Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Boys (and Girls!) in the Boat

Congratulations to the US Women's Rowing team which took gold in the coxed eight rowing event.  I never realized what a grueling sport rowing was until I read The Boys in the Boat.  Now, PBS is airing a special about the 1936 Olympic team featured in the book.  You can watch it here.
Below is what I wrote about this New York Times bestseller when I first read it:

The Boys in the Boat

I finally finished reading The Boys in the Boat.  It took me so long that I felt like I was in the boat with them!
Honestly, I wasn't crazy about this book to begin with, but who wants to quit on a book about perseverance?  So, I stuck with it and in the end, I'm glad.  It is truly amazing that these boys with the odds stacked so far against them could achieve greatness, or to paraphrase the book, touch the divine.  It also gave me a whole new appreciation for the sport of rowing.  Even though I have a niece and a nephew who row crew, and even though a regatta is truly a thing of beauty, I just never knew all of the pain that went into making something so difficult  look so graceful and effortless.  I also loved the references to other sports figures of the time, like Joe Louis and Seabiscuit.
If you are interested in sports history, or just a classic tale of humility, teamwork and determination you might give this book a try.

Happy reading,

Happy reading,

Monday, August 8, 2016

Here's to Us

Elin Hilderbrand's  latest book, Here's to Us, is a quick, easy beach read that will not only make you want to visit Nantucket, it will make you hungry.  Her descriptions of the idyllic beach community are matched only by her descriptions of the smells, tastes, and textures of the food.  Fortunately, the book contains recipes for the dishes that held the most significance in this story of three woman gathered to spread the ashes of the man they all once married.  If you like the movie, The Other Woman, you will like this story of the unlikeliest of friends.

Happy beach reading,

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Truly Madly Guilty

Today is the day!  Liane Moriarty's new book, Truly Madly Guilty is finally available for download or purchase.  Click here to read what I've posted about her other books.

Happy reading,

Monday, July 25, 2016

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

Let me start by saying how I am going to end, or rather, how I am not going to end.  I am not going to end with my predictable closing, "Happy Reading."  That is because, American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Life of Teenagers, by Nancy Jo Sales is anything but happy reading.  It is, at times, disturbing.
A close friend who is a wonderful mom and a social worker with a Master's degree from Columbia University, gave me the book and warned me about its contents.  After reading it, I told her it was the scariest parenting book I've ever read.  How did we go from parenting books about toilet training and bed time routines to this?  Scariest of all, is the thought that although this book was published this year, given the speed with which social media evolves, there are definitely new ways that young people are being exploited, cyberbullied, and in extreme cases, endangered, that parents don't even know about.  
The book covers the teen years 13-19, but also addresses issues 'tweens face.  It even cites a 2014 study at UCLA in which sixth-graders who went just five days without looking at a smart phone were significantly better at interpreting emotions and body language in face-to-face communication than sixth-graders in the same school who continued to use smart phones.  (pp 135-136)  While the studies cited in this book are interesting, the really gripping part of the book is the stories shared by teens from all over the country.  Remarkably, they are almost always stories of the same experience across geographic regions and socioeconomic differences.  A young girl in the south Bronx who feared leaving her grandma's apartment because people were passed out in the hallway with needles in their arms, describes nearly the same online experiences as girls in Boca Raton, FL and The Hamptons, New York.
This is an eye-opening read for any parent or any professional who works with young people.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Leaving Time

I just finished Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult.  What a suspenseful mystery filled with foreshadowing and plot twists that I should have seen coming.  It's a quick read read with chapters from different characters' points of view, as well as beautiful descriptions of elephant behavior in the wild and in sanctuaries.  (As if I wasn't emotional enough reading dog books)  Here is a link to The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, mentioned in the book.  Enjoy the videos of the elephants living peacefully, but definitely read the book.

Happy reading,

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Jennifer Aniston

Here is an interesting opinion on The Huffington Post by Jennifer Aniston.  No wonder she is America's favorite friend.

Happy reading,