Oak Harbor Library Blog

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Year's Best Consumer Health Books


Barbara Bibel's article in the February 1 issue of Library Journal highlighted the best consumer health books of 2007. Check out these titles at Sno-Isle Libraries:
Gluten-free girl : how I found the food that loves me back-- & how you can, too by Shauna James Ahern (Wiley). Sheds light on celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that prevents digestion of gluten (protein found in most grains). An entertaining memoir that includes gourmet gluten-free recipes (Ahern's husband is a chef).

Snake oil science : the truth about complementary and alternative medicine by R. Barker Bausell (Oxford University Press). A hard look at some popular therapies by the respected former director of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Specialized Research Center (NIH). His aim is not to debunk treatments, but to encourage better research.

Take charge of your child's eating disorder : a physician's step-by-step guide to defeating anorexia and bulimia by Pamela Carlton and Deborah Ashin (Marlowe & Co). Presents practical information for parents of children and teens with anorexia and bulimia, including advice for dealing with health insurance issues. For early prevention read Family Guide to Fighting Fat by staff at the Texas Children's Hospital (St. Martins). Includes kid-friendly recipes, guidelines for eating out wisely and ways to incorporate fitness into a child's life.

Your critically ill child : life and death choices parents must face by Christopher Johnson (New Horizon Press). Solid advice for parents who face difficult and stressful decisions about their child's health from the former head of the Mayo Clinic pediatric intensive care unit. Includes case histories and lists of questions that parents may want to ask. Bibel calls this "a unique and much-needed resource for parents."

Fit and sexy for life : the hormone-free plan for staying slim, strong, and fabulous in your forties, fifties, and beyond by Kathy Kaehler with Stacy Whitman (Broadway Books). Exercise, diet and stress reduction tips to help women thrive through menopause without hormone supplements. Kaehler is a mother of three and the Today Show fitness expert.

Reversing dry eye syndrome : practical ways to improve your comfort, vision, and appearance by Steven L. Maskin et al. (Yale University Press). Dry eye syndrome affects more that nine million Americans. Advice offered by Maskin includes a combination of diet, nonprescription drugs and modifications of work and home environments.

Happy accidents : serendipity in modern medical breakthroughs by Morton A. Meyers (Arcade Publ). A fascinating look at the role of experiment and serendipity in some of the greatest medical discoveries, and the importance of encouraging creativity and independent thought in research and science.

Survival of the sickest : a medical maverick discovers why we need disease by Sharon Moalem with Jonathan Prince (William Morrow). Entertaining insights into why genetic disease is not always a bad thing. This title is also available for download on eAUDIO.

The art of aging : a doctor's prescription for well-being by Sherwin B. Nuland (Random House). Practical suggestions for improving quality of later life including physical fitness, creativity and personal relationships. Nuland, National Book Award winner (How We Die) argues that preserving physical and mental abilities is more important than extending life.

Sick girl by Amy Silverstein (Atlantic Press). A heart transplant at age 24 saved Silverstein's life, but could not give her back her normal existence. This honest memoir is a story of survival and love, as well as a brutal expose of how disease changes the course of an individual life. This title is also available in large type.

Mountain rescue doctor : wilderness medicine in the extremes of nature by Christopher Van Tilburg (St. Martin's Press). An ER doctor and member of the Hood River Crag Rats search and rescue team, Van Tilburg vividly recounts efforts to save people lost or injured in the mountains.

To die well : your right to comfort, calm and choice in the last days of life by Sidney H. Wanzer and Joseph Glenmullen (Da Capo Press). A practical guide for those with terminal illness and their families from Harvard physicians Wanzer and Glenmullen. Includes forms for living wills and advance directives.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

2008 Year of the Author

Publishing industry futurist Mike Shatzkin predicts that 2008 will be, among other things, the Year of the Author (Publishers Weekly, January 7, 2007, p. 22-23). Many of the large publishing houses are currently developing speakers bureaus for authors, and meeting authors in person continues to be one of the most popular programs the library offers for adults. Check out the library calendar of events for upcoming author visits, and don't miss Chris Bohjalian's appearance on May 19, as part of Whidbey Reads 2008.

Shatzkin predicts a self-publishing effort by a major author, similar to Stephen King's Riding the Bullet project. Riding the Bullet was published in 2000 exclusively as an electronic book available via the web. The download was free of charge for the first week or so, and the load on the servers hosting the story was so high that they became totally inaccessible. The story was later published in 2002 as part of a collection called Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales. Who will be the next major author to publish online?

Many authors currently have blogs which are accessible to the public, and several allow access to fiction as it unfolds. The Authonomy Web site being developed by HarperCollins and Google is designed create an "author" Wikipedia of sorts. Authonomy will initially be rolled out by Harper Collins UK in early 2008, with the intention of it becoming global in the future. The site will connect unpublished authors with readers, and allow anyone to participate. Readers will be able to support their favorite manuscripts, with HC guaranteeing to consider the most popular for publication.

Amazon Connect provides access literally thousands of author blogs. From the Amazon web site, type in Amazon Connect to set up a free online account. While the Amazon site is generally a one-way communication, many authors list their email address or web site for readers to use. Amazon urges authors to observe "dinner party" etiquette, participating in "tasteful conversation using thoughtful, interesting and amusing dialogue while avoiding profanity, excessive negativity or insulting comments." Sounds like good advice for readers, too.

Here are some other sites to check out:
http://www.authorsblogs.com/ a listing of blogs kept by published and aspiring authors and www.internetwritingjournal.com/authorblogs/ some of the very best blogs by authors.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Whidbey Book Discussion Group Gathering

Whidbey Island's 5th Annual All-book Group Gathering earlier this week was great fun. Proceeds from this year's silent auction and book buying event went to the Whidbey Island Writer's Association. Seattle writer and humorist Pat Detmer began the program with some down to earth ephemera enjoyed by all (including a very funny picture of herself at about 7 or 8, a rather fat and swarthy child, with her two blond and very slim little sisters - she said that the title of her memoir would be "They could only afford to feed one.")

Afterward came the highly anticipated part of the program where book groups share their top three titles for the year. At least 25 book groups were represented among the nearly 100 attendees, including SWELL, the South Whidbey Enthusiastic Literary League, and the 2nd Monday Book Dogs, a men's group that meets at the Dog House on, guess what, the second Monday of the month. Here are a few of the titles recommended for book groups:

Ladies coupé by Anita Nair
Pretty Birds by Scott Simon
Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell by Janet Wallach
History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Place of Execution by Val McDermid
Killer Angels by Jeff Shaara
Syringa Tree by Pamela Gien
Places In Between by Rory Stewart
Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns won the prize for being mentioned most often, making it two years in a row for Hosseini: last year's favorite was the Kite Runner.

All Whidbey book discussion groups were encouraged to read Midwives and meet the author, Chris Bohjalian this spring. Whidbey Reads 2008 author Bohjalian will be on Whidbey Monday, May 19, with presentations in both Langley and Oak Harbor.