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Posts tagged ‘Books and Essays’


“To End All Wars”

I don’t often read historical books on wars because even after 50 years on this earth, I still don’t really understand the aggression and find the detail on battles and strategic moves boring. But after reading the reviews of “To End All Wars” by Adam Hochschild, I thought the book worthy of reading. Read more »

“Once Upon A Time There Was You”

Years ago (2003), when we were living in Madrid, I read a human interest story in the weekend edition of The International Herald Tribune about a father who was losing his daughter – not to death but to the unavoidable journey of growing up. At eighteen, she was leaving to go off to college, a parting he found very painful. He expressed his anguish in a poem by Cecil Day Lewis called “Walking Away:”
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“Sarah’s Key”

A few weeks ago, a friend recommended seeing a movie called “Sarah’s Key” so I went to my favorite movie review website: – which gave the movie a 74% rating by critics and an 85% by the public so this was obviously a movie to see.  I also learned the movie was an adaptation from a book by the same title and since I’ve rarely seen a movie as good as a book (“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy being the exception where the movie was every bit as good as the book), I decided to buy the book and read “Sarah’s Key” before seeing the movie. Read more »

The Apple of Our Eye….Steve Jobs

“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson was recently published and is a must read for anyone interested in Apple and the technology industry.  The publication of a biography just a few weeks after the death of the star is usually a red flag:  how could anyone put together a biography and have it published within days of the memorial service? It almost reeks of sensationalism but this book was not whipped up overnight. Read more »

Blue Nights

Several years ago, after my 14-year old golden retriever died, a friend gave me a book called “The Magical Year of Thinking” written by Joan Didion.  The book is about the sudden death of Didion’s husband and the grief she experienced:  reliving the last few days, imagining different outcomes, and sometimes pretending the loss isn’t real, that it was all a bad dream. As time goes by, the reader realizes that time doesn’t heal all wounds; time just makes the wound more bearable. And, although the loss of a beloved pet cannot be compared to the loss of a partner, “The Magical Year of Thinking” doesn’t distinguish between types of grief. Grief is grief no matter how you experience it. Read more »


Road Trips Made Bearable

Road trips can be monotonous, boring, and long – and if there are kids or teenagers in the car, a road trip is about as much fun as organizing a high school reunion.  So, the challenge is how to make a road trip bearable and the answer is to stop along the way to tour a factory and learn how something is made. Read more »


The Right Gift For Kids: On-Line Resources

Finding the right gift for a child is sometimes harder than choosing a gift for an adult as children are always changing so the fascination with a toy, game, or book can be fleeting. To complicate matters more, each child is different so focusing on the age of the child and his or her interests will serve as a guide in choosing the right gift. Read more »

Franzen and Irving: Rock Stars of the Literary World

Several months ago, Jonathan Franzen and John Irving appeared together at a book club forum in Hartford, Connecticut.  I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of seeing two of my favorite authors in a panel discussion.  This wasn’t a book store appearance but a chance to hear two very talented authors speak about writing and their thoughts on literature. My husband compared my enthusiasm to the anticipation most people feel before an upcoming rock concert. Point well taken but Franzen and Irving are rock stars in the oft ignored literary world. Read more »


Children’s Books To Be Treasured

Last month my 15-year old daughter asked me if we could update the playroom in our home. She told me she had outgrown the room and wants it to be more mature….”like for teenagers” is how she phrased it.  I knew this day was coming but still it’s hard to believe the games, toys, and books that defined her childhood are no longer relevant:  the classic wooden blocks that haven’t been used in years, or the “Pretty Pretty Princess” game which was more than likely last used in 2004 when she convinced her three male cousins (ages 9,7, and 6) to play; or the books that I’ve spent thousands of hours reading to her.  They are as much a part of my journey as hers.  She’s just ready to move on while I’m still holding on. Read more »