Chelsea Green Publishing

It's Probably Nothing

More Adventures of a Vermont Country Doctor

Availability: In Stock

eBook

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.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

"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.

Booklist-
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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

AUTHOR VIDEOS

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

Beach Conger and It's Probably Nothing

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

A Handmade Life

A Handmade Life

By William Coperthwaite and John Saltmarsh

William Coperthwaite is a teacher, builder, designer, and writer who for many years hasexplored the possibilities of true simplicity on a homestead on the north coast of Maine. In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and Helen and Scott Nearing, Coperthwaite has fashioned a livelihood of integrity and completeness-buying almost nothing, providing for his own needs, and serving as a guide and companion to hundreds of apprentices drawn to his unique way of being.

A Handmade Life carries Coperthwaite's ongoing experiments with hand tools, hand-grown and gathered food, and handmade shelter, clothing, and furnishings out into the world to challenge and inspire. His writing is both philosophical and practical, exploring themes of beauty, work, education, and design while giving instruction on the hand-crafting of the necessities of life. Richly illustrated with luminous color photographs by Peter Forbes, the book is a moving and inspirational testament to a new practice of old ways of life.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

A Handmade Life

William Coperthwaite, Peter Forbes, John Saltmarsh

Paperback $25.00

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

Growing, Older

Growing, Older

By Joan Dye Gussow

Michael Pollan calls her one of his food heroes. Barbara Kingsolver credits her with shaping the history and politics of food in the United States. And countless others who have vied for a food revolution, pushed organics, and reawakened Americans to growing their own food and eating locally consider her both teacher and muse.Joan Gussow has influenced thousands through her books, This Organic Life and The Feeding Web, her lectures, and the simple fact that she lives what she preaches. Now in her eighties, she stops once more to pass along some wisdom-surprising, inspiring, and controversial-via the pen.

Gussow's memoir Growing, Older begins when she loses her husband of 40 years to cancer and, two weeks later, finds herself skipping down the street-much to her alarm. Why wasn't she grieving in all the normal ways? With humor and wit, she explains how she stopped worrying about why she was smiling and went on worrying, instead, and as she always has, about the possibility that the world around her was headed off a cliff. But hers is not a tale, or message, of gloom. Rather it is an affirmation of a life's work-and work in general.

Lacking a partner's assistance, Gussow continued the hard labor of growing her own year-round diet. She dealt single-handedly with a rising tidal river that regularly drowned her garden, with muskrat interlopers, broken appliances, bodily decay, and river trash-all the while bucking popular notions of how "an elderly widowed woman" ought to behave.

Scattered throughout are urgent suggestions about what growing older on a changing planet will call on all of us to do: learn self-reliance and self-restraint, yield graciously if not always happily to necessity, and-since there is no other choice-come to terms with the insistencies of the natural world. Gussow delivers another literary gem-one that women curious about aging, gardeners curious about contending with increasingly intense weather, or environmentalists curious about the future will embrace.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

Growing, Older

Joan Dye Gussow

Paperback $17.95

Libation, A Bitter Alchemy

Libation, A Bitter Alchemy

By Deirdre Heekin

For many years, Deirdre Heekin has been creating an unusual, revitalist wine archive of rare and traditional Italian varietals at Osteria Pane e Salute, the nationally celebrated restaurant and wine bar she shares with her chef husband, Caleb Barber. Self-taught in the world of Italian wines, she is known for her fine-tuned work with scent and taste and her ability to pair wines and food in unexpected yet terroir-driven ways.

In Libation, a Bitter Alchemy, a series of linked personal essays, Heekin explores the curious development of her nose and palate, her intuitive education and relationship with wine and spirits, and her arduous attempts to make liqueurs and wine from the fruits of her own land in northern New England. The essays follow her as she unearths ruby-toned wines given up by the ghosts of long-gone wine makers from the red soil of Italy, her adoptive land; as she embarks on a complicated pilgrimage to the home of one of the world's oldest cocktails, Sazerac, in Katrina-soaked New Orleans; as she attempts a midsummer crafting of a brandy made from inherited roses, the results of an old Sicilian recipe she found in a dusty bookstore in Naples.

Musing on spirits from Campari to alkermes, Heekin's writing is as intoxicating, rich, and carefully crafted as the wines, liquors, and locales she loves.

Available in: eBook

Read More

Libation, A Bitter Alchemy

Deirdre Heekin

eBook $25.00