What We Are Reading Today: Radical

Updated 12 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Radical

Author: Kate Pickert

This book from Kate Pickert is a thorough review of large breakthroughs in breast cancer research.
“Breast cancer is emotional,” Pickert writes. “And then she reveals how physicians, pharmaceutical companies and even patient advocacy groups have tapped into those emotions to prevent patients from making informed decisions about screening and treatment,” said Pauline Chen said in a review for The New York Times.
Chen also said that Pickert, a journalism professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and a former health care reporter for Time magazine, “was diagnosed with a particularly grim form of breast cancer at the age of 35. Soon thereafter, she set out to write a cultural and scientific history of the disease, using narratives of her own experience to anchor her research. Such a whopping undertaking could have easily turned maudlin, strident or just plain eye-glazing; instead, Pickert has produced a powerful and unflinching page-turner.”
Chen is the author of Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality.


What We Are Reading Today: The Confounding Island by Orlando Patterson

Updated 19 November 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Confounding Island by Orlando Patterson

Author Orlando Patterson investigates the failures of Jamaica’s postcolonial democracy, exploring why the country has been unable to achieve broad economic growth and why its free elections and stable government have been unable to address violence and poverty.
Patterson “is a Jamaican who has long lived in the US, working as a sociology professor at Harvard University, which allows him both an intimacy with the island and a degree of distance through which to analyze it,” said Carrie Gibson in a review for The New York Times.
Gibson said: “Although Patterson provides extensive citations and robust discussions of theoretical frameworks, he also offers a personal story of affection and frustration, perhaps most evident in the questions that form all but one of the eight chapter titles. These include: ‘Why Has Jamaica Trailed Barbados on the Path to Sustained Growth?” and ‘Why is Democratic Jamaica So Violent?’ Indeed, these two questions are so significant, he devotes the first half of the book to them.”