The Human Condition Curated

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Russell Teagarden on I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O'Farrell

“O’Farrell’s stories about her close calls with death convey the fears, frights, and forebodings that came with them [and] collectively reveal the possibility of the human spirit to get us through the most serious and persistent challenges to our being.”

Guy Glass on The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang

“This is not a conventional chronological autobiography but rather essays that provide different approaches to the author’s experience of mental illness.“

Jacalyn Duffin on The House on Lippincott by Bonnie Burstow

"Like the protagonist, Burstow is a daughter of survivors….One of her agendas in this novel is to reveal the effect of trauma on subsequent generations.  Another agenda is feminist, in its recounting of the past and in the on-going travails of the present…"

Sebastian Galbo on My Father’s Body, at Rest and in Motion by Siddhartha Mukherjee

"The thematic kernel of Mukherjee’s narrative, homeostasis, draws scrutiny not only to the experiences of individual bodies but the systems and institutions that heal them, to the material environments in which fragile bodies are cared for, repaired, and rehabilitated."

Albert Howard Carter on Nine Pints: A Journey through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood by Rose George

"This is a gripping, informative, and well-researched book about human blood. An accomplished journalist, George describes many current issues, provides historical background, and speculates on future technologies, such as replacement of blood by other fluids."

Howard Trachtman on His Favorites by Kate Walbert

"Kate Walbert’s recent book, His Favorites, is a compact 149 page novella that seems to be a direct outgrowth of the #MeToo movement, a work consciously addressed to women who have experienced sexual abuse from those who have power over them."

Joshua Jiang on Eighth Grade directed by Bo Burnham

"A coming-of-age tale told in the parlance of Generation Z, Eighth Grade depicts the last week of Kayla Day’s middle school career."

Guy Glass on That Jealous Demon, My Wretched Health by Jonathan Noble

"Jonathan Noble, a retired surgeon gives us the medical and psychiatric history of seventy classical music composers."

Russell Teagarden on Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar

"Jauhar writes with the perspective of a passionate practitioner and enthusiastic advocate for his clinical specialty."

Tony Miksanek on A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir by Kurt Eichenwald

"Kurt Eichenwald shares his experiences living with epilepsy in an electrifying narrative….The psychological and emotional impact of living with a chronic and unpredictable illness is front and center."


Steven Field on Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

“Mustering a combination of data and insights from the domains of history, archeology, genetics, biology, paleobiology, economics, and sociology, among others, Harari weaves an organized narrative that attempts to answer the questions of who we are and how we got here.”

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.

Total Database Contents

  • 176 Visual Art Annotations
  • 2806 Literature Annotations
  • 269 Performing Art Annotations
  • 98 Artists
  • 1793 Authors
  • 154 Keywords