Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Reading Promise - Alice Ozma

Sub-title: My Father and the Books We Shared

A young girl and her father make a promise to read together every day...and continue their "reading streak" for over 3,000 days until she went away to college.  It sounds like a great story but I couldn't be completely enthusiastic as their relationship as described bordered on creepy.  Her mother and father separate about the same time as the streak begins yet her mother continues to spend Christmas Eve on their couch every year.  She has an older sister, about seven years older, who is mentioned occasionally but it is clear that Alice is the focus of her father's attention.  The relationship aside, the streak is a noble goal and while it broadened her knowledge it didn't greatly enhance her writing skills.

Published: 2011  Read: January 2017  Genre: Memoir

The Stranger in My Genes - Bill Griffeth

I've been obsessed with genealogy since retirement and this book is a perfect appetizer for that hunger.  The author is a CNBC financial news analyst who discovers via a DNA test that the father he was raised with is not his biological father. His story is a poignant revelation of the feelings, thoughts, relationships and changes experienced when these types of secrets are revealed.  He has to decide whether to confront his elderly mother; he has to re-think the family tree branch that he can no longer claim.  A great read for something that more and more people will be confronting as DNA testing continues to grow.

Published:  2016  Read: January 2017  Genre: Memoir

In the Country of the Blind - Edward Hoagland

This was a strange read that I picked up on the library "new release" shelf.  It's the story of a Wall Street financier who is going blind and trying to figure out how to live the rest of his life.  He goes off to a cabin he owns in Vermont to ponder his future and meets the small town folk and an adjacent "hippie commune" that embraces him.  The story is semi-autobiographical as they author is going blind.  He's written many essays on living in the wild and solitude, though I've not read any.  He refers to the eye disease serpiginous choroiditis, that scars the retina and leads to blindness.

I can't recommend the book but fans of the author may find it interesting.

Published:  2016   Read: January 2017  Genre: fiction