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Showing posts from March, 2016

Spinster by Kate Bolick

The premise of this book is fascinating and, perhaps, long overdue. In this book, Kate Bolick poses the theory that being single and alone, particularly as a woman, is preferable to being married. This book is, in part, a memoir in which Bolick explores her journey to feel comfortable as a single woman of a certain age while at the same time providing small histories of the women that have impacted her life: Edna St. Vincent Millay, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Maeve Brennan among them.

I would classify this book as being more closely related to Eat, Pray, Love or Wild, in which Bolick attempts to decide HOW she wants to live and seems to defend her singledom. I did enjoy learning about Ms. Bolick's "awakeners" - the women that she says influenced her the most.  However, the parts of the book that I found more and most fascinating were the parts that were memoir based where Bolick was describing her life and memory and her own personal struggles.  Her voice is unique a…

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

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David Lagercrantz, a Swedish journalist, could easily have waited until the original Millenium Trilogy achieved classic status (which I'm nearly sure it will) before continuing the series.  But he elected to continue it right away. The success of these novels is and continues to be the two main characters: Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander and their unique relationship. I was so happy to hear that the series was continuing because Lisbeth has to be one of the BEST heroines that has ever been created.  If there's one character that I would want to be in my corner, it's her.  She's tough as nails, smart as hell, fearless, loyal and has a heart bigger than her body.

Which leads me to my major concern about this novel. While I was VERY excited about more Lisbeth Salandar, would a new author completely and utterly much it up? Lisbeth is VERY unique and so, would only Stieg Larsson be able to give us her as she must be and should be? So I admit that I opened the no…

The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

This book has been all over everyone's radar lately, from the folks at NPR to the folks at BookRiot to Ann and Michael at Books on the Nightstand. Since the three major sources of my reading material were all super positive, I borrowed it from my local library. Essentially, it seems, this book was born of the pain of others and the premise that experiencing the pain of others requires imagination and a leap of faith. It's all kinds of pain - physical, emotional, economic, mental, you name it. This book is a collection of essays that the author has penned over the last few years about pain and how people other than her experience it. She has lots of questions too: what do all these sorts of pain mean? What do we do about it?

Her focus seems to be the space between the person suffering the pain and the person who is observing the sufferer and how to bridge that gap. Her stories fill both categories: in two of them, she is the one that is suffering and needs empathy (in one beca…

Godspeed Ms. Lee

Dear Harper:

You died on February 16, 2016 so I must make my apologies for no writing you sooner and memorializing you in my own way. It is completely inhuman of me and disrespectful, giving the esteem with which I hold you and how you have influenced my life in a positive way.

I first read To Kill a Mockingbird when I was in ninth grade at Memorial High School. At that time, I found it fascinating that a group comprised of two children, their single father and their Black cook could so easily form a unit.  I was more fascinated by the adventures that the children had and what happened to Scout at the end of the book, with Atticus just being a character that flitted around the edges, no more important than Calpurnia or Boo. As a 13 year old or 14 year old, I think that I had related more to Scout than anyone else in the book and in some ways I probably still do (since she is loosely based upon you and we probably had more in common than not).  This is, however, one of those few books…