Librarian review: Andy Warhol was a hoarder : inside the minds of history’s great personalities

From Andrea Kalinowski

Author: Claudia Kalb

Title:   Andy Warhol was a hoarder : inside the minds of history’s great personalities

Andy Warhol was a hoarder: inside the minds of history’s great personalities by Claudia Kalb was a book which, as the title implies, focused on the possible mental defects of some of the world’s top personalities. Marilyn Monroe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Andy Warhol, Christine Jorgensen, and Albert Einstein were among the celebrities being discussed in view of possessing some mental illness or defect. It is too late to know for sure but Claudia Kalb examines some of the celebrities’ actions through the lens of mental illness.

Christine Jorgensen was one of the first individuals to undergo sex reassignment surgery. In the course of the Christine Jorgensen chapter, Claudia mentions that homosexuality was once viewed as a mental illness or defect. It has since been removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, one must remember that, as our understanding of both the mental and physical components of human beings is honed, definitions and diagnoses are often retooled and refined.

Albert Einstein, according to Claudia, was on the autism spectrum continuum. Autism affects proportionately more men and boys than women and girls. It is, she suggests, closely aligned with a gift for mathematics and/or science since the individuals thus blessed/cursed seem to be able to focus their mind. This book was an enjoyable, mind-opening read and a sometimes entertaining glimpse into the personalities of great people.


Librarian review: A mother’s reckoning : living in the aftermath of tragedy

From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Sue Klebold
Title:   A mother’s reckoning : living in the aftermath of tragedy

“I am tired of being strong. I can’t be strong anymore. I can’t face or do anything. I’m lost in a deep chasm of sorrow. I have 17 phone messages and don’t have the energy to listen to them. Dylan’s room is just as the law enforcement people left it, and I can’t face putting it in order,” this was Sue Klebold’s journal entry of May 1999. In A mother’s reckoning: living in the aftermath of tragedy by Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan discusses the issues which brought Dylan to the point of committing the Columbine shooting.

Sue Klebold is boldly honest in this thought-provoking book which is partly memoir and partly exhortation to view our loved ones, most especially our pre-teens and teens, as vulnerable to brain health issues. Sue would further like to change the terminology “mental health” to “brain health” as she sees this as a way of removing the stigmatization associated with individuals suffering mental disease. Sue hopes that with this change, people would view the brain as just another organ and, therefore, follow a regular health routine of continuous wellness checks. In hindsight, she recognizes signs which she attributed to normal teen behavior as being indicative of depression such as excessive sleep, irritability, etc. She does not use this as an excuse for Dylan’s behavior. Sue maintains throughout her memoir that Dylan, even though he should have been in treatment, had choices and that he made disastrous ones. Once I started this memoir, I could not tear myself away from its pages.

Because of sex : one law, ten cases, and fifty years that changed American women’s lives at work

Librarian Review

From Andrea Kalinowski

Author: Gillian Thomas

Title:   Because of sex : one law, ten cases, and fifty years that changed American women’s lives at work 

Because of sex: one law, ten cases, and fifty years that changed American women’s lives at work by Gillian Thomas was an informative, engaging, eye-opener of a book. The author discusses Title VII and its many reincarnations and its many reinterpretations by the Supreme Court. The cases discussed focused on issues of sex discrimination in its varied forms. The cases explored in the book ranged from barring a woman from applying for a position because of preschool age children to forcing women to choose between pregnancy and sterilization to keep a higher-paying job. The legal system is glacially slow in crediting women with the desire to work, viewing women’s primary function as caregivers. Sexual harassment was a term coined fairly recently and the people who brought it into popular vernacular debated between many terms before deciding this was the correct term. The book also discussed the double standard being applied when rating a woman’s job performance; if she is aggressive and committed to her position it is viewed as unwomanly and if she is feminine and caring, she is too weak to be promoted — a double-edged sword in that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I found it to be a stellar read on a thorny legal issue – clear, concise, and thought-provoking.


Black man in a white coat : a doctor’s reflections on race and medicine

From Andrea Kalinowski

Author: Damon Tweedy

Title: Black man in a white coat : a doctor’s reflections on race and medicine

Black man in a white coat: a doctor’s reflections on race and medicine by Damon Tweedy is an eye-opener of a book. The author is both a physician and a patient. He is an African American man and with that racial status come some medical conditions which are more prevalent among African Americans. Damon,the author,suffers from high blood pressure as do many of his African American brothers and sisters. He began to dread hearing “It’s more common in blacks than in whites” in the medical lectures. In his memoir,Dr. Tweedy also discusses affirmative action and how it can be viewed both negatively and positively depending on the lens you are using. Dr.Tweedy,in addition, ponders his own medical commitment. Is he treating all his patients with equal dedication or because of empathy does he favor and/or persist more with certain individuals?

This book is a continuation of the medical kick I am currently on. The kick started a while ago with Call the nurse: true stories of a country nurse on a Scottish isle by Mary J. MacLeod, foreword by Lady Claire Macdonald of Macdonald, Do no harm: stories of life, death, and brain surgery by Henry Marsh, Dr. Mütter’s marvels: a true tale of intrigue and inno-vation at the dawn of modern medicine by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Extreme medicine: how exploration transformed medicine in the twentieth century by Kevin Fong, God’s hotel: a doctor, a hospital, and a pilgrimage to the heart of medicine by Victoria Sweet, The shift: one nurse, twelve hours, four patients’ lives by Theresa Brown.


Louisiana saves the library

From Andrea Kalinowski

Author: Emily Cogburn

Title: Louisiana saves the library

Louisiana saves the library by Emily Beck Cogburn was a funny,lighthearted read in the middle of the heavy seas of nonfiction in which I am currently immersed, one nonfiction thread leading to another until this title crossed my path. The protagonist, Louisiana Richardson, a newly single mother with two children, was a library professor until the University reassessed its fiscal responsibilities. Dear readers, Louisiana got axed from her position, and found herself in Alligator Bayou Parish trying to reinvigorate a dying library as well as balance her personal life. Louisiana faces an uphill battle against the library director and one of the board members, Mrs.Gunderson. Both are opposed to the continuation and/or expansion of the library for entirely different reasons. Pick up this lively novel and find out how Louisiana manages to save both the library and her personal life.


Flight from Berlin : a novel

From Eileen Effrat

Author: David John

Title:   Flight from Berlin : a novel

Set during the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, this suspense thriller pits the Gestapo and the British Secret Intelligence Service against one another in the quest for a secret dossier that could destroy the Nazi leadership. A British journalist, outspoken in his criticism of Hitler, and a former Olympian join forces in this atmospheric and fast paced thriller. If you are a fan of Alan Furst, Daniel Silva, Philip Kerr, or David Downing, give this a try. You won’t be disappointed.


Games of Lies

From Eileen Effrat

Author: Rebecca Cantrell

Title: Games of Lies

I have read and thoroughly enjoyed Cantrell’s two previous Hannah Vogel spy/mystery novels. The series features the Nazi rise to power prior to the Second World War. After narrowly escaping Germany with her life four years before, Vogel now returns to Berlin in 1936 to cover the Berlin Olympics for a Swiss newspaper under an assumed name. Once again acting as a British courier transporting documents out of Germany, she also finds herself investigating the murder of a long time friend and colleague. Can she successfully get out of Germany a second time? I would recommend reading the books in order to get a greater feel for the characters and the time period.