julia is a keen observer of the world around her, and feels things deeply.  Change is happening, not just in her personal life but to the world – dramatically.  Earth’s rotation is gradually, mysteriously slowing down.  Extra minutes of light and dark in every day turn into hours as the months pass.  The ramifications for human life are disastrous,  and the future looks grim, but for now life goes on and this unusual backdrop enhances the telling of Julia’s story.  I found “The Age of Miracles” to be absolutely compelling and so readable – almost impossible to put down. 
Highly recommended for Adults and Young Adults