Category Archives: Nonfiction

Becoming Grandma by Lesley Stahl

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Even though I am not a grandparent (and not about to become one), I saw Lesley Stahl’s book about grandparents and grandchildren and thought I would take a look – or a listen to the audiobook.  Being familiar with Lesley from 60 Minutes, I found her stories from her own family life and experiences well written and researched.  There is a science to the instant affection between grandparents and their newborn grandchildren.  This is explained as an overwhelming feeling of attachment akin to love at first sight.  There is also a wealth of difference in the parental experience and the “grands” experience.  Differences in age and what grands will be called today are not what they were in the past.  Finances also affect the family experience and more children are being raised by grandparents or foster grandparents today than ever.

The book describes the birth of grand-daughters Jordan and Chloe and stories from interviews with Diane Sawyer, Whoopi Goldberg and Tom Brokaw.  The grandfather experience and step-grandparents are also covered.

If you are a grandparent, a parent, or a grandchild, you will find this description of modern family relationships of interest.  There is more to family dynamics than I would have thought possible, and Lesley Stahl narrates a wonderful audiobook on “the Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting.”

Falling : A Daughter, A Father, and A Journey Back by Elisha Cooper

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A lovingly written book by a father about his 5-year-old daughter and her unexpected diagnosis of cancer.  The author of this book is himself an author and illustrator of children’s books (that I now have to look for in my own library).  In this book he deftly straddles all of his hopes and fears for his family and really paints quite a picture of the realities of living (and not dying) from cancer.  A book of survival and what it means to try and find a new normal.

Hamilton : The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Hamilton

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My love affair with all things Hamilton continues as I finally got this audiobook from the library.  If any of you out there love actors and performers and hearing about how they get their ideas, then you’ll love this audiobook.  An added plus is that Mariska Hargitay is the narrator.  The story of how Lin-Manuel Miranda brought the story of Alexander Hamilton to the Broadway stage is really riveting, and just reinforces the genius of Miranda.  Staying true to himself and all his musical influences while being so aware of how it would translate on the stage is just awesome.  A huge thumbs up for this.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat

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This is a work of non-fiction that reads like a novel.

The “Nazi Olympics” of 1936 are remembered for the stunning victory of Jesse Owens.  But a group of young men from the state of Washington also made a splash.  After winning the national collegiate rowing championship — held in the Hudson at Poughkeepsie — a team of mostly rural rowers traveled to Berlin to take on the best in the world.

The book will introduce you to a host of characters you’ve probably never heard of.
Together, they would overcome incredible odds and make history.

 

A Common Struggle by Patrick J. Kennedy and Stephen Fried

A Common Struggle

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This book was so wonderful on so many levels.  I thought Patrick Kennedy was very brave to write it – and I absolutely understand why it was written after his father’s passing.  The way he grew up hearing from his dad and very extended famous family that we keep everything in the family and don’t air our dirty laundry helped to keep him from truly confronting and defeating his own demons.  The authors do a great job in giving information about how our healthcare system and government succeed and fail at treating people with mental illness and addiction.  Ultimately this is a book about successes and failures, but mostly about hope in dealing with these two very important issues.

My Booky Wook : A Memoir of Sex, Drugs and Stand Up by Russell Brand

My Booky Wook

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Not sure how anyone else feels about Russell Brand, but I enjoy him immensely.  Interesting to learn about his growing up years and to see how he became addicted then beat it, all treated with his characteristic humor. An easy read…

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

The Wright Brothers

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How did two bicycle mechanics teach the world to fly?

Prize-winning author David McCullough is just the person to answer that question.  Along the way, we learn about the private lives of the brothers.  Their skills were a perfect fit — Wilber was a genius and Orville was a mechanical wiz.  Together, they made history.

McCullough’s stories are always set in a rich, historical context.  The story takes us from their Ohio hometown, to the banks of North Carolina, to Paris and beyond.

I enjoyed the journey.  I’m sure you will, too.