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Paddy's Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred
Thomas Gallagher
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Jenny K. Blake
When in French: Love in a Second Language
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Jesse Sostrin
Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing
David Hubel, Margaret S. Livingstone
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Harold Davis
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Sherry Turkle
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Man's Search for Meaning
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Oxygen: A Novel

Oxygen - Carol Cassella I found this book looking for fiction set in Seattle. I'm glad I found it -- otherwise, how likely would I be to come across a novel about an anesthesiologist? And to be glad of it? I found the beginning a little off-putting, but the style changed and became more succinct as she settled into the hospital routines. There was also a great tension in the air, about what was to come. She held that tension through the terrible outcome in the OR, and then throughout the rest of the book as Marie grapples with legal system, and her relationships with her friend/lover, co-workers, and family. The family relationships are particularly interesting. When the legal problem comes to a head, she flees to her sister and her sister's family in Texas. “She squinches up her nose in humor, such a characteristic Lori expression, connected with a thousand shared experiences. Like the way she hitches up her right shoulder whenever she exaggerates the truth, bites her lip in contemplation, or laterally flares her hands before she offers her frequently obstinate opinion on what’s right or wrong for the people she loves. I am flooded with a sense of belonging, to be so intimately aware of another person’s unique watermark on the world, connecting us like the secret insignia of clans.” P. 166And then there is the complex and mysterious relationship with her father. He's a retired history professor, 79, widowed, suffering from macular degeneration and in need of help that he's not entirely ready to accept. She goes to visit him in Houston at her sister's bidding. “So. Here we are,” he says, a stutter of cracks running through his voice. He clears his throat. “I taught my students that there was usually a hell of a lot more to be discovered in what was omitted from a textual translation than in what was inscribed – typical of human nature, I’ve come to believe. Now I have to content myself with what I can hear, what people say or don’t say in the few conversations I have these days.” He pauses, and grips my hand, the hard knots of his joints pressing my fingers together. “Why did you come” he asks me, not sounding angry or taunting, but genuinely interested, willing to admit that we are awkward together. P.241-242The plot twist was a surprise to me. I knew that there was a plot twist coming and tried to anticipate it -- but I was wrong. As sad and painful as the whole story was, it was also hopeful and healing on some levels. “Condensing it to a formula, of course, belies the art of my profession – tailoring the drugs and drips and pain relief, even my words, to conjure the ideal anesthetic, unique to each patient. An ideal anesthetic should be almost imperceptible, dissolving into the background like the painted blue sky of a stage set. It should appear as effortless as a ballerina’s pirouette, or the volley of a tennis champion. When it works, when all the components blend in perfectly balanced proportion, my job becomes oddly intimate – a shared personal secret with a stranger, watching them wake up with an expression in their eyes I recognize as stark disbelief that time has passed and this frightening event is over. They have crossed this barrier and emerged intact, if changed in some indefinable way, opened up and explored, on the other side.” P. 287