Sunday, November 18, 2012

Adventures of a One Breasted Woman by Susan Cummings

This was my latest Early Review.  Fifteen chapters of interrelated essays about coping in the aftermath of breast cancer.  The author reminds me of many of the women in my writing circle who write exclusively on one subject and have many personal points of view and interesting side angles to a single topic.

I was worried it would be a rehash of all the events leading up to and during her ordeal, but it was as described in the title: reclaiming her moxie after cancer.

Some of the chapters were more interesting and better written then others, but overall it was satisfying, and Susan Cummings does write some lovely prose.  I specifically liked the chapter on faith which deals with signs and symbols and feelings that some otherworldly presence is looking out for her (or are they?) and a great chapter on a specific friendship in four parts, which had a bittersweet ending.

Overall I began to feel sorry for  Susan because the sadnesses in her life (not even related to cancer) seemed to build up and build up, but she saved her good news for last and the memoir had a satisfying, upbeat ending.  A small coda at the end had her planning for her own funeral and death which seemed slightly macabre, but it was interesting food for thought.

I am lending this book to a few one breasted friends I know, but I am sure it is available on Amazon and will definitely save it for anyone who would like to read it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

In honor of the recent events

Like many in this country, I have been mesmerized by the recently past election.  I discovered this book a few months ago and have been slowly working my way through it.  It is fascinating and I thought I'd share it for folks who want to know and understand more about the presidency.

The Presidents Club is the group of past presidents who endeavor to help and advise the sitting president.  No matter the party, these men have a singular view that is shared by a very very few other men.  They form a camaraderie simply to support, assist and advise each other.  Fun fact:  did you know that the only time in modern history that we have been without a president's club is under Richard Nixon?  Or that it was former presidents that counseled Al Gore to give up the fight again George Bush in 2000?  They told him that to continue the challenge was to challenge the legitimacy of the presidency. In retrospect this seems like wise advice.

So this is the book about how Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea to help get the release of two journalists or how Richard Nixon had to lay low when Reagan was elected, but secretly sent him a lot of letters of advice or how Herbert Hoover, much reviled, came out of retirement to make peace with Truman and help feed Europe in the aftermath of World War II.

This is a fascinating historical account of a little examined group of men.  Available at your local bookstore or library.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gone GIrl by Gillian Flynn

Dear Readers,

So sorry I have been so absent from the book world.  My life has been a confluence of events--way to complicated to go into here that have precluded me from reading much more than the newspaper and cereal boxes.  But I have finished a thrilling, page turning, New York Times best selling book that I wanted to share with you.

You may have heard of Gone Girl. It is on every bookshelf and every list.  A missing woman, a suspicious husband, an elaborate plan.  It has many twists and turns and is the kind of book you can read in a day or if you need to put it down to eat, perhaps a weekend.

My only bit of criticism was that by the end--it did get a bit predictable.  Not totally predictable, but by the last hundred or so pages I could see where the author was going with it.  Disturbing book, great read, perfect for the airplane or beach.  Long wait list at the library--it should be out in paperback soon.

Happy Fall! Enjoy.