Sunday, February 21, 2010

What is Jerald Winakur reading?

The current feature contributor at Writers Read: Jerald Winakur, author of Memory Lessons: A Doctor's Story.

His entry begins:
Well, I'm reading two books at the moment:

--My wife, Lee Robinson, and I teach part-time at our local medical school, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. I am a geriatrician, she a retired attorney and a poet, and we try to nurture these young doctors-to-be in a "Literature and Medicine" elective each year. I am re-reading, The Doctor Stories by Dr. William Carlos Williams, general practitioner, pediatrician, famous Imagist poet and one incredibly insightful human being. His stories of his encounters with patients during the tough years of the 30s in the tenements of Rutherford, New Jersey are gems of observation, nuance and raw emotion. He shows--like no doctor before or since--the complexities of the doctor-patient bond, how difficult it can be, but how rewarding. Of course, every practicing doctor and every doctor-in-training should read this book. And re-read it. But...[read on]
Among the praise for Memory Lessons:
"[A] gorgeously written memoir about a geriatrician caring for his father who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.... I find it so soothing and his prose is just delightful."
--Randi Hutter Epstein, author of Get Me Out

"[T]he book is unusual for the author's honesty about the anxiety and guilt that can afflict a specialist trying to make quality of life decisions for a patient ("What is 'quality of life' when one is demented?") or a child making crucial choices for an elderly parent. A brave, achingly tender look at the end of life."
--O, The Oprah Magazine

"[Winakur] tells his story with the sort of elegant prose that puts him in the ranks of Jerome Groopman or Atul Gawande -- that rare physician who can frame the byzantine machinations of his practice in terms the rest of us can understand.... Winakur is tackling the same fundamental problems that all great literature addresses: How do we give our lives meaning, minimize suffering and love one another?"
--Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Read the introduction to Memory Lessons, and learn more about the author and his work at Jerald Winakur's website.

Writers Read: Jerald Winakur.

--Marshal Zeringue