Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dear American Airlines - Jonathan Miles

A quick read that I picked up at the used bookstore.  The protagonist is a former alcoholic poet, now translator, who is on the way to redeem himself by walking his daughter down the aisle at her wedding when his flight is cancelled and he is stuck in O'Hare overnight.  Out of frustration, he writes a letter to AA revealing a life of great plans and poor execution, joys and disappointments (mainly in himself) and a quest for meaning and sustained hope.

It's funny and relatable, having spent unintended time waiting in airports over the years.  An enjoyable read.

Published:  2008  Read: May 2016  Genre: fiction, humor

The Hummingbird - Stephen Kiernan

Finally, a wonderful read!  It's been a slow year without much sure-fire reads.  This book was very satisfying.

This is the story of a hospice nurse who goes to care for an elderly history professor who is dying of cancer.  Her caring spirit is tested by his sarcastic, negative banter.  When she returns home after work, she must deal with a husband suffering from PTSD after having served in Iraq multiple tours.
She breaks down the barriers built by the professor by reading his unpublished manuscript that describes the bombing of the Oregon coast by a Japanese pilot during WWII and the subsequent relationship of the town and the pilot in the post war aftermath.

Her compassion is absolutely inspiring.  The author lets us know how she feels yet contrasts it with how she reacts, both to the professor and her husband.  There are lessons to be learned here.  Highly recommended read, my pick for best so far this year.

Published: 2015  Read: May 2016  Genre: Fiction

Brand Luther - Andrew Pettegree

I enjoy reading non-fiction and learning about things I knew very little about.  This is a different twist on the history of Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant faith.  The author describes the life of Luther and the rise of his movement as the evolution of a "brand" - a recognizable symbol for a product or service. He suggests that the success of Luther's teachings were attributable to the popularity of the pamphlets and other publications written by Luther that were printed and published across the German empire in the language of the people and recognizable by the title page design that was tightly controlled and overseen by Luther himself.

 To start with, I didn't know it was so far back in time, the later 1500's.  It was fascinating to me how the popularity of Luther's writing created a printing industry.  The geography of the area also influenced the spread of the writings. As a marketing major, I found it a worthwhile read.

Published:  2016  Read: May 2016  Genre: non-fiction

Slade House - David Mitchell

Aquirky story about a house down an alley where once you enter you may never leave.  The author sets the mood well and draws you into the mystery.  Worth the read.

Published: 2015  Read: April 2016  Genre: fiction

ISBN 9 78081299868

You Are Not a Stranger Here – Adam Haslett

I loved the way this author tells a story.  His first couple of sentences immerses you immediately in the action. Something is happening, and then the full picture unfolds.  His characters are facing life issues that in one way or the other we can relate to.  Ordinary people bear their sorrows and find in some cases a fellow spirit.  I have to see what else this author has written.

Published:  2002 Read: May 2016 Genre: Short Story fiction