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One Hundred and Fifty Three New Pieces
One Hundred Fifty Three New Pieces is a mixed bag of fiction and non-fiction tales written by Joel Berman. The collection includes fantasy, whimsical stories, historical events, personal occurrences and the author’s comments on everyday events and his views on medicine and science, (He is a practicing surgeon). The diversity of the stories makes for an interesting read with fractured fairy tales, discussion of a famous murder trial, comments on addictions and drugs, and even a description of a surgeon undergoing open heart surgery on himself. The author delves into science fiction, historical tidbits and comments on life in America in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, discussions about computers and heinous medical crimes, and even his recent experience meeting an elderly, living Elvis on a pier in Newport Beach. This is an imaginative, diverse collection of short stories, a short one act play and the wherewithal, if you keep it at bedside, to keep you reading well into the night. Here is something for everyone to read while one has a few minutes to spare during a busy day, with stories varying in length from one to twenty pages, each with a totally different plot and often with twisted, unexpected endings. Enjoy!
An attorney is murdered. Another attorney is murdered. And another. It looks, one observer suggests, like somebody here has a serious problem with attorneys! Two surgeons, a man and wife. She … is sued for malpractice and loses her case-a devastating blow to a proud professional that drives her into terrible despair and finally suicide. He … watches his wife slowly pushed toward self-destruction by the cynical hostility of prosecutors in a legal system that has lost its concern for justice. But he decides he’ll reintroduce justice into the system-his own kind, administered in his own way. Then malpractice attorneys begin to turn up dead. Each one is uniquely executed-and surgically altered in bizarre and disturbing ways. There are no fingerprints, no blood. Few clues are left behind. Usable evidence is sparse. And the killer, as he contemplates what he’s accomplished, silently dedicates each murder to the memory of his beloved wife. The police detective assigned to this case, Septimus “Mac” McClymonds, soon confirms that he is in a battle of wits with a most unusual and highly intelligent serial killer. As he carefully studies the details of each crime, attempting to develop a profile of the perpetrator, he finds himself continually frustrated, and he is even taunted with grim humor by macabre notes the murderer leaves on the bodies of his victims, celebrating yet another death. Thus develops a cat-and-mouse game between Mac and his quarry, until the elusive killer finally seems to have been identified and Mac is about to nab him-except for . . . .
During its 4,000years of existence, a Bristlecone Pine Tree (in actuality the oldest living species on earth) develops the ability to think and transfer its thoughts to other objects, eventually finding a human boy as its host. With its long life and strange connection with Universal energy, the tree imbues the boy with extraordinary knowledge and abilities. We learn about the development of the tree through its own autobiography and the complexities it faces, becoming intimately attached to the body and actions of the human, endowing the boy with the mind of a genius. The boy and tree grow, and eventually face issues in coexisting together. The tree, however, cannot conceive of turning to its physical being only as a pine tree fixed to a solitary plot of ground high in the California Mountains, and refuses to leave the boy’s body. Eventually, the boy and his lover must decide how to live with the tree or to take some other option. There is no other book like this, essentially written by a tree (as explained in the text) and focuses on what a human could accomplish if he were able to use not 10—15% of his brain power, but upward of 50% or more, guided by a living thing which has existed for over 4,000 years.
The Human Machine
Michael Curly Sanford is a young man caught in a web of drugs and alcohol. A simple, happy life of adolescent leisure and adventure quickly deteriorates into an uncontrolled morass of incomprehensible demoralization as he moves from one city to another. He encounters situations with others arising out of their drunken rage, dalliance with street drugs, physical interactions and even experiences violence and death. Following the pattern of Jack Kerouacs Beat Generation, searching for his own 21st century version of the meaning of life , his intellectual and academic pursuits quickly become subverted by alcohol, drugs and sexual exploitation. He meets men and women from several walks of life, each facing their own demons, and sees life through the eyes of other men and women. The book moves rapidly down his path of self-destruction and has two opposing endings from which the readers may choose. He finds final solace when he realizes that, in spite of his disease of addiction, his troubles were basically of his own making and the solution lay in finally deciding to take action and work a program of recovery. His life or death depends on this. Serendipity as well as planned action struggle against one another in the life of this and every addict and alcoholic. The novel is an exciting, action-packed journey but also a meditation on drug addiction and alcoholism written by an author who has worked in the field of recovery for over thirty years.
Mid-19th century: The Civil War is raging, as is racial tension. Abby is the young, recently widowed wife of a Northern Civil War surgeon, who encounters many wealthy and unscrupulous men as she mourns the death of her husband. Her adopted son, Michael, falls in love with a former slave, Manda. They want to escape to a place where the social climate is different, away from prying eyes that judge and condemn. Michael and Manda travel by railroad from New York to California, where Manda would be recognized as Michael’s common-law wife. They hope to begin a new life and start a vineyard. But fate deals them a different hand when Manda is abducted, first by Mormons, then soldiers, and later by a Chinese group in San Francisco involved in enslaving young women and sending them as concubines to Asia. Abby, Michael, and an older former slave, Betty, band together to bring Manda back. Each will have to make a sacrifice and each will be forever changed by a series of events that takes them places they never expected. Joel Berman writes a thrilling saga set against the backdrop of historical events: the atrocities of the Civil War, medicine in the mid-19th century, emancipation, the suffrage movement, the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, the conversion from sailing ships to steam ships, and the influx of the opium trade into the United States. Berman is a writer and surgeon who has written over 20 books. He is currently writing historical fiction and lives in California.
Elizabeth—A Play in Five Acts, by William Shakespeare, (Recently discovered by Joel Berman), ISBN 9780828326537 Paperback $19; ISBN 9780828326544 E-Book The historical play ELIZABETH by Wm Shakespeare was written in 1597 when Shakespeare was 33 years old. It was apparently produced only once, for a small group of peerage in 1604, eight months after the death of the queen at the beginning of the Jacobean Era when James VI of Scotland acceded to the throne and became James I of England. The play, for obvious reasons, was kept secret during the lifetime of the queen and even after her death, the bard would have been in dire straits had it been performed in public. The only remaining manuscript was kept by his daughter Susanna, who had married a physician, Dr. John Hall. It is presumed that before his death, Hall sold the only surviving manuscript to Lord Beardsley, who kept it in his possession until his death. Although there are a few references to its existence in obscure anthologies, it apparently was known to exist by several of the prominent literati of the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century. Somehow, they got access to it, plagiarizing many lines and notable quotations in their own literary works. The present copy was taken from the original discovered in 2006 in the library of Lord William Dunsmere of Dunsmere Castle. The original was later purchased for 78 million pounds by an anonymous buyer, thought by many to be a representative of the Windsor family. In this play—recently discovered by Dr. Joel Berman, Shakespeare is a devoted husband and father, recruited to be an active courtier on behalf of Queen Elizabeth. Conflicts arise when he gives into the Queen’s sexual prowess, knowing all the while of his own faithful wife, mothering his children by herself back home, and unable to quell rumors abounding everywhere. Bringing the play into 21st century, Berman effectively interweaves popular songs and staged plays.
Murder by Design
Evil assassin Ivan Glebnov, a stash of Peruvian emeralds, private eye “Mossy” Silverstein, his intellectually challenged sister Schlunka, and a savvy police detective, Michael “Mickey” Markowitz, are embroiled in another of Joel Berman’s gripping novels, Murder By Design. Humorous, absurd, even ridiculous at times, the action continues until several men are eliminated in “artful” ways before the totally unexpected conclusion to this exciting mystery occurs.
An Alphabetic Collection Of Ridiculous Medical Poetry And A Devil’s Dictionary Of Medical Specialists
If laughter is the best medicine, then this collection is sure to cure what ails you. From the lowly “Appendix” to the lesser-known “Zonule of Zinn,” these playful poems present an alphabet of body parts. The accompanying Devil’s Dictionary plays havoc with various medical (and some non-medical) definitions. A definite must-read for anyone who enjoys humor, especially those in the medical profession.
Something of the Old
An attractive, supposedly innocent young coed is found brutally stabbed to death. Ned Bowden, a college student with a tumor in the area of the brain controlling violent behavior, is an immediate suspect. The plot unfolds a disturbing side to the girl’s life and examines the professors and students with whom she has been involved, before reaching the surprising conclusion.
The Cloak of Hippocrates
The Cloak of Hippocrates is the compelling saga of Alex Morpheus, a boy growing up in nineteenth-century New England. In his infancy, Alex is abandoned by his father after his mother dies in childbirth, and though the wealthy senior Morpheus supports him financially throughout his youth he is never a parent to the child. In fact, while Alex is in his early school years, his father moves to England, remarries, and has another family. Alex, undaunted and even strengthened by his difficult childhood, develops into a distinguished scholar and surgeon, also marrying the daughter of an influential U.S. Senator and having two children. His father, in the meantime, is apparently associated with several heinous murders in London, a situation that inevitably draws Alex there and to a reunion with the man who abandoned him decades earlier. Written in the style of Jean-Christopher and David Copperfield, this is a story rich with surprising twists and turns, including encounters with actual figures of that era, such as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.; Emily Dickinson; Dr. William Halsted; and even Jack the Ripper, giving the story a strong and intriguing historical sense.
The Oldest Sins
Bilby Mcmillan is a very wealthy old man. Greedy children and associates try to bilk him out of his money. He deals with the wretches by letting each be the cause of his own undoing. This humorous and clever dark comedy depicts a man who finds solace in uncovering and eliminating individuals who would do anything for that most evil of temptations— money.
In Fifty-two Pieces, Dr. Joel Berman runs the gamut from heart-rending, nerve-racking tales of medical emergencies to cleverly humorous short stories involving minor thugs, gorgeous women, and sometimes clueless protagonists whose lives endure the most outrageous complications. These fifty-two short tales are guaranteed to make you alternately laugh and cry.
A Greek Tragedy
Set in contemporary times, this novel is a present day retelling of the tragic tale of Oedipus, loosely adapted from the play by Sophocles. It is a tale of love, lust, tragedy, recognition, realization and reconciliation which is as poignant today as it was three thousand years ago.
The Girl with the Emerald Eyes
This exciting story opens with military turmoil and murder a thousand years ago in England. Then it moves swiftly to contemporary America, where Molly Parsons, a beautiful and spirited young graduate student, is drawn into a mystery from that medieval time and place. Moving to England to study, she learns that during the Norman Conquest of 1066, a manuscript was hidden then lost in an obscure monastery, where it lay buried for a millennium. When it is finally uncovered, its enormous historical value comes to the attention of various individuals, including Molly, who recognizes it as a priceless archaeological treasure;. Others, with a similar recognition, are ready to steal it, sell it, and — as necessary — kill for it. In the adventure that follows, Molly adds her assertive personality and intellectual strength to the police investigation of theft and murder. She tangles with many people, including dedicated monks, a charming fellow scholar, a ruthless and embittered individual who kills people without remorse, and — Ogana Leeds, a black African intellectual who suffers cruelly from birth defects. Molly, initially repulsed by Ogana, is finally moved by him to reexamine her deepest feelings about life, emotion, and her responsibilities to others.
Circle in the Water
Without warning, a small group of political radicals in Rome detonates a homemade bomb in an area crowded with up-scale shoppers–and the lives of many innocents are suddenly changed forever. Among them is Angela Bernard, a radiantly beautiful American university professor on her honeymoon, who is hit full-force by the blast and her face is torn apart. Jean-Pierre, her wealthy husband, who had been enchanted by her beauty and raw erotic nature, is now tragically confronted by terrible questions about loyalty to a wife whose mind and body are shattered. Further, and unknown to either of them, is the fact that Angela is pregnant, though she will ultimately discover that the child’s father is not Jean-Pierre. Thus begun, this story of crisis and challenge unfolds on an international stage, revealing how strangers brought together by tragedy confront and struggle with passion, guilt, ambition, responsibility, and redemption. Circle in the Water is an exciting, fast-moving tale that follows the intertwined lives of six people who were profoundly affected by the bomb explosion–including two young lovers who come together years later as the book draws toward its remarkable and surprising finale.
Floating World: A Novel
1939. Maurice Volst, the offspring of Japanese-German parents, is scorned in Berlin because of his mixed heritage. He flees to America, where he helps break the Japanese War code, and assists Roosevelt and Churchill in clandestinely effecting the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan, forcing the United States into the War. The book also deals with Japanese-American interment at Manzanar.
A Few Loose Screws
A Few Loose Screws follows the farcical adventures of a toilet company heir, Ogden Wellborn IV, whose birthright is one of great wealth and position, though his capacities for taking advantage of that good fortune don’t happen to include intellectual prowess or good sense. His tragicomic bumblings include getting an M.D. degree by scheming his way through medical school; using family connections to enter a neurosurgery program for which he is remarkably unqualified; marrying well—-or at least satisfyingly—-to twenty-year-old stripper Bubbles McFarland; and, after the spectacular collapse of his neurosurgery ambitions, deciding to cap his career by finally doing something he thinks will be easy. So he becomes a Registered Nurse—-and quickly learns how wrong he was about “easy,” since soon he is stumbling over his own feet again. This madcap tale—-authentic in its details of the medical field because the author is a successful surgeon—-moves swiftly from one hilarious event to the next, exploring the life of an eternally optimistic simpleton who can’t win for losing or build things up without wrecking them first, but who eventually finds peace of mind and a place for himself—-far away from the complexities of the modern world.
Dr. Joel Berman uses his broad medical experience as a surgeon to focus on alternative, preventive approaches to conquering cancer. He describes how 90 percent of all cancers can be attributed to environmental factors. He believes the way to combat and conquer cancer is by combining the best of alternative measures and traditional scientific approaches to achieve optimum outcome.
The Death of America?
The Death of America is a study of the deterioration of ethics, character and education in the United States. Covering a broad range of topics it is a critical, eye-opening, thought-provoking examination of intellectual apathy, misplaced direction and the dissipation of those basic principles which originally heralded the growth of a great nation work ethic, honesty, service, accomplishment, but most of all character!
Comprehensive Breast Care and Surviving Breast Cancer
Many people live their entire lives without ever having their eyes opened. Oh I don’t mean they’re physically blind, but that they never have a sense of themselves as a member of society. They never really see the world around them or the people around them. Sometimes it takes a catastrophic event in our lives to give us that new vision that opens our eyes to life and love and people around us. I sincerely hope that you never have a catastrophic event that cannot be overcome, but I wish you all some event which will give you an emotional or spiritual or philosophical awakening while you are still young enough to appreciate it. Why do I mention this in the conclusion of a book about comprehensive breast care and surviving breast cancer? Because it is the passion that will carry you through the low points in your life, and let you see a different side of living. True, most of you will not get breast cancer; but knowing that one out of eight women will get that disease should give you the chance to help others and thereby help yourselves. Those touched by Cancer are in some ways the lucky ones because they can see a new horizon in their lives. Those who will never have cancer can only reach this understanding by becoming involved with those who have. I would hope that the knowledge and resources in this book will impact your life in a positive way, much as working with patients with breast and other diseases has impacted mine.
This chilling book is based on the true story of Adrian Van De Ree, a Dutch/American forced into slave labor at the age of 19 by the Nazis during World War II. Beginning with events around the time Holland was invaded, it takes us into the home of an average Dutch family-Adrian’s family-and describes their desperate efforts to survive in those terrible early years of occupation. But then life takes a frightening, unexpected turn for them when Adrian is betrayed by his Dutch/German employer, soon finding himself facing a grim future of forced labor. And we are jarred, unnerved by his recollections: an hour-by-hour history of one day among many in the experiences of a slave laborer, bringing clearly into focus a vivid picture of the horrors to which the young man and his fellow prisoners were subjected. It is reminiscent of similar circumstances that have been so well documented in countless books and films about the Holocaust, including such seminal works as Night by Elie Weisel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, and The Diary of Anne Frank. However, the awful fate that befell many non-Jewish citizens of occupied Europe as a result of Nazi brutality has often been overlooked in accounts of that long and terrible war. But unlike so many stories of those who suffered in that conflict, this one leads to a renewal of life, with Adrian describing the last days of his imprisonment, liberation by the Allies, return to freedom in Holland, and later his emigration to the United States. Slave Labor unflinchingly discloses the indignity and the savagery imposed by one group of people on another, but in the end it is shown to be that most hopeful of all tales, for it has become-as its subtitle declares-a Meditation on Humanity.
A great reference dictionary of medical\surgical terms and procedures that can be read and understood by professional and lay people alike.
Love Letters from the Way 1942-1945
Wrapped in old newspapers, several hundred letters and V-mail cards from my father were stored in an old trunk for many years, having been moved seven times since his return from Europe in 1945. Although we had known of their existence, they were never disturbed until after his untimely death from lung cancer in 1970, when my mother began reading through them and reminiscing about the past. In the mid-1970’s she excerpted passages from the letters, being sure to leave out any personal material. She attempted, unsuccessfully, to have this collection published, and the letters were placed back in the trunk for many more years. After she passed away in 2008, I had them transcribed in their complete form for this book. My brother did an extensive background on the hospitals and the practice of medicine during World War II, finding material once classified which was now available. He contacted the families of other physicians and, as he has described, found many resources to fill in the gaps in the commentary. Many of the V-mails and letters have been lost; the remaining are assembled here in their entirety, and provide a personal view of the War through the eyes and heart of a practicing surgeon. -Joel Berman