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A mesmerizing biography of the brilliant and eccentric medical innovator who revolutionized American surgery and founded the country’s most famous museum of medical oddities
Imagine undergoing an operation without anesthesia performed by a surgeon who refuses to sterilize his tools—or even wash his hands. This was the world of medicine when Thomas Dent Mütter began his trailblazing career as a plastic surgeon in Philadelphia during the middle of the nineteenth century.
Although he died at just forty-eight, Mütter was an audacious medical innovator who pioneered the use of ether as anesthesia, the sterilization of surgical tools, and a compassion-based vision for helping the severely deformed, which clashed spectacularly with the sentiments of his time.
Brilliant, outspoken, and brazenly handsome, Mütter was flamboyant in every aspect of his life. He wore pink silk suits to perform surgery, added an umlaut to his last name just because he could, and amassed an immense collection of medical oddities that would later form the basis of Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum.
Award-winning writer Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz vividly chronicles how Mütter’s efforts helped establish Philadelphia as a global mecca for medical innovation—despite intense resistance from his numerous rivals. (Foremost among them: Charles D. Meigs, an influential obstetrician who loathed Mütter’s “overly” modern medical opinions.) In the narrative spirit of The Devil in the White City, Dr. Mütter’s Marvels interweaves an eye-opening portrait of nineteenth-century medicine with the riveting biography of a man once described as the “P. T. Barnum of the surgery room.”
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Praise for Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
“In her deftly crafted narrative, the author provides an absorbing account of the charismatic surgeon’s life and career as well as a vivid look at the medical practices and prejudices of his time. Aptowicz draws nicely on Mütter’s speeches and lectures to reveal the depth of his empathetic philosophies and humanist approach.” – Kirkus Starred Review“If you aren’t familiar with Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, then you are doing a serious disservice to your sensibilities.” – Hothouse Magazine“Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is a dizzying dervish of a poet, an astounding talent, a deft lyricist whose patented take on this dopey world is dazzling in its originality. Everything she encounters is fair game, and she jolts us into unexpected, delightful recognition.” – Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzle
Synopsis: Sometimes you just need to get away….
Marriage counselor Paige Reinhardt is counting down the days to summer, eager to reconnect with her workaholic husband at their cozy rental cottage in the Hamptons. But soon a mysterious crisis at Dave’s work ruins their getaway plans. Paige is still figuring out how to handle the unexplained chill in her marriage when her troubled sister suddenly returns after a two-decade silence. Now, instead of enjoying the lazy summer days along the ocean, Paige is navigating the rocky waters of a forgotten bond with her sister in the sweltering city heat.
As she attempts to dig deeper into Dave’s work troubles and some long-held family secrets, Paige is shocked to discover how little she knows about the people closest to her. This summer, the self-proclaimed relationship expert will grapple with her biggest challenge yet: Is it worth risking your most precious relationships in order to find yourself? (publisher)
My take: I love reading about family dynamics and marriage. I think L. Alison Heller did a great job with both and found myself relating to a few things. All of the characters are interesting and real. When I say that I mean I know people who are similar. They are believable.
The story wasn’t predictable and I enjoyed where she took her characters as they grappled with small and large issues. I wasn’t sure what impact their actions/decisions would have which, along with Heller’s engaging style, kept me reading almost nonstop.
The Never Never Sisters is a novel about love, truth, and trust between family members, spouses, and new friends. I enjoyed it and recommend you add it to your summer reading list. I’ll be adding the author’s first novel The Love Wars to my list.
**NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**
THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY
The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II
Touchstone March 11, 2014 Trade Paperback 9781451617535
THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY was hailed by top media outlets as “fascinating” and “a phenomenal story” when it was first published earlier this year. It hit The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times Best Seller lists, made Amazon’s Top 100 Best Books of 2013 and is currently nominated for the Goodreads Choice, Best Book of 2013 in History and Biography.
Author and journalist Denise Kiernan also received high praise for her “cinematic vividness” and “marvelous” reporting. She appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, PBS News Hour, MSNBC Morning Joe, and National Public Radio.
AT THE HEIGHT OF WORLD WAR II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than New York City. But to most of the world, the town did not exist. Thousands of civilians, many of them young women from small towns across the South, were recruited to this secret city, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until the end of the war when Oak Ridge’s secret was revealed.
Drawing on the voices of the women who lived it, women who are now in their eighties and nineties, The Girls of Atomic City rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity. Denise Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women: their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage. Combining the grand-scale human drama of The Worst Hard Time with the intimate biography and often troubling science of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Girls of Atomic City is a lasting and important addition to our country’s history.
About Denise Kiernan
Denise Kiernan has been working as a writer for nearly 20 years. She has been published in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Village Voice, Ms. Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Discover and many more publications. She has also worked in television, serving as head writer for ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” during its Emmy award-winning first season and producing for places such as ESPN and MSNBC. She has authored several popular history titles including Signing Their Lives Away, Signing Their Rights Away and Stuff Every American Should Know. Her most recent book, The Girls of Atomic City, is a New York Times, Los Angeles Times and NPR Bestseller. As an author, Denise has been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, PRI’s The Takeaway, PBS NewsHour, and in numerous newspapers and magazines, and she was recently named to the board of the Atomic Heritage Foundation. (photo: treadshots.com)
“A phenomenal story.” – Jon Stewart, The Daily show
” Fascinating … Kiernan has amassed a deep reservoir of intimate details of what life was like for women living in the secret city, gleaned from seven years of interviews and research. …Rosie, it turns out, did much more than drive rivets.” – Washington Post
“Kiernan … brings a unique and personal perspective to this key part of American history… Instead of the words of top scientists and government officials, Kiernan recounts the experiences of factory workers, secretaries, and low-level chemists… She combines their stories with detailed reporting that provides a clear and compelling picture of this fascinating time.” – Boston Globe
“In The Girls of Atomic City, Denise Kiernan tells the fascinating story about ordinary women who did the extraordinary… The girls of Atomic City helped to change history; it’s high time their story was told.” – USAToday.com
“This intimate and revealing glimpse into one of the most important scientific developments in history will appeal to a broad audience.” – Publishers Weekly
“The Girls of Atomic City details a story that seems impossible yet was true. Author Denise Kiernan brings a novelist’s voice to her thoroughly researched look at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.” – Book Page
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Synopsis: Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole’s coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees.
But what both women don’t know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicole’s friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own. (publisher)
My take: Sweet Salt Air is the first of Barbara Delinsky’s books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I’m glad to see she has written several other novels because I want to read more! What attracted me to this book first was the setting: summer on an island off the coast of Maine. Doesn’t that sound inviting?
I also liked the idea of two friends connecting after several years of being apart. When they meet up again their story unfolds as do the secrets they’ve both been holding. Delinsky’s well-paced story kept me turning the pages as I wondered how it would all play out. At times I was annoyed with Nicole but then reminded myself of her circumstances and wondered if perhaps I might behave the same way. I identified more with Charlotte in that she was fairly straight forward in her interactions with Nicole and then Leo. Ah, Leo. One of my friends who read the book before I did proclaimed him “yummy” – and I have to agree, lol. No spoilers, though. You’ll have to read the book 🙂
The author delves into medical issues – one of the characters has MS – and the possibilities of stem cell transplantation as a cure. I found it quite interesting and appreciated all the research that went into that aspect of the novel.
Serious medical issues aside, I think Sweet Salt Grass would be the perfect vacation read. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from Barbara Delinsky.
We first meet Sarah as a child just beginning to understand her captivity at the young age of six. Sarah is the daughter of Cornelius Allen, the slave master, and his house slave, Emmeline. When Master Allen gives his daughter Clarissa’s hand in marriage, he presents her with a wedding gift: Sarah, the young slave she grew up with who also happens to be her sister. When Clarissa’s new husband suspects that their newborn son is illegitimate, Clarissa and Sarah are sent back to her parents in shame, setting in motion a series of events that will destroy this once powerful family.
Told through alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius’ wife, THE WEDDING GIFT is a stunning novel that demonstrates the bonds of slavery do not end with slaves. It is historical fiction at its best and no one is better equipped to share this story than Marlen Suyapa Bodden whose knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses translates to an intimate portrait of America, then and now.
THE WEDDING GIFT will resonate with readers of The Help and The Secret Life of Bees, where complicated bonds and compelling female relationships are explored.
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Dr. Marlen Suyapa Bodden is a lawyer at The Legal Aid Society in New York City, the nation’s oldest and largest legal services organization. She has more than two decades’ experience representing poor people and low-wage and immigrant workers, many of whom are severely underpaid, if paid at all.
She drew on her knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses to write The Wedding Gift, her first novel.
On May 20, 2012, the University of Rhode Island conferred on Marlen an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Marlen is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Tufts University.
Spotlight information provided by Wunderkind PR
Synopsis: In the eyes of her corporate law firm, Ingrid Yung is a “two-fer.” As a Chinese-American woman about to be ushered into the elite rank of partner, she’s the face of Parsons Valentine & Hunt LLP’s recruiting brochures–their treasured “Golden Girl.” But behind the firm’s welcoming façade lies the scotch-sipping, cigar-smoking old-boy network that shuts out lawyers like Ingrid. To compensate, Ingrid gamely plays in the softball league, schmoozes in the corporate cafeteria, and puts in the billable hours—until a horrifically offensive performance at the law firm’s annual summer outing throws the carefully constructed image way out of equilibrium.