The Human Condition Curated

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Gretl Lam on Cece Bell's graphic memoir El Deafo

"Cece Bell shares this touching story about her grade school struggles with deafness with a wonderful sense of humor. It feels deeply personal and relatable - not only to children who have similar disabilities, but also to anyone who has ever felt left out or treated differently for being unlike the others in a group..."

Tony Miksanek on Siddartha Mukherjee's The Laws of Medicine: Field Notes from an Uncertain Science

"Even as medical data improves and veers toward perfection, human beings (patients and physicians) will remain fragile, flawed, and emotional. There is no algorithm for the perfect doctor-patient relationship. Each one is unique and hopeful, precious and precarious..."

Tony Miksanek on Kate Clanchy's "The Not-Dead and the Saved"

"In this oddly beautiful story of breakdown - of body, mind, spirit, and memory - only parental love and willpower seem capable of warding off the inevitable onslaught of chronic disease and decay. Even medical technology appears to be no match for the muscle of motherhood..."

Guy Glass on Tony Kitt & Brian Yorkey's rock musical Next to Normal

"This is a musical written in an approachable, contemporary idiom, with at least one well-rounded, complex character.  It has an up-to-the-minute feel, well-crafted music and lyrics, and it correlates with public discourse about mental health.  As such, it has great potential as an educational tool, especially with regard to bioethical issues in psychiatry..."

Marilyn McEntyre on Damon Tweedy's Black Man in a White Coat

"One of the ways in which this particular story of institutional racism, a problem familiar to many readers by now, is conspicuously effective is in the intelligent reflectiveness Tweedy brings to the subject..."

Marilyn McEntyre on Noah Gordon's The Physician

"This compelling saga, the first of The Cole Trilogy, offers not only adventure, but insight into some of the ways religion, local and regional cultures, economic structures, and law have shaped medical history.  Beautifully narrated, the long book is itself a journey into medieval studies that serve as a helpful reminder of how (even now) intelligence, scientific curiosity, and powerful intuitive gifts coexist with superstition, scapegoating, confused piety, colonialism, cultural warfare, and economic forces..."

Vaccine Refusal: Lessons from History, Mississippi, and a Path Forward. An interview with MS4 Philip Cawkwell

"Here is a state that is one of the most obese, approximately 35 percent of the population smokes, there is no indoor ban on smoking, and it has the highest rate of infant mortality. Yet, if you look at kindergartners in this state, 99.7 percent have gotten the MMR vaccine series, compared to about 95 percent nationally. That's almost every single kid in the state, and it's remarkable. That was something that I chose to focus on for this project because when you have a 99 percent vaccination rate, you're doing something right. The question is, what did Mississippi do to achieve this?"


Guy Glass on Bryan Doerries' The Theater of War

"This is a lovely and important volume that should provide an inspiration for those of us who seek the educational and/or therapeutic aspects within literary works..."

Marilyn McEntyre on Charles Blow's Fire Shut Up In My Bones

"Blow’s account of growing up in rural Louisiana, exposed to negligence, sexual molestation, violence, and loss focuses on a child’s strategies of survival first, and then on sexual confusion, social ambition, and discovery of the gifts that led him to his life as a writer for the New York Times..."

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Total Database Contents

  • 166 Visual Art Annotations
  • 2643 Literature Annotations
  • 252 Performing Art Annotations
  • 93 Artists
  • 1690 Authors
  • 140 Keywords