Reporter Molly Hacker prefers to write obituaries rather than report on the overwhelming minutiae of high society weddings. It's only a temporary projReporter Molly Hacker prefers to write obituaries rather than report on the overwhelming minutiae of high society weddings. It's only a temporary project she takes on in conjunction with her usual reporting assignments, but it facilitates the beginning of relationships that could have a permanent effect on her love life and future. Could it finally mean wedding bells? Will she have to set aside her "pickiness" in order to take the trip down the aisle? Does one have to sacrifice their standards at the very altar at which they're married?
Beneath the refreshing humor and amusing situations that take place in this romantic comedy is a story of the human heart, the connection it desires, and the fear of taking that first step to achieve it, a fear of possibly having to resort to self-sacrifice in the process. This is perhaps most brilliantly illustrated during a poignant discussion between Molly and her good friend Randy toward the beginning of the novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed the banter between the colorful characters as well as the ease in which the author injected wit and humor into the story. The plot twists were quite clever and I enjoyed the creative way the novel's conclusion was handled. The main characters are smart, sassy and endearingly human with all the quirks and flaws that come with being human. Molly winds up in scenarios that had me thinking, Well, this could get messy, and in some instances my premonition was proven correct in both humorous and humiliating ways for the protagonist.
Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! is an intriguing read that comes at a time when marriage, for some people, is more of a finish line in a race to boast about their status rather than a sacred ceremony to declare one's loyalty to the person they truly love. Lisette Brodey has done a remarkable job at executing an intricate plot while folding in the complex elements that often accompanies matters of the human heart and the pursuit of a compatible mate. For some, it is an endeavor that means having to explore different kinds of relationships to discover with whom they truly envision themselves for the long haul. ...more
The fact that Ward Foley was born with clubbed hands and feet in addition to Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC)—a disease that results in decreaThe fact that Ward Foley was born with clubbed hands and feet in addition to Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC)—a disease that results in decreased joint flexibility—was just the beginning of the many challenges he would face throughout his life.
Not only has he endured numerous surgeries in order to help him function more efficiently, but he’s faced perilous incidents ranging from a car accident and severe burns from a deep fryer, to an attack from the very youngsters he was trying to help in a youth home. Some may argue that Ward was cursed with rotten luck, but on the contrary, as painful and disruptive as many of these incidents were, they propelled him along a path that has shown him, and others, many blessings.
Through it all, Ward relied on his faith and the belief that it isn’t life that’s good or bad, it’s what we make of what we’ve been given. Furthermore, he has found his calling through his adversity and his desire to find peace. Despite all Ward has been through in his life, he has managed to keep his strong sense of humor, which he uses skillfully throughout the telling of his story. I went from fighting back tears while reading of his despair to laughing at his humorous recounts of the daredevil days of his childhood and the manner in which he handled crude comments about his condition. Reading about the miraculous occurrences in his life and the lives of those around him filled me with hope while reminding me that magic sometimes wears the mask of coincidence.
And like a magician, Ward transformed a series of misfortunes into a rich life through which he uses his experiences to connect with others to help bring them peace, solace and compassion during times of difficulty; whether working in a youth home, hospice, delivering motivational speeches or coaching little league baseball. However, these transformations were not illusions, but lasting contributions that will remain in the hearts of everyone he touched.
I highly recommend Thank My Lucky Scars because through reading it I, too, was touched and moved by Ward’s experiences. He has demonstrated that the human mind can defy physical limitations and the human spirit can heal itself and others while forming remarkable connections. I believe Ward’s undeniably resilient spirit and his continued desire to bring peace to others will inspire anyone who has ever found themselves against seemingly insurmountable odds or has ever been tempted to give up or surrender to their adversity. ...more
"My Way To Anywhere" is a brilliant collection of poems written during a time unrushed by the madness of modern technology. It wasn’t written by a wom"My Way To Anywhere" is a brilliant collection of poems written during a time unrushed by the madness of modern technology. It wasn’t written by a woman in pursuit of fast fame, but by Dr. Jean Lisette Brodey, a woman who wrote for the sheer joy and passion of writing. Though her earlier work has been included in national publication, life deferred her plans of publishing a poetry book of her own. More than fifty years elapsed and her cherished poems were feared lost until one day, like a sprouting young flower the collection reemerged in the Spring of possibility. Her daughter, Lisette, took the time to help her nurture and prune the vast assortment, eventually compiling the verses they felt worked best together.
Dr. Brodey’s intelligent and vivid prose paints a wide array of images in the reader’s mind and emotions in the heart. In each poetic verse she unfurls tapestries of reminiscence, heartache, love and loss. I found myself in awe of the masterful way she handled symbolism and metaphor while telling a story in each of her poems. By the time I finished the collection, I realized that I had been taken on an emotional journey. A number of verses carried me into territory I had never chartered, but was able to visualize and experience through Dr. Brodey’s eloquent recollection and vivid imagination.
Though I find the entire collection captivating, I do have several favorites—some of which stirred my heart and brought tears to my eyes.
"Thursdays Demand Existence" deeply resonated with me. It gave a clear glimpse into the mind of an artist who longs to create, but is tethered to a world filled with obligation.
"An Ending" and "Funeral" both struck a heartbreaking chord. It felt as though somehow the author and I were united in mourning, though our respective losses took place in vastly different eras.
In some cases, Dr. Brodey’s poems served as a vessel through which I revisited moments of passion, wonder and despair that have occurred in my life. "My Way to Anywhere" is a book in which I believe many people can find some sense of comfort and understanding since at some point or another, many of us have faced the topics covered in these poems, though we don’t always find the bravery to face the intense emotions they sometimes stir up. Bravery, it seems, is something she has in large supply and perhaps some of it has rubbed off on me, as I’m sure it will many readers as they continue on their way to Anywhere....more
William E. Dodd, history department chairman at the University of Chicago, is appointed Ambassador to Germany in 1933. Franklin D. Roosevelt selectedWilliam E. Dodd, history department chairman at the University of Chicago, is appointed Ambassador to Germany in 1933. Franklin D. Roosevelt selected Dodd not only because of his credentials and contacts he gained while serving as an advisor to the Wilson administration during the planning of the post WWI peace conference, but also because no one else would take the job. Dodd agrees to the assignment in part to continue Wilson’s ideal of international cooperation. He also feels the opportunity would grant him more time to work on his passion—writing, something his position at the university didn’t allow much time for. In fact, one of the things he most desires is to leave a mark on the world with his written account of the old South. However, his latest endeavor soon hinders his plans in ways he never anticipated.
In the Garden of Beasts is told from the perspectives of William Dodd and his daughter Martha since they kept the most thorough accounts of their respective experiences. Dodd and his wife, daughter, and son, arrive in Berlin and at the precipice of a complex journey full of political dynamics, propaganda, and terror that for a time remain deceptively shrouded in what they perceive to be the city’s grandeur, opulence, and romantic charm. As the illusion unfolds, the Dodds find themselves disturbingly close to horrific scenes of Jewish persecution amid press censorship and a looming war. Ambassador Dodd grows frustrated and helpless as his warnings to the State Department fall on deaf ears. Dodd’s disposition declines as he resents having to sit by helplessly amid rising injustice in Berlin. Ironic since United States was steeping in its own civil rights issues which would extend far beyond the conclusion of WWII.
In the Garden of Beasts is a richly described account of an American family who get more than they bargained for during their time in Hitler’s Berlin. The chronicle is interwoven with excerpts of letters and diaries written by the Dodds, their associates, and others, detailing chilling accounts of rigged trials, hasty executions and social gatherings where the doomed sometimes dined with the eventual bringers of their fate. Larson painstakingly conveyed the complex stories of the Dodd family—mainly Ambassador William and his very social daughter Martha—and those who had a major impact on their lives. I was particularly struck by the family’s initial impression of Berlin and how gradually the cracks in the city’s charming façade began to emerge, deepen and threaten to swallow the family in unease and political strife.
The parallels between Berlin’s ethical erosion and the Dodd’s waning favorable perception of the city and government emanates palpable tension that intensifies throughout the book. While it’s an overall informative and intriguing read, I did take some issue with the amount of attention focused Martha Dodd’s numerous exploits, some with very dangerous men in the Nazi regime, including Gestapo chief Rudolf Diels. I don’t fault Larson too much for this, however, given that Martha’s romantic interests apparently consumed the bulk of her attention according to her journals.
Present global, societal tension, increased government surveillance, and attacks on liberties such as the freedom of speech, thunderous echoes of the events described in In the Garden of Beasts. Captivating, haunting, and informative, it’s a chillingly relevant read that offers an intimate glimpse into one of humanity’s darkest chapters as well as a few of the people who witnessed its composition....more
The path of a writer is often extraordinarily lonely and seemingly hopeless at times. This is one of the reasons why so many writers quit before theyThe path of a writer is often extraordinarily lonely and seemingly hopeless at times. This is one of the reasons why so many writers quit before they achieve success. Another reason is something Steven Pressfield calls the “Resistance.” Reading Pressfield’s philosophy in "The War of Art" has helped me not only recognize the Resistance when it appears in my own life, but also shift my perspective of it while strengthening my determination to overcome it. The following quotes are just a few of Pressfield's powerful observations that have resonated with me:
“Most of us live two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”
“On the field of The Self stand a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon.”
“The more important a call or action is to your soul’s evolution the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”
Lately, that last quote has been demonstrating itself in spades. (I kid you not, I had to restart my computer since it froze after I wrote that last line.)
I highly recommend this book to anyone currently struggling to achieve their ambitions. Though geared towards people in the arts, "The War of Art" contains no-nonsense motivation anyone can use while chasing their dreams. Though I’ve always known in my mind I wasn’t alone in my predicament, this is one of the few books that moved me to tears as it expressed true understanding of the daily struggle experienced by many creative types. I plan on re-reading "The War of Art" in the future, particularly on days where the Resistance feels unbearably oppressive. ...more