Thanks, Tom

There have been few times in my life when I have felt more free, more myself than when reading to and performing with our son.

Reading to him helped me rediscover my love of performing, and of story.

Singing with him helped me rediscover my love of song, and music as a thing made.

In those moments we were deeply together, sharing experience richly, across the three decades that persistently endeavor to separate us.

In those moments I was me, not any of the formal presentations of myself. And that freedom drew us together, hand in hand. Two people, ageless, sharing a love of tune and tale and, more often than not, a certain level of silliness.

When he finds himself mired in those tough questions of how to repay the things our parents did for us, I hope he remembers this.

And knows we’re all good.

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Review: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A truly beautiful book about what is certainly a terrible and often terrifying collection of illnesses. Our family, like almost all families, has wrestled with cancer and wrestled with the scary and frequently devastating treatments that hope to kill the cancer before they kill the patient. This book provides a rich and illuminating context for those struggles, giving a palpable sense of the diseases and how our understanding and approaches have changed and how they’ve stayed the same. Mukherjee’s story telling is deft and compelling, sharing a complex and often very technical history in a way that remains personal, compelling, and accessible. It at times borders on the poetic, but without ever becoming sentimental or maudlin.

While this is technically about cancer, the book provides valuable insight into the complexities of medical research, whether scientific, mathematical, political, or social. We’ve made huge strides in so many areas of medicine in the last two centuries, but we rarely appreciate the oft tortured, surprising, and complex channels wended along the way. Yet to understand cancer and cancer treatment, and important challenges such as antibiotic resistance, and drug R&D, funding, testing and approval, it’s critical that we have this sort of context.

So most highly recommend; absolutely one of the best books I’ve read.

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