It’s more essential than ever for folks to take charge of their medical care. But how? In his book, Surviving American Medicine, Dr. Cary Presant gives readers what they need to know to make informed choices. Here are a few tips: Bring a list of your concerns, symptoms, and questions; bring family or a friend to help listen and ask questions; write down the answers; record the doctor’s advice; if you need medicine, ask if there is a generic brand or free samples; ask what illnesses you are at risk of getting based on current health and family history. Dr. Presant will read from and sign copies of his book Saturday, October 26, 3-5 p.m., Tecolote Book Shop, 1470 E. Valley Rd., Montecito. Call 969-4977. Surviving American Medicine is available at area bookshops or amazon.com.