Books

“You only have one life, but if you live it well, that’s enough. The only reality is now, today. What are you waiting for to be happy?

Isabel Allende

It’s unclear to me who needs the Japanese Lover more. Alma? Irina? He’s been dead for three years yet Alma rereads Ichimei’s letters and breathes in the sweet scent of gardenias she’s secretly sent herself, convincing herself that this love is still a living love. Alma’s class consciousness, racism and selfishness blocked her from accepting his love while he was alive. “Age doesn’t make anyone better or wiser, but only accentuates what they have always been.”  Even in old age, she finds it difficult to openly reveal her secret youthful love.

The tragically damaged Irina unpacks the history of this lost love and in doing so finds she is able to love again, trust again. Did Alma send those gardenias to herself or were they the trail of breadcrumbs she left for Irina so Irina would not miss her opportunity for happiness? Maybe Alma wasn’t so selfish after all.

Trying to squeeze a story and a message about  all of society’s sins – from the Holocaust to Japanese internment to child sex trafficking to repression of gay rights – into a mere 300 pages obscured both the storytelling and the message giving more than needed. Too bad because the story was a good one.  #OneNightstand

 

 

I thought it best to raise my eyebrows and look puzzled.

Louis Begley

It may be impossible to know the truth of anyone’s life, even our own. Maybe there is no whole truth to a life. I see you as through a window, framed perfectly because I am standing where I am standing. When you look out your window to see me, I am looking away. What can you know? What can I know?

Louis Begley’s Memories of a Marriage is elegant. Plus who doesn’t like to have the secret lives of the rich revealed. #OneNightstand

“They believe it is a thin line separates animal & man,” Samuelson said.  “They hold that some can walk back & forth over that line, here a man, there a beast.”

Ewoyn Ivey

 

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

To the Bright Edge of the World has made me ask “Where is the line between life and beyond life?”  Am I so sure that I am of solid shape, dense and real?  Is there any chance that I am a also a spirit who can move as softly as fog, enveloping those that love me with a tingle and a chill that says “I’m here” even though I’m not. To those I love, I tell you this, Ivey assures me that no matter where I am, I with you. If you think I cannot shape shift, you are wrong. My thoughts form the shapes they must be take to be sure that they help you, advise you, love you, laugh with you, cry with you. Get ready. I am shapeshifting right now. #ReadThisBook #OneNightstand

Happy 2017! Most of 2016 was spent listening to … and thinking about #MobyDick. There are 24 posts plus a few interludes that correspond to each hour of listening. Yes, you heard that right – 24 hours. This great American novel can probably be described pretty simply. Glory. Self-Absorption. Madness. Revenge. Destruction. Nonetheless, I suggest that you read on, because an examination of our most human flaws still matter today. Probably that’s why it’s our most human of flaws.

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