The Human Condition Curated

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Cortney Davis on The Language of Kindness by Christie Watson

"This memoir--densely written, action packed--is her account of her work [as a nurse]… painting vivid portraits of her patients and the many acts of kindness she offers them along the way."

Martin Kohn on Taking Care of Time by Cortney Davis

"In this volume by the esteemed nurse-poet/writer, Cortney Davis, are 43 previously published poems...Featured throughout are battles won and lost-- with disease, with the medical staff, and as the title-- taking care of time-- suggests, the finitude we all face."

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."

Cortney Davis on The Comet's Tail: A Memoir of No Memory by Amy Nawrocki

"This little book (little both in page numbers and in its 4x6 inch dimension) is a beautifully written contemplation not only of what happened to the author's memory during and after illness, but of memory itself, its twists and turns and mysteries."

Guy Glass on The Center Cannot Hold by Kenneth B. Wells

"This is an opera based on Elyn R. Saks’s best-selling book The Center Cannot Hold.  Subtitled “My Journey Through Madness,” the memoir recounts the author’s struggle with schizophrenia.”

Carol Donley on Learning to Heal: Reflections on Nursing School in Poetry and Prose edited by Jeanne Bryner and Cortney Davis

"In this remarkable anthology, 51 women and men describe their nursing school experiences, from initial fears and anxieties to increasing confidence and appreciation of the profession."

Russell Teagarden on Amour directed by Michael Haneke

"Michael Haneke, the screenwriter and director, could have chosen from many life contexts to explore amour. For this movie, he chose aging and the inevitable infirmities and illnesses that come with it."

Albert Howard Carter on Leonardo's Foot: How 10 Toes, 52 Bones, and 66 Muscles Shaped the Human World by Carol Ann Rinzler

"Rinzler presents a large amount of information in short compass and speculates about the many meanings of the human foot and medical attempts to remedy illnesses and deformities that afflict it."

Marilyn McEntyre on The Compassionate Connection: The Healing Power of Empathy and Mindful Listening by David Rakel

"Even readers who come to this book having read other studies focused on empathy in clinical care or on compassionate practices will find in this thoughtful book new incentives to be more attentive to themselves as well as their patients, and new ways to develop more nuanced approaches to clinical encounters."

Cortney Davis on joy: 100 poems by Christian Wiman

"This is a collection of poems that should be read slowly, and then again, a pond dipped into in times of grief or in times of unbridled joy."

Michael Natter on Alpha: Abidjan to Paris by Bessora

"Alpha is part graphic novel, part heartbreaking memoir of cabinetmaker Alpha Coulibaly. It chronicles the story of a man on a journey to find his family and a better life, but his story could easily apply to the tens of thousands others who are seeking refuge."

Steven Field on This Narrow Space: A Pediatric Oncologist, His Jewish Muslim and Christian Patients and a Hospital in Jerusalem by Elisha Waldman

"The author is a pediatric oncologist who grew up in the United States, went to medical school in Israel, returned to the United States for fellowship and to begin practice, and then, feeling unsettled both personally and professionally, moved to Israel for a “dream job” opportunity and out of a deep sense of belonging."

Shawn Thomas on From Fish to Philosopher; the story of our internal environment by Homer William Smith

"From Fish to Philosopher serves as another example of the extraordinary insights that are born from interdisciplinary studies. Dr. Smith was a revered medical school professor of physiology, but it is clear from his writing that he had a great deal of interest in other fields as well."

Total Database Contents

  • 175 Visual Art Annotations
  • 2779 Literature Annotations
  • 264 Performing Art Annotations
  • 98 Artists
  • 1770 Authors
  • 153 Keywords