I have to say that this was as good if not better than any fiction Nicholas has written. His openness, reflection on all the losses, his heartfelt sad...moreI have to say that this was as good if not better than any fiction Nicholas has written. His openness, reflection on all the losses, his heartfelt sadness, and yet his optimism. The cloak was opened for all to see. There is rarely a more honest exposure of all that has occurred in one's life. "Nicky" hasn't forgotten where he came from, the value of family, the knowledge and assurance that we all die and yet need to treasure the time that we have with those while they are here. I loved the interspersed travel log along with the story and time shifts, while at first jolted me, added to the layering of a story of Nick's life.
Also, as a mild disclaimer, I am not a huge Sparks fan. I admire him as a person, a man, and his success as a writer and that was my reason for wanting to read this book in the first place.(less)
This is really a delightful and fun read about the exploits of a piano cocktail lounge performer. And I say this, because she is one with the comic si...moreThis is really a delightful and fun read about the exploits of a piano cocktail lounge performer. And I say this, because she is one with the comic side (maybe not always noted by the drinking patrons) as much with what I guess is her talent. You may be picturing some sleazy Holiday Inn thing but such is not the case. These were pure gold lobbies, hotel chains, cruise ships, and similar. Maybe not with much different outcomes but the clientele dressed better.
Really, I'd give it a 3.5 and only because there was no real thread to this memoir only a collection of her best stories, which were, BTW great. I laughed out loud. Quite a delight.(less)
First a few disclaimers to WOMEN as it is a book for us: young women won't get this at all. Anne was the first and most assuredly ahead of her time, b...moreFirst a few disclaimers to WOMEN as it is a book for us: young women won't get this at all. Anne was the first and most assuredly ahead of her time, but by now and with the feminist movement and so much more overt declaration, it won't resonate. At least, that is my prediction. The overwhelming support for this book, now fifty years plus ago, was that Anne took on what no women talked about. Reasoned for, argued, debated, or possibly even thought. NO there is nothing for the younger women to get (much) that they haven't already addressed or figured out. As Anne says in her closing is that by looking at our daughters and nieces, and others, we watch how they have already surpassed us in their determination, energy. THEY are teaching their husbands, and children how to have a life, independence, try to reach the golden apple. The next generation is always rewriting the playbook. Hurrah! As it should be.
Anne lived an extraordinary life. A wallflower, if I may get right down to it, and then to marry a national handsome hero. She thought she'd arrived at the palace. She DIDN'T. Boy and what a come down it was. Still she stood tall, only five feet, went eyeball-to-eyeball with a bossy narcisstic man and stayed there, despite the delusions, and came into her own. Gotta love her for that. ARe you kidding me? who would have, then? Maybe now. But I digress, this isn't about the above book, only the circumstances under which Anne Morrow Lindbergh lived and then went on to have an exemplary life as a woman and writer. She's still something in my book.(less)
This little sleeper of a jewel came to me much after its release. I connected right away with songs that mark the stages of your life. Throughout this...moreThis little sleeper of a jewel came to me much after its release. I connected right away with songs that mark the stages of your life. Throughout this bittersweet true love story are the songs that the author remembers and acquaints with his life...what was happening, both the good and the bad.
This reads like the funny self-effacing nerd who never thought he'd fall in love. But he does, of course. Hard, and he's young, naive...so wonderfully told. The author is a music nut...knows the artists, their history and wouldn't you know that Rob, the author, falls in love with a young woman who shares his eccentric music taste and depth.
But not long after the marriage begins...there is trouble. Tragedy. She is really really scary sick. And that is as much as I'm going to reveal.
It is a quick, intense, poignant tale. Rob can write and share and I loved the way he told it. Highly recommended.(less)
I have read it three times in the past ten years. Dorothy is an amazing writer, teacher, and generous of her advice and wisdom. Not only is the book,...moreI have read it three times in the past ten years. Dorothy is an amazing writer, teacher, and generous of her advice and wisdom. Not only is the book, I think, by far her best work but if you ever get a chance to hear her read her work ... she treats it as a performance piece. Marvelous.
Also of late, this book was written 20 years ago...yet remains in the top 1% of Amazon's bestseller list and has a 94% approval rating on Goodreads. Really, this is an astonishing achievement.(less)
Nothing, NOTHING has our fascination or questions more than death. DEAD? life afterward? not to mention all the various religious interpretations.
The...moreNothing, NOTHING has our fascination or questions more than death. DEAD? life afterward? not to mention all the various religious interpretations.
There had been too many patients that confidentially reported their own remembrances of NDE (near death experience). A flow through a tunnel or tube, dark but not scary, warm, floating, and more. He decided to interview, as it turned out, 150 people and see if their were common elements in what they "saw" and remembered.
Dr. Moody's own reluctance but desire to investigate gave him enough legitimate standing to find out just what people were saying. Where they thought they "went" and what they saw. Enough detail and verification is/was added that the person who had the experience couldn't have possibly known if what they said hadn't happened.
And this is book is not just a diatribe of a single instance that has made some people wealthy for the book deal (Heaven can Wait, Dying to be Me, are two good examples) but rather this is a selected group of as I said, 150, with detailed accounts of what happened (anonymous only because those who volunteered didn't want scrutiny or fame).
It's quite food for thought, to borrow a much maligned cliché. And a quick read. If you are with aging loved ones who are afraid, or if you are curious but scared yourself this could be valuable. We are, as you know, all dying. That is for sure.(less)
A tight introspection to a family's history. Pearl, whose husband leaves her with three small children, is an angry, belligerent, loner. Whatever is p...moreA tight introspection to a family's history. Pearl, whose husband leaves her with three small children, is an angry, belligerent, loner. Whatever is past tough love without too much abuse (?) would be the best way to describe her. There's Cody, good-looking and accomplished, ambitious but not opposed to cheating. Jenny, the only girl. Skittish and unsure of herself. Laughing when nothing is funny, lost somewhat and wanting more than anything to be a doctor regardless of how her mother belittles her. Then Ezra, the baby. The sweet and unaffected one. Unconditional love and forgiveness.
People don't change, they just become more of whom they really are, or so I've heard. And it does seem to hold water. Yet Pearl changes and in some surprising ways.
This is a novel told from the in to out. The emphasis on the depth of each character--what makes them tick, their motives and desires. And there is even a shift in POV to help with that exploration.
I like Anne Tyler and her subject matter generally. This was ok, not great. And the pace slow with the only increase when the Cody, Ezra, and Ruth triangle develops and ends. Sibling rivalry probably doesn't ever go away. Or it certainly didn't for Cody, no matter what he accomplished.(less)
It is reassuring to learn that the actor that I have loved and admired is the "real" person I have always assumed he must be. Had to be. He couldn't p...moreIt is reassuring to learn that the actor that I have loved and admired is the "real" person I have always assumed he must be. Had to be. He couldn't possibly be some limp dick like so many other movie stars that we love in film but are so disgusting about their real life (think Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, and okay maybe even ... Johnny Depp).
This is quite a departure memoir, as in the remembrances that are are so revealing, poignant, the grim side of his life and living with/dying with his literally crazy mother. I digress.
There was just the right amount of the show business stuff, and the ugly grueling side of comedy to keep me interested. It was fascinating in a way to see the long slow build to his success and how Arlene kept after him to keep after his goal. I loved that.
Also for the good dad he had. I never knew how handsome and successful his father was and how much they loved each other. The competitiveness of them with each other, how they eventually helped each other. Touching, real, and so Alan...again, revealing.
I wondered just how he would end the book and it was so clever and I'm sure exactly how it happened.
Having loved this so much I started the second one and it's not any where near as good. At least, to me. SO...if you loved MASH and like Alan the actor, this is the best choice.
Also, one big surprise...he's really really smart. And loves science...and theories and all that. Who knew?(less)
I'd probably give it 3.5 because much did hit home. Her honest voice, self-effacing sense of humor, poignant recollections of grandparents (especially...moreI'd probably give it 3.5 because much did hit home. Her honest voice, self-effacing sense of humor, poignant recollections of grandparents (especially grandma and her purse), and the telling of many childhood traumas that only years later are funny but weren't at the time. I enjoyed the read a great deal. As others have noted, it did not hit a knee slapping funny bone but I smiled a lot and nodded agreement as if, "Yep, I've been to that concert."
Cynthia's socially mixed teen years (Christian/Jewish, usually going under the radar screen, as she described) were so accurate. Most of her Connecticut neighbors, schoolmate's parents, etc, had no idea about her ethnic background since she was blond/light brown haired and blue-eyed. ha. Touche. She was shy and a proud one and conflicted about exposing herself to others when an inappropriate remark was made. This is a small part of the book but still interesting as I can remember having never met a Jew until I went to college. Or at least, I wasn't aware of the fact ... more than likely.
This collection of essays about the big things in life (childhood, parents, coming of age, finding your mate, aging, loss ...it's all there) did tie together for me. And I thought the writing was much like Cynthia sitting down with a chilled glass of wine and just talking to me. It was personal and appreciated.(less)