Monthly Archives: July 2011


Caring for Elders: Susan Jacoby, NEVER SAY DIE & Allan Teel: ALONE & INVISIBLE NO MORE

Susan Jacoby
Dr. Allan Teel

Susan Jacoby talks about NEVER SAY DIE, her trenchant critique of the myth of the “new” old age. And Dr. Allan Teel explains his innovative, community-based approach to elder care; his book is ALONE AND INVISIBLE NO MORE.

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Web Extras

Dr. Allan Teel Tells a Story About His Dad

Our model of caring for the elderly is broken — miserable for seniors and unaffordable for society. But Dr. Allan Teel says he has the solution — commonsensical, cost-effective and a lot more humane. He explains it in his new book, Alone and Invisible No More: How Grassroots Community Action and 21st Century Technologies Can Empower Elders to Stay in Their Homes and Lead Healthier, Happier Lives.

Allan Teel has practiced geriatric and family medicine in Damariscotta, Maine for 25 years. He cares deeply about his patients and he respects them. So he chafed at the isolation, helplessness, and uselessness so many seniors experience in today’s nursing homes —- places that are little more than warehousing facilities. His frustration led him to developing an innovative approach that uses grassroots community action and 21st technologies to empower elders to stay in their homes — or return to them from the nursing home or assisted living. It’s called Full Circle America and he wants to roll it out across the country.

In this Web-only extra, Dr. Teel tells a story about his own elderly father, who took care of an even more frail elder when the man’s daughter needed a respite. It’s a great example of the Full Circle America approach.


A Place Called Paradise: Brian Kitely, Marge Bruchac, Kerry Buckley

Brian Kitely
Marge Bruchac

Brian Kitely talks about his fascinating novel about Northampton, Massachusetts THE RIVER GODS. Historian Kerry Buckley talks about A PLACE CALLED PARADISE, the collection of essays about Northampton he edited. And Abenaki storyteller and researcher, Marge Bruchac gives a tour of “native Northampton.”

Brian Kitely
In the local parlance of western Massachusetts, the phrase “The River Gods” refers to the group of powerful men who held sway over the business and political life of the towns of the Connecticut River Valley region from the 17th and into the 18th century. Northampton was one of those towns and it’s the setting for my guest Brian Kitely’s novel, THE RIVER GODS.

Written in a series of short vignettes, the novel shifts back and forth in time to reveal glimpses of the town’s history, as well as the personal history of the author himself — often seen through his child’s eye. The reader meets the fiery preacher Jonathan Edwards, the husband of accused witch Goody Parsons, Sojourner Truth and other notable and unknown individuals from Northampton’s history.

One reviewer called it “a luminous, perfectly sculpted novel whose sentences flow as easily through the mind of a nine-year old boy in 1960s America as they do that of an 18th century Puritan divine.”

Brian Kitely teaches creative writing at the University of Denver. In addition to THE RIVER GODS, he is the author of two other novels, STILL LIFE WITH INSECTS and I KNOW MANY SONGS, BUT I CANNOT SING, as well as two books of writing exercises.

Read an excerpt from THE RIVER GODS

Marge Bruchac
A few years ago in the dead of winter, Abenaki storyteller and scholar Marge Bruchac took Francesca on a fascinating tour of what might be termed “native Northampton”: the places and traces where the native Algonquian tribes of the region made their home at the great bend of the Connecticut River where later the English colonists founded Northampton. The Indians called it, variously, Nonotuck or Norwottuck.

They first went to Fort Hill, the very place Brian Kitely lived as a child and that figures in his novel, THE RIVER GODS. Then they headed for Hospital Hill, where the state mental hospital used to be — and some of its imposing structures still stand — and where the Indians planted their fields of corn. Bruchac explains that the traces of native American life are to be found in the Yankee culture that succeeded it.

Marge Bruchac is the co-author of the book 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving, published in 2001. She also contributed a chapter to a marvelous collection of historical essays about Northampton that were gathered into the book edited by the following guest, Kerry Buckley.

Kerry Buckley
A PLACE CALLED PARADISE came out in 2004, the year the town celebrated its 350th anniversary. I spoke that year with the book’s editor, Kerry Buckley. He’s the executive director of Historic Northampton, a museum of regional history and culture from the contact period to the present. It’s a collection of essays about the history of Northampton, MA, from the time of native peoples lived here and called it Norwottuck to the 20th century.

Website of Historic Northampton


Jennifer Haigh, FAITH & Kristen Neff, SELF-COMPASSION

Jennifer Haigh
Kristin Neff

Novelist Jennifer Haigh talks about her terrific new novel, FAITH. Then Dr. Kristin Neff discusses her book, SELF-COMPASSION: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind. Finally, a review of Siri Hustvedt’s THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN.

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