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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/985159-BOOKS
Rated: E · Book · Writing · #2044345
Writing about what I have been reading and encountering in the media.
#985159 added June 7, 2020 at 10:33am
Restrictions: None
47.McCullough, David, John Adams. Kindle Audible Edition, read by Nelson Runger, Simon&Shuster Audio, 2005. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
This biography left me feeling very good about our second President, and not quite as good about the third. Though John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were close friends, they could not be more different. Adams is described here as well read, orderly, healthy, and devoted to his family. The biography focuses little on his childhood but provides an in-depth recounting of his very interesting adulthood. I found it very interesting and hard to put down. I hope you will read and find it equally interesting. It is well written and full of good stories.

48.Harmon, Amy, From Sand and Ash, Lake Union Publishing, 2016, Kindle Audible edition read by the author (I think), a historical novel set in WWII Italy. The two main characters grew up together and the story follows them through the war. I found this book to be very interesting with just the right balance between the best in the characters and the flaws in humanity. This is the first book I have read about the war in Italy. I found it gripping and well written and hope you will too.

49. Alvarez, Julia, In the Time of the Butterflies Algonquin Books, 2010, Kindle Audible Edition, Historical Fiction
Ms. Alvarez skillfully presents the story of 3 sisters who were murdered in 1960 for their activities in the underground resistance to the rule of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. They are the butterflies. She has included facts that she has as a framework for the story and fictionalized the parts for which she has no evidence. The story is painful and fills the reader with admiration for these three brave young women. The news often talks about leaders of "banana republics" as an example of authoritarian regimes. This is one example. I hope you will enjoy time in this lovely setting.

50. Handler, Suzanne, The Secrets They Kept: the true story of a mercy killing that shocked a town and shamed a family, Lane Press, 2013, Kindle Audible Edition. Essentially biography with a memoir quality
Suzanne Handler, a mental health professional herself, went on a quest to untangle long-held family secrets related to her aunt. She gathered documents and photos and in this book, puts together the story of mental illness in the 1950s and some very interesting history, too, of the mental health delivery system. The focus is primarily on the family history, though. This is a fairly short book, but fascinating.

51. Daynard, Jodi "The Midwife Series" Lake Union Publishers, 2017, Kindle Audible edition, a trilogy, historical fiction, set in the time of the American Revolution. (The Midwife's Revolt, Our Own Country, and A More Perfect Union.)
I very much enjoyed these books. The heroine is truly admirable. The life and practices of a country midwife are clearly and carefully presented in writing that moves you through the difficulties and triumphs of rural women during a very difficult time in our history. This is something my mother would have enjoyed, just as I did.

52. Hanna, Kristin, The Nightengale 2015, Kindle Audible Edition read by Polly Stone, Historical Fiction
This is the story of two sisters coming of age at the start of WWII in France. It gives a clear picture of challenges and problems faced by citizens trying to survive the war. It also brings to life the true story of a true hero of the war who helped rescue downed allied pilots: The Nightengale. The story is gripping and at times distressing, as you would expect of a war story. I loved the characters and the writing brought the whole thing to life for me.

53. Wingate, Lisa, Before We Were Yours, Ballantine Books, 2017 Kindle Audible Edition, historical fiction
Based on a real incident of an "orphanage" that "sold" children in Tennessee, this is a fictional story of a family of siblings and their experience of being separated from their family and adopted. It is told from the perspective of one of the children as an adult looking for answers to her own history. Very sad situation told from a point of view of the strength of survivors and the power of the sibling bond.

54. Stevenson, Bryan, Just Mercy: a story of justice and redemption, Speigle and Grau, 2014. Kindle Audible edition read by the author, Memoir
Bryan Stevenson completed his law degree and chose a practice in Alabama, fighting for people on death row. This is a gripping reminiscence of his work including stories of specific people he met and helped along the way, This is one of the most interesting books I have read in this list. I highly recommend it!

55. Greenfield, Ted, Lifemart: sweet narratives and others Two Scoops Press, 2017. Kindle edition Memoir was written in narrative poetry style.
I opened this little book with doubts, but, it was free, so why not? It grabbed my attention and I read it all in one day. An elderly man writes about his life in the nursing home and his memories of people important to him. I enjoyed every word. I suspect this is in response to his careful writing and the fact that this Mr. Greenfield is very optimistic and likable. If you have a Kindle, you can borrow it to read.

56. Alyan, Hala, Hijra, Crab Orchard Series, Southern Illinois University Press, 2016. Poetry
This poet has used beautiful language and imagery to share glimpses of the experience of migration due to natural disaster or war. Here you find survival and loss, confusion and wisdom, abiding faith, and heroism. This is a lovely volume you will want to read again and again.

57. Meacham, Jon, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Random House, 2012. Biography
This widely acclaimed book examines the political practices of Thomas Jefferson. The author spends less time on Jefferson's activities in Europe and his thoughts about the French Revolution than I would have liked. On the other hand, he looks in depth at some of Jefferson's major decisions and accomplishments as President. I must admit, I liked the Adams biography more than this one. It seemed as if the author glossed over a few things I would have liked to learn more about. However, one cannot do everything in one book, and I see that Mr. Meacham has another Jefferson biography out. Perhaps I should read it.

58. Warton, Edith, Glimpses of the Moon, Public Domain, 1922. Novel.
I love Edith Warton's writing! I have read 5 other of her books and had not heard of this one. It is short, 187 pages, and therefore a quick read. In this novel, the author explores the meaning of attachment and the downside of materialism. The setting is Europe and the characters are members of a class of people without resources of their own who live moving from one wealthy household to another, dependent on these wealthy patrons for their survival. The author examines their relationships with each other and with their children. I loved reading this and hope you will give it a try. I read it at no charge on Kindle.'

59. Middlebrook, Diane Wood, The Poetry of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, Stanford Audio, 1999 (Audible) Lecture
This is a 1.5-hour lecture with the question-and-answer session presented by the author of an Anne Sexton biography. In the lecture, the speaker discusses the backgrounds of the two poets. They met in a writing class with Robert Lowell. All three suffered from mental illness, so Ms. Middlebrook discusses the illness and it's relationship to their work. She also discusses the school of writing called confessional, which emerged along with the New York School. A review I read expressed disappointment that there was so little poetry involved in the lecture. The speaker uses two poems looking at them very carefully and using them to support and clarify her thesis. I very much enjoyed this as it connects things together for me and increased my understanding. It also motivated me to look into Robert Lowell.

60. Oliver, Mary, At Blackwater Pond, Beacon Press, 2011, Audible edition read by the Author. Poetry
I have and have read most of Mary Oliver's poetry. I had developed a feeling when reading more recent work that she was writing to please her fans with more of the same. This book, however, is different. First, listening to her voice reading it helps me see what she is saying. Second, this is a compilation of her favorites of all the poetry she has written, so, it is her best work. If you love Mary Oliver's work, you will love this. If you have not read her work, this might be a good place to start. Then, read Dream Work.

61. Daly-Ward, Yrsa, Bone, Penguin audio, 2017, read by the author. Audible. Poetry
This poet is a first generation African-English woman who writes confessional poetry about her life challenges and struggles. The writing is powerful, sometimes raw, and always compelling. Even though I would expect her perspective to be very different from my own, I easily identified with her voice and experience. Her reading of her work definitely enhanced my experience.

62. Lithgow, John, The Poet's Corner: The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family, Hachette Audio, 2007. Audible. Read by several familiar performers. Poetry.
I love collections of poetry that provide a wide range of styles and voices. I love this recording and have listened to it over and over. Here, Mr. Lithgow presents his history with poetry and a brief history of each poet. He also includes information about other things they have written and where you can find them. The poems are written in English and he draws from before and including Shakespear to the present in no particular order. I have a number of other collections from Audible, but so far, this is my favorite.

63. Hughes, Kathryn, The Letter, Headline Digital, 2015, Audible, novel
The publisher notes assert that this is a best seller. I loved it, so perhaps you will also. The story begins with a young woman in a very bad marriage. She discovers a letter written in the 1930's in a thrift shop donated jacket pocket and decides to find the author. This changes her life, and the lives of others encountered along the way. The premise is intriguing and the author skillfully pulls it off.

64. Nguyen, Viet Thanh, The Refugees, Audible Studios, 2017, A Short Story Collection read by the author.
Because I enjoyed Mr. Nguyen's novel, The Sympathizer, I figured this would be good too. I was not disappointed. Each story presents a close look at the lives of Vietnamese refugees in their daily activities and close relationships. The stories are well crafted, interesting, and very much enhanced by the voice of the author.

65. Jordan-Lake, Joy, A Tangled Mercy: A Novel, narrated by JD Jackson, Angela Dawe, Brilliance Audio, 2017.
I enjoyed this interesting novel about race relations, and its impact on families both white and black, in 1822 and 2015 America. It is easy to identify with the characters and has some qualities found in a good mystery. The writing is pretty good. This is not the great novel of the century, but it is an interesting read.

66. Jamison, Kay Redfield, Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: a study of genius, mania, and character, narrated by Jefferson James, Random House Audio, 2017. biography
This biography of the poet, Robert Lowell, is written by the author of An Unquiet Mind. The first half of the book provides the biographical information and the second half discusses the relationship between Mr. Lowell's bipolar illness and his creativity. She expands her thinking beyond Robert Lowell and talks about the relationship between the illness and creativity in the lives of other well known creative people who suffered from bipolar disorder. The story is poignant and interesting. Within is discussion of the "confessional" school of poetic writing, I very much enjoyed the content and spent time reading one of Robert Lowell's books, reviewed next.

67. Lowell, Robert, Brief Selected Poems, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017. poetry
I could not remember reading any of Robert Lowell. Now I will remember his rhythmic, rhymed, confessional poetry. I especially liked "For the Union Dead," a meditation on the Augustus St. Gaudens relief sculpture in Boston Commons. I love the work itself, and I loved reading Mr. Lowell's take on it. This book collects what the editor thinks is Lowell's best writing. He was a wonderful writer and I'm glad I finally read my way to him. I hope you do, too. I am currently reading a biography of Elizabeth Bishop and one of her books because she was a close friend of Robert Lowell and they strongly influenced each other's writing.

68. Gay, Ross, Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015. poetry
I happened on this when cruising Amazon poetry. The author writes a confessional style with some lyricism about his life and emotions in a positive, hopeful voice. The book has won three awards for poetry and very much deserves it. The poems begin with a focus on an ordinary thing and work their way around, every time, to something extraordinary or important. I will be looking for more of Mr. Gay's work.

69. Toibin, Colm, On Elizabeth Bishop Narrated by John Keating, Audible Studios, 2015. Biograpy with literary criticism
If you are unacquainted with the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop, you are missing some fabulous writing. I came across her poem "The Filling Station" in a collection and was immediately hooked. So I found this biography, which also has qualities of literary criticism and memoir of the author, and read it. Between this and the biography of Robert Lowell, I have been in a very happy space for a few weeks. Neither of these writers has an easy life. Yet, their poetry is clear of any pessimism that I can see in what I have read. Another favorite Bishop poem is "The Man-moth." Neither of these is quoted in its entirety in this volume, but both are discussed at some length. I highly recommend this biography and the following book of Bishop poetry.

70. Bishop, Elizabeth, Poems, Macmillan, 2011. Poetry
This is a complete collection of Elizabeth Bishop's writing including translations and 4 previously unpublished poems. It is a wonder to read! I hope, if you don't feel up to buying the book, or getting it from the library, you will go to the Poetry Foundation website and read some of her work there.

71. Holmberg, Charlie N., The Fifth Doll, Brilliance Audio, 2017. novel
If you have read my list, you will see that I really enjoy Charlie Holmberg's writing. I also love nesting dolls. Here, the two come together. Ms. Holmberg writes tales with female protagonists facing magic and very challenging situations. As they work through the challenge, they must learn the magic, master it, and they always need help from someone else. In this book, it is a young man. There are overtones of romance, but the relationship develops more realistically in Ms. Holmberg's fantasy than more "realistic" books often are. These books would be great reading for middle school-aged kids.

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