Friday, January 25, 2008

Five best: books about the challenges of living with illness

Laura Landro, an assistant managing editor at the Wall Street Journal and its Informed Patient columnist, is the author of Survivor: Taking Control of Your Fight Against Cancer (1998). She named a five best list of "books about the challenges of living with illness" for her newspaper.

One book to make the list:
Love and Other Infectious Diseases
By Molly Haskell
Morrow, 1990

Andrew Sarris and Molly Haskell were star film critics in New York in the 1980s -- husband and wife with a shared passion for movies and each other -- when Sarris was struck with a frightening and devastating illness that tore through his body and ripped up their lives. Initially diagnosed with a form of encephalitis, he was later found to have a viral infection and a neurological disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord. Sarris suffered every complication in the book, from pneumonia and a perforated colon to paralysis, bedsores, septicemia and hallucinations. His care and all the chores he had once taken care of, including paying bills, fell to Haskell, who soon faced her own medical crisis after months of reserving her strength for her spouse. Though the bonds of marriage and family in the face of illness sometimes stifle and enrage her, Haskell emerges "feeling deeply and continuously in the marrow of my bones a reason for staying alive."
Read about the book that tops Landro's list.

--Marshal Zeringue