Archives for category: Medicine

The All Good Books group will discuss With Love, Wherever You Are
by Dandi Daley Mackall at our next meeting on Thursday, January 17, 2019. No meeting is planned for December 2018.

Description: Everyone knows that war romances never last . . .
After a whirlwind romance and wedding, Helen Eberhart Daley, an army nurse, and Lieutenant Frank Daley, M.D. are sent to the front lines of Europe with only letters to connect them for months at a time.

Surrounded by danger and desperately wounded patients, they soon find that only the war seems real—and their marriage more and more like a distant dream. If they make it through the war, will their marriage survive?

Based on the incredible true love story, With Love, Wherever You Are is an adult novel from beloved children’s author Dandi Daley Mackall.

As usual, we’ll meet at the Community of Christ Mission Road Congregation (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS) at 7 PM.

Discussion questions will be posted in December.

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kell_9781101883075_are_all_r1.inddThe All Good Books discussion group will meet on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at 7 PM in the Community of Christ Church Library to discuss Lilac Girls: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly (Random House Publishing Group). The church is located at 7842 Mission Road in Prairie Village, Kansas.

The following 15 discussion questions are suggested by the publisher, plus we’ve added a few more at the end of the list.

  1. In what ways do you think the alternating points of view help to enrich the narrative? Was there ever a time you when you wished there was only one narrator? Why or why not?
  2. The primary settings of this novel are starkly different—Caroline’s glamorous New York world of benefits and cultural events, and the bleak reality of life in a concentration camp. In what ways did the contrast between these two settings affect your reading experience?
  3. Caroline’s relationship with Paul is complicated, taboo even. Was there ever a time when you didn’t agree with a choice Caroline makes with regards to Paul? When and why?
  4. As Caroline becomes more and more invested in her work with the French Families Fund, and eventually with the Rabbits, did you feel that she changes in any way? If so, how were those changes apparent through her interactions with others?
  5. Throughout their time in Ravensbrück, Kasia and the other prisoners find subtle, and not so subtle, ways to demonstrate their resistance. Discuss the variety of actions they take. Which of them did you find to be most powerful? Most moving? Most effective?
  6. When Kasia learns that they were hunting Rabbits, she thinks, “Just don’t feel anything. If you are to live, you cannot feel.” Do you agree with this statement? What do you think it says about the nature of survival? Is it relevant to any other characters in the book, not just the prisoners?
  7. Did you find Herta to be a sympathetic character? Why or why not?
  8. When Vilmer Hartman comes to visit Ravensbrück, he shows concern for Herta’s mental state. What do you think this reveals about her character? Had you previously thought about any of the points he makes?
  9. Though the Nazis made sure the German people only got their news from one media point of view, Herta’s father continues to read as many newspapers as he can. How does this relate to media usage today?
  10. Did you feel that Halina’s ring is an important symbol in the book? How does Herta feel about the ring? Why does she keep it?
  11. Throughout the novel, in and out of Ravensbrück, the characters experience harrowing, difficult situations. Is there one that you found more memorable than the others? Why do you think the author chose to include it?
  12. If you had to come up with a single message or lesson to represent each of the main characters’ experiences—Caroline’s, Kasia’s, and Herta’s—what would it be and why?
  13. Many of the themes explored in Lilac Girls—human rights, political resistance, survival—are a direct result of the historical World War II setting. How are those themes relevant to current events today?
  14. Lilac Girls also touches on a number of interpersonal themes, including female friendship, mother-daughter relationships, love, infidelity, mental health, and more. How do these themes impact the characters’ lives?
  15. What do you think the author hoped her readers would take away from this reading experience?
  16. What event in the novel affected you the most? Why?
  17. Parts of the novel are very difficult to read because of the events that demonstrate the inhumanity and abusiveness of the Nazis. Why did you keep reading?
  18. How do Kasia and Zuzanna (the sisters) change from the beginning of the novel to the end? Do their personalities and their relationships to each other change?
  19. There are several sayings interspersed throughout the novel. Some are quotes and others are aphorisms. Did you underline or remember any specific ones?
  20. An Automat is mentioned several times in the novel. What is it? Did you have to look it up? Are there parallels between the Automat and today’s restaurants?
  21. Why do you think the novel is called “Lilac Girls?”

Rosie ProjectThis Thursday, April 19, 2018 –  the All Good Books group will meet to discuss The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Our meetings are now on the third Thursdays of each month. All meetings will be at 7:00 PM in the Church Library at the Mission Road Community of Christ Congregation (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS).

Possible Discussion Questions for The Rosie Project: A Novel  by Graeme Simsion.

  1. How would you summarize “The Rosie Project” for someone without giving away too much of the plot?
  2. Describe Claudia and Gene’s relationship. Is it honest, hurtful, evolving or conventional?
  3. If you found “The Rosie Project” enjoyable, explain why. Would you ascribe any of the following terms to the book? Inspirational, humorous, educational, light reading, romantic, adventuresome or melancholy?
  4. Do you believe Don would or would not make an ideal husband? Explain.
  5. Do you believe that Rosie would or would not make an ideal wife? Explain.
  6. On page 281, Don states, “I was wired differently. One of the characteristics of my wiring was that I had difficulty empathizing.” Do you think that some people are wired differently? Explain. What does that mean?
  7. Don always seems to need a “project” (The Wife Project, The Father Project, The Rosie Project). Why do you suppose that’s the case?
  8. Do you see any of the traits of Don Tillman in you or your friends? Do you see any of the traits of Rosie in your life or your partner/friends? Explain.
  9. Don has several moments of insight during the course of the story. Describe one. Have you had an “aha” moment that changed your thinking?
  10. On page 282, Don lists his understandings that will govern the second half of his life, including “An inability (or reduced ability) to empathize is not the same as an inability to love. Love is a powerful feeling for another person, often defying logic.”
  11. By the end of the novel, is Don really capable of love? Or has he simply convinced himself that confusion and attraction are love?
  12. What events or themes in “The Rosie Project” best lend themselves to discussion? What would you like to discuss?
  13. Would you recommend “The Rosie Project” to other readers? Why?
  14. After reading “The Rosie Project” would you be interested in reading the sequel: “The Rosie Effect?”

There are additional discussion questions offered by the publisher at http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Rosie-Project/Graeme-Simsion/9781476729091/reading_group_guide

The Pulse of Hope by Dr. William A. Reed

The Pulse of Hope by Dr. William A. Reed

Just a reminder: Dr. William A. Reed with be present at the next All Good Books discussion group meeting this Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Community of Christ church (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS) at 7 PM. We will meet in the Church Library.

Dr. Reed is the author of “The Pulse of Hope: A Surgeon’s Memoirs from Poverty to Prosperity.” Dr. Reed was a pioneer in the early days of open-heart surgery at KU Medical Center then later moved to St. Luke’s Hospital where he performed the first heart transplant at that hospital while serving as Director of Thoracic Surgery. Still later he returned to KU Med to re-establish what has become the largest heart program in this part of the country. The autobiography answers the question “How did a scrawny kid from an indigent, welfare-dependent Midwestern family become one of America’s first successful heart surgeons?”

Along the way the reader meets a passionate horseman, philanthropist, husband, father and poet. The final chapters in the book also speak to issues of faith, doubt, fear and leadership. You have the opportunity to hear him speak and ask questions on Thursday evening.  We hope you can join us.

In preparation for the meeting, here are some questions that might stimulate your reflection on the book (and if you haven’t read the book, come anyway)!

  1. On page 25 of Dr. Reed’s autobiography, he mentions Hudson’s Secret Journal. Have you read the book? Either way, do you agree with your understanding of its philosophy?
  2. On page 40 Dr. Reed discusses his wife’s childhood, her parent’s (Asay and Pauline) expectations, and their approach to parenting. How does their parenting compare to your own experiences as a child or young adult?
  3. What does the phrase “damned by faint praise” mean? Have you heard that phrase before or experienced that kind of praise?
  4. On page 59, Dr. Reed talks about “the silent treatment.” Have you experienced the silent treatment from someone in your life or used it as a tool in a disagreement? What were the results?
  5. An incident recorded on page 65, describes how Dr. Reed challenges the head of the cardiovascular department at KUMC to not “close” after heart surgery but to redo a stitch so a 6-year-old girl’s heart would not develop scarring. If your career depended on contradicting or correcting a superior, could you do it?
  6. Of all the surgical stories in the autobiography, which is your favorite? Which did you find most emotional or heart-rending? Which did you find most inspirational?
  7. Who do you think was the VIP patient mentioned on page 81?
  8. Reed places a great deal of emphasis on “good mentoring” (pages 112, 114). Have you ever experienced a “good mentor” as described by the Doctor?
  9. The concept of a “unique calling” for medicine is discussed on pages 114-115. Do you believe that any of the five “opportunities” listed on page 114 apply to other fields of endeavor?
  10. On page 116 in a discussion of mentoring, Dr. Reed talks about seeing people at their most vulnerable time. Do you see any parallels to your career or avocation?
  11. On page 122, Dr. Reed discusses “the secret of success is constancy of purpose” (Benjamin Disraeli). What is your reaction to his message on career choice? Does it apply to you?
  12. Reed explains that a good racehorse must excel while “mud and dirt and sand” are being thrown in the horse’s face (page 130). Is there a parallel in human endeavor?
  13. Is there a section or chapter of the autobiography that you found more interesting than the rest? Such as Dr. Reed’s childhood, “The Right Girl,” his ground-breaking surgeries, the chapter on mentoring, “Servant Leader,” or “Poet and Philosopher?”
  14. The author talks about the difference between horses that have an attitude and those that are mean (page 150). Do you think the same applies to pets? To humans?
  15. What does the author (page 150) mean by “no trainer ever commits suicide with an unraced two-year-old in his barn?”
  16. On pages 186-189, Dr. Reed explains his approach to leadership. Do you support his view? Do you see inherent problems with servant leadership? Have you ever worked for anyone who subscribed to this leadership style?
  17. What do you think is meant (page 213) by “optimism is a life skill that can be honed with practice.”
  18. On page 216, Dr. Reed says, “Every man dies alone with his God.” What does that sentiment mean to you?
  19. Do you understand the doubts and questions expressed on pages 216-218? Do you believe that faith can grow through doubt?
  20. Do you have answers for the questions posed in Dr. Reed’s poem on page 219?
  21. In the final chapter, “Poet and Philosopher,” the author becomes very philosophical and poetic as he discusses life span, living in harmony with your values, faith and pain, and the search for meaning and hope. What are your thoughts on the final chapter?