Chelsea Green Publishing

It's Probably Nothing

More Adventures of a Vermont Country Doctor

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
September 09, 2011

$17.95 $14.36

It's Probably Nothing continues the tale woven by Dr. Beach Conger in his first book, Bag Balm and Duct Tape. This new collection sees Conger and his wife yearning for new challenges and relocating to the suburbs of Philadelphia after 25 years in mythical Dumster, Vermont. Conger gamely takes a job in a teaching hospital in the poorest part of the city and gets to experience urban bureaucratized medicine and its trials- a far cry from the more idiosyncratic and hands-on version he practiced in Vermont. After 5 years Conger and his wife move back to Dumster, where he rediscovers more about his patients' capacity to both cope and cherish one another than he expected.

Each of the tightly constructed chapters is centered around a particular patient or particular theme in medicine. It's Probably Nothing is both funny and poignant, and showcases both Conger's irreverent view into medicine and his profound empathy for the characters he encounters along the way. His experience highlights how medicine-and problems with out current medical system-can remain the same and yet be vastly different across class, race, and region. Among the people the reader meets are urban drag queens, small-town farmers and other heroes, Vermont celebrities, and the occasional reclusive author.


"It's Probably Nothing is actually quite wonderful. With wit and humility, but above all with deep affection, Beach Conger captures perfectly what it is to be a Vermonter. This book is a must-read for doctors and patients alike."--Peter Welch, US Representative, Vermont

"Dr. Beach Conger's It's Probably Nothing is the inspiring tale of a fine and caring physician's life and times in two places that could scarcely be more different: rural Vermont and inner-city Philadelphia. Written with great humor, wisdom, common sense, and compassion, It's Probably Nothing is a uniquely American memoir by a very insightful American individualist. I loved it."--Howard Frank Mosher, author of Walking to Gatlinburg

"Doctor Conger is back again! But this time deeper, warmer, and suffused with the notion that there's no hurry; each Vermont story is too good to be rushed. You can see them coming, but you can't stop ambling with him to the conclusions. It's Probably Nothing is his best collection yet.--Willem Lange, writer, A Yankee Notebook; commentator and host, VPR and NHPTV; author, A Dream of Dragons

Book News-
In this follow-up to his first memoir on practicing in rural Vermont, Harvard Medical School graduate Conger moves from the farm to inner-city Philadelphia, where he treats patients who struggle for food, shelter, and safety. After five years, he returns to the isolated rural community of Dummerston, Vermont. Conger describes humorous encounters with various offbeat patients; on the more serious side, he reflects on problems of our healthcare system. The author now teaches at Dartmouth Medical School.

Whether floundering as a fish out of water in an inner-city Philadelphia hospital or explaining C-reactive protein (CRP) to a patient, if Conger appears to be an iconic iconoclast, so much the better. Because, as a "senior" physician, he is no more likely to allow a superfluous, if expensive, technology to get in the way of his hands-on method of diagnosis than he is to let so trifling a thing as a fact hinder a good yarn. The way he tells it, truth does not suffer facts. And Conger's truth doesn't suffer at all. It is biting where the pompous beg to be taken down; it is wry, witty, and deprecating regarding himself and modern health care; and it is respectful of the patients he tends. Truly a lover of the written word, Conger wraps his stories in language that is loving and engagingly imaginative-for a doctor, that is. By capturing the essence of individuals such as a Norma Lebrec or a C. Frederick Selkirk in his literary embrace, Conger portrays folks we all either know or would like to know.


Beach Conger

Beach Conger, M.D., was born in 1941 in New York City and grew up in Pleasantville, N.Y. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1967 and did his training in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and the University of California San Francisco. From 1969 to 1971 he was an offer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the CDC. From 1977 to 2001, he practiced general internal medicine at Mt. Ascutney Hospital in Windsor, Vermont. He then spent five years teaching hospital medicine at Medical College of Pennsylvanvia and Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, serving as chief of hospital medicine at the latter institution. In 2006 he returned to Vermont to practice in Windsor. He is a member of the Dartmouth Medical School faculty, where he precepts medical students in their primary care rotations.


Two Secrets to a Long and Healthy Life - Beach Conger, MD

Beach Conger and It's Probably Nothing


Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares

Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares

By Greg Marley

2011 Winner, International Association of Culinary Professionals Jane Grigson Award2011 Finalist, International Association of Culinary Professionals in the Culinary History categoryThroughout history, people have had a complex and confusing relationship with mushrooms. Are fungi food or medicine, beneficial decomposers or deadly "toadstools" ready to kill anyone foolhardy enough to eat them? In fact, there is truth in all these statements. In Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares, author Greg Marley reveals some of the wonders and mysteries of mushrooms, and our conflicting human reactions to them.

With tales from around the world, Marley, a seasoned mushroom expert, explains that some cultures are mycophilic (mushroom-loving), like those of Russia and Eastern Europe, while others are intensely mycophobic (mushroom-fearing), including, the US. He shares stories from China, Japan, and Korea-where mushrooms are interwoven into the fabric of daily life as food, medicine, fable, and folklore-and from Slavic countries where whole families leave villages and cities during rainy periods of the late summer and fall and traipse into the forests for mushroom-collecting excursions.

From the famous Amanita phalloides (aka "the Death Cap"), reputed killer of Emperor Claudius in the first century AD, to the beloved chanterelle (cantharellus cibarius) known by at least eighty-nine different common names in almost twenty-five languages, Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares explores the ways that mushrooms have shaped societies all over the globe.

This fascinating and fresh look at mushrooms-their natural history, their uses and abuses, their pleasures and dangers-is a splendid introduction to both fungi themselves and to our human fascination with them. From useful descriptions of the most foolproof edible species to revealing stories about hallucinogenic or poisonous, yet often beautiful, fungi, Marley's long and passionate experience will inform and inspire readers with the stories of these dark and mysterious denizens of our forest floor.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares

Greg Marley

Paperback $17.95

An Unlikely Vineyard

An Unlikely Vineyard

By Deirdre Heekin

An Unlikely Vineyard tells the evolutionary story of Deirdre Heekin’s farm from overgrown fields to a fertile, productive, and beautiful landscape that melds with its natural environment.

Is it possible to capture landscape in a bottle? To express its terroir, its essence of place—geology, geography, climate, and soil—as well as the skill of the winegrower?

That’s what Heekin and her chef/husband, Caleb Barber, set out to accomplish on their tiny, eight-acre hillside farm and vineyard in Vermont.

But An Unlikely Vineyard involves much more. It also presents, through the example of their farming journey and winegrowing endeavors, an impressive amount of information on how to think about almost every aspect of gardening: from composting to trellising; from cider and perry making to growing old garden roses, keeping bees, and raising livestock; from pruning (or not) to dealing naturally with pests and diseases.

Challenged by cold winters, wet summers, and other factors, Deirdre and Caleb set about to grow not only a vineyard, but an orchard of heirloom apples, pears, and plums, as well as gardens filled with vegetables, herbs, roses, and wildflowers destined for their own table and for the kitchen of their small restaurant. They wanted to create, or rediscover, a sense of place, and to grow food naturally using the philosophy and techniques gleaned from organic gardening, permaculture, and biodynamic farming.

Accompanied throughout by lush photos, this gentle narrative will appeal to anyone who loves food, farms, and living well.

Available in: Hardcover, eBook

Read More

An Unlikely Vineyard

Deirdre Heekin, Alice Feiring

Hardcover $35.00

In the Company of Bears

In the Company of Bears

By Benjamin Kilham

Imagine raising an orphaned bear cub, carefully reintroducing her to the wild, then being welcomed back, almost daily, to observe her wild world for more than seventeen years. Imagine visiting her in her feeding spots, watching her with her mates and her young, peering into her den, and, over time, observing the lives of all the other wild bears in her territory and surrounding ones. That is what happened to Ben Kilham, whose long-term study of wild black bears has shattered conventional wisdom about how they live their lives.

In the Company of Bears unveils Kilham’s groundbreaking work. Like others, he once thought that black bears were solitary. But he discovered that they actually have extraordinary communication and interaction with each other—creating and enforcing codes of conduct, forming alliances, and even sharing territory and food when supplies are ample.

In the Company of Bears (originally released in hardcover as Out on a Limb) is more than a story about bears. It’s the story of a scientist once kept from a traditional science career by his dyslexia, only to find that thinking and seeing differently was his greatest gift and his best tool to interpret the non-human world.

In the Company of Bears is also available as an audio book! Browse and download the book here >>

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

In the Company of Bears

Benjamin Kilham, Temple Grandin

Paperback $17.95

The Chelsea Green Reader

The Chelsea Green Reader

Chelsea Green, the Vermont-based independent publisher, has always had a nose for authors and subjects that are way ahead of the cultural curve, as is evident in this new anthology celebrating the company’s first thirty years in publishing.

The more than one hundred books represented in this collection reflect the many distinct areas in which we have published–from literature and memoirs to progressive politics, to highly practical books on green building, organic gardening and farming, food and health, and related subjects–all of which reflect our underlying philosophy: "The politics and practice of sustainable living." The Chelsea Green Reader offers a glimpse into our wide-ranging list of books and authors and to the important ideas that they express. Interesting and worth reading in their own right, the individual passages when taken as a whole trace the evolution of a highly successful small publisher–something that is almost an oxymoron in these days of corporate buyouts and multinational book groups.
From the beginning, Chelsea Green's books were nationally recognized, garnering positive reviews, accolades, and awards. We’ve published four New York Times bestsellers, and our books have set the standard for in-depth, how-to books that remain relevant years–often decades–beyond their original publication date.

"Chelsea Green was born from a single seed: the beauty of craft. Craft in writing and editing, in a story well told, or a thesis superbly expressed," writes cofounder and publisher emeritus Ian Baldwin in the book's foreword. Today, craft continues to inform all aspects of our work–design, illustration, production, sales, promotion, and beyond. It has even informed our business model: In 2012, Chelsea Green became an employee-owned company.

With the rise of the Internet, new media platforms, and a constantly shifting bookselling landscape, the future of publishing is anything but predictable. But if Chelsea Green's books prove anything, it is that, despite these challenges, there remains a hunger for new and important ideas and authors, and for the permanence and craftsmanship of the printed word. Today our ongoing mission is stronger than ever, as we launch into our next thirty years of publishing excellence.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

The Chelsea Green Reader

Ben Watson, Ian Baldwin

Paperback $15.00