Book Review: The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

The Book of Lost Friends is a beautifully told story that follows Hannie Gossett, a former slave, as she tries to find her family after the Civil War, and Benny Silva, an idealistic high school teacher, who tries to inspire her students at a poor, rural southern school in the late 1980s. The two story lines eventually converge in a powerful lesson about family, perseverance, and coming to terms with history by looking at it straight on. Continue reading

Book Review: The Round House by Louise Erdrich

The Round House is a powerful exploration of the impact of rape on a family, focusing closely on how a teenage boy deals with the trauma and the helplessness of not being able to bring the rapist to justice. It’s set on an Indian reservation and casts some needed light on cultural and legal complexities of convicting non-Indians of crimes committed on reservations. Continue reading

Book Review: The 14th Colony by Steve Berry

The 14th Colony, which is the 11th book in the Cotton Malone series, is a political thriller that explores what would happen if the president-elect and VP-elect both died before the inauguration. It’s an interesting concept and I enjoyed the Cold War references, but I would say this book falls under the category of “brain candy” – it’s mildly entertaining and I’ll soon forget it. Continue reading

Book Review: Flyboys: A True Story of Courage by James Bradley

Flyboys is the devastating story of nine American aviators (Flyboys) who were shot down over the Japanese island of Chichi Jima during World War II. Eight of the nine were captured and died under mysterious circumstances. I credit the author for finally telling their stories, but I found his agenda-driven account of history to be a distracting disservice to the men whose story he is telling. Continue reading

Shred ALS!

Hello everyone!

I have ALS so this request is very personal.

This is my annual request for donations to my ALS walk team. Nationwide walks are the ALS Association’s primary fundraiser. This year the walks are virtual. I’m a bit worried that will have a negative impact on fundraising and I’ve vowed to do my part to raise money.

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 and I’ve been paralyzed and on a ventilator for about 6 1/2 years. Luckily, the disease hasn’t silenced me – I use eye gaze technology to communicate, which includes writing this blog.

Only about 20,000 Americans have ALS. We’re a select group that absolutely no one wants to be a part of. Because the number of people with ALS is so low, care and research funding tend to get shortchanged. However, the ALS Association advocates for us and provides much needed resources.

Please consider donating to my walk team to support the ALS Association’s ongoing work by clicking this link.