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Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

I post my reviews to:

booklore.co.uk
midwestbookreview.com
2 yahoo groups
Amazon and B&N (of course)
Librarything.com
Goodreads.com
Bookwormr.com
Books-a-million.com
Reviewcentre.com
Pinterest.com
and on Twitter
(seriously)

I am always looking for more places to post my reviews.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Surgeon's Story

Surgeon's Story, Mark Oristano and Kristine Guleserian MD, Authority Publishing, 2017

This short book takes place at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, Texas as Dr. G fixes the hearts of some of the tiniest patients. Her day is a jumble of consultations with colleagues, checking on her patients, meeting with the families of new patients and operations. Sometimes, there is actually time for a snack.

A native of Massachusetts, Guleserian was exposed to cardiac surgery from an early age, when her younger brother was born with heart problems. The book looks at her medical training, moving up the medical ranks as she went from one hospital to another.

Several of her young patients are profiled in this book. A young boy, who is a big Boston Red Sox fan, has successful open-heart surgery. Three weeks later, he is at Fenway Park, throwing out the first pitch at a World Series game. A little girl named Rylynn is born with a very underdeveloped heart (one of her ventricles is much smaller than normal). Several operations are unable to fix the problem. Rylynn is eventually attached to a mechanical heart, but her condition continues to get worse. She is put at the top of the transplant "list". Does she get a new heart in time?

This is a very heartwarming book. There is only a little bit of medical jargon. It is a must-read for parents of a child with heart problems. It also works as an inspirational story. Dr. G is an excellent role model for any girl who wants to be a surgeon when they grow up. This book is very much recommended.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Requiem for the American Dream

Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power, Noam Chomsky, Seven Stories Press, 2017

The "American Dream" is a central pillar of life in the United States. Work hard, and you can be rich and happy. This book gives a very different view.

Over the past several decades, tax policy has been designed to benefit those at the top of the income triangle. Maybe a few percent of the benefit of a tax cut will actually reach those at the middle-income level, but the vast majority of the benefit will go to the top One-Tenth of One Percent. The public reason for tax cuts is that they supposedly increase investment and create jobs. A much better way to do that is to allocate that money to working-class people, who will use that money on clothes and groceries, not on a second (or third) home.

Social Security is based on the principle of solidarity, which means caring for others. That automatically makes it a bad thing (in the eyes of the super-rich). A way to destroy it is to de-fund it. The system won't work, so people will get angry, and demand something else.

For those who want a third party in America, voting for it every four years is not enough. You must be constantly be working at the local level, developing the system that goes from the city council to Congress. That is how the Tea Party got started.

This is an excellent and eye-opening book. Based on a movie of the same name, this gives a very easy to understand look at how America Really Works. Whether you see the movie, or read this book, this is very highly recommended.

My Sister, The Zombie

My Sister, The Zombie, Stacey Longo, The Storyside Press, 2018

Blossom and Jasmine are teenage sisters whose family has recently moved from Arizona to the (real) town of Glastonbury CT. Their parents felt that the New England climate, especially the winters, would help preserve Blossom. An accident at a nuclear power plant back in Arizona turned Blossom into a zombie.

There is the usual treatment of the "new kids" at the local high school. Some of the students are decent and reasonable. On the other hand, Jillian, a female bully, and a couple of her followers, start wearing t-shirts that say Anti-Zombie League.

Things get serious when people start dying. Their skulls have been sawed open, and their brains have been removed. Jillian is one of the victims. Blossom is suddenly the main suspect, totally forgetting the fact that she is not physically coordinated enough to do such a thing. Also, all of her teeth have been pulled to prevent her from eating anybody. Can Blossom and Jasmine find the real murderer before the police and the Anti-Zombie league get involved?

This is an excellent novel. It works as a Young Adult mystery, it is very easy to read, and it is also a very good metaphor for other physical disabilities. Teens will love this book; adults will, too.