The best-selling author of The Disappearing Spoon returns with tales of the brain and the history of neuroscience. “This is Sam Kean’s finest work yet, an entertaining and offbeat history of the brain populated with mad scientists, deranged criminals, geniuses, and wretched souls. The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons is one of those books that will have you following your friends around, reading passages out loud, until they snatch the book away from you and read it for themselves. Good luck getting it back.” —Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist
Journalist Katy Butler was living on the other side of the country when she got the call that her 79-year-old father had suffered a crippling stroke due to his failing heart. She quickly flew across the country and joined her elderly mother to be at her father’s bedside. She watched as doctors fitted her father with a pacemaker that saved his heart but did nothing to prevent her father from falling into a “slow decline” toward death. Where is the line between saving a life and prolonging death? With her scientific background, her gift for storytelling, and her ability to look at a systemic problem in our medical system, Butler set out to explore this challenge. But her quest had barely begun when her mother was suddenly faced with a harsh diagnosis of her own. Having just watched her husband get trapped in a medical labyrinth, Butler’s mother refused treatment and decided to look at death straight on, without medical intervention other than palliative care. Butler’s experience of watching her parents go through aging and dying in these two very different ways led her to Slow Medicine, a movement toward reclaiming “good deaths.” Part memoir, part medical history, and part spiritual quest, Knocking on Heaven’s Door is riveting and beautifully written, and it also bravely poses questions that can help all of us relook at the scared path of death and dying. Don’t miss our event with Katy Butler on July 10th.
The Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is among the preeminent teachers of Tibetan Buddhism living today. In this book, the Karmapa clearly articulates the foundational tenants of Mahayana Buddhism, delivering true inspiration for everyone, regardless of where one is on the spiritual path. Rinpoche elucidates how to integrate a timeless, philosophical way of conducting one’s life with the challenges of modernity, conveying how the alteration of the individual precipitates a global change.
Best-selling author Anne Lamott began her new book, Stitches, the day after the tragedy in Newtown. In it, she explores how we find meaning and peace in these loud and frantic times; where we start again after personal and public devastation; how we recapture wholeness after loss; and how we locate our true identities in this frazzled age. We begin, Lamott says, by collecting the ripped shreds of our emotional and spiritual fabric and sewing them back together, one stitch at a time.
Novelist Alice Hoffman (Here on Earth) was diagnosed with cancer at the same time her mother was battling the disease, her sister-in-law had recently passed away from it, and her sons were still young. Survival Lessons is the result of those trying years, and as Ms. Hoffman puts it, she wrote the book “to remind myself of the beauty of life, something that’s all too easy to overlook during the crisis of illness or loss. I forgot that our lives are made up of equal parts of sorrow and joy, and that it is impossible to have one without the other.” This charmingly formatted book is graciously distilled, with simple and intimate pieces of advice that Hoffman garnered in her journey. Often wry and humorous, Hoffman’s gift as a storyteller adds a little oomph to each lesson, and the whole is a wonderful guide for anyone struggling with trauma, grief, or loss.
Oliver Burkeman’s refreshing book challenges you to embrace failure, uncertainty, and even fear of death, the very things that most self-help books claim to banish. He argues that it is the struggle to remove these elements from our lives that is making us so miserable. The Antidote is a thoughtful and blessedly rational take on the self-help book, one that will surely be embraced by those who enjoyed Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Bright-Sided.
“In this brief but illuminating work, Sam Harris applies his characteristically calm and sensible logic to a subject that affects us all—the human capacity to lie. And by the book’s end, Harris compels you to lead a better life because the benefits of telling the truth far outweigh the cost of lies—to yourself, to others, and to society.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History