A gem of a guidebook for readers who want to gain some control over the final stages of their lives.




Crucial help on navigating the process of dying.

In the second edition of retired hospice care company executive Bingham’s 2016 guidebook on how to prepare for the “final rite of passage,” his core message remains unchanged: that the terminally ill have choices about the last stages of life, and that they should express them to loved ones well in advance. He provides comprehensive information on pain control, Medicare, elder law, caregivers, hospice facilities, advance directives, wills, funerals, and solidifying one’s legacy. This updated edition includes more recent legal and financial developments and societal shifts that affect end-of-life decisions, including an added section on medical marijuana. It also covers how to deal with receiving a diagnosis, how to plan for death, and how to prepare others for it. But although the book deals with solemn subject matter, it’s never downbeat; instead, it’s comforting and empowering. Although no one can avoid death, Bingham says, one can, and should, design one’s own dying process. This short book is broken into straightforward sections that can be effectively consulted during each stage of the process. Bingham has a compassionate, nonclinical style, and he draws on his career in hospice and palliative care, which included countless hours with terminally ill patients. His approach aims to help readers make important choices, and then offers effective guidance on communicating these decisions to others. The book stands out from similar works, due to its specificity, as when it suggests language for delivering news of one’s impending death and responding to common reactions. For example, when a loved one expresses denial or evades the subject of death (“It’s too early to talk about that now”), Bingham suggests saying something like, “Yes, I know it is early, and I want to be sure that we are all aware of what is happening so that we can organize our lives as best we can. I want to be clear about what I would like while I can talk about it competently.”

A gem of a guidebook for readers who want to gain some control over the final stages of their lives.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4787-7879-0

Page Count: 178

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2019

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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