“Slow down” is the constant chorus by Christine M. Rich’s “Chronic”. The life story of the Akron resident with Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the digestive tract; symptoms include diarrhea, bloody stools, and weight loss.
As a teenager, Rich received constant praise for her appearance, and especially for being thin. She was routinely subjected to sexual harassment during her after-school jobs, but did not feel confident enough to protest. Medical tests were inconclusive until her diagnosis when she was a high school senior; it was then that she began her practice of consistent denial, ignoring her symptoms and saying, “I’m fine.”
Rich is explicit in her descriptions of barium enemas and unexpected bowel movements, which contrasts with the grace of her writing. After an investigation put her in the hospital for more than a week, Rich met a young man with an ileostomy whose personal life had been devastated by the disease. Then she was faced with the option of either taking drugs that could cause her cancer or having a large portion of her digestive tract removed.
It was then that Rich finally decided to “befriend my body” and understand what it was trying to say. She explains how friends and family can support a person with a so-called invisible illness, by asking questions in a supportive and non-confrontational way, and attribute the massive failure of medical professionals to women’s symptoms to minor infections, seeking attention and, inevitably, blaming everything on weight.
In addition to learning to slow down and listen to her body’s needs, Rich learned to stand up for herself and insist on mental health screening as a standard part of a medical exam.
“Chronic” (244 pages, softcover) costs $16.99 at online retailers. Christine Rich works as a marketing manager.
‘The politics of war’
W. Thomas Osborne’s book “The Politics of War: My Ten Year Journey with Peter Jennings” covers the Richfield native’s assignments at ABC, including the United Nations bureau chief.
Osborne had left a journalism career to earn a master’s degree in theology, but took a job in 1987 as an assistant to the chief comptroller of ABC News Coverage in New York. There had been massive layoffs and Osborne was walking through ‘a forest of empty cubicles’.
Soon Osborne’s boss was promoted to the broadcast studio and took Osborne with him. From there, Osborne became Jennings’ assistant. He describes the anchor as demanding and demanding, but ‘the real deal’. He “played the role of the nation’s commander in chief,” especially during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.
Osborne grew up to be “ABC’s UN man,” learning the skill of being in the right place at the right time, such as when Osborne was able to approach the last Soviet ambassador to the United Nations the day after the USSR’s collapse. He learned that “Russian Federation” would be the name that would be adopted by the new nation. In 1992 Osborne was elected president of the United Nations Correspondents Association.
Osborne recalls his work with Jennings during the 1988 presidential campaign, noting that Jennings, as a Canadian, was “seen by many as impartial”.
“The Politic of War” (293 pages, softcover) costs $14.99 at online retailers. W. Thomas Osborne is a graduate of Revere High School.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Norton branch, 3930 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road): Lisa Merrick draws “Murder and Mayhem in Norton, Ohio” and her pictorial history “Norton,” Monday from 2 to 3 p.m.
Dover Library: Martin Gitlin will give a presentation based on his book “The Greatest Sitcoms of All Time” at a Zoom event Monday from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Register at doverlibrary.org.
Hudson Library & Historical Society: Jean Becker, George HW Bush’s Chief of Staff from 1994 to 2018, talks about “The Man I Knew: The Amazing Story of George HW Bush’s Post-Presidency,” in a Zoom event at 7 p.m. Monday. Thursday at 7 p.m., Stacey Vanek Smith, host of NPR’s Planet Money “The Indicator,” will discuss her book “Machiavelli for Women: Defend Your Worth, Grow Your Ambition, and Win the Workplace.” Register at hudsonlibrary.org.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma-Snow branch, 2121 Snow Road): Sam Quinones, whose “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction, talks about and draws “The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth,” Mondays from 7-8pm. In a Zoom event on Wednesdays from 7-8pm, Harvard Literature Professor David Damrosh talks about “Around the World in 80 Books ’, and from 7-8pm Friday, former 7-8pm Friday, former emergency medicine physician Kimmery Martin discusses her novel “Doctors and Friends,” about three women whose medical careers and friendships are turned upside down by the COVID-19 Pre-notification for an event sure to sell out: Science fiction author Neal Stephenson will appear at the library’s Parma-Snow branch on Nov. 22. The $25 ticket includes a copy of the just-released hte “Termination Shock”. Sign up at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Mac’s backs: Poets Ananda Lima (“Mother/Land”) and Meg Shevenock (“The Miraculous, Sometimes”) will give a virtual lecture on Monday at 7 p.m. Thursday at 7 p.m. Theodore C. Van Last (“Sacred City”), Randy O’Brien (“Gettysburg By Morning”) and James Stejskal (“Appointment by Tehran”) talk about their work in a Zoom event at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Go to macsbacks.com for the links.
Geauga County Public Library (West branch, 13455 Chillicothe Road, Chesterland): Cleveland native John Vanek signs “Bedeviled,” the fourth in his Father Jake Austin mystery series about a crime-solving Oberlin hospital chaplain, Mondays from 7-8pm. The presentation is also available in a Zoom event. Register at geaugalibrary.net.
Medina County Public Library: Columbus author Kristen Lepionka, whose debut “The Last Place You Look” won the Shamus Award for Best PI Novel, talks about her Roxane Weary mystery series (the fourth book is “Once You Go This Far”) at a Zoom event from 6: Tuesday 30 to 19.30. From 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, Colorado author Andrea Wang talks about her picture and mid-range books, including “The Many Meanings of Meilan.” Register at medina.lib.oh.us.
Maltz Center for the Performing Arts (1855 Ansel Road, Cleveland): Min Jin Lee, whose second novel “Pachinko” was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction, continues the 2021-2022 William N. Skirball Writers Center Stage Series at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Personal tickets are $30; streaming tickets are $15. Go to writerscenterstage.org.
Visible Speechbooks (2258 Professor Ave., Cleveland): Steve Goldberg will launch his “History is an Afterthought” collection at 7:30 p.m. Friday, along with fellow poets Miles Budimir and Claire McMahon.
Public Library Massillon (208 Lincoln Way E.): A Local Author Fair will be held Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring Don Ake, Marcus Calvert, Deborah Edmisten, Roger Gordon, Cat Russell, and more.
Scholar Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson): Kyle Jekot Signs “A Cure for the Common Scam: A Non-Tech Guide to Navigating the Pitfalls of the Internet,” Saturday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.