The Human Condition Curated

What's New

Celebrating 25 Years of the Literature, Arts and Medicine Database

In the following post, David Oshinsky, Marc Triola, Lucy Bruell and Felice Aull, the founder and Editor in Chief Emerita, take us through the early years of the site and its evolution.

Shawn Thomas on Three Identical Strangers by Tim Wardle

"The documentary Three Identical Strangers tells the unbelievable story of Bobby Shafran, Eddy Galland, and David Kellman – three identical triplets who were separated at birth and serendipitously reunited at the age of 19."

Albert Howard Carter on Modern Death: How Medicine Changed the End of Life by Haider Warraich

"This intelligent and compelling book invites us to evaluate the losses pertaining to 'modern death' and to consider better ways—whether from the past or in the future—to care for the dying, their families, and all care-givers."

Cortney Davis on Sky the Oar by Stacy Nigliazzo

"As a practicing ER nurse, Nigliazzo becomes, in these poems, an especially astute witness, using her condensed, lovely, and metaphoric language to let readers enter both the patient's experience and the caregiver's."

Russell Teagarden on Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway

"Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway examine the successful efforts of a few scientists to jam the spokes in the wheel of science, delaying needed mitigations (e.g., regulations) to protect individuals, vulnerable populations, nations, and the earth."

Gabriel Redel-Traub on Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

"The story is an intimate look into how quickly war can warp the quotidian routines of daily life...Hamid portrays the psychological cost of exile, loss and dislocation."

Sebastian Galbo on Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

"Winterson’s novel provides a window into how individuals experience grief during periods of a loved one’s illness."

Albert Howard Carter on Also Human: The Inner Lives of Doctors by Caroline Elton

"This important and much needed book describes the psychological difficulties of doctors in training and in practice…"

Tony Miksanek on Histories by Sam Guglani

"One British hospital. Seven days and nights. Plenty of perspectives from those who work there, train there, and are treated there…… the characters in these connected stories spill their secrets and shame, tout their triumphs and tragedies."

Russell Teagarden on Far From the Tree by Rachel Dretzin and Andrew Solomon

"The documentary is based on Andrew Solomon’s 2012 book Far From the Tree, a study of families with children who are different in all sorts of ways from their parents and siblings to degrees that altered and even threatened family functions and relationships."

Russell Teagarden on Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer by Barbara Ehrenreich

"Ehrenreich wants people to know they have choices in managing their health and that their preferences matter a lot."

Tony Miksanek on This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

"Residency training is a roller coaster ride, and the experience is captured here with exceptional clarity, honesty, and a sprinkling of humor."

Shawn Thomas on Art & Anatomy: Drawings by Laura Ferguson and Katie Grogan

"Art & Anatomy: Drawings proves... that there is an artist living inside each and every one of us; just give us a drawing pad and watch what happens."

Sam Perkins on The Lonely City – Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

"Olivia Laing, a British novelist and writer on cultural and social issues, tackles the phenomenon of loneliness as a pervasive condition that is both a symptom and a cause of malaise, dysphoria and depression."

Total Database Contents

  • 176 Visual Art Annotations
  • 2790 Literature Annotations
  • 266 Performing Art Annotations
  • 98 Artists
  • 1777 Authors
  • 154 Keywords