I found out about the Forgotten Bookmarks website from my sister. She had won a giveaway the author was having. And since I love finding forgotten boo...moreI found out about the Forgotten Bookmarks website from my sister. She had won a giveaway the author was having. And since I love finding forgotten bookmarks, I decided that I needed to start following the site as well. I've read lots of interesting items that Michael Popek has found and it made me want to know more.
When I found out that he was publishing some of the items that he'd found in a book, I knew it was one that I'd want to read. The hardest part was waiting for it to get to me from the library. But it was so worth the wait.
The book is separated into chapters based on what the bookmark was - pictures, letters, lists, etc. It was fun to look through each item, wondering about the people that left the bookmark inside. Were they missing the picture? Was what they'd written in the letter resolved? Did they mean to take those four leaf clovers out of the book before selling it? Most of the questions would have to remain unanswered, but there were a few instances in which the author was able to tell us a little more. Sometimes the author was someone famous and it didn't take much research for him to add to the story. And that was always an added bonus.
But the best part, for me, was being able to relive some parts of my childhood. The family bookstore that Michael Popek runs is 45 minutes from where I grew up - Oneonta, NY. Being local, there were a lot of bookmarks, as well as a few books, that brought me back to my small town upbringing. I recognized cities and businesses, names of streets and times gone by. It made me look harder at each picture, wondering if it was someone that I knew. I didn't find anything definitive, but it still warmed my heart.
If you love finding ephemera from the lives of others, to find yourself partway into someone else's story, then I highly recommend picking up this book. It is well worth the read.(less)
With the sheer number of books that I've read since January, saying that True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal - and How Nearly Dying...moreWith the sheer number of books that I've read since January, saying that True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal - and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life was the best book that I've read this year is saying a lot. I haven't been reading a lot of non-fiction lately, but when I'd read a blurb about this book through one of my library newsletters, it intrigued me.
For many, Kevin Sorbo was Hercules. This included, to a large degree, himself. When he was struck down at 38 with strokes that affected his thinking, his balance and his ability to live the life he had, life becomes an uphill battle for Kevin and those that love him.
I'd been expecting this to be a true autobiography - telling everything from childhood to present day and the complications from the aneurysm would only be a small part of it. Instead, he only touched briefly on his earlier days and that, primarily, was to set up the changes that he had to make in his life. It really did focus on what this illness did to him and the difficult he had making the changes that were necessary to keep him alive.
Kevin isn't the only one to write about what happened to him. Interspersed throughout the chapters written by Kevin are chapters written by his wife (Sam), his mother and many other friends along the way. They gave a good glimpse into what the outside world was seeing while Kevin was dealing with his own issues.
I think part of why this book may have resonated so strongly with me is because of my own battle with a disease that doesn't allow me to live the life I want - depression. It's often been hard for me to accept that it's ok to slow down some days because of the weight that depression drops on my shoulders. Seeing someone with the physical and mental strength of Kevin Sorbo having to deal with those same issues reminded me that accepting isn't giving up.
I also loved reading about Kevin and Sam and the love they share for one another. It's rare in Hollywood to see love that lasts. But their love... it's been tested in a stronger fire than being on the set surrounded by sexy co-stars or having fans that are willing to do anything for the favorite stars. They hadn't been engaged long when Kevin was hospitalized for the aneurysm, but they managed to stay together through the roughest times. Sam admits that if Kevin hadn't had to endure this, they may not have survived together. He was a work-a-holic that put in 18 hour days and unthinkingly expected her to make the changes to fit into his life. But his illness taught them both a lot about each other and made their relationship stronger. I hope never to have to deal with the same kind of trial-by-fire, but I do hope to have that same kind of love with Rich for the rest of my days.
What amazes me most is that he was able to keep this secret for so long. In this entitled world, where everyone feels it's their right to know everything about those who have achieved fortune and fame, being able to keep a secret of this magnitude is mind-boggling. It took a lot of courage for him to write this book and I'm very glad he did.(less)