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Monday, September 26, 2011

Book of the Week (September 26, 2011)

On the New Book Shelf in the Library
Call Number:  PS 3558 .E476 Z63 2011

Just One Catch:  a biography of Joseph Heller
By Tracy Daugherty

Publisher's Description:  In time for the 50th anniversary of Catch-22, Tracy Daugherty, the critically acclaimed author of Hiding Man (a New Yorker and New York Times Notable book), illuminates his most vital subject yet in this first biography of Joseph Heller.
Joseph Heller was a Coney Island kid, the son of Russian immigrants, who went on to great fame and fortune. His most memorable novel took its inspiration from a mission he flew over France in WWII (his plane was filled with so much shrapnel it was a wonder it stayed in the air). Heller wrote seven novels, all of which remain in print. Something Happened and Good as Gold, to name two, are still considered the epitome of satire. His life was filled with women and romantic indiscretions, but he was perhaps more famous for his friendships—he counted Mel Brooks, Zero Mostel, Carl Reiner, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, Mario Puzo, Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen, and many others among his confidantes. In 1981 Heller was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a debilitating syndrome that could have cost him his life. Miraculously, he recovered. When he passed away in 1999 from natural causes, he left behind a body of work that continues to sell hundreds of thousands of copies a year.

Review of the book from the Washington Post

Monday, September 19, 2011

Book of the Week (September 19, 2011)

On the New book shelf in the Library's lobby
Call Number:  HV 6692.M33 H46 2011

The Wizard of Lies:  Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust
By Diana B. Henriques

Publisher's Description:  The inside story of Bernie Madoff and his $65 billion Ponzi scheme, with surprising and shocking new details from Madoff himself.  Who is Bernie Madoff, and how did he pull off the biggest Ponzi scheme in history?

These questions have fascinated people ever since the news broke about the respected New York financier who swindled his friends, relatives, and other investors out of $65 billion through a fraud that lasted for decades. Many have speculated about what might have happened or what must have happened, but no reporter has been able to get the full story--until now.
In The Wizard of Lies, Diana B. Henriques of The New York Times--who has led the paper's coverage of the Madoff scandal since the day the story broke--has written the definitive book on the man and his scheme, drawing on unprecedented access and more than one hundred interviews with people at all levels and on all sides of the crime, including Madoff's first interviews for publication since his arrest. Henriques also provides vivid details from the various lawsuits, government investigations, and court filings that will explode the myths that have come to surround the story.

A true-life financial thriller, The Wizard of Lies contrasts Madoff's remarkable rise on Wall Street, where he became one of the country’s most trusted and respected traders, with dramatic scenes from his accelerating slide toward self-destruction. It is also the most complete account of the heartbreaking personal disasters and landmark legal battles triggered by Madoff’s downfall--the suicides, business failures, fractured families, shuttered charities--and the clear lessons this timeless scandal offers to Washington, Wall Street, and Main Street.

"In The Wizard of Lies, Diana Henriques, who covered the Madoff scandal for the New York Times, offers a riveting history of Mr Madoff’s shady dealings and the shattering consequences of his theft. . . . She offers a raw and surprisingly moving portrait about the toll that Mr Madoff’s deceit took on his family."—The Economist

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book of the Week (September 12, 2011)

On the new book shelf in the Library's Lobby.
Call Number:  R 729.5 .G4 B36 2011

Out of Practice: Fighting for Primary Care Medicine in America
By Frederick M. Barken, M.D.

Publisher's Description:  Primary care medicine, as we know and remember it, is in crisis. While policymakers, government administrators, and the health insurance industry pay lip service to the personal relationship between physician and patient, dissatisfaction and disaffection run rampant among primary care doctors, and medical students steer clear in order to pursue more lucrative specialties. Patients feel helpless, well aware that they are losing a valued close connection as health care steadily becomes more transactional than relational. The thin-margin efficiency, rapid pace, and high volume demanded by the new health care economics do not work for primary care, an inherently slower, more personal, and uniquely tailored service.

In Out of Practice, Dr. Frederick Barken juxtaposes his personal experience with the latest research on the transformations in the medical field. He offers a cool critique of the market model of medicine while vividly illustrating how the seemingly inexorable trend toward specialization in the last few decades has shifted emphasis away from what was once the foundation of medical practice. Dr. Barken addresses the complexities of modern practice-overuse of diagnostic studies, fragmentation of care, increasing reliance on an array of prescription drugs, and the practice of defensive medicine. He shows how changes in medicine, the family, and society have left physicians to deal with a wide range of geriatric issues, from limited mobility to dementia, that are not addressed by health care policy and are not entirely amenable to a physician s prescription. Indeed, Dr. Barken contends, the very survival of primary care is in jeopardy at a time when its practitioners are needed more than ever.

Illustrated with case studies gleaned from more than twenty years in private practice and data from a wide range of sources, Out of Practice is more than a jeremiad about a broken system. Throughout, Dr. Barken offers cogent suggestions for policymakers and practitioners alike, making clear that as valuable as the latest drug or medical device may be, a successful health care system depends just as much on the doctor-patient relationship embodied by primary care medicine.

Cornell University Press website

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Book of the Week (September 5, 2011)

On the New Book shelf in the Library's lobby
Call Number:  HN 90 .M84 B37 20111

Barack Obama, The Aloha Zen President:  how a son of the 50th state may revitalize America based on 12 multicultural principles

By Michael Haas

Publisher's Description:  Obama's aspiration to transform the United States using Hawaìi as his model has been a conspicuous theme in his books and speeches over the years. In them, he extols Hawaìi's multicultural ethos, describing how a normative, problem-solving mindset predicated on mutual respect and harmonious interchange is inculcated in the culture, politics, and society of the Islands. Indeed, this "Aloha Spirit" is imbued in Barack Obama, is part of what made him irresistibly charismatic as a candidate, and explains why voters in 2010 were baffled at his demeanor after he became the 44th President of the United States.

This unique book examines Obama's decisions as an adult and as president and exposes how they are directly linked to the culture of Hawaìi and Obama's multicultural life as a child. The author and contributors also describe the ways in which native Hawaiians were dispossessed of their sovereignty and their land, how they steadfastly sought justice, and how their quest served as a model for Obama's mobilization of support for his candidacy.