Tuesday, 18 August 2009

What I've been reading

Image of the book cover
Health Behavior Change: A Guide for Practitioners
by Stephen Rollnick, Pip Mason and Chris Butler

"This book aims to provide health professionals - doctors, nurses, midwives, physical therapists, occupational therapists, counsellors, dietitians - with a method they can use to help patients make decisions about health behavior change in both hospital and community settings."
(A textbook is part of my casual reading for the holidays - draw your own conclusions.) When it comes to treatment for a broken leg, pneumonia or an ingrowing toenail, the patient's role is to draw it to the attention of the clinician, and then sit back and comply with treatment - the patient is almost entirely passive, apart from swallowing pills at suitable intervals. With a dietitian, the patient is the one who is called upon to take action, either by eating more, or less, or differently. Whether the outcome is a success or a failure depends primarily on the patient, although the dietitian can certainly affect that outcome. What's clear is that telling people what they should and shouldn't eat is a strategy that rarely succeeds.

Image of the book cover
Q & A
by Vikas Swarup

narrated by Christopher Simpson
"Eighteen-year-old Ram Mohammad Thomas has been arrested after answering twelve questions correctly on a TV quiz show to win one billion rupees. The producers have accused him of cheating his way to victory. Twelve extraordinary events in street-kid Ram's life - how he was adopted as a foundling orphan by a priest; came to have three names; fooled a professional hit man; even fell in love - give him the crucial answers."
This is the book that became Slumdog Millionaire, and while the film was good, the book is even better. It's also quite different - the life stories and questions aren't the same, and Ram's reason for going on the show isn't the same as in the film, and is revealed only at the very end. I've been utterly enthralled by the reading, and even Mr A, passing through the kitchen, stopped for a while to listen. It was brilliant.

Image of the book cover
Mr Standfast
by John Buchan

"When Richard Hannay, the hero of The Thirty-nine Steps, is recalled by the Head of British Intelligence from the Western Front at a critical moment in the battle for France, he has little idea that his contribution to the war effort will be much more crucial than the command of his Brigade in Flanders. In his strange odyssey to unravel the most sinister of conspiracies to defeat the allies in the West he travels from an idyllic manor house in the Cotswolds to a provincial Garden City where pacifism is the order of the day, through Scotland and London under attack, and thence back to the trenches, and the greatest battle of the First World War."
A bit of human interest alongside the tactical battle planning, political speeches and social commentary: there's a girl in the story for a change. She's every bit as heroic as our main man, though. The trouble is that I don't understand half the references, because I don't know enough about the First World War, or The Pilgrim's Progress, which I haven't read since I first had a go at it after reading Little Women. I loved that book, and they kept going on about The Pilgrim's Progress, so I got it out of the library and didn't understand a word. My English literary education has been rubbish. But I do like a good story.

1 comment:

aims said...

Most of them look like interesting reads. After my day at the doc yesterday I'm wondering about the first.