Happy Day After Christmas! Hope that you are luxuriating in your jammies around the Christmas Tree, enjoying family time and perhaps a few special gifts. This day finds me heading out on a vacation. Boy oh boy am I ever excited about it!
My favorite thing about packing for a vacation is figuring out what I am going to read. In fact, I would actually prefer to JUST take books (yes, the good old fashioned REAL books) in my carry on.
For this (much-needed!!!!) vacation, these books are tippy top on my list. Because I haven’t read them yet, I’m going to share with you the GoodReads summaries of them. I do love the GoodReads website. How on earth could I not with such an awesome name? Ok, so here we go:
Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free – When the San José mine collapsed outside of Copiapó, Chile, in August 2010, it trapped thirty-three miners beneath thousands of feet of rock for a record-breaking sixty-nine days. Across the globe, we sat riveted to television and computer screens as journalists flocked to the Atacama desert. While we saw what transpired above ground during the grueling and protracted rescue, the story of the miners’ experiences below the earth’s surface—and the lives that led them there—hasn’t been heard until now. In Deep Down Dark, a master work by a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, Héctor Tobar gains exclusive access to the miners and their stories. The result is a miraculous and emotionally textured account of the thirty-three men who came to think of the San José mine as a kind of coffin, as a “cave” inflicting constant and thundering aural torment, and as a church where they sought redemption through prayer while the world watched from above. It offers an understanding of the families and personal histories that brought “los 33” to the mine, and the mystical and spiritual elements that surrounded working in such a dangerous place.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book is full of words to live by.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.
Then Came Life by Geralyn Lucas Twenty years ago, Geralyn Lucas put on red lipstick before entering the operating room to show everyone that she planned to come out the bold and daring woman she never thought she could be. At twenty-seven, she didn’t realize how much her single act of courage would connect with women and endear her to breast cancer survivors across the globe. In Then Came Life, Geralyn is back with the same fearless attitude, exploring what it means to survive cancer, only to face new challenges. When she was fighting cancer, Geralyn prayed she would live long enough to get wrinkles. Now in her mid-forties, she’s the mother of two miracle babies, one who’s grown into a mean tween with a fierce eye-roll and the other a tornado of little-boy energy who refuses to play by his preschool’s rules. Her storybook romance has become couples therapy with a grumpy prince, the job she loves moves across the country without her, and her hard-won wrinkles just make her long for Botox. Then Came Life is a totally original response to life’s challenges that reminds readers to always find a way to turn the mundane in life into a miracle. With an infectious sense of empowerment and hilarious voice, Geralyn has crafted a playbook for women everywhere to fall back in love with life. All women will recognize themselves in Geralyn and her story about re-discovering the resilience, courage, and humor needed to reinvent yourself at every age.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble;it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now. Maybe that was always beside the point. Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts. Is that what she’s supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?
The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun The riveting story of how a young man turned $25 into more than 200 schools around the world and the guiding steps anyone can take to lead a successful and significant life. Adam Braun began working summers at hedge funds when he was just sixteen years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. But while traveling he met a young boy begging on the streets of India, who after being asked what he wanted most in the world, simply answered, “A pencil.” This small request led to a staggering series of events that took Braun backpacking through dozens of countries before eventually leaving one of the world’s most prestigious jobs to found Pencils of Promise, the organization he started with just $25 that has since built more than 200 schools around the world. The Promise of a Pencil chronicles Braun’s journey to find his calling, as each chapter explains one clear step that every person can take to turn your biggest ambitions into reality, even if you start with as little as $25. His story takes readers behind the scenes with business moguls and village chiefs, world-famous celebrities and hometown heroes. Driven by compelling stories and shareable insights, this is a vivid and inspiring book that will give you the tools to make your own life a story worth telling. *All proceeds from this book will support Pencils of Promise.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of “King Lear.” Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from “Star Trek: ” “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave. Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, “Station Eleven” tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it. ***Actually, I have read this one but haven’t had time to review it yet. Suffice it to say, I LOVED it! It’s way out there, but it’s awesome!
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso At seventeen, Sophia Amoruso decided to forgo continuing education to pursue a life of hitchhiking, dumpster diving, and petty thievery. Now, at twenty-nine, she is the Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a $100+ million e-tailer that draws A-list publicity and rabid fans for its leading-edge fashion and provocative online persona. Her story is extraordinary—and only part of the appeal of #GIRLBOSS. This aspirational book doesn’t patronize young women the way many business experts do. Amoruso shows readers how to channel their passion and hard work, while keeping their insecurities from getting in the way. She offers straight talk about making your voice heard and doing meaningful work. She’s proof that you can be a huge success without giving up your spirit of adventure or distinctive style. As she writes, “I have three pieces of advice I want you to remember: Don’t ever grow up. Don’t become a bore. Don’t let The Man get to you. OK? Cool. Then let’s do this.”
The Geography of Memory: A Pilgrimage Through Alzheimer’s by Jeanne Murray Walker Award-winning poet Jeanne Murray Walker tells an extraordinarily wise, witty, and quietly wrenching tale of her mother’s long passage into dementia. This powerful story explores parental love, profound grief, and the unexpected consolation of memory. While Walker does not flinch from the horrors of “the ugly twins, aging and death,” her eye for the apt image provides a window into unexpected joy and humor even during the darkest days. This is a multi-layered narrative of generations, faith, and friendship. As Walker leans in to the task of caring for her mother, their relationship unexpectedly deepens and becomes life-giving. Her mother’s memory, which more and more dwells in the distant past, illuminates Walker’s own childhood. She rediscovers and begins to understand her own past, as well as to enter more fully into her mother’s final years. THE GEOGRAPHY OF MEMORY is not only a personal journey made public in the most engaging, funny, and revealing way possible, here is a story of redemption for anyone who is caring for or expecting to care for ill and aging parents-and for all the rest of us as well.
What are you reading? I’d love to hear!!!