Dear Committee Members is a clever epistolary novel mainly composed of letters of recommendation written by Jay Fitger, a cynical creative writing professor at Payne University, located somewhere in Minnesota. The letters are mostly hilarious and reveal a lot about Fitger, academia, and the practically of an English degree. Continue reading
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
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.
The Guest List is a highly satisfying suspense novel that takes place during the wedding from hell on a completely inhospitable island off the Irish coast. A cautionary tale about destination weddings? Perhaps! Continue reading
The Shipping News, published in 1993, is a personal evolution story about Quoyle, who transforms from a downtrodden big oaf to a content, well-regarded man. It took awhile to get used to the writing style and I didn’t care for the first part of the book, but I ended up enjoying this novel. Continue reading
Evvie Drake Starts Over is about a young widow who’s stuck in one of those places in life that can be hard to get out of. I would say this book is mostly a romance, but it also has strong themes of friendship, family, and breaking free of what’s holding you back to finally move forward. Continue reading
Open is the autobiography of tennis legend Andre Agassi. It opens with one of the most compelling prologues I’ve ever read and then serves up page after page of the fascinating triumphs and tribulations of Agassi’s life. (I promise that’s the only tennis pun I’ll use.) Continue reading
Olive Kitteridge is a Pulitzer Prize winner that tells the story of an aging retired school teacher through a series of short stories, many of which just mention Olive in passing. It’s an unusual approach to character development that kind of worked for me and kind of didn’t. Continue reading
March is a Pulitzer Prize winning story about CPT March, the father of the March family in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. It covers the year he spent in the Union Army during the Civil War, so it’s dark and heavy, but it’s also imaginative and well-researched and doesn’t shy away from tough topics and grim historical realities. Continue reading
Can you escape your past? That’s one of the major questions explored in The Dutch House. And for the two main characters, Maeve and Danny, the answer is “not really.” Continue reading