Lisa Genova has earned her stripes and proven her skill with the well-researched masterpiece that is Still Alice.
However, this book confirmed for meLisa Genova has earned her stripes and proven her skill with the well-researched masterpiece that is Still Alice.
However, this book confirmed for me that I am far more afraid of loosing my ability to think than I am of pain or infirmity. I will try to bare well any challenge that is thrown my way, but I crave the luxury of retaining my memories and ability to think and reason throughout. I place a lot of value in the minds of older people. I would like to serve future generations the same way my predecessors have served me.
After watching my own sweet grandmother fight a loosing battle with dementia and Alzheimer's I found myself nodding my head a lot throughout this book. I drew many parallels and have gained a greater appreciation for my grandmother's experience.
Watching Alice go through this and realize her own uselessness was horrifying to me, because I thought of how helpless my grandma must have felt while her disease was progressing. I've honestly never considered what Alzheimer's must have been like for her. I've calculated what it meant to my parents, their relationships with siblings, and other relatives and situations. But what must it be like to watch your independence fade and realize what a burden you are becoming and will be to your loved ones? I pray I'll never know.
Another common experience I shared with Alice's family is how much communicating can take place without thinking, through feelings alone. In the later stages of my grandma's experience I remember that even though my grandma couldn't remember anything or anyone from the present, it wasn't hard to figure out if she was being treated with respect or condescension because of the way these incidents affected her mood and self-confidence.
My grandma didn't need to remember any part of a bad or good experience for it to affect her. These experiences drove home to me exactly how important it is to not allow these people to slip through the cracks in our attention.
One important positive feature of Alzheimer's that the book brought out is the unreserved love these people can offer the world. They love like few others can.
Likewise, I remember well, that as my grandmother's expectations and ability to evaluate my decisions dwindled, the love she showed for me increased and multiplied over and over. That love was sincere and fully accepting. It never felt false or inappropriate to me. It was beautiful and so meaningful during my teenage years.
I'm so glad that the end of the story brought Alice's family together and peace to her life. Her family worked hard to help her maintain her quality of life and demonstrated several ways she could add value to their lives.
There are some valuable lessons to be found in this book. Anyone who's life was/is touched by this cruel disease should pick this one up....more
I've heard that critics hated this book, and I'm not at all surprised. This book should not be stacked up against Dickens' other works of art. It wasI've heard that critics hated this book, and I'm not at all surprised. This book should not be stacked up against Dickens' other works of art. It was clearly never meant to be a great literary masterpiece, and you can't expect many critics to get that. This is simply a father explaining the life of Christ to his children, in his own words, using his own interpretations.
That is precisely why I loved it so much. The scriptures can be daunting to wade through, but this book puts the New Testament in much simpler terms. I felt like a child he'd gathered in his arms and placed on his knee to talk to. I wish this would have been around when I was a kid to bridge that gap between Sally, Dick, & Jane and the gospel cannon. I absolutely intend to give this to my kids (when they're about 8 or so) to help them begin to foster a love for scripture stories....more
I truly appreciated a first-hand look at post-Katrina, New Orleans, without the biased, self-serving spin of the media or political figures. The storyI truly appreciated a first-hand look at post-Katrina, New Orleans, without the biased, self-serving spin of the media or political figures. The story was charming and carried me along beautifully until the last chapter.
Wright spends the whole book weaving us into a very conflicted dysfunctional family. His main character has spent years trying to come to grips with his emotional baggage. Then, at the very height of all the drama, in a "pulled the rug out from under you" kind of move, he wraps it all up a few contrived pages. The ending felt very artificial, not at all natural for this character he so carefully dissected through the previous 200+ pages.
But it was still worth reading to gain an accurate perspective of this sobering event. ...more
My father worked for Morton-Thiokol at the time of the Challenger disaster. While he hasn't read this book yet, he says that this is the person he truMy father worked for Morton-Thiokol at the time of the Challenger disaster. While he hasn't read this book yet, he says that this is the person he trusts to tell the truth.
It was great to hear this first-hand account and to compare it to my father's stories and my own memories. I was surprised at how much I actually understood as a child. There were a few surprises, but not many. I guess my father did a good job explaining it all.
Allan McDonald writes like you'd expect an engineer to write. There are so many details it tends to be repetitive at times, especially in the beginning. But that turned out to be beneficial as there was so much info to sort through. It helped to go over some things again.
If this story interests you, this is a fantastic book. The story was incredibly interesting and all my questions were answered thoroughly....more
While on a grail quest, accompanied by various tired and forgettable characters, a horny, pessimistic Merlin does his best to jade an adolescent, andWhile on a grail quest, accompanied by various tired and forgettable characters, a horny, pessimistic Merlin does his best to jade an adolescent, and very green, Arthur into despising politics and people.
After reading this book I can’t tell you what Arthur’s interests and favorite pastimes were. I can’t even tell you what color his hair was. But I can tell you all about his wet dreams: what he saw, what he felt, and how he cleaned himself up. So it was with other characters too. The first 1/3 of the book was so unbalanced in this manner that if I hadn’t had a personal motive, I would have stopped reading.
Another gripe, all 220 pages of this book added up to make one very long chain of chatter. Talk, talk, talk. I felt like I was at a never-ending ladies’ quilting bee! More than once I screamed inside my head, Please stop talking! Just for a second! Perhaps this was meant as an experiment, but in my view it failed and should have been abandoned early into the project.
What’s more, the tone of the conversation never seamed to change. The celebration of a wedding, the slaying of a defenseless blind-man, the press of eminent danger was all revealed to us through generic comments inserted into the relentless barrage of chatter. Characters that were excitable were always agitated. Those that were prone to casual cynicism were always offhanded and negative. Really annoying.
Merlin’s Charge wasn’t all bad, however.
Whether or not it’s true, I’m convinced that Peter Joseph Swanson has done his homework. He struck me as very knowledgeable about medieval times, magic, grail quests, etc. It was great to hear about pursuits and lifestyles of the day. PJS pointed out that things like bridges were considered modern technology, horses were still a luxury, and cobblestones and paving of any kind practically didn’t exist yet.
Also very interesting, with Christianity on the rise and paganism just starting to move toward the background, PJS compared and contrasted various points of both religions all through the book: the differences between wedding and burial ceremonies, explanations for drought and other weather patterns.
I loved PJS’s interpretation of the Holy Grail: a magic cauldron with an endless supply of food. This cauldron does indeed grant life to the town that possesses it and would be far more desirable to its impoverished people than eternal youth or some such.
I also liked the most important plot point. An evil pict-witch steals the Holy Grail, changes its purpose from good to evil by inverting it, and uses it as a demon bell. If she can steal a holy bell from an abbey and turn it evil, also by inverting it, all is lost. So it falls on the future king and his enslaved teacher to save the wasteland.
To sum up, if you love sarcasm and dark humor under any circumstances, definitely pick this one up. If you’re interested in medieval history this might be worth wading through. Otherwise, don’t worry about it. There were some cool things in this book, but I hope to soon find out what the trade value is for a used copy of Merlin’s Charge. ...more
An important work for our time. A decent attempt to bridge the ever-expanding gap between people-firsters and earth-firsters. This book presents someAn important work for our time. A decent attempt to bridge the ever-expanding gap between people-firsters and earth-firsters. This book presents some REAL solutions to problems that plague our planet, that don't require irrational changes in our current life-styles....more
I'm thoroughly enjoying this series. As the mother of two little boys, I find myself cataloging what I will and won't recommend they read. This seriesI'm thoroughly enjoying this series. As the mother of two little boys, I find myself cataloging what I will and won't recommend they read. This series is at the top of my 'will recomend' list. I can't wait to share these books with them!...more
This was a fun read. I can see why my siblings loved this so much in jr. high. It's great for that age. My favorite thing about this book is that it iThis was a fun read. I can see why my siblings loved this so much in jr. high. It's great for that age. My favorite thing about this book is that it inspires curiosity in the reader who is lead to research of the historical characters. I did it, and I've talked to tons of people who also did it. I will definitely recommend this one to my boys when they're ready....more