Saturday, February 25, 2017

Books Read - Week in Review - W/E - 2/25/2017



First of all,  I wanted to thank all of you who took the time to leave very personal and heartfelt comments about our cat Lily who we lost last Friday. I shared these messages with my husband and although many of them made me tear up, they also were very comforting. Thank you so much!

I tried to keep busy last week which helped keep the sad moments at bay. This week was more yoga,  lunch with high school friends, and time sorting through lots of old photos of family and cats which brought back happy memories.  Our most senior cat, Buddy, age 15, seemed to sense that we were sad and became my new constant companion and lap cat -- so sweet --

Buddy

Our other cat, Freckles, age 14, was never a lap cat, but started bringing my husband toys to get him to play.  I think cats are much smarter than many people think.

 Freckles

Books Read
















Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End; Atul Gawande
Metropolitan Books - 2014
(book group read )

I actually listened to this book last year in audio and loved it so when it ended up being our book group read for February, I didn't mind reading it in print.  I still liked it a lot and felt that Dr. Gawande did a great job giving several case study examples of individuals in declining health and making the reader think about prolonging life versus quality of life in each case. Lots of good info about health, health care, statistics and later year options.  My book group, which is all women ages 60 and older really disliked the book. I was the minority here but, also one of the youngest in the group.  Several of the women are dealing with serious medical issues and currently live alone so they found the entire topic depressing which is understandable.  The book did generate lots of end of life conversation about housing options like co-housing versus assisted living and nursing homes which was interesting to talk about.

Next month's selection a light weight work of fiction by Adriana Trigiani.





















Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family & Culture in Crisis; J.D. Vance
Harper Audio - 2016

A memoir about class differences written by a self-proclaimed hillbilly, and former Marine who ended up graduating from Ohio State with a double major and then continuing on to Yale Law.  The author grew up poor in Appalachia and was raised largely by his grandmother as his father had abandoned them at a young age. Although his mother had once been at the top of her class in school and worked in nursing, she then turned to drugs, was in and out of rehab, and was married and divorced 5 times.

I expected this book to be somewhat of a political hotbed but, that was not the case. Vance offers his take on the decline of white, working class America over the last forty odd years as he shares his life story.  I downloaded the audio version of this from the library after seeing many positive reviews online.  I enjoyed it, but I must say Vance's outcome is certainly not the norm for someone growing up like he did. He did have encouragement and obviously the personal drive to make a better life for himself. The audio book is read by the author and thought it was well done (no accent which made it an easy listen). (4/5 stars)





















Every Fifteen Minutes; Lisa Scottoline
(audio - from library read by George Newbern)

This was a DNF after 10 chapters. It was a story that seemed to be going no where fast and I lost interest very quickly. Has anyone read this one? DNF

(Here's a description from Goodreads) -----

Dr. Eric Parrish is the Chief of the Psychiatric Unit at Havemeyer General Hospital outside of Philadelphia. Recently separated from his wife, Caitlin, he is doing his best as a single dad to his seven-year-old daughter Hannah. His work seems to be going better than his home life, however. His unit at the hospital has just been named number two in the country and Eric has a devoted staff of doctors and nurses who are as caring as Eric is. But when he takes on a new patient, Eric's entire world begins to crumble. Seventeen-year-old Max has a terminally ill grandmother and is having trouble handling it. That, plus his OCD and violent thoughts about a girl he likes makes Max a high risk patient. Max can't turn off the rituals he needs to perform every fifteen minutes that keep him calm. With the pressure mounting, Max just might reach the breaking point. When the girl is found murdered, Max is nowhere to be found. Worried about Max, Eric goes looking for him and puts himself in danger of being seen as a "person of interest". Next, one of his own staff turns on him in a trumped up charge of sexual harassment. Is this chaos all random? Or is someone systematically trying to destroy Eric's life? 

New Books from Publishers





















32 comments:

  1. Diane, so happy that you and your husband found comfort from your other cats. How sweet of them! I do think that cats are much more intuitive than they sometimes appear. I know I've said several times that BEING MORTAL was a great favorite of mine. Perhaps, because I had dealt with much of the things mentioned with my parents and sister, I was inclined to like it. I do know that many have definitely not liked it. Too sad. Makes one think about things that one doesn't want to think about. The problem is that life sometimes doesn't wait for us to ponder all these issues. I encourage people to read it and be somewhat prepared. Know that's sad, but to me, it's worse having to consider these things when emotions are so very high. Ah well. I have not read that particular Lisa Scottoline book, but I've read others of hers. I like her series featuring a group of women lawyers. I sometimes have not been as pleased with her standalone novels. Have you read any of her humor books that she writes with her daughter? I have not, as yet. Have a good week!!

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    1. Kay, I enjoyed Being Mortal both times I read it. Yes, it can be uncomfortable to read at times but important as well. I like the Scottoline women lawyer ones as well; this one just was going no where fast. Have a good week.

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  2. All animals are way smarter than humans like to give them credit for. I'm glad your cats have sensed your need for them right now.

    I read Being Mortal last year, too, and it's a book that has really stuck with me.

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    1. You are right Kathy about cats and most animals in general. Being Mortal is one of those stories that sticks with you for sure.

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  3. I need to read Being Mortal - it's still sitting by my bed...but in hard copy, which I'm never excited to read.

    And I loved that Hillbilly Elegy provided commentary on a part of the country and population I'm not really familiar with, but not in an overtly political way. More just his observations on his home from the perspective of someone who has outside experience to compare it to.

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    1. You nailed it with Hillbilly Elegy Sarah and, yes, read Being Mortal.

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  4. Animals are so in tune with our feelings and moods... it's almost scary sometimes! I thought Being Mortal was excellent, too, and would like to reread it. Hillbilly Elegy was also very good, but you're right... Vance's outcome is far from typical.

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    1. It can be unsettling at times (our pets intuitiveness). Right before my bother died he would come and watch sports with my hub in our family room and, for several months after he passed, the cats would stare are certain places on the wall or ceiling - like a sign my brother was visiting again :)

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  5. Good job Buddy, you did exactly what was needed!

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  6. Cats are so much smarter!
    I thought Hillbilly Elegy was very much worth reading. Link to my review: http://keepthewisdom.blogspot.com/2017/01/hillbilly-elegy.html
    Being Mortal sounds interesting. Why did you reading group members dislike it so?

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    1. I think my book group members did not want to read about end of life decisions or cases as several are currently faced with serious medical issues or are in their 70s+

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  7. I read Being Mortal last year and still think of it often. I have recommended it to so many people! And I thought Hillbilly Elegy was interesting as well

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    1. Glad u liked both books Helen - well done. I'm enjoying more NF these days.

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  8. I listened to Being Mortal which was not an easy book to listen to, but was well worth while. I feel it has given me some much needed additional information about approaching end of life. It is interesting that as decades go by, so do perspectives on the subject and your older book club members did not care for the book as much.

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    1. yes, Pat, as I mentioned to Judy, I think my book group members did not want to read about end of life decisions or cases as several are currently faced with serious medical issues or are in their 70s+

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  9. Cats are so smart. I am glad you found comfort in the messages and that you are getting lots of lap cat time.

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  10. That's so sweet that your kitties are sensing your need for a bit more attention. They seem like the most wonderful companions! I can certainly understand if you read Being Mortal and are going through some serious health issues not enjoying the read. It's a difficult subject still though a really good read. I want to read Hillbilly Eligy - I keep reading great reviews of that one.

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  11. I listened to Being Mortal last year. My mom went through some health issues and someone suggested I read it. I found it quite helpful and an excellent audiobook. I'm on the hold list at my library for the Hillbilly Elegy audiobook.

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  12. Your thoughts on Hillbilly Elegy match my own. I enjoyed it but I realized that he is an exception too. Loved it, however.

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  13. So happy that Buddy and Freckles are stepping up, filling in a little for Lily.

    I agree that the author of Hillbilly Elegy is definitely not typical for those growing up in Appalachia...but I was happy with his story. He definitely is a good example of what can happen with the right kind of nurturing, even for those living in poor areas.

    A couple of years ago, I read and loved Every Fifteen Minutes. Do you think that reading the book, instead of listening, would have made it more palatable? Sorry you were disappointed. But then we can't all love the same books.

    I think Being Mortal would be too depressing for me right now...but I am glad others enjoyed it.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Laurel, Yes, cats have that intuitive sense. very comforting. I can understand why my senior citizen book group members found Being Mortal too depressing. It forces us to think about that which we tend to avoid.

      I’m not sure why I had an issue with Every Fifteen minutes, the narrator was fine, it just seemed like the story was taking way too long to get interesting.

      Have a great week.

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  14. I agree. I think cats are much smarter than we give them credit for. I am glad your other cats are bringing you some comfort, Diane. I know it can't be easy for them either, but bringing you comfort probably brings them some as well.

    I am looking forward to reading Being Mortal--hopefully this year. I got a copy for Christmas this past year. I think it is a necessary read for me, especially as we all get older, including my mother.

    I hope you have a good week! I'm hoping for a somewhat quiet one to prepare me for the upcoming March rush that is sure to hit me hard. Haha

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    1. Wendy, I know you love your cats and have lost a few as well so it’s easy for you to understand the pain of losing one. It’s like the time we have them in out=r lives is just — never long enough!

      Being Mortal is excellent on audio as well, it is a tough but import read as it forces us to think about that which we tend to avoid.

      Have a great week.

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  15. I am (belatedly) so sorry to hear about Lily. I'm glad your other cats have been able to comfort you this week. It's amazing how perceptive cats can be when you're feeling sad. My youngest cat is, well, not always the sharpest tack in other ways, but she has an uncanny knack for knowing when you're sad and need some company.

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    1. Megan, I am happy to hear that you have a cat that brings you comfort on those down days as well.

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  16. We have 2 cats and so I know that they are smarter than non cat owners think. I'm glad that Buddy and Freckles are giving you some comfort.

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    1. Thank you Vicki. Glad to hear you have cats as well.

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  17. I missed getting around last week (and am delayed this week). So sorry to hear about Lily. It is hard to lose a member of your family. How sweet your other kitties are! I could get lost for hours in old photos. I am like my mom and very nostalgic. I hope you have a great week!

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    1. Thank you Charlie, Yes, losing a loved pet is a huge loss for us. The pics are always fun to look at.

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