Category Non-Fiction

Being Mortal(Unabridged)

Product DetailsBeing Mortal(Unabridged)
by Atul Gawande
Macmillan Audio
Retail Price $14.95
Amazon Price: $14.95

Book Description: 

In Being Mortal, best-selling 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.

Review

Wow.  This book was enlightening.  I have aging parents and have a deep interest in the topic of elder care.  I want to make sure my parents are comfortable in their old age.  I want to repay them for all they have done me as their child by making sure they die with the greatest amount of dignity possible.  This audiobook was quite an eye opener for me about what really goes on in nursing facilities and other long term care facilities and how modern medicine sometimes fail those who need it most.  The author doesn’t spend time pointing fingers, he just lays out the truth for us to see, ponder, and then apply what we can to our own lives.  His words are honest, but sometimes hard to bear, but they spur us on to help give quality of life to those we love who are aging or suffering from terminal illness, helping them to end their stories on their own terms.   While I wouldn’t say this book is uplifting, I did find it comforting as it inspired me to do right by my parents.

~Reviewed by Pat C.

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    Zen Pencils

     

    Zen Pencils
    By Gaving Aung Than
    Andrews McMeel
    Retail Price $14.99
    Amazon Price: $12.78

    Book Description: 

    Zen Pencils is an exciting and unique new comic form that takes inspirational and famous quotations and adapts them into graphic stories. From icons like Confucius, Marie Curie, and Henry David Thoreau, to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge, to contemporary notables like Ira Glass, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Neil Gaiman—their words are turned into sometimes heartwarming, sometimes sobering stories by cartoonist Gavin Aung Than. Be inspired, motivated, educated, and laugh as you read famous words as never before!

    Gavin Aung Than, an Australian graphic designer turned cartoonist, started the weekly Zen Pencils blog in February 2012. He describes his motivation for launching Zen Pencils: “I was working in the boring corporate graphic design industry for eight years before finally quitting at the end of 2011 to pursue my passion for illustration and cartooning. At my old job, when my boss wasn’t looking, I would waste time reading Wikipedia pages, mainly biographies about people whose lives were a lot more interesting than mine. Their stories and quotes eventually inspired me to leave my job to focus on what I really wanted to do. The idea of taking these inspiring quotes, combining them with my love of drawing and sharing them with others led to the creation of Zen Pencils.”

    Review

    This book by Gaving Aung Than was nothing short of inspirational….and genius!  He takes our favorite quotes and brings them to life with his graphic art and packaged it all in an easy to handle volume.  This was such a clever idea and it is very well done.  He did a fantastic job in picking the quotes he illustrates and presents us with timeless truths to visualize and ponder.  I was very impressed.

    Reviewed by J.Rose

     

     

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      The Disaster Artist (Unabridged)

      Product DetailsThe Disaster Artist (Unabridged)
      by Greg Sestero
      Tantor Audio
      Retail Price $14.95
      Amazon Price: $14.95

      Book Description: 

      Nineteen-year-old Greg Sestero met Tommy Wiseau at an acting school in San Francisco. Wiseau’s scenes were rivetingly wrong, yet Sestero, hypnotized by such uninhibited acting, thought, “I have to do a scene with this guy.” That impulse changed both of their lives. Wiseau seemed never to have read the rule book on interpersonal relationships (or the instructions on a bottle of black hair dye), yet he generously offered to put the aspiring actor up in his LA apartment. Sestero’s nascent acting career first sizzled, then fizzled, resulting in Wiseau’s last-second offer to Sestero of co-starring with him in The Room, a movie Wiseau wrote and planned to finance, produce, and direct – in the parking lot of a Hollywood equipment-rental shop.Wiseau spent $6 million of his own money on his film, but despite the efforts of the disbelieving (and frequently fired) crew and embarrassed (and frequently fired) actors, the movie made no sense. Nevertheless, Wiseau rented a Hollywood billboard featuring his alarming headshot and staged a red carpet premiere. The Room made $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. One reviewer said that watching The Room was like “getting stabbed in the head”.The Disaster Artist is Greg Sestero’s laugh-out-loud funny account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and friendship to make “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon, with Wiseau himself beloved as an oddball celebrity. Written with award-winning journalist Tom Bissell, The Disaster Artist is an inspiring tour de force, an open-hearted portrait of an enigmatic man who will improbably capture your heart.

      Review

      Though this audiobook may seem too odd to be true, it definitely is.  While it feels like a fiction, it is really the true story of Tommy Wiseau and the making of his cult classic “The Room”.  You will get a day-to-day summary about the filming of a movie and an overview of the people involved. I found it interesting that almost everyone involved with it, except its creator, knew was awful. Sestero also shares the story of a very interesting friendship between himself and Wiseau and he gives us great insight into Wiseau himself.  Greg Sestero does a great job narrating the book.  He is honest, funny, and real.

      ~Reviewed By Dave H.

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        Into the Heart of God

        Into the Heart of God: Jean Vanier Explores the Gospel of John in the Holy Land
        Franciscan Media
        Retail Price $59.99
        Amazon Price: $41.11

        Book Description: 

        This 14-part video series is an exploration into the Gospel of John. By retracing the actual steps through the Holy Land of the events and accounts of this gospel, Vanier recreates a vivid and intimate portrait of what is often called the mystical gospel.This series looks deep into the gospel, and in so doing brings viewers further into the heart of God, whose boundless love for humanity manifests itself in the life and times of Jesus. Vanier notes, The Gospel of John is the gospel of relationship, and we will see it is a growing relationship with Jesus. And this is not only the gospel of relationship, but also of transformation…. We will discover through this gospel that human beings need to be gradually transformed to enter into a fullness of love.The package includes 14 handouts that clarify and explore each of the videos, and a leader s guide for using the program in a prayer or study session. There is also an audiobook of the program available.

        Review

        This is a fantastic resource for Bible Study.  The Gospel of John is a natural starting place in the to begin to explore the life of Jesus  and an excellent introduction to Bible study in general. Along with the DVD, this kit is full of  resources for leaders and  handouts to share with the class to make learning easy and fulfilling. This is ideal for small groups or personal study alike.  The dvds are really well done and interesting to watch.  I was impressed.

        ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

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          The Ark Before Noah

          The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood

          The Ark Before Noah
          By Irving Finkel
          Tantor
          Retail Price $26.95
          Amazon Price: $14.95

          Book Description: 

          Since the Victorian period, it has been understood that the story of Noah, iconic in the Book of Genesis, and a central motif in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, derives from a much older story that existed centuries before in ancient Babylon. But the relationship between the Babylonian and biblical traditions was shrouded in mystery. Then, in 2009, Irving Finkel, a curator at the British Museum and a world authority on ancient Mesopotamia, found himself playing detective when a member of the public arrived at the museum with an intriguing cuneiform tablet from a family collection. Not only did the tablet reveal a new version of the Babylonian Flood Story; the ancient poet described the size and completely unexpected shape of the ark, and gave detailed boat building specifications. Decoding this ancient message wedge by cuneiform wedge, Dr. Finkel discovered where the Babylonians believed the ark came to rest and developed a new explanation of how the old story ultimately found its way into the Bible. In The Ark Before Noah, Dr. Finkel takes us on an adventurous voyage of discovery, opening the door to an enthralling world of ancient voices and new meanings.

          Review

          While this would be considered a scholarly work,  I found listening to it as an audiobook was much more appealing than reading it myself.  The author researched the topic well and presents his conclusions in a direct manner.  He bases his views on a newly deciphered cuneiform tablet that he happened upon in his work as a museum curator.  The book is controversial as Finkel’s views differ from the widely accepted view of a biblical flood and how it found it’s way into the Bible.  This book offers new thinking based upon new data, but it is up the reader (or listener) to decide what they believe the truth to be.  All in all, it was a very interesting experience.

          ~Reviewed by Mike G.

           

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