The Human Condition Curated

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Sam Perkins on Strange Relation—A memoir of marriage, dementia, and poetry by Rachel Hadas

"In Strange Relation, Rachel Hadas, poet, teacher and classicist, recounts the years just short of a decade of her husband’s descent – retreat is the word she’d prefer – into dementia."

Jack Coulehan on Headcase: LGBTQ Writers and Artists on Mental Health and Wellness edited by Stephanie Schroeder and Teresa Theophano

"Headcase explores themes of mental health, mental illness, and the experience of mental health care services by members of the LGBTQ community."


Russell Teagarden on Waverly Gallery by Kenneth Lonergan

"The play focuses on the mental decline of Gladys, an 85 year old woman, and the resilience of the human spirit as her family responds with grace and love."

Joshua Jiang on The Florida Project directed by Sean Baker

“Director Sean Baker is known for his willingness to depict unglamorous lives on the silver screen, and The Florida Project stays the course by telling the story of transient, poor folk in a modern America teeming with excess.”

Jacalyn Duffin on Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

"This surprising sequel to Lee’s famous To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) ..reprises the fortunes of several of the original characters and allegedly deepens our understanding of the upright Atticus Finch as a man of the South."

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.“

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."

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
  • 2811 Literature Annotations
  • 271 Performing Art Annotations
  • 98 Artists
  • 1797 Authors
  • 154 Keywords