10 Booklist August2017 www.booklistreader.com
energy, encouraging view of life, and generous
sprinkling of inspirational quotes from the
likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Albert Einstein
beneficial. —Karen Springen
The Enlightened Mr. Parkinson: The
Pioneering Life of a Forgotten Surgeon
and the Mysterious Disease That Bears
By Cherry Lewis.
Aug. 2017. 320p. illus. Pegasus, $27.95
Parkinson’s disease—a disorder characterized
by tremor, muscle stiffness, and slow movements—trails only Alzheimer’s dementia in
frequency among neurodegenerative diseases.
But who was the man that the disease was
named for? James Parkinson (1755–1824) was
an English apothecary-surgeon whose interests
were not limited to the field of medicine but included fossil collecting, paleontology, geology,
social and political activism involving his concern about the lives of working children, and
advocacy for reform of Parliament and equality
of wealth. Over the course of six years, he identified six men exhibiting the same tremor along
with other symptoms and published “An Essay
on the Shaking Palsy,” the original description
of Parkinson’s disease. He likely never imagined
how very long it would take to find an effective
treatment for the condition. The pensive and
passionate Parkinson is portrayed as a character
caught in a sort of temporal paradox as a clinician ahead of his time in some ways, a scientist
infatuated with prehistoric eras, and a citizen
restless and uneasy with society and living conditions in his world. —Tony Miksanek
Gasping for Air: How Breathing Is Killing
Us and What We Can Do about It.
By Kevin Glynn.
Aug. 2017. 268p. Rowman & Littlefield, $36
(9781442246232); e-book (9781442246249). 616.2.
Glynn, a medical doctor who specializes in
respiratory care, makes it impossible to take
breathing for granted. It’s vital for life. Within
five minutes of not doing it, our brains begin
to die. Glynn accurately describes breathing
in a narrative that is part history, part biography, and part science. He covers the history of
tuberculosis, pneumonia, and polio. He talks
about “suffocating work.” More than 300
substances cause occupational asthma. And
he looks at lung cancer, which kills 160,000
Americans per year, including his father, a
The Hormone Myth: How Junk Science,
heavy smoker. Who could blame him and
his peers? Old ads featured physicians tout-
ing the refreshing power of cigarettes. Like
two of his children and grandchildren, Glynn
suffers from asthma. But his childhood condi-
tion came with a silver lining. Because sports
were tricky for him as a child, he turned to
books. And now he’s written one that is well
researched and thoughtful and that should ap-
peal to a large audience, given that 36 million
Americans live with respiratory impairment.
Inhale, exhale, appreciate. —Karen Springen
Gender Politics, and Lies about PMS
Keep Women Down.
By Robyn Stein DeLuca.
Aug. 2017. 200p. New Harbinger, paper, $16.95
Do hormones make women go a little crazy
right before their menstrual period? Not really.
In this debunking of the mental disorder aspect
of PMS, DeLuca, who holds a PhD in social
and health psychology, elaborates on the points
she makes in her widely viewed TED Talk,
“The Good News about PMS.” As she notes in
her introduction, “the hormone myth encourages stereotypes of women as irrational, which
dismisses and discounts us.” It can also lead
to “excessive, expensive and sometimes harmful ‘cures.’” DeLuca raises thought-provoking
questions about how doctors and pharmaceutical companies profit from perhaps ineffective
products targeting hormonal fluctuations. She
points out that tampons and pads are designed
and advertised to maintain secrecy, implying that menstruation is shameful. She refers
to unfortunate stereotypes, such as “women
as witches,” and shares stinging pop-culture
PMS references. Written in a conversational
tone and full of helpful information about hormones (including appended primers on what
each of them is and how to spot junk science),
DeLuca’s guide is uplifting and empowering.
My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting
Dirty and Staying Clean.
By Amy Dresner.
Sept. 2017. 256p. Hachette, $27 (9780316430951);
e-book, $13.99 (9780316430920). 616.86.
Dresner starts her deeply personal book at
rock bottom, high as a kite and threatening
her husband with a knife. She is arrested and
sent to a sixth round of rehab. Dresner hasn’t
met too many drugs she didn’t like, and her
self-destructive behavior has been a companion for more than 20 years. What makes it any
more likely that she’ll stay sober after this stint?
She’s also sentenced to 240 hours of commu-
Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of
nity service in lieu of jail time. While serving
her penal labor, she begins to understand the
sense of dignity and self-worth associated
with hard work, something she has never had
to do before. Maybe this time she can finally
keep clean. In Dresner’s unflinchingly honest,
graphic, and darkly comedic account of her
life as a junkie and the struggle to come clean,
readers will find strength in the humanity of
those at their lowest. Dresner brings humility,
wit, and sensitivity to a topic many readers are
unfamiliar with, and those that are will recog-
nize her truths. —Emily Brock
Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words.
By Michael Ausiello.
Sept. 2017. 320p. Atria, $26 (9781501134968). 616.
Ausiello wrote for TV Guide and
Entertainment Weekly and is the founder and
editor-in-chief of TVLine.com. He brings the
insight and wit of his entertainment writing
to this memoir of his final year together with
his partner of 13 years, Kit Cowan, after Kit
is diagnosed with an aggressive neuroendo-crine cancer. Ausiello describes a long-term
relationship struggling with boredom, infidelity concerns, and Cowan’s marijuana overuse,
which was matched by Ausiello’s alcohol overuse. Humorous, self-aware realism reigns, even
when the cancer diagnosis reshapes the couple’s
priorities, prompting Ausiello to propose to
Cowan with an ill-fitting ring hidden in a Star-bucks pastry bag. Should Ausiello have asked
for a prenup? He queries his lawyer and then
wrestles with the guilt of even contemplating
asking his dying fiancé to sign one. While enjoyable, the comic digressions, such as training
the cat to use the toilet, may be too many. The
plotline worth following is the story of a man’s
last year with his husband, helping him die
awash in dignity and love. —Emily Dziuban
Your Patient Safety Survival Guide: How
to Protect Yourself and Others from
By Gretchen LeFever Watson.
Aug. 2017. 196p. Rowman & Littlefield, $33
(9781538102091); e-book, $32.99 (9781538102107).
More than 440,000 people die needlessly in
American hospitals every year, making medical
errors the third leading cause of death in the
country. The staggering and terrifying reality
came to light in 2000 when the Institute of
Medicine published the now-famous report “To
Err Is Human,” sparking frenzy and outrage.
But little has changed, and countless initiatives
have failed. Physician Watson proposes a call to
action directed at patients, patient advocates,
community leaders, and providers in this urgent guide. She aims to tackle the three most
common and most easily fixed medical errors:
infections, off-the-mark procedures, and medication errors. She delves into the reasons why
so many errors occur and explores the physical, emotional, and financial impact of these
mistakes. By giving patients the information
and tools necessary to be their own advocates,
Watson hopes to reduce errors and reestablish
trusting relationships between patients and
providers. This well-researched, eye-opening,
and useful guide is an important addition to
any health collection. —Patricia Smith
Never preachy or smug, Nunn’s memoir of healing is full of warm,
bracing honesty and the humor and paradox in family memories and
sprinkled liberally with the type of recipes that will make book-club
members say, “I could make that!”.
—Kaite Mediatore Stover, on The Comfort Food Diaries