Being Mortal

Being MortalBeing Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

By Atul Gawande

In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

Year of No Sugar

YearNoSugarBy Eve O. Schaub

Did you know that there’s sugar in your organic chicken broth, tortellini, smoked salmon, bacon, crackers, salad dressing, and baby food? Sugar is everywhere, spreading sickness and obesity, and we’re just coming to realize it. In an age when sugar is continuously unmasked as a health villain, this memoir chronicles the story of the Schaub family’s twelve months without added sugar of any sort.

How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick

How to Be a FriendBy Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Everyone knows someone who’s sick or suffering. Yet when a friend or relative is under duress many of us feel uncertain about how to cope.

Throughout her recent bout with breast cancer, Letty Cottin Pogrebin became fascinated by her friends’ and family’s diverse reactions to her and her illness: how awkwardly some of them behaved; how some misspoke or misinterpreted her needs; and how wonderful it was when people read her right. She began talking to her fellow patients and dozens of other veterans of serious illness, seeking to discover what sick people wished their friends knew about how best to comfort, help, and even simply talk to them.

Now Pogrebin has distilled their collective stories and opinions into this wide-ranging compendium of pragmatic guidance and usable wisdom. Her advice is always infused with sensitivity, warmth, and humor. It is embedded in candid stories from her own and others’ journeys, and their sometimes imperfect interactions with well-meaning friends. How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick is an invaluable guidebook for anyone hoping to rise to the challenges of this most important and demanding passage of friendship.

Following Atticus

By Tom Ryan

After a close friend died of cancer, middle-aged, overweight, acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan decided to pay tribute to her in a most unorthodox manner. Ryan and his friend, miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch, would attempt to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. It was an adventure of a lifetime, leading them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. At the heart of the amazing journey was the extraordinary relationship they shared, one that blurred the line between man and dog.

Following Atticus is an unforgettable true saga of adventure, friendship, and the unlikeliest of family, as one remarkable animal opens the eyes and heart of a tough-as-nails newspaperman to the world’s beauty and its possibilities.

This book is a great holiday gift for those with beloved dogs or those who have a craving for adventure.

Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard

By Nigel Slater

Britain’s foremost food writer Nigel Slater returns to the garden in this sequel to Tender, his acclaimed and beloved volume on vegetables. With a focus on fruit, Ripe is equal parts cookbook, primer on produce and gardening, and affectionate ode to the inspiration behind the book – Slater’s forty-foot backyard garden in London.

Intimate, delicate prose is interwoven with recipes in this lavishly photographed cookbook. Slater offers more than 300 delectable dishes – both sweet and savory – such as Apricot and Pistachio Crumble, Baked Rhubarb with Blueberries, and Crisp Pork Belly with Sweet Peach Salsa. With a personal, almost confessional approach to his appetites and gustatory experiences, Slater has crafted a masterful book that will gently guide you from the garden to the kitchen, and back again.

American Grown

By Michelle Obama

Through telling the story of the White House Kitchen Garden, First Lady Michelle Obama explores how increased access to healthful, affordable food can promote better eating habits and improve health for families and communities across America.

Mrs. Obama describes how Sasha and Malia were the catalysts for change for their family’s eating behavior which inspired her national initiative to address childhood obesity and resulted in the idea to plant a vegetable garden on the South Lawn, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden. American Grown is inspirational and instructive and will provide ideas for readers to get involved and join the movement to create community gardens, support local farmers markets, create school gardens, and start urban gardens, as well as other ways that they can make small changes to achieve big results and create healthy eating habits.

Since entering the White House, Mrs. Obama has emerged as a passionate advocate for healthful eating and exercise. In February 2010 she launched “Let’s Move!,” a nationwide initiative to address the epidemic of childhood obesity by empowering parents and caregivers with information, improving food quality in schools, increasing access to healthy, affordable food, and encouraging increased physical activity.

American Grown speaks to these issues which Mrs. Obama has strongly advocated for – in particular, making better food choices. It also includes practical ideas, recipes, and resources as well as tips on how to begin a garden of any size, anywhere and how to support local farmers’ markets.

Filled with gorgeous full-color photography, American Grown includes stunning photos of the White House garden and Mrs. Obama throughout the seasons, as well as other community and school gardens from around the country.

Main Street Vegan

By Victoria Moran

Hollywood celebrities are doing it. Corporate moguls are doing it. But what about those of us living in the real world – and on a real budget?

Author and holistic health practitioner Victoria Moran started eating only plants nearly thirty years ago, raised her daughter, Adair, vegan from birth, and maintains a sixty-pound weight loss. In Main Street Vegan, Moran offers a complete guide to making this dietary and lifestyle shift with an emphasis on practical “baby steps,” proving that you don’t have to have a personal chef or lifestyle coach on speed dial to experience the physical and spiritual benefits of being a vegan. This book provides practical advice and inspiration for everyone—from Main Street to Wall Street, and everywhere between.

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection

By A.J. Jacobs

“A.J. Jacobs is very, very bad for your health. He will keep you up reading til 2 a.m., disturbing your circadian rhythms, making you sleep through breakfast and overeat at lunch. He is delicious. He’s habit-forming. He will give you infectious titters and terminal glee. Don’t let that stop you. Indulge.” —Mary Roach, author of Bonk and Packing for Mars

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