Monday, March 2, 2015

Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Anna Whiston-Donaldson

I was with a friend of mine, a new mother of a ten-month old baby, and as we watched him crawling around on the carpet, I was struck that a year ago, the baby was still inside of my friend and now he's outside and mobile. Amazing.

It continues to amaze me when a healthy baby is born because there are so many things that need to go right to form a healthy baby.

I wish that I only had happy stories to tell of friends with healthy babies, but alas, there is always loss mixed in with life and unfortunately, babies do die, and it's tragic and devastating. Sigh.

We come to this book, Rare Bird, about Anna Whiston-Donaldson's 12-year-old son, Jack, who dies after drowning in a river during a freak rainstorm. She writes about Jack, his quirks and his personality, and her grief after his death.

Sad, heartbreaking, but so full of love. A really beautiful book. But here's a warning: it's a sad and heart wrenching book to read.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier


 This book is like Downton Abbey but with murder.

The second Mrs. de Winter comes to live at the Manderley estate where her husband's first wife's beloved presence and legacy fills every corner. But was the late first wife, Rebecca, really as perfect as the staff and townspeople seem to think?

Even though this book was published in 1938, it does not read like it. It is a spooky and suspenseful mystery. I would recommend this to you if you're looking for a dense and satisfying mystery to curl up with during the next storm.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mud Season by Ellen Stimson

The subtitle for this book is: How One Woman's Dream of Moving to Vermont, Raising Children, Chickens and Sheep, and Running the Old Country Store Pretty Much Led to One Calamity After Another. 
  
Let's make this a quick review: the author wonders why the townspeople don't like her, and it's because she is impulsive, rude, and clueless! I also didn't like that she doesn't take responsibility for her actions. She writes things like, "I might have said..." or "I might have done this....". Just confess to what you did! It's a memoir!

If you are looking for a book about starting up a farm (albeit an urban farm), I suggest that you skip this book and check out Novella Carpenter's Farm City instead.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder by Evelyn Waugh

I used to think that this book was about vampires, but it's totally not! Hahaha. It's actually about Charles Ryder, a captain in the post-WWI British army, and his reflections on his friendships and entanglements with the family of the Brideshead estate. It's also about the decline of the British aristocracy. Not a vampire in sight! Hahah.

I felt like I was reading an assigned book for high school literature class. It's not exactly my type of book, so it was just so-so for me.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Us by David Nicholls



I loved One Day by Nicholls, and I also very much liked Us, but man, is it a painful read!

The narrator, Douglas, is getting ready to go on a Grand Tour of Europe with his wife and 17-year-old son when his wife tells him that she is thinking of leaving him. So off they go on their Grand Tour and Douglas tries his best to make things better. He recounts their early courtship as he also tells us about the Grand Tour. We see how him and his wife came together and also what things drew them apart. A study in marital relationships.

Recommended, but remember, it's a painful read!!!









Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

This is all about how checklists can save lives in hospitals by reminding hospital staff about the routine checks and procedures that must be completed, and also in the air by directing pilots how to deal with complicated situations.

The importance of checklists is convincingly argued, and yet it would have been helpful for Gawande to expand on the practical ways of making a great checklists to improve lives of us common civilians.

After reading this book, I have started making more checklists!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Diana: Her True Story - In Her Own Words by Andrew Morton

A couple of weeks ago, I watched a PBS show titled Diana vs. The Queen. It was about the progression of their relationship, and it was fascinating. I did not know that Diana had known about Prince Charles' affair with Camilla before they were married and that Diana had thought about calling off the wedding. I was so fascinated that I immediately checked out this book so that I could find out more about Diana and her life.

If you're interested in royal life at all, you might like this book. It's quite thorough, and definitely pro-Diana. If you can though, I would recommend watching the show Diana vs. The Queen on your local PBS station when it airs next!