Staff Picks Format: E-book

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande [, , ]

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As the title implies, this book is for everyone, everyone who is mortal. With the subject matter, one might expect a very depressing tome. Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and a staff writer for the New Yorker, is an amazing story-teller. In the end, there is hope for making the world, and the end of life, better. He frankly addresses the failings of a medical system that tries to fix everything, when that might not be the right choice. He takes us through the very personal lives, and deaths, of many people, including the very personal story of his own father, as well as sharing his research into how we got where we are. Yes, it is good to live in a world that no longer has poor houses, but in some cases, we haven’t done much better.

Reading this book will hopefully encourage you to start the difficult but important conversations with your relatives and loved ones. Do you want to spend the end of your life living with parakeets? Will you be happy if you can eat chocolate ice cream and watch football?

[This was also very good on audio, but might make you cry a little while you are driving…]

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Nook []

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The Barnes & Noble Nook is one of ten eBook readers you can check out from the Arts & Music desk at Forbes. Each one has over a hundred books pre-loaded on it. I recently borrowed the Kobo to read a Sherlock Holmes story I needed for a class. It was my first time taking one of these little gadgets home to bed. Despite being devoted to the printed page since 1963, I confess to a certain attraction. Imagine my wild surmise when I saw that I could read over a hundred classics in any type size I wanted, while only carrying one little tablet. Next I’m going to check out a Kindle to get a jump on the waiting list for the bestsellers that are already on it. All the eBook readers can be used with free Overdrive library eBooks, too, but I didn’t have time to try that feature in my two allotted weeks. My bookshelf is already getting jealous.
Here’s a little sample of the authors on the Nook in my hand:
Jane Austen, two Brontës, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Hardy, Aldous Huxley, Henry James, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Sinclair Lewis, Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy (world’s lightest copy of War and Peace!), Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, P.G. Wodehouse, Virginia Woolf, Frederick Douglass, Henry Thoreau, William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, and W.B. Yeats. There’s also a whole (virtual) shelf of books on local history in and around Northampton.

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