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Five reviews of books I read this month
1. Our souls at Night by Kent Hauf (A library eBook from Overdrive)(fiction)

Consider Our souls a Night a book that should be on every ones reading list. There are not many books in circulation that delve into the facts of aging as well as this one. As a fiction story, it embraces real situations that are portrayed in a fiction setting.

Chapter One leads into the situation bluntly with, “And then there was the day when Addie Moore made a call on Louis Waters.” The story unfolds about two elderly people who are living alone.

There is a reading group guide at the end of the book which asks questions to make the reader look internally at the situations and understand how one day at a time unfolds into friendship. The second question in the reading group guide asks, “The novel begins with the word “and,” what do you imagine came before it?””

“I’m sorry. I won’t be coming over tonight.” It takes courage to write reality in a fiction story and make it something people can think about as they go about other daily duties. Hauf has succeeded in writing a book, that deals with a blunt look at what elderly people think and do as they age.

“I am behaving. I’m doing what I want and it isn’t hurting anyone.” How do the elderly see their own lifestyles? How do they deal with children who worry more about what they will inherit, than what the feelings of their elderly parents reveal as they age? Are grown children concerned about what made their parents chose the life they lived? How long should aging people be allowed to make their own independent decisions? This story brings out a lot of interesting things about aging. Situations, that many people do not address with thoughts, are revealed.

Hauf used a simple writing style that moves the story along quite quickly, but leaves the reader with lots to think about after the story ends. (331 words)

2. Ellen by Ellen DeGeneres (A Library eBook from Overdrive)(humorous/autobiography)

In a note from the author we read this, “Thank you for your interest in my thoughts, my words of wisdom, and my recipe for French toast.” After reading this story could anyone decide how much of it is words of wisdom? Yes. And, there is a recipe for French toast included, and it is an excellent plus.

The chapter on Daily Affirmations reveals this wisdom: “Daily affirmations are an important way to pick yourself up.” From this point on you will have to read her thoughts to get any wisdom from her affirmations.

Ellen’s history of how she gained the title, “The Funniest Person in America” was interesting. It is insight, into the life of a standup comedian, that will cause some entertainment for the reader.

Moving on through the book we find some comments on new hobbies, “I will race in the Iditarod one day.” O.K. Now we move on to another subject.

Enjoy the chapter that expresses Ellen’s lifestyles. “I’m a person who’s a woman, and I don’t like dresses or panty hose or heels. “

In the chapter about, Ask Ellen we find this comment: Go to Heaven is like saying “Drop dead” but with a positive spin.”"

If you are looking for a light hearted look at Ellen DeGeneres you will enjoy this 60,000 word book. Yes, I believe there really is 60,000 words. (238 words)

3. “Today Will Be different” by Maria Semple (A library book from the Overdrive app.)(fiction)

This story is high-sarcasm. Situations the characters find themselves involved in may or may not ring true with the reader. The ways these characters meet life will bring forth mirth and merriment. Descriptions of everything real is not a problem in the story.

Here are a couple quotes that may give a reader insight into what the writer is trying to put across. “Living too long in New York does that to a girl, gives her the false sense that the world is full of interesting people” and, “Left to their own devices, women would stop having sex after they have children.”

The main character, Eleanor is seeing a poetry tutor, who gives her a poem by Elizabeth Bishop, One Art as an assignment. Reading this poem will add insight into the chaos shown throughout the story. The poetry connects with the story in ways, that have to be experienced by the reader.

The story is about Eleanor, her whims, her duties in life, the feelings that burst forth as she goes about her daily experiences, and the relationships she has with other people.

Even though chaos is created throughout the story it works out at the end in a funny way as all life seems to resolve. Life changes but it moves onward. (218 words)

4. The House by the River by Lena Manta (A book from Amazon Prime Reading)(fiction)

The story features a river in Greece. A house sets by the river under the shadow of Mount Olympus. The family consists of a mother and a father and five young girls. The reader follows the lives of the children as they grow up and take their places in the world.

“The house by the river shook lightly. The big chestnut trees framing it seemed to be trying to protect the house from a mysterious danger.” As each child’s individual story unfolds the reader experiences the changes that take place within individuals, who meet new challenges as they grow. “No mother holds anything against her child. You wanted to leave and you managed it.”

“Only God forgives, my child. People give understanding and love.” Each experience the reader finds within the story explains emotions that should be present within societies but, are not always evident.

“But we became wiser. Grandmother says, “If you don’t suffer, you don’t learn.”” This is a sentiment that sticks to each girl as she becomes a woman. They remember, and let it’s meaning be absorbed into their lives. The girls become singers, mothers, actresses, business women, and wives. They meet each day with joy, despair, anger, fear, and other emotions. Each one takes courage, thoughts of the house beside the river influence them to continue the journey through life.

Gail Holst-War haft is the translator of this story from the Greek to English. There is a short history of her translating and writing experience at the end of the book. (269 Words)

5. BE Fierce by Gretchen Carlson (nonfiction) (An eBook from a library by the Overdrive app)

If you need support or just information about how harassment of women is evolving in 2017 this book will fill you in on a lot of factual information. Be sure to read the author’s note and the introduction with wide open eyes.

Gretchen Carlson starts her story with quotes from her Twitter account. “After so many years on TV, I wasn’t a stranger to mean tweets.”

The story has only 10 chapters. There is a reading list at the end along with other helpful tips.

Chapter four is titled, “You Have the Right”. One of the rights listed is “I have a right to not be touched unless I want to be touched.” It isn’t a long list of rights but it is a meaningful and powerful list of rights that every women should claim as her own.

Carlson states the obvious kinds of harassment's women face in their homes and work places everyday in the USA. It causes the female population to sometimes feel hopeless and wonder how this came to be such a prevalent occurrence in the every day society that the women of the USA experience.

She advocates that women should speak up. Speaking openly about the type of harassment you are experiencing is the only way to get it out in the open. She also appeals to women to back up any female person who is experiencing harassment. One person cannot push the wedge into society that needs to be wielded. It will take both strong men and women in order to force a change against the perverse sexual climate that is building.

In the last chapter you will read a list of the three types of people in your life. A section in the last chapter is titled, “To be fierce is to stand together.” There are other section titles that have positive meanings in the battle against harassment. Happy Reading. (334 words)

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