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Culture Watch


The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family

John Lithgow, ©2007, 278 pp, Hardcover

Published by Grand Central Publishing, NY & Boston,

This little book is a good choice if you have a young person in your family whom you’d like to introduce to poetry. Lithgow, best known as an actor, has produced a surprisingly erudite little volume that is nonetheless readily accessible to a novice. Its format is nicely organized to encourage dipping in and out as the mood strikes, or reading straight through if you get hooked immediately as I did (and have been dipping back in ever since).

Even those of us who have long loved poetry will learn some surprising new facts about the poets included here, since there are short essays and/or interesting data about the authors of each selection.

This is an eclectic offering, with poems from 50 writers who run the gamut from Geoffrey Chaucer to Ogden Nash. In addition to the one or two selections from each author that are printed in full, Lithgow lists (by title) more of his favorites from each of the poets. Nine of the fifty poets are female, the earliest of these being 19 th century ladies like Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti, and the most modern, Gwendolyn Brooks and Elizabeth Bishop.

The book comes with a bonus MP3 CD featuring readings of the poems by Mr. Lithgow. I have not yet listened to it, preferring to read with my own mental inflections and rhythms, but I suspect my granddaughters will enjoy it immensely. Poets’ Corner would make a fine gift for any teenager or poetry-loving adult.


And Consider This:


by Joe Graedon, MS, and Teresa Graedon, PhD, ©Graedon Enterprises, Inc. 2006

Published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library (a division of The Penguin Group); Paperback, 626 pp plus an appendix and extensive index

Anyone who has heard Joe and Terry Graedon’s delightful radio program, The People’s Pharmacy, or read their syndicated column of the same name, will want to grab a copy of this little book, just off the press. The Graedons are champions of common sense and effective self-care for hundreds of common medical conditions.

Terry Graedon is a medical anthropologist, and her husband holds an MS in Pharmacology. They are refreshingly willing to consider old folk remedies, as well as newer treatments that may raise a few eyebrows, for example: Do Listerine or Vicks Vapo Rub cure toenail fungus? According to the Graedon’s readers and listeners, both products are incredibly effective for wiping out the fungus, and also take care of several other problems.

Those of us who have struggled with the statins, or developed allergies to various anti-biotics, or intolerance for NSAIDs, will appreciate the possibilities for alternative treatment. Even if you’re a bit skeptical, the treatments described in this book probably won’t hurt you, and given the cost of drugs today, are well worth a try.


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