PLAYING DOCTOR - Part One Medical School: Stumbling through with amnesia
by John Lawrence
Biographies & Memoirs | Humor
24 Aug 2020
"I showed up for my first day of medical school limping, confused, swathed in bloody gauze, armed with a liberal arts education, and to really set myself apart from the over-achieving pack of future doctors, lacking short-term memory." (PLAYING DOCTOR - Part One: Medical School)
John's medical memoir was born from chaotic, disjointed, funny and frightening late-night letters to friends over email (any recipients of which all those years ago will likely walk away now).
Those manic blogs from the hospital wards during under-slept call nights (which left a few friends wondering if he had invaded the hospital pharmacy) were the genesis for this book, Playing Doctor.
This is a journey through medical training as interpreted by someone who told their college career advisor that the only thing they did not want to be was a doctor-not that medical schools want you believing their training was interpretive, like a modern dance company's version of Grey's Anatomy-and started school with a traumatic brain injury.
This entertaining, heartfelt demystification of medical school via the confusion that seemed to litter John's medical trail, takes readers along the studies and clinical wards that miraculously teach students how to care for patients. The follow up books cover residency.
I laughed out loud at many places in this book – and also showed paragraphs to my husband who also laughed. So serious and yet so ridiculously true.
Personally, my daughter and I, are often used by the Consultants as what they call informed patients. They send the baby doctors over to us to take an in-depth assessment of what is wrong with us and to make a diagnosis. As we are informed patients, we frequently find we have to give large hints to the babies. Like feel this – or look more carefully at that, or what often comes alongside that. And then they proudly go off to tell the consultants what they have found out, but have still missed the most telling diagnosis even after all the help we give them. We aren’t permitted to actually tell them the answers, just to prompt them. They only want us to answer yes or no – see location 725, they don’t realize that there is never a yes or no answer. When you are a patient there are always shades of grey involved.
The one most important quote I am going away with from this book is from Plato –
I have also objected to the term doctor. As do nurses I have found out. Having studied and researched for 5 long years and written a 100,000 word dissertation of an addition to knowledge to obtain my nomenclature as a doctor, studying 3 years and passing exams which only require memory, does not a doctor make. In fact the term doctor is an honorific. Doctor comes from the Latin word for “teacher” and originally referred to a small group of theologians who had approval from the Church in the 14th century to speak on religious matters. [Merriam Dictionary],
The Mysterious Miss Fairchild
(Mills & Boon Historical)
April 30, 2020
An accomplished beauty…
But a most unsuitable match!
Natalya Fairchild can’t help but be drawn to Tristan Quintrell, Lord Dalmorren, with his effortless charisma, even if he’s not her intended bridegroom. Tristan is an eligible society catch…whereas Natalya’s unknown heritage could label her ruined! As he helps Natalya investigate her mysterious past, she starts to hope the truth of her conception won’t destroy her prospects…of a life with Tristan!
This was a Regency romance in much of the usual format except for Miss Fairchild herself.
Her education was clearly not that of the usual female of her time - and her reading materials were so limited that she could come to a completely erroneous conclusion. Aided by the type of school she attended and many of its pupils of course.
I’m afraid I had guessed her birth ‘secret’ well before half way through the book and thus she wasn’t quite as mysterious as she could be.
Also, she was too compliant for me. I prefer my heroines to have rather more life in them and to be more rebellious. She was too easy to keep constrained.
Other than that, it was typical of its genre with not enough to warrant to a 4 star rating.
Such a Fun Age
by Kiley Reid
General Fiction (Adult) , Literary Fiction
Pub Date 07 Jan 2020
What happens when you do the right thing for the wrong reason?
Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.
But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.
With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the awkwardness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone ‘family’, the complicated reality of being a grown-up and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.
An excellent story about what it is like being a coloured person in a middle-class white culture.
It is a coming of age story but the person it concerns, Emira, comes of age much later than many.
Emira struggles to find a purpose and what she is really interested in – apart from dancing and drinking and going out – her teenage and college life never seems to end even though she has got her degree. Alex tries to help her, but fails to understand her and her background. And then we have a strange man – helping Emira – or not?
I found it difficult at times to understand the speech that the girls shared as it was very particular to their culture but mostly got the gist – I think.
It is tricky to think about your domestic help and what they might want from life – especially when they come from such a different culture to you. and when your immediate impulse is to help them find their way.
Truthfully we had a mother’s help with a degree and we did help her find her next job – after 2 years with us as we taught business skills and she helped with our own business as well as the children, and she came from a nice middle class white family so i have not been confronted with his dilemma personally. But I suspect I would be an Alex!
The House at Greenacres
Penhallow Sands Book 1
General Fiction (Adult) , Women's Fiction
All roads lead home… When Holly Dryden fled Penhallow Sands nearly a year ago she was determined to put the past – and Rich Turner – behind her. But now an unexpected loss and financial trouble has led her back to the family vineyard and it’s time to tell Rich the truth – he’s a father. Surrounded by the memories of what they once shared Holly’s anger fades in the glow of Rich’s undeniable love for their son and the way he selflessly steps in to help the vineyard out of trouble. As Holly watches Rich flourish in his new role as father to baby Luke, she realises that though they can’t change the past, the future is still theirs to write… An uplifting, emotional romance set in Cornwall perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley
Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it?
When I’m plotting a
romance novel, one of the things I have to consider is what trope or tropes I
would like to include. Often, the tropes come organically from the characters
themselves and their backgrounds. With The
House at Greenacres, I had a vision of the main character, Holly, returning
to Penhallow Sands for a funeral, emotional and anxious, clutching a baby to
her chest. This developed into the knowledge that Holly and her ex boyfriend,
Rich, have been separated for some reason, and now, the thing that brings them
back together is Holly’s grandfather’s funeral. I enjoy mixing tropes in my
stories, so I combined the lovers reunited trope with the secret baby trope. I
also wanted to write a story about what it’s like to come home after time away,
about how emotional it can be to return to the place where you grew up and to
see it from a different perspective.
How long do you think about a topic before
deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you
write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this
I write notes all the
time and have notebooks all around my house as well as notes on my phone. I
might not start working on an idea properly for months if I’m already working
on a different project, but it will often be bubbling away at the back of my
mind, waiting for its turn to be nurtured into a novel.
How long does it take to research a topic
before you write? And for this book?
I did a lot of
reading about vineyards and contacted a vineyard owner to research for The House at Greenacres. It was
fascinating to learn about how a vineyard works and how wine is made. I
researched before writing and during to ensure that I got the finer details
What do you read when you are ill in bed?
I rarely get to read
in bed these days as I have two children and three dogs, so if I am ill, it’s
time on the sofa in the lounge. I read whatever is next on my TBR pile as I
have a very full Kindle and a table piled high with paperbacks.
What have you done with the things you wrote
when in school?
I was always writing
poetry and prose as a child and I still have some of them stored in the attic.
When I was 12, I won a school poetry competition with a poem about Wildlife in
Nature and I had to stand up in front of the whole school and read my poem out.
I won a £12 book token and I was delighted. I also wrote a project about guide
dogs when I was 13 and really enjoyed researching the topic as it meant
contacting charities and speaking to people with guide dogs. I think that
project is in the attic too. I’ll have to take a look…
Do you have any pets?
I do! I have three
dogs – two British bulldogs called Spike and Zelda and a rescue greyhound
called Freya. They are my writing buddies as they join me in the study and
snore gently while I write. As I’m home alone all day, they are good company.
As for funny things, one has to be the farting (especially the greyhound!) and
the other is that Spike often sings along to my music. I also have three
bearded dragons called Andrew, Loki and Cheeky.
What, in your life, are you most proud of
I was a teacher for
twenty years and once, when I went for an interview at a school, the governors
asked me what I was most proud of doing. At the time, my daughter was only a
year old, and my answer was having my daughter. Of course, that wasn’t what
they were looking for (they wanted something teaching related), but it came
straight from my heart. My children are my greatest achievements, along with
marrying my husband, because I never thought I’d fall in love so deeply. Nothing
is guaranteed in life except for today, but being able to love is one of the
greatest gifts of all; being loved in return is priceless. However, in terms of
my writing career, I’d say I’m most proud of being published. I always dreamt
of being an author, but never thought it would happen. To date, it has been a
wonderful, exciting rollercoaster. I am proud every time I finish writing a
book and every publication day. I am grateful to the publishers who have
accepted my work and to the readers and bloggers who read my stories and
support me. I am grateful to my agent for taking me on. I am grateful to my
family for being the centre of my world.
Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.