• Between the Lines
    June 07,2009

    A sick 'app'

    Take another Medicare and call me in the morning.

    That's part of "Howard Dean's Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform," a new book by the former Vermont governor (and presidential candidate) from Chelsea Green Publishing. Some might call his prescription radical; the way the book is being released is pretty unconventional too.

    Dean argues that for real reform to happen, Americans must have the choice to either keep their existing coverage if they are happy with it, or to select a public plan.

    Whoa, "socialized medicine"?

    In fact, Dean says in the book, "America has had 'socialized' medicine since 1964. It's called Medicare; it covers every American over 65, and they are very happy with the program. The rest of America deserves a similar option."

    He also promises to explain what President Obama's health care plan is all about; how other countries handle health care; which special interests are blocking progress and why; and how health care reform will boost American businesses.

    The paperback is due out in early July, but the publisher is releasing the manuscript this week as an e-book in all formats. It will also be released as an iPhone application available for download in the iTunes App Store. The interactive book application is said to include an "action toolkit" to let readers "get involved in the fight for health care reform." Remember, Dean was the king of grassroots electronic political organizing.

    Born readers

    Here's one way to create readers for your book: deliver them. Another way is to write a compelling memoir of growing up on a farm in Peacham as one of eight siblings during the Depression, going off to college, serving in Europe in World War II and finally setting up a medical practice in tiny Wells River.

    Dr. Harry Rowe has followed both strategies. At a recent book signing for "The Grass Grew Greener," his newly published memoir (with co-author Terry Hoffer of Danville), the doctor greeted many former patients including at least one he delivered 57 years ago.

    The book incorporates the doctor's life story, letters that he and his wife exchanged during his wartime service, and historical accounts of the events of World War II and the history of his community.

    The authors will give a talk and book signing Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Groton Free Public Library (on Route 302 in the village).

    The book, published by the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum Press, is available at the athenaeum and many bookstores in the Upper Valley.

    The reading light: spotlight on events

    -- Ever wonder how anyone of Jane Austen's era could possibly dance in a corset?

    Wearing an accurate reproduction of clothing from past centuries is one way to answer such burning questions. University of Vermont scholar Hope Greenberg will display some examples of re-created Regency clothing during a presentation by the Vermont Chapter of the Jane Austen Society of America.

    Greenberg will speak on "Fashion in Jane Austen's World" today from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Vermont College of Fine Arts Chapel in Montpelier. The program is free and open to the public.

    -- Judith Nies got a shock the day her husband brought home a list of questions from an FBI file with her name on the front. She was 28 and working as the speechwriter and chief staffer to a core group of congressmen opposed to the Vietnam War (her husband was a Treasury department economist). The investigation prompted Nies to begin reevaluating her role as grateful employee and dutiful wife. Her memoir "The Girl I Left Behind: A Personal History of the 1960s" traces her journey toward independence and evaluates the impact of the 1960s feminist movement.

    Nies will be at the Norwich Bookstore at 1 p.m. Wednesday to celebrate the paperback release of the book.

    -- Music journalist and NPR contributor Michelle Mercer's book "Will You Take Me As I Am: Joni Mitchell's 'Blue' Period" is the first to include original interviews with the artist. In extensive conversations, Mercer heard firsthand about Mitchell's internal and external journeys as she composed her autobiographical albums of the mid-1970s.

    Mercer will present the book Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center. The event includes a musical performance by singer-songwriter Bryan Thomas.

    Do you have a tip for Between the Lines? Send it to ruth.hare@timesargus.com.

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