A health book recommendation: First Dads: Parenting and Politics from George Washington to Barack Obama by Joshua Kendall

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cLDMQ5.
More than anything, “First Dads” provides a valuable reminder that while an American president may have the clout to launch spaceships and end world wars, that doesn’t mean he can get his children to behave, be happy or even return his calls.
Book description from Google Books:
Every president has had some experience as a parent. Of the 43 men who have served in the nation’s highest office, 38 have fathered biological children and the other five adopted children. Each president’s parenting style reveals much about his beliefs as well as his psychological make-up. James Garfield enjoyed jumping on the bed with his kids. FDR’s children, on the other hand, had to make appointments to talk to him. In a lively narrative, based on research in archives around the country, Kendall shows presidential character in action. Readers will learn which type of parent might be best suited to leading the American people and, finally, how the fathering experiences of our presidents have forever changed the course of American history.
The book is rated 3.41/5 at goodreads.com, from 98 ratings. See 30 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cLDoRo.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tVirKY.

A health book recommendation: Labyrinths: Emma Jung, Her Marriage to Carl, and the Early Years of Psychoanalysis by Catrine Clay

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2dkSwmg.
Labyrinths, Catrine Clay’s absorbing new biography, charts the twists and turns in some of the key lives involved in that historical moment, in particular those of Emma Jung and her more famous husband, Carl.
Book description from Google Books:
 A sensational, eye-opening account of Emma Jung’s complex marriage to Carl Gustav Jung and the hitherto unknown role she played in the early years of the psychoanalytic movement.Clever and ambitious, Emma Jung yearned to study the natural sciences at the University of Zurich. But the strict rules of proper Swiss society at the beginning of the twentieth century dictated that a woman of Emma’s stature—one of the richest heiresses in Switzerland—travel to Paris to “finish” her education, to prepare for marriage to a suitable man. Engaged to the son of one of her father’s wealthy business colleagues, Emma’s conventional and predictable life was upended when she met Carl Jung. The son of a penniless pastor working as an assistant physician in an insane asylum, Jung dazzled Emma with his intelligence, confidence, and good looks. More important, he offered her freedom from the confines of a traditional haute-bourgeois life. But Emma did not know that Jung’s charisma masked a dark interior—fostered by a strange, isolated childhood and the sexual abuse he’d suffered as a boy—as well as a compulsive philandering that would threaten their marriage. Using letters, family interviews, and rich, never-before-published archival material, Catrine Clay illuminates the Jungs’ unorthodox marriage and explores how it shaped—and was shaped by—the scandalous new movement of psychoanalysis. Most important, Clay reveals how Carl Jung could never have achieved what he did without Emma supporting him through his private torments. The Emma that emerges in the pages of Labyrinths is a strong, brilliant woman, who, with her husband’s encouragement, becomes a successful analyst in her own right.
The book is rated 3.70/5 at goodreads.com, from 66 ratings. See 19 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cVuzSy.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2t8X4o5.

A health book recommendation: Patient H.M.: A Family’s Secrets, the Ruthless Pursuit of Knowledge, and the Brain That Changed Everything by Luke Dittrich

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2cJD061.
The ability to write gracefully about something as abstruse as the brain, to clarify a complex idea with just the right metaphor, is a special skill.
Book description from Google Books:
For readers of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks comes a propulsive, haunting journey into the secret history of brain science by Luke Dittrich, whose grandfather performed the surgery that created the most studied human research subject of all time: the amnesic known as Patient H.M. “Oliver Sacks meets Stephen King in a piercing study of one of psychiatric medicine’s darker hours. . . . A mesmerizing, maddening story and a model of journalistic investigation.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review) In 1953, a twenty-seven-year-old factory worker named Henry Molaison–who suffered from severe epilepsy–received a radical new version of the then-common lobotomy, targeting the most mysterious structures in the brain. The operation failed to eliminate Henry’s seizures, but it did have an unintended effect: Henry was left profoundly amnesic, unable to create long-term memories. Over the next sixty years, Patient H.M., as Henry was known, became the most studied individual in the history of neuroscience, a human guinea pig who would teach us much of what we know about memory today. Patient H.M. is, at times, a deeply personal journey. Dittrich’s grandfather was the brilliant, morally complex surgeon who operated on Molaison–and thousands of other patients. The author’s investigation into the dark roots of modern memory science ultimately forces him to confront unsettling secrets in his own family history, and to reveal the tragedy that fueled his grandfather’s relentless experimentation–experimentation that would revolutionize our understanding of ourselves. Dittrich uses the case of Patient H.M. as a starting point for a kaleidoscopic journey, one that moves from the first recorded brain surgeries in ancient Egypt to the cutting-edge laboratories of MIT. He takes readers inside the old asylums and operating theaters where psychosurgeons, as they called themselves, conducted their human experiments, and behind the scenes of a bitter custody battle over the ownership of the most important brain in the world. Patient H.M. combines the best of biography, memoir, and science journalism to create a haunting, endlessly fascinating story, one that reveals the wondrous and devastating things that can happen when hubris, ambition, and human imperfection collide. Advance praise for Patient H.M. “Patient H.M. tells one of the most fascinating and disturbing stories in the annals of medicine, weaving in ethics, philosophy, a personal saga, the history of neurosurgery, the mysteries of human memory, and an exploration of human ego.”–Sheri Fink, M.D., Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Five Days at Memorial “Dittrich explores the limits of science and the mind. In the process, he rescues an iconic life from oblivion. Dittrich is well aware that while we are the sum of what we may remember, we’re also at the mercy of what we can forget. This is classic reporting and myth-making at the same time.”–Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin “This book succeeds on every level: as a fresh look at the most famous patient in medical history, as an exposé of our dark history of psychiatry and neurosurgery, and, most powerfully, as a deeply personal investigation into the author’s past. And yet it’s still a page-turner that reads like a thriller.”–Susannah Cahalan, author of Brain on Fire “It felt as if I read this book in one breath. Patient H.M. is a fascinating, powerful investigation, a matryoshka doll of nested stories about the past and present, remembering and forgetting.”–Michael Paterniti, author of The Telling Room
The book is rated 3.84/5 at goodreads.com, from 2059 ratings. See 421 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ctW3RM.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tnpcr0.

A health book recommendation: The Stress Test: How Pressure Can Make You Stronger and Sharper by Ian Robertson

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2aBOBQp.
Stress is the psychological pandemic of our age, so it’s easy to forget that its modern use originated as a metaphor…This is all elegantly and clearly explained. Robertson introduces his themes with vivid stories…
Book description from Google Books:
From one of the world’s most respected neuroscientists, an eye-opening study of why we react to pressure in the way we do and how to be energized rather than defeated by stress.Why is it that some people react to seemingly trivial emotional upsets–like failing an unimportant exam or tackling a difficult project at work–with distress, while others power through life-changing tragedies showing barely any emotional upset whatsoever? How do some people shine brilliantly at public speaking while others stumble with their words and seem on the verge of an anxiety attack? Why do some people sink into all-consuming depression when life has dealt them a poor hand, while in others it merely increases their resilience?The difference between too much pressure and too little can result in either debilitating stress or lack of motivation in extreme situations. However, the right level of challenge and stress can help people flourish and achieve more than they ever thought possible.In THE STRESS TEST, clinical psychologist and cognitive neuroscientist Ian Robertson, armed with over four decades of research, reveals how we can shape our brain’s response to pressure and how stress actually can be a good thing. THE STRESS TEST is a revelatory study of how and why we react to pressure as we do, and how we can change our response to stress to our benefit.
The book is rated 3.96/5 at goodreads.com, from 46 ratings. See 9 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2aBP0SK.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2pRnsoB.

A health book recommendation: Labyrinths: Emma Jung, Her Marriage to Carl, and the Early Years of Psychoanalysis by Catrine Clay

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2dkSwmg.
Labyrinths, Catrine Clay’s absorbing new biography, charts the twists and turns in some of the key lives involved in that historical moment, in particular those of Emma Jung and her more famous husband, Carl.
Book description from Google Books:
 A sensational, eye-opening account of Emma Jung’s complex marriage to Carl Gustav Jung and the hitherto unknown role she played in the early years of the psychoanalytic movement.Clever and ambitious, Emma Jung yearned to study the natural sciences at the University of Zurich. But the strict rules of proper Swiss society at the beginning of the twentieth century dictated that a woman of Emma’s stature—one of the richest heiresses in Switzerland—travel to Paris to “finish” her education, to prepare for marriage to a suitable man. Engaged to the son of one of her father’s wealthy business colleagues, Emma’s conventional and predictable life was upended when she met Carl Jung. The son of a penniless pastor working as an assistant physician in an insane asylum, Jung dazzled Emma with his intelligence, confidence, and good looks. More important, he offered her freedom from the confines of a traditional haute-bourgeois life. But Emma did not know that Jung’s charisma masked a dark interior—fostered by a strange, isolated childhood and the sexual abuse he’d suffered as a boy—as well as a compulsive philandering that would threaten their marriage. Using letters, family interviews, and rich, never-before-published archival material, Catrine Clay illuminates the Jungs’ unorthodox marriage and explores how it shaped—and was shaped by—the scandalous new movement of psychoanalysis. Most important, Clay reveals how Carl Jung could never have achieved what he did without Emma supporting him through his private torments. The Emma that emerges in the pages of Labyrinths is a strong, brilliant woman, who, with her husband’s encouragement, becomes a successful analyst in her own right.
The book is rated 3.70/5 at goodreads.com, from 66 ratings. See 19 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cVuzSy.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2t8X4o5.

A health book recommendation: The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2txuIre.
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last Hermit may not appeal to everyone. But for those who desire an amazing true story that is told with immeasurable depth and compassion, it is an extraordinary glimpse into a world that defies much of what we think we know about people.
Book description from Google Books:
Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality–not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.  A New York Times bestseller In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life–why did he leave? what did he learn?–as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
The book is rated 3.90/5 at goodreads.com, from 9214 ratings. See 1591 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2paTfvV.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2paTU0h.

A health book recommendation: The Middlepause: On Turning Fifty by Marina Benjamin (2016-06-09) by Marina Benjamin

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2pGQJis.
The Middlepause is a restrained but wonderful guide to the convulsive changes of 50 and over. Whether it is Benjamin’s observation that it’s “the nouns that go” in post-menopausal word blight or her evocation of the “old fever” of conventional ambition, this is a book that yields valuable insights on almost every page.
Book description from Google Books:
In a society obsessed with living longer and looking younger, what does middle age nowadays mean? How should a fifty-something be in a world ceaselessly redefining ageing, youth, and experience? The Middlepause offers hope, and heart. Cutting through society’s clamorous demands to work longer and stay young, it delivers a clear-eyed account of midlife’s challenges. Spurred by her own brutal propulsion into menopause, Marina Benjamin weighs the losses, joys and opportunities of our middle years, taking inspiration from literature and philosophical example. She uncovers the secret misogynistic history of HRT, and tells us why a dose of Jung is better than a trip to the gym. Attending to ageing parents, the shock of bereavement, parenting a teenager, and her own health woes, she emerges into a new definition of herself as daughter, mother, citizen and woman. Marina Benjamin suggests there’s comfort and guidance in memory, milestones and margins, and offers an inspired and expanded vision of how to be middle-aged happily and harmoniously, without sentiment or delusion, making The Middlepause a companion, and a friend.
The book is rated 3.63/5 at goodreads.com, from 63 ratings. See 16 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2oZgKeZ.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2pGJLtM.

A health book recommendation: I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro

A critic review (source AV Club) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2btNjrs.
That’s not to say the book isn’t funny—there’s still plenty of levity, but it frequently gives way to important revelations, like Notaro’s realization that, contrary to popular belief, she had been given more than she could handle. Her grief and recovery are in their rawest forms…
Book description from Google Books:
One of America’s most original comedic voices delivers a darkly funny, wryly observed, and emotionally raw account of her year of death, cancer, and epiphany.In the span of four months in 2012, Tig Notaro was hospitalized for a debilitating intestinal disease called C. diff, her mother unexpectedly died, she went through a breakup, and then she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. Hit with this devastating barrage, Tig took her grief onstage. Days after receiving her cancer diagnosis, she broke new comedic ground, opening an unvarnished set with the words: “Good evening. Hello. I have cancer. How are you? Hi, how are you? Is everybody having a good time? I have cancer.” The set went viral instantly and was ultimately released as Tig’s sophomore album, Live, which sold one hundred thousand units in just six weeks and was later nominated for a Grammy.Now, the wildly popular star takes stock of that no good, very bad year—a difficult yet astonishing period in which tragedy turned into absurdity and despair transformed into joy. An inspired combination of the deadpan silliness of her comedy and the open-hearted vulnerability that has emerged in the wake of that dire time, I’m Just a Person is a moving and often hilarious look at this very brave, very funny woman’s journey into the darkness and her thrilling return from it.
The book is rated 3.85/5 at goodreads.com, from 4023 ratings. See 464 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2btPRWi.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2saKpQW.

A health book recommendation: A Book About Love by Jonah Lehrer

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2aDSZSe.
He’s had his public humiliation, and from the evidence of this book a chastened Jonah Lehrer has a lot to offer the world. The book is interesting on nearly every page. He mixes a wide range of reference, both scientific and literary, in a way that is sometimes familiar but sometimes surprising and illuminating.
Book description from Google Books:
“Jonah Lehrer has a lot to offer the world….The book is interesting on nearly every page….Good writers make writing look easy, but what people like Lehrer do is not easy at all.” —David Brooks, The New York Times Book Review Science writer Jonah Lehrer explores the mysterious subject of love.Weaving together scientific studies from clinical psychologists, longitudinal studies of health and happiness, historical accounts and literary depictions, child-rearing manuals, and the language of online dating sites, Jonah Lehrer’s A Book About Love plumbs the most mysterious, most formative, most important impulse governing our lives. Love confuses and compels us—and it can destroy and define us. It has inspired our greatest poetry, defined our societies and our beliefs, and governs our biology. From the way infants attach to their parents, to the way we fall in love with another person, to the way some find a love for God or their pets, to the way we remember and mourn love after it ends, this book focuses on research that attempts, even in glancing ways, to deal with the long-term and the everyday. The most dangerous myth of love is that it’s easy, that we fall into the feeling and then the feeling takes care of itself. While we can easily measure the dopamine that causes the initial feelings of “falling” in love, the partnerships and devotions that last decades or longer remain a mystery. This book is about that mystery. Love, Lehrer argues, is not built solely on overwhelming passion, but, fascinatingly, on a set of skills to be cultivated over a lifetime.
The book is rated 3.65/5 at goodreads.com, from 208 ratings. See 41 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2aCPSGA.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uaFRhU.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A health book recommendation: Land of Enchantment by Leigh Stein

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2drELlS.
Because her memoir is told with some time behind it, Stein is able to reexamine and to edit her story, or at least to reframe it.
Book description from Google Books:
Set against the stark and surreal landscape of New Mexico, Land of Enchantment is a coming-of-age memoir about young love, obsession, and loss, and how a person can imprint a place in your mind forever.   When Leigh Stein received a call from an unknown number in July 2011, she let it go to voice mail, assuming it would be her ex-boyfriend Jason. Instead, the call was from his brother: Jason had been killed in a motorcycle accident. He was twenty-three years old. She had seen him alive just a few weeks earlier. Leigh first met Jason at an audition for a tragic play. He was nineteen and troubled and intensely magnetic, a dead ringer for James Dean. Leigh was twenty-two and living at home with her parents, trying to figure out what to do with her young adult life. Within months, they had fallen in love and moved to New Mexico, the “Land of Enchantment,” a place neither of them had ever been. But what was supposed to be a romantic adventure quickly turned sinister, as Jason’s behavior went from playful and spontaneous to controlling and erratic, eventually escalating to violence. Now New Mexico was marked by isolation and the anxiety of how to leave a man she both loved and feared. Even once Leigh moved on to New York, throwing herself into her work, Jason and their time together haunted her. Land of Enchantment lyrically explores the heartbreaking complexity of why the person hurting you the most can be impossible to leave.. With searing honesty and cutting humor, Leigh wrestles with what made her fall in love with someone so destructive and how to grieve a man who wasn’t always good to her.
The book is rated 3.88/5 at goodreads.com, from 234 ratings. See 60 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cQ1vhW.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sfHC9e.