Bookworms. – Brief Article – Review

bookworms. – Brief Article – Review – book review

Paul Chance

The Paradox of Sleep: The Story of Dreaming (MIT Press, 1999) by sleep pioneer Michel Jouvet is a short scholarly book that tells the story of science’s (mostly unsuccessful) struggle to understand the nature and purpose of dreams.

If you are suffering the agony of debilitating depression, you may find solace and useful information in Malignant Sadness: The Anatomy of Depression (Free Press, 2000). In this part-memoir, part-scientific inquiry, biologist Lewis Wolpert suggests that depression is sadness run amok.

In Taming the Troublesome Child (Harvard University Press, 1999), historian Kathleen Jones explains clearly, though possibly a bit laboriously for some readers, how Americans came to view troublesome children as products of troubled parents, especially mothers, and how they developed an army of child guidance experts to intervene.

While it is no longer politically correct to tell dumb blond jokes, victims of mental illness are still fair game for ridicule and discrimination, says psychologist Otto Wahl in Telling is Risky Business: Mental Health Consumers Confront Stigma (Rutgers University Press, 1999). Wahl documents social, professional and legal ostracization of people who suffer from serious mental illness.

The secret to health and long life may be as simple as staying connected to friends, family, neighbors and to some higher purpose, says physician Edward Hallowell, author of Connect (Pantheon, 1999). He identifies 12 areas that play critical roles in our lives, and through entertaining anecdotes, suggests ways to build meaningful relationships in each area.

In The Gift of a Year: How to Achieve the Most Meaningful, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Year of Your Life (Dutton, 2000), Mira Kirshenbaum tells women to devote a year to the fulfillment of a dream: From finally making time for R&R to becoming more assertive or writing poetry.

Stormy Night (Kids Can Press, 1999) by Montreal artist Michele Lemieux struggles with fundamental philosophical quandaries in a light cartoon format, posing questions such as: Where does infinity end? What will my future be? Where do the ideas in my head come from? The book may serve as a conversation starter for thoughtful parents and gifted children.

Don’t Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training (Bantam, 1999) is the revised edition of the 1984 classic by professional animal trainer Karen Pryor. Pryor proposes that pets be rewarded for good behavior–with a noisemaker signal or treat–rather than punished for bad behavior. Astute readers may find it also improves their efforts to cope with other beasts, such as teenagers and spouses.


Resolution 2000 and a half: Help the neurotics in your life take the first step toward confronting profound fears by offering them The Pop-Up Book of Phobias (Rob Weisbach Books, 1999) by Gary Greenberg. This leather-bound, macabre masterpiece brings anxieties about flying, spiders, dentists and dying to three-dimensional light. It is terrifying but captivating when the dentist’s drill comes spinning out; when the edge of a skyscraper looms hundreds of feet above the sidewalk below; or when the airplane shifts to an angle that is just wrong. After this experience, your friends should be ready for anything. Moral of this story: Enjoy life enough to appreciate a silly satire.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group