Books of the Month – May 2017

Books of the Month – May 2017

Books of the Month - May 2017

Books of the Month - May 2017


Well, if this month is any indication of the summer to come, it's going to be a busy one!

This month I only completed one book, which was a club pick entitled Get Well Soon: Histories Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them. It was a change of pace to read a non-fiction selection and one that was listed as "humorous" to boot.  See my review below and be sure to click on the book to discover more fascinating bookish booty or you can access it via our The Book & Beyond section. Have you read Get Well Soon? What was your "favorite" plague? Leave a reply at the bottom of the post - we're eager to get your take on it!

I'm still working my way through War and Remembrance (The Herman Family Volume 2), which I'll be finishing soon and will review in a separate upcoming post.

Note: Some of the books I read are featured in our The Book & Beyond section.  That's where you'll find interesting things about and even beyond the book. I'd love to feature every book I read in The Book & Beyond section but truth be told, it will only happen for those books that really stir my curiosity.  🙂

Another Note:  My adorable owl calendar is by Debbie Mumm. I absolutely love it and decided early on that it would be the backdrop to each "Books of the Month" post for 2017. 

 

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Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them

by Jennifer Wright
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me a bit to get into this book but once I did, I liked it. It's one of those books that you find yourself pondering long after you've finished reading it. I was aware of many of the diseases discussed in the book but was surprised to discover that I had no idea how gruesome they really were. This is important stuff to know. It's easy to pass them off as though they could never happen again but that is simply a false sense of security. It's critical that we act responsibly in order educate and protect ourselves and our communities from the spreading of disease.

It was interesting that things that are common sense today, such as cleanliness, was the culprit of many of the epidemics in early history. (Really? You think it's a good idea to throw your sewage into your basement?) I also find it fascinating that when fear kicks in, people will grasp for anything to help, even nonsensical and usually quite disgusting practices in hopes to cure what ails them - this even happens in the world today.

I wasn't sure what to expect regarding the humor but soon discovered the sarcasm to be pretty entertaining at times. Her references to the X-men, Mumps Matilda, Meningitis Mathew, etc had me giggling. In the end, I learned a lot from this book and I agree with the author's overall message that sick people are not villains to be shunned and isolated. They are simply unwell. We need to be smart and more compassionate. We need to separate the disease from the diseased and "give a damn about our fellow man".

Kelly hosted our meeting and led and great discussion as well as serving a scrumptious meal. Click HERE to get the inside scoop!

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Hungry for more? Check out  The Book and Beyond and The Books We've Read. 

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Happy Reading!

Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright

Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright

Get Well Soon

Jennifer Wright

Club Selection for May 2017

Pages: 336 / Audio: 7 Hrs 43 mins
Published February 7th 2017 by Henry Holt and Co.
 
A witty, irreverent tour of history's worst plagues—from the Antonine Plague, to leprosy, to polio—and a celebration of the heroes who fought them.
In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn’t stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon thirty-four more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-seventeenth-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome—a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure. And in turn-of-the-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her into the notorious Typhoid Mary.

Throughout time, humans have been terrified and fascinated by the diseases history and circumstance have dropped on them. Some of their responses to those outbreaks are almost too strange to believe in hindsight. Get Well Soon delivers the gruesome, morbid details of some of the worst plagues we’ve suffered as a species, as well as stories of the heroic figures who selflessly fought to ease the suffering of their fellow man. With her signature mix of in-depth research and storytelling, and not a little dark humor, Jennifer Wright explores history’s most gripping and deadly outbreaks, and ultimately looks at the surprising ways they’ve shaped history and humanity for almost as long as anyone can remember.

 

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Carol's Rating: ★★★

"The purpose of this book is not to scare you. Instead, like all good books, it is intended to distract you from the screaming baby one aisle over from the airplane where you are currently trapped for the next five hours."

It took me a bit to get into this book but once I did, I liked it. It's one of those books that you find yourself pondering long after you've finished reading it. I was aware of many of the diseases discussed in the book but was surprised to discover that I had no idea how gruesome they really were. This is important stuff to know. It's easy to pass them off as though they could never happen again but that is simply a false sense of security. It's critical that we act responsibly in order educate and protect ourselves and our communities from the spreading of disease.

It was interesting to me that things that are common sense today, such as cleanliness, was the culprit of many of the epidemics in early history. (Really? You think it's a good idea to throw your sewage into your basement?) I also find it fascinating that when fear kicks in, people will grasp for anything to help, even nonsensical and usually quite disgusting practices in hopes to cure what ails them - this even happens in the world today.

I wasn't sure what to expect regarding the humor but soon discovered the sarcasm to be pretty entertaining at times. Her references to the X-men, Mumps Matilda, Meningitis Mathew, etc had me giggling. In the end, I learned a lot from this book and I agree with the author's overall message that sick people are not villains to be shunned and isolated. They are simply unwell. We need to be smart and more compassionate. We need to separate the disease from the diseased and "give a damn about our fellow man".

 

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About the Author

 

Jennifer Wright Author

Jennifer Wright

Jennifer Wright is a columnist for the New York Observer and the New York Post, covering sex and dating. She was one of the founding editors of TheGloss.com, and her writing regularly appears in such publications as Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Maxim. Her breakup cure is gin, reruns of 30 Rock, and historical biographies. She lives and loves in New York City.

Source: us.macmillan.com

Interviews & Other Cool Stuff

 

Jennifer Wright author "Get Well Soon" on "BookTalk" Radio

Published on Feb 9, 2017

Doug Miles talks with Jennifer Wright ("It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History") about her new book "Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them" on "Talk Across America" (www.dougmilesmedia.com)

 

 

There are many heroes and a few villains mentioned in this book. Here's a just a handful of the most memorable ones.

 

Father Damien with lepers
Father Damien with lepers quarantined on the island of Molokai. "Father Damien is reminder that you don't have to be genius or a brilliant scientist or a doctor to help in the war against disease; you just have to be someone who gives a damn about your fellow man."
Typhoid Mary Mallon
Asymptomatic Typhoid carrier Mary Mallon, dubbed Typhoid Mary in 1909 by reporters, was forcibly taken by the government to a small island in New York's East River, where she remained isolated and confined for most of her life.

Walter Freemand II

 

Walter Freeman II, a consummate showman, traveled the country in his Lobotomobile and performed lobotomies to treat everything from "excessive eating" to drug addiction to alcoholism. And to make it even more unbelievable, people were lined up to get one!

...lobotomies, the scariest procedure that you never want performed. This is a plague induced by human stupidity, not disease..."

 

 

 

images of Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin admitting vaccines to children.
Jonas Salk (left) and Albert Sabin (right) administering their polio vaccines to children. Salk developed the killed virus vaccine while Sabin developed the live one. The two became bitter rivals, with Sabin referring to Salk as merely "a kitchen chemist." Fortunately for all of us, both vaccines worked.

 

Here’s what to do when the next big plague hits humanity

New York Post |February 11, 2017

Runny nose? Sore throat? Wheezing? Painful joints? No — you are not going to die. It is just a winter flu. Probably. Bolstered by antibiotics, brandishing an inhaler and slurping chicken soup, you will likely live to fight another day.

Not so in the past. Then a sore throat could mean death by dinner time. Nearly every generation has had to deal with a widespread infectious disease that swiftly strikes down otherwise healthy individuals. Plagues kill a whole bunch of people. And they can take society and the economy down with them.

The notion that in this interconnected world we’re not likely to experience a massive epidemic is too good to be true. Maybe not this year. Maybe not in your lifetime. But it’s not a question of whether humanity will face another plague. We will. And then we will be faced with how to handle that plague when it comes. Will we respond with science, stoicism and compassion? Or will we just burn our neighbors as witches?

The answers to these questions likely come from the past. Here are some of the most gruesome plagues from my new book “Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them” and what we can learn from them.

[Read full article]

 

 

How Would Donald Trump Handle A Plague Outbreak?
‘Get Well Soon’ author Jennifer Wright has the answer
NYLON | February 07, 2017
 
There’s a common enough sentiment right now that we’re confronting apocalyptic times. It’s hard not to think that. After all, here in America, we currently have a commander in chief who is basically taunting other world leaders with threats of invasion, to say nothing of his ongoing insistence that climate change is a myth and that vaccines are something about which we should all be skeptical. What a time to be alive, right?

Well, if you’re looking for something to read that will simultaneously stoke and soothe your fears, look no further than Jennifer Wright’s excellent new book, Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them. In it, Wright recounts civilization’s many epic biological disasters. From leprosy to the bubonic plague and the Spanish flu to cholera, Get Well Soon acquaints readers with some of the most deadly periods in human history. And while this might sound like it makes for some pretty depressing reading, Wright manages to make the most dire of topics not only incredibly compelling but also, often, hilariously funny. ....

...We recently spoke with Wright about her new book, why it’s important to laugh during even the most tragic times, and how she thinks our new president would handle an outbreak of the plague. Read on! And try not to get too scared.

[Read full article]

 

Book Club Mojo

Kelly hosted the meeting and provided a fun, relaxing evening full of great discussion, great food, and great drink! We had a thought provoking discussion about the things that fascinated and surprised us most about the plagues. The epilogue topic of AIDS was also discussed and really had us thinking about the possibilities of future plagues, how our leaders would manage (or deny) the situation, and what we believed would be the best course(s) of action. 

 

image of the gang
Novel Gobblers (left to right) Donna, Dawn, Carol Ann, and Kelly. We sure enjoy these opportunities to catch up with each other and chat about books (and pretty much everything else!). We all come away from the meetings having gained new perspectives and sometimes a few extra pounds!
Just look at all this deliciousness! Treat your friends and family to Kelly's Taco Salad, Bacon-Wrapped Pepper Poppers, and Keto Cheesecake Tarts. They'll love you for it. Pass the guacamole, please!

 

Discussion Questions

Source: Kelly

1.  What was your initial recation to the book? Did it hook you immediately, or did it take some time to get into it?

2.  How do you think would Donald Trump handle a plague outbreak?

3.  What did you think about the humorous aspect of the book?

4.  What surprised you the most when you were reading this book?

5.  Which of the plagues did you find most intriguing and why?

 

List of Chapters

Antonine Plague                         Cholera

Bubonic Plague                           Leprosy

Dancing Plague                           Typhoid

Smallpox                                       Spanish Flu

Syphilis                                         Encephalitis Lethargica

Tuberculosis                                Lobotomies  

Polio


Source: Nylon article (above) entitled "How Would Donald Trump Handle a Plague Outbreak?" by Kristin Iversen

 

1.  This book is centered around some of the deadliest, most devastating plagues to wreak havoc upon civilization. Why would Jennifer Wright choose a topic so dark?

2.  How did the author manage to keep things witty when covering such dark periods in history?

3.  Which were the author's favorite plagues? Why?

4.  In times of epic disaster, what separates the heroes from everybody else?

5.  Which of the historic figures mentioned in this book do you most admire?

6. Who are history’s straight-up villains when it comes to dealing with plagues?

7.  How do you think Trump would be equipped to handle a disaster of that magnitude?

Happy Reading!

Keto Cheesecake Tarts

Keto Cheesecake Tarts
Print Recipe
Get your cheesecake on the go with this quick and easy recipe for cheesecake tarts!
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Keto Cheesecake Tarts
Print Recipe
Get your cheesecake on the go with this quick and easy recipe for cheesecake tarts!
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and start off by combining your melted butter with almond flour and mixing until it’s crumbly, but combined.
  2. Line a muffin tin with paper or silicone cupcake liners and press about 1-2 teaspoons of your almond flour crust mixture into each liner.
  3. Let these crusts bake in the oven for about 5-8 minutes or until you see they’ve turned golden brown.
  4. To make the cheesecake filling, beat 12 oz. of cream cheese with an electric hand mixer until soft and then add in 1 egg. Mix to combine.
  5. Then add ¼ cup of erythritol, or your favorite low carb sweetener, and mix.
  6. Next, add 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice and ¼ tsp of salt and mix one last time.
  7. Spoon your cheesecake filling onto the baked crusts and bake for about 20 minutes. The cheesecakes will have risen and be set, yet slightly jiggly on top.
  8. Let them cool on the counter for about 10 minutes and then top each one with a teaspoon of sugar-free jam. We used strawberry, but any flavor will work!
  9. Then add some fresh fruit over that. We used 3 blueberries for each mini cheesecake.
  10. Let them chill in the fridge overnight or as long as you can!
Recipe Notes

Each tart is 175 calories - 16 grams of fat - 9 grams of protein - 2.8 grams of net carbs

Recipe Courtesy Kelly via ketokrate.com

Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright

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Bacon-Wrapped Pepper Poppers

Bacon-Wrapped Pepper Poppers
Print Recipe
Delicious jalapeno and sweet peppers and creamy filling all wrapped in crispy bacon. You'll be powerless to stop yourself from popping one right after the other.
Bacon-Wrapped Pepper Poppers
Print Recipe
Delicious jalapeno and sweet peppers and creamy filling all wrapped in crispy bacon. You'll be powerless to stop yourself from popping one right after the other.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and veins--if using hot peppers, remember to wear gloves.
  3. Fill peppers with cream cheese.
  4. Cut bacon in half lengthwise and wrap each pepper with bacon.
  5. Bake in 350 degrees F oven for 20 minutes or until bacon is at desired crispness.
  6. Serve warm.
Recipe Notes

Recipe Courtesy of Kelly

Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright

 

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Taco Salad

Taco Salad
Print Recipe
Quick, refreshing, low-carb, gluten-free salad.
Taco Salad
Print Recipe
Quick, refreshing, low-carb, gluten-free salad.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Layer meat and toppings over the greens. Serve with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and tortilla chips.
Recipe Notes

Recipe Courtesy of Kelly

Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright

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