Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I just returned yesterday from the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. It was my first trip to the Northwest. I picked up several new books that I cannot wait to begin! I visited the very cool and independent Left Bank Books and MCoy Books. I also tasted the delicious treats from Top Pot Doughnuts. My reading focus for much of the trip was on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Frankenstein was my book club's pick for the month. I found myself feeling great sympathy for the monster. When reading the novel, it is amazing to realize how much of the story we do not think of when we say or hear "Frankenstein." Virtually everything is in there - ethical scientific debates; questions of what makes us human; questions of prejudice; the need for community or shared love with one other soul; revenge; ego; maternal/fraternal relationships; friendship...a classic indeed.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Year of Magical Thinking

I’m certain that anyone who follows book publishing, reads books, or visits bookstores has heard about Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. I just finished the book. It was as good as I heard it was.

The book traces the moment of Joan’s husband’s death through her first year of grief. The narrative often moves back in time to relive certain memories. At the same time her husband passed away, Joan’s daughter became tragically ill and suffered several serious medical setbacks until she entered a rehabilitation center. Readers also encounter the emotional turmoil surrounding the uncertainty of her daughter’s recovery.

It is hard to express how well-written and moving the memoir is. It is not an easy read, but an incredibly compelling one.

P.S. Never underestimate the pathways leading to great books. I purchased my copy of The Year of Magical Thinking from the used bookshelves at my local Goodwill store.