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Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake: A Memoir of a Woman's Life

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Anna Quindlen doesn’t disappoint with her autobiographical essays collected in “Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake”. The essays are about different ages and stages of life, about growing up as a girl into womanhood, about growing into yourself. I thought this would be a very readable memoir from one of my favorite authors; but it was even better. The essays invited me to think about my own growth so I was more engaged than I would have been reading a standard memoir. It helps that I am the same age as Ms. Quindlen and lived through the same times but that’s about all we have in common. Still, I felt as if we could be friends. Reading this book felt more like a conversation with a friend than simply reading about someone’s experiences. Wish I had been able to read her newspaper columns.
True Believers: A Novel

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Another book about my generation – yes, I’m a boomer. I worry that my growing nostalgia for my youth predisposes me to liking this new novel by Kurt Andersen. Fortunately, I have read a previous work of his that I also enjoyed (Heyday) which wasn’t about the 1960s.The protagonist of this novel is intelligent, successful, sexually attractive and in her sixties. Karen Hollander, a successful attorney, has kept a secret about her activities in 1968 and is now coming clean with a memoir that may ruin her reputation and perhaps the reputation of other successful people. The chapters alternate between her youth and her current life – between remembering her past and verifying some crucial facts about that past. There’s intrigue, passion, humor! I loved this book.
Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal

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I enjoy a memoir, that’s why I request them through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program. When I was awarded Little Princes, I was concerned I would labor through it as I had Three Cups of Tea. But this is not just another story of an American doing good works in an impoverished country. The author is very frank concerning his shallow reason for first taking on the temporary stint at a Nepal orphanage – it’s simply a way to impress people, women especially. The reader is witness to his personal growth. Most of the people in this memoir came alive for me; the children involved are recognized as individuals. Would love to hear more about them.
Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard

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Liz Murray has written a compelling memoir about her life, from her earliest memories until the time she applies to Harvard University. The writing isn’t polished but that makes it even more powerful. To live through what she did and succeed as she has – is incredibly inspiring. She mentions her journal often in the book; I’m assuming that is why she can include so much detail. I’m looking forward to her next memoir, about her time at Harvard and what decisions she makes about her future.
January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her

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This is such a powerful book. I read it in one sitting – just couldn’t put it down. It’s a horrific family story of a remarkable child who suffers from child-onset schizophrenia. January was different from infancy – alert and requiring little sleep. Both parents spent endless hours filling her days with enough stimulation to get her to sleep. Walking and talking at 18 months, they were sure Jani was a genius. And they were right – her IQ was so high when she was tested at 4 years old that it really was off the charts. Michael Schofield, Jani’s father, doesn’t pull any punches. He relates the weariness, confusion and anger that he and Susan feel towards the professionals whose help they seek and with each other. This is a remarkable book and I highly recommend it.
Unfinished Business: One Man's Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do the Right Things

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This book was hard to finish. The only reason I didn’t give up was to write this review. Lee Kravitz is a nice guy and he turned a negative (losing his job) into a positive (making amends) but his story, published as the memoir “unfinished business” just didn’t keep me interested. Several times I felt that this memoir was simply an excuse to revisit his youth and not really about doing the right thing for people from his past.
Snakewoman of Little Egypt: A Novel

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I had difficulty finishing this book. I enjoyed the detail the author included regarding snakes, squirrels, African tribes etc but it bogged me down. I didn't really care for or about any of the main characters; the relationship between Sunny and Jackson didn't ring true.
Bound for Home

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My first cookbook and I still use it.
Dancing with Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Free

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I was excited to receive this book from Early Reviewers because I have a special needs son also. This is a great memoir that shows the value of support from family and those who share your faith along with the need to innovate when standard practices don’t work for your child. Autism does not come in a neatly tied package. Our children and their symptoms are as different as any group of individuals can be; parents have to be open to ideas that may not work for others but do help their own children. I thought the book was well written and it flowed nicely. I am of another faith so the repeated references to Christian witnessing was somewhat annoying. Ms. Colson’s father used her book for expressing his own extreme views and so may make the memoir distasteful for some.
Life's Little Emergencies

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Good reference book about handling emergencies - not just for seniors. Rod Brouhad writes with humor to keep the reader's interest but that doesn't distract from the good advice he gives. Included in the book are two forms that he invites the reader to make copies of and keep current for everyone in your household - medical history and daily medications. This is a very important tool.
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