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"Books are the most mannerly of companions, accessible at all times, in all moods, frankly declaring the author's mind, without offense."


— Amos Bronson Alcott

Reader's Link - September 2011 Staff Picks Archive


Bittersweet

A Bittersweet Season

Title: A Bittersweet Season
By: Jane Gross

My father, in his 90s, lives on the opposite coast. I worry about his health, his safety, his security -- and my own. Over the past few years, searching for advice, I’ve tossed out countless newspaper and magazine articles and returned piles of library books half-read. I hesitated before checking out A Bittersweet Season. But, by the time I'd applied a dozen Post-Its to my library copy, I'd decided to buy one for myself. (This is one of the beauties of libraries: they allow one to decide for free where to invest one's hard-earned pennies.)

If you are, or may be, responsible in any way for an aging elder; if you are that elder; if you are a caregiver who works with those responsible, or their charges -- check this book out. Soon. Because, as Gross points out, when things go wrong, they go wrong in droves, and rapidly. Have this resource in hand before you're in full panic mode.

View similarly tagged posts: non-fiction
Posted by curious on Sept. 28, 2011 at 8:30 a.m.
0 Comments

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

Title: The Glass Castle
By: Jeannette Walls

At once heartbreaking and heartening, Walls describes her peripatetic childhood taking on adult responsibilities at an extremely young age because her parents, though physically present, lived mostly in their own worlds. They obviously loved their children but felt no need to parent them in the conventional sense. At the age of three, Jeanette was routinely cooking meals on a gas stove. The family moved from small town to small town often one step ahead of the law and/or the debt collector. Jeanette's mother was an artist and sometime teacher, but when she had a job, her three older children were the ones who kept her organized, wrote lesson plans, and got her off to work each morning. Her father Rex was a charming drunk, inventor, and self made scholar who rarely held a job for more than a few months.
The family finally settled in West Virginia near the paternal grandparents where Jeannette and her older sister and younger brother worked hard in and out of school to support the family and gradually all of them moved on to New York, higher education, and careers.
I listened to the audiobook version of The Glass Castle and highly recommend it, but the library also has regular and large print versions of the book.

View similarly tagged posts: biography,audiobook
Posted by ogradyj on Sept. 21, 2011 at 11:02 a.m.
4 Comments

But Wait! There's More!

Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1.

Title: Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1.
By: Harriet Elinor Smith, Editor.

Dear Mr. Clemens,

So nice to hear from you! As always, I enjoyed reading your recollections of work as a cub pilot on the Mississippi, and the amusing stories of life on the never ending lecture circuit. I’m so sorry about your daughter Suzy passing away; she sounds like such a wonderful person, loving charades and plays as she did, and so “full of intuitions and ponderings”. I remember visiting your house in West Hartford a few years ago, and when gazing at your personal desk, I could have sworn I saw some papers moving about, was that you still working there? I recently read that it was a couple of professors from Cal who finally deciphered the order of arrangement of the entries in this diary of yours, and that there will be two more volumes published in the future! You must be very glad about that. Why, just the other day I was telling a colleague I wish the great actor Hal Holbrook would narrate these “new” books! He does such a swell job of impersonating your mannerisms and voice, and it would be a fine audio book for listening to in the car. Certainly it would save my wrists; you would laugh at me propping this big heavy book upon a pillow! Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights. That’s all for now.

I remain, Your Most Sincere Friend

P. S. Would you please tell Nathaniel, Herman, Emily, Scottie, and Ernest that I said hello?

View similarly tagged posts: fiction,non-fiction,history,biography,travel
Posted by pollockl on Sept. 14, 2011 at 1:27 p.m.
0 Comments

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