RaveThe Washington PostWith Bomb Shelter, billed as a memoir in essays, Philpott brings us a beautifully wrought ode to life ... Philpott brings her own special blend of dread and hope to this treatise on the fragility of life ... She infuses her writing with an abundance of insight ... For good reason, Philpott has been compared to Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck and Anne Lamott ... Philpott can spin copy from the stuff of life with the best of them, aiming her talent at a new generation of mid-lifers, who could use a book that speaks to them. And like her antecedents, Philpott possesses that rare ability to dole out prose that’s equal parts comedy and pathos, tragedy and celebration ... We who walk the earth believing that all our good fortune could spontaneously combust at any moment are precisely those who will find Bomb Shelter as endearing as it is readable ... \'I am obsessed with death because I am in love with life,\' Philpott writes. \'I’m sad because I’m so happy.\' We hear you, Mary Laura. And know that your love affair with life, fraught as it is, is a precious gift to the world.
J. David McSwane
RaveThe Washington Post... revelatory ... will make whatever guilt you may harbor for hoarding toilet paper pale next to the deeds of a network of dodgy scammers and profiteers who, as McSwane puts it, \'did insane things to get rich while our nation suffered an incalculable loss of life and global standing\' ... McSwane claims it was the boredom of quarantine that drove him to dig so deep; he had a lot of time on his hands, but he happens also to be a great reporter ... McSwane is funny. Laugh-out-loud funny. If the whole story weren’t so tragically and disgustingly real, Pandemic Inc. could be mistaken as the script for a Saturday Night Live skit. But embedded in the mirth is a wholesale indictment of this toxic brew of unfettered capitalism and greed that frustrated the pandemic response at every turn ... If you can read this book without growing too nauseated, you must. Because this is our country, folks, and the behavior McSwane describes is the behavior our country has spawned. Shame on us.
Wes Ely, M.D.
RaveThe Washington PostPandemic or no, most Americans will, in their lifetime, be a patient in an intensive care unit, which makes Wes Ely’s Every Deep-Drawn Breath: A Critical Care Doctor on Healing, Recovery, and Transforming Medicine in the ICU a timely book, its message an urgent one.
PositiveThe Washington PostKeep Sharp is largely a self-help book, but Gupta devotes the first 100 pages or so to the science of the brain (\'what makes you you,\' as he aptly puts it) and dementia ... Yet while all of Gupta’s recommendations are good general tips, the jury is still out on whether doing any of this will actually sharpen your brain, much less stave off dementia ...
PositiveThe Washington PostWhatever it is, when Vedantam tells stories on his podcast and radio show, Hidden Brain, even when he’s imparting highly disturbing truths about human behavior, he’s a joy to listen to. It would seem difficult to duplicate that effect with the written word, but he manages to do just that. He explains the phenomenon of deceit in general, and self-deception in particular, with the same plain language and gentle authority that his listeners have come to rely on ... intriguing[.]
MixedThe Washington PostSynder’s point about our right to health care—and the flaws of America’s health-care system—is not a new one ... There’s an initial thrill when reading Snyder’s take on American health care. He’s a brilliant historian ... Yet the unimpeachable authority that made statements in On Tyranny...feel chillingly real is missing in Our Malady. Snyder is clearly an authority in his discipline but not one on health care ... Snyder favors big political points: notions of liberty and freedom and how they connect to the imperative to create a health-care system that is equitable and just. However, in doing so, he mentions only in passing one of the main causes of physician burnout and distraction ... Still, there’s always a place for a good rant, and the American health-care system is perfectly rant-worthy, as it edges closer to extracting 20 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, with mediocre outcomes to show for it. As rants from patients done wrong go, Snyder’s is loud and lucid. His litany of the many ways the United States bungled the coronavirus response is eloquent and pointed.
Lesley M. M. Blume
PositiveThe Washington PostBlume’s meticulously researched tale of the lengths to which a government will go to keep the truth from reaching its citizens might be exactly what everyone should be reading at this deeply worrisome juncture ... The book is timely on its own, however, as the idea that a democracy’s highest officials might use verbal sleights of hand to distract citizens from a crisis has been cropping up of late ... is at its most gripping when Blume describes the article’s immediate, dramatic impact on a public that had been kept in the dark about the human devastation in Hiroshima ... It’s clear that Blume poured herself into this project. For a sense of the sheer amount of work that went into it, just read her acknowledgments. Where most authors’ acknowledgments are heartfelt but brief, Blume’s run seven pages. Her endnotes take up a whopping 64 pages ... compelling.
PositiveThe Washington Post... sprightly, if occasionally heavy-going ... Boxer is a data scientist with a PhD in physics, as well as degrees in the history of science and classics. When it comes to astrology, he is surprisingly open-minded, a rare stance for a scientist ... Boxer’s tone is lighthearted throughout, his writing lean and smart. Yet he doesn’t shy away from complexity. As a matter of fact, he serves up plenty of it. As the book moves along, the content grows increasingly matted with data analysis and algorithmic musings that could leave many readers behind ... But the intellectual heavy lifting shouldn’t be a deterrent. There’s enough in A Scheme of Heaven to satisfy the curious layperson and the data geek alike. The chart of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions vis-a-vis presidential peril alone is worth the price of this book. And with his lovely prose, Boxer makes it relatively easy to navigate — if not celestially then literarily — around the difficult bits. A journey through Boxer’s own scheme of heaven is one well worth taking.
PositiveThe Washington PostIn these first scenes, Jauhar, who directs the heart failure program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, sets a tone at once intimate and detached. And over the ensuing pages, he is our trusty guide through a compelling story about what makes each and every one of us tick. Both primer and ode, Heart is a fascinating education for those of us who harbor this most hallowed organ but know little about it ... Ever the fluid writer, Jauhar even employs the metaphorical heart to describe what it took to face the devastated parents of a young patient who had just died: \'Once, it was difficult to witness the grief of loved ones. But my heart had been hardened.\'
PositiveThe Washington PostThe title is a bit off. Forget the future. The book is a courageous attempt to offer some constructive solutions to a world already filled with monoliths that make the Microsoft of the 1990s, whose hegemony we once feared so much that the government saw fit to break it into pieces, look like a humble Etsy vendor ... So rosy is Keen’s tone in parts that I was put in mind of a wide-eyed, if craggy-faced, 21st-century Dorothy, picking up valuable lessons on her way to Oz ... Still, I came away from Keen’s world travels grateful to him for enduring all those endless flights to far-flung places so we wouldn’t have to.