In 1838, 35-year old Ralph Waldo Emerson sat down and wrote in his journal:
I am cheered with the moist, warm, glittering, budding and melodious hour that takes down the narrow walls of my soul and extends its pulsation and life to the very horizon. That is morning; to cease for a bright hour to be a prisoner of this sickly body, and to become as large as the World.
Nearly 200 years later, Emerson’s great-great-great granddaughter, Nina Riggs found profound meaning in that entry and named the book she finished a month before her death at age 39, in February, 2017, “The Bright Hour.” When the reader fully absorbs that journal entry, it’s as if the generations between Emerson and Riggs disappear and that these two people born 174 years apart shared a connection, a knowledge of how hard it is to live when the body is failing, and the beauty of experiencing something so simple – daybreak – to alleviate the suffering. Although Emerson recovered and went on to live another 44 years, dying at the age of 78, Riggs was not so lucky. Read more
Your eyes water up when you watch certain movies, you have dropped tears onto the pages of numerous books, you have cried at moments of immense personal sorrow, but death freezes you and shuts you down, robbing you of all emotion, all affect, all connection to your own heart.
On the eve of Paul Auster’s 64th birthday, the author sat down and penned a memoir called Winter Journal. Published in 2012, Winter Journal is not an “I did this; I did that” account of his life (although there is a bit of time-centered personal detail in the book) but more of a “I felt this; I felt that” type of story as he recalls how he reached a milestone where the world no longer considered him young or even middle-aged. Read more
Little Kids And Their Big Dogs is one of the most beautiful heartwarming books you will ever have the pleasure of looking through and reading. Written and illustrated by Andy Seliverstoff, a professional dog photographer, Little Kids And Their Big Dogs is not another coffee table book filled with beautiful photographs (although the images are undeniably stunning) but a book filled with images and words that capture the innocence, purity, and special bond between children and dogs. Read more
Sometimes a book reminds readers that our lives never really change despite the outside factors that seem to change daily. We write but the computer has replaced the typewriter, we raise children but the social norms change; we drink milk but we buy the containers at the grocery store instead of having them delivered; and we drive cars but with seat belts and air bags. Yes, progress allows us to do things differently but it doesn’t take away the core aspects of our lives: to grow, learn, love, procreate, work, eat, survive, struggle, and die. Life Among the Savages is just that book. Read more
Old age is not for sissies. Neither is old love, whether you’re in it or watching from the sidelines. ~Bob Morris
Bobby Wonderful may seem like a strange title for a book but to author Bob Morris, the two words make perfect sense because “Bobby” and “Wonderful” are the last words spoken by his parents before they passed away. The irony is that the author by his own admission was not a wonderful son (his brother, Jeff deserved that award). He was the irresponsible fun-loving child, the second of two boys whose job was to lighten the mood and entertain. Jeff, his older brother was the responsible one, the leader driven by duty and purpose who always seemed to make the right decision and be in the right place at the right time (there’s always one in every family). Read more
How Not To Die may seem to you a strange title for a book. After all, everyone is going to die eventually. It’s about how not to die prematurely. If there is one takeaway message, it’s that you have tremendous power over your health destiny. The vast majority of premature deaths can be prevented with simple changes in what you eat and how you live. In other words, a long and healthy life is largely a matter of choice.
The market is flooded with books on health and the latest fad diet, most of which have their 15 minutes of fame and then get replaced by the discovery of a new miracle diet. But, here’s the truth. There are four things that greatly affect our health: genetics, the environment, lifestyle choices, and medical care. We have no control over genetics and very little control over the environment but we have a lot of control over lifestyle choices and medical care. Read more
When there’s no place for the scalpel, words are the surgeon’s only tool.
Paul Kalanithi graduated from Stanford with a BA and an MA in English Literature and a BA in Biology. He also earned a MPhil in history and philosophy of science and medicine from Cambridge before attending and graduating from the Yale School of Medicine. He returned to Stanford to do an 8-year residency in neurosurgery and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience. In his seventh year of residency in May, 2013, 36-year old Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer – an illness that rarely strikes young men (he notes that only 0.0012 percent of 36-year olds get lung cancer). Read more
The reason we don’t see ads on TV for broccoli is the same reason groundbreaking research on the power of foods and eating patterns to affect our health and longevity gets lost and buried in the medical literature–there’s no profit motive. It may not make anyone money, but what if our lives would profit?
Those are the words often spoken by Dr. Michael Greger, M.D., a physician, author (How Not To Die), and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. In 2003, the non-profit NutritionFactsOrg. Inc (Nutrition Facts) was established as a 501 (c) 3 to educate the public on preventing and reversing disease based on nutrition with seed money from the Jesse and Julie Rasch Foundation. Nutrition Facts is now supported by individual donors to keep the organization going. Read more
The most satisfying moment in any process of inquiry is not when one confirms an already held suspicion, but when one is surprised by a new reality.
Such is the lesson learned by Daphne Miller, MD, a practicing physician in California who set out to understand the connection between the farming system and our personal health in Farmacology, which was published in 2013. At the core of this book is the belief that “farming, at its best, can offer a bounty of valuable secrets for transforming our personal health and the practice of medicine.” Read more
Michael Pollan’s New York Times bestseller In Defense of Food belongs on the modern-day shortlist of most eye-opening nutrition books, along with Forks Over Knives, The Third Plate, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma (also by Michael Pollan). All four books contribute a vast amount of information to the conversation on health and diet, with three out of the four written by unapologetic carnivores. Read more