anne-fadiman

The Hmong have a phrase… which means “to speak of all kinds of things.” It is often used at the beginning of an oral narrative as a way of reminding the listeners that the world is full of things that may not seem to be connected but actually are; that no event occurs in isolation; that you can miss a lot by sticking to the point; and that the storyteller is likely to be rather long-winded.
— 

Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

I realized that I read this book right before I started my blog, so I never ended up quoting it.  This is the second time I’ve been assigned this book for a class, and I highly recommend it.  It discusses the cultural differences and barriers between a Hmong family and the Western hospital they go to to treat their daughter’s epilepsy.  To begin with, the family doesn’t necessarily see her epilepsy as a bad thing.

I think books like this that force us to see beyond our own Western ideologies are doing something really important; it’s a medicine that we could all use a taste of (ha! punny).

Blogging off,

The Cynic

I have always felt that the action most worth watching is not at the center of things but where edges meet. I like shorelines, weather fronts, international borders. There are interesting frictions and incongruities in these places, and often, if you stand at the point of tangency, you can see both sides better than if you were in the middle of either one.
—  Anne Fadiman in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Wow. Just wow. This book is a MUST read for anyone in the healthcare/health education field. It won’t do the book any justice if I sit here and write about how absolutely magnificent the context is. Just read it. Even if you’re not interested in healthcare/medicine, just read it. You WILL enjoy it and become more aware of important things you may have never paid attention to.

My daughter is seven, and some of the other second-grade parents complain that their children don’t read for pleasure. When I visit their homes, the children’s rooms are crammed with expensive books, but the parent’s rooms are empty. Those children do not see their parents reading, as I did every day of my childhood. By contrast, when I walk into an apartment with books on the shelves, books on the bedside tables, books on the floor, and books on the toilet tank, then I know what I would see if I opened the door that says ‘PRIVATE—GROWNUPS KEEP OUT’: a child sprawled on the bed, reading.
—  Anne Fadiman
Some day, as soon as a book is printed it will be simultaneously put into digital form. That will be a wonderful research tool, but it will never substitute for holding the book. I feel certain that at least within my lifetime, everyone will still be going to the bookstore and buying printed books. Thank God I’ll die before I have to worry about whether the printed book itself will disappear. That’s something I don’t want to live to see.
My daughter is seven, and some of the other second-grade parents complain that their children don’t read for pleasure. When I visit their homes, the children’s rooms are crammed with expensive books, but the parent’s rooms are empty. Those children do not see their parents reading, as I did every day of my childhood. By contrast, when I walk into an apartment with books on the shelves, books on the bedside tables, books on the floor, and books on the toilet tank, then I know what I would see if I opened the door that says ‘PRIVATE–GROWNUPS KEEP OUT’: a child sprawled on the bed, reading.
—  Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader