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THE DOCTOR'S BLACK BAG

51 YEARS AS A GENERAL PHYSICIAN IN THE RURAL WEST

Engaging, sometimes-poignant, and occasionally acerbic stories from a longtime physician.

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A collection of debut short essays recalling the author’s experiences during five decades as a general practitioner in the American Southwest.

After completing medical school at the University of Texas’ Medical Branch at Galveston in 1956 and an internship in Columbus, Ohio, Schmidt began his career in 1957 in Keams Canyon, Arizona, working for the United States Public Health Service on the Hopi Reservation, which is surrounded by the Navajo Reservation. Some of his most compelling anecdotes come from this period, as they offer a window on midcentury Hopi and Navajo lifestyles and cultures. By 1959, he was ready to try private practice, and so he, his wife, and their two young sons moved to Slaton, Texas, where he joined the practice of an older doctor. Schmidt writes that he “failed to thrive in Slaton” for a variety of reasons, including inexperience, and he felt that it was time to move on. In 1961, he joined the practice of a physician in Jal, New Mexico, and when the other practitioner unexpectedly departed for a surgery residency, he became its solo practitioner. After 11 years of being on call at all hours of the day and night, an emotionally and physically drained Schmidt moved his family once again, this time opening a practice in Yuma, Arizona, where he would remain for more than 23 years. This memoir, which has a fluid timeline that moves back and forth over more than four decades, is loaded with vignettes about Schmidt’s experiences with individual patients. As a result, it effectively illustrates the day-to-day life of a general practitioner before the days of medical conglomerates. He opens, for instance, with an amusing tale about Christmas Eve 1962, in Jal, when he was repeatedly called to the emergency room to treat patients’ injuries after they tried out skateboards they gave their kids. He also occasionally vents about Medicare regulations regarding such things as doorway widths and about “new societal norms” that discourage diagnostic physical contact, but he also counsels that doctors must always listen to what their patients are saying—and, yes, he has a story for that.

Engaging, sometimes-poignant, and occasionally acerbic stories from a longtime physician.

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-09-831026-4

Page Count: 204

Publisher: BookBaby

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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TANQUERAY

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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LOVE, PAMELA

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

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The iconic model tells the story of her eventful life.

According to the acknowledgments, this memoir started as "a fifty-page poem and then grew into hundreds of pages of…more poetry." Readers will be glad that Anderson eventually turned to writing prose, since the well-told anecdotes and memorable character sketches are what make it a page-turner. The poetry (more accurately described as italicized notes-to-self with line breaks) remains strewn liberally through the pages, often summarizing the takeaway or the emotional impact of the events described: "I was / and still am / an exceptionally / easy target. / And, / I'm proud of that." This way of expressing herself is part of who she is, formed partly by her passion for Anaïs Nin and other writers; she is a serious maven of literature and the arts. The narrative gets off to a good start with Anderson’s nostalgic memories of her childhood in coastal Vancouver, raised by very young, very wild, and not very competent parents. Here and throughout the book, the author displays a remarkable lack of anger. She has faced abuse and mistreatment of many kinds over the decades, but she touches on the most appalling passages lightly—though not so lightly you don't feel the torment of the media attention on the events leading up to her divorce from Tommy Lee. Her trip to the pages of Playboy, which involved an escape from a violent fiance and sneaking across the border, is one of many jaw-dropping stories. In one interesting passage, Julian Assange's mother counsels Anderson to desexualize her image in order to be taken more seriously as an activist. She decided that “it was too late to turn back now”—that sexy is an inalienable part of who she is. Throughout her account of this kooky, messed-up, enviable, and often thrilling life, her humility (her sons "are true miracles, considering the gene pool") never fails her.

A juicy story with some truly crazy moments, yet Anderson's good heart shines through.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9780063226562

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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