Tuesday, June 30, 2015

All There Is by Dave Isay

     This little book is compiled of many little stories collected by a facilitator who first set up a booth in Grand Central Station in New York City. Two people face each other and for forty minutes they ask each other questions and listen. People often say it was the most important forty minutes of their lives.
      This book was devoted to stories about romantic love. It is divided into three sections: falling in love, remembering a loved one, and finding love unexpectedly after deciding it was never going to happen.
     I really enjoyed this quick read because it came from real people and the stories are all true. They made me feel like not everything in life is phony, and that love still abounds, giving us a desire to live and making our spirits strong. Several of the stories brought tears to my eyes. I loved it.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir by Roz Chast

Roz Chast chronicles her parents’ decline, both in their 90’s, from living independently in their Brooklyn apartment to assisted living, nursing home and finally hospice.  It is filled with honest and raw emotions, yet with a humorous touch.  As she is the only child, all the legal and financial planning and caring for her parents’ end-of life fall on her.  While she has deep affection for her father George, Chast has conflicted feelings towards her mother Elizabeth but eventually comes to terms with it.  Her combination of cartoon drawings, photos and writings makes this an original read about death in our culture, a subject that we often don't talk about.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sophia by Paula Kremser

In this Regency romance novel, Sophia, a small town girl, visits London where she finds she is to receive an unexpected inheritance. She stays in London with her aunt who takes her to many social events.  Her aunt wants to trick Sophia out of her inheritance and sets Sophia up to be found resting in a gentleman's room and when this gentleman (Alex) enters the room, they are caught together.  Because her reputation will be ruined she needs to marry Alex, a man she doesn't even know. Sophia rebels and decides she doesn't care about being "ruined" but Alex wants to save her reputation and his.  Why does a marriage cause Sophia to lose her inheritance and why is Alex showing so much interest in her? This is an enjoyable and at times humorous story written by an author who is a former Pella resident.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Public Library: A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson

Taking a moment for self reflection this month, I thought I would journey through  Robert Dawson’s photographic essay that celebrates the institution of the public library in all of its many forms.   Full-color photographs of libraries large and small , open and closed, are interspersed with essays from names like Dr. Seuss and Amy Tan on the meaning and value of public libraries.  Does the book come to a conclusion?  Only that the story of the public library continues to unfold even today, and that it represents a common man’s revolution; the equity of knowledge across any and all barriers.  It’s a dream that has been fully realized in the public library and now chronicled in this book, one which Toni Morrison herself calls “profound and heartbreakingly beautiful.”