A necessary, fresh, straightforward read for all ages, since life, as Bernstein bluntly states, is a process of...


I've Got Some Good News and Some Bad News, You're OLD


A geriatrician’s lively guide to living well after 60.

Bernstein loves counseling and treating the elderly. He’s fascinated by “how we live our lives and what we do near the end that makes [life] significant.” Here, he shares—through his experiences with patients and family—his enthusiasm and respect for the process of aging. His guiding philosophy is to keep the ultimate end in mind as he helps the aged cope, in a sensible, realistic way, with the multiple, difficult issues of old age. For a healthy, fulfilling life, he encourages the understanding and practice of what he calls the five attributes of GRACE: Goals, Roots (as in DNA), Attitude, Companionship and Environment (as in lifestyle). Throughout the chapters, Bernstein shares anecdotes of elders working into old age, living to be 100, having sex after 70, and driving (or not) at 80 and up. The guide touches on a range of topics facing the geriatric population: cancer, heart disease, dementia, changes in living arrangements, hospice care, doctor–patient relationships and loss of independence. Each chapter ends with notes for living longer and more gracefully, as well as a list of resources and links for further exploration. In a caring but unsentimental manner, the guide makes it clear that, indeed, there’s no way out of this business of aging and reaching the end of life. Bernstein has come to realize that “[o]lder adults are desperate to be heard and understood,” so he has listened without judgment, asked questions, learned about his patients and figured out “how to live a long and fulfilling life.”

A necessary, fresh, straightforward read for all ages, since life, as Bernstein bluntly states, is a process of coming-of-old-age. 

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-1479122806

Page Count: 190

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2013

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.


A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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