A History of the Present Illness hits bookstores, mailboxes, and e-readers in just five days, and the excitement has already begun! Yesterday, I was at Book Passage, one of the Bay Area’s best independent bookstores, to sign over 300 books for their Signed First Editions Book Club. They were lovely – but that isn’t news. What is news is that I strongly recommend not naming children names starting with the letter “L” if there’s any chance they will be signing their name repeatedly in the space of an hour or two. Unlike the other, many letters in my name, the “L” seemed to come out slightly differently each time….?

There have also been some tremendous reviews of the book online. Here are some highlights from and links to two of my favorites:

From Joystory:

Every one of the sixteen short stories in this interlocked collection is an exquisitely etched jewel… with the aggregate effect shining a spotlight on the state of the American health care industry… Every story is unique, varying in style, tone, length, voice, tempo and form…. This book should be required reading for every first year med student and every legislator at both state and federal level.  The stories in this book and stories like them should become the underpinning of any further national discussion about health care legislation. [Read the entire review.]

From Booksaremyfavouriteandbest :

All of the sixteen stories are little lessons in compassion with Aronson swinging the reader from the perspective of doctor, to patient, to on-looking family member. Some stories are told in the first person, others in the third. Some are lush, detailed and sentimental whilst others are stark, clinical. Despite the obvious changes in creative writing style between the stories, there are subtle links between each and the overall result is impressive.

There are no weak spots in this collection. From the first story, a man talking about his day-in-day-out visits with his wife who is in a nursing home after suffering a stroke –

“It’s much like caring for a baby, he explains to his daughter, except without the sweet smells, without the hope.”

– to the heart-wrenching story of a little girl with a bed-wetting problem and a young man dying without family by his side –

“The nursing notes in his chart said that Jake’s family never visited… It was impossible to look at Jake’s torso and not think plague and curse and infestation and death. But it was equally impossible to imagine how people could stop seeing, touching, and loving their son.”  [Read the entire review.]

There are few things as rewarding as having people you don’t know appreciate your work. I am very grateful.

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