Wednesday, January 13, 2016

On my TBR List

Description:

“If you only read one parenting book this year, make it The Mommy Group...This book is incisive, insightful, and downright delightful. I did not mean for that to rhyme” (Adam Mansbach, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Go the F*ck to Sleep)

In 2010, seven women met in Brooklyn, New York, to form a Mommy Group. Over coffee, croissants, wine, and the occasional baby carrot, they commiserated about typical new-mother issues: difficult births, babies who slept in ten-minute increments, and breast pumps that talked back in the middle of the night. And then things got complicated.

Elizabeth and Melissa suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety. Jane’s daughter was diagnosed with developmental delays. Anna’s husband left her when their baby was two weeks old. Through it all, the Mommy Group laughed, supported, and learned lessons from one another that the myriad “experts” hadn’t delivered.

The journalist of the bunch—author Elizabeth Isadora Gold—reached out to other Mommy Groups around the country and found that similar bonds were forming far beyond brownstone Brooklyn. In fact, mothers across all class, geographic, and racial boundaries appear to be searching for the same thing: a way to be strong, loving, engaged parents “while retaining—or remaking—our Selves.”

A witty, relatable, and honest look at the realities of parenthood today, The Mommy Group is a companion that will help any mom feel understood and empowered, and keep her laughing all the way.
 

Description:

Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, Eldon. He's sixteen years old and has had the most fleeting of relationships with the man. The rare moments they've shared haunt and trouble Frank, but he answers the call, a son's duty to a father. He finds Eldon decimated after years of drinking, dying of liver failure in a small town flophouse. Eldon asks his son to take him into the mountains, so he may be buried in the traditional Ojibway manner.     

What ensues is a journey through the rugged and beautiful backcountry, and a journey into the past, as the two men push forward to Eldon's end. From a poverty-stricken childhood, to the Korean War, and later the derelict houses of mill towns, Eldon relates both the desolate moments of his life and a time of redemption and love and in doing so offers Frank a history he has never known, the father he has never had, and a connection to himself he never expected.    

A novel about love, friendship, courage, and the idea that the land has within it powers of healing, Medicine Walk reveals the ultimate goodness of its characters and offers a deeply moving and redemptive conclusion. Wagamese's writing soars and his insight and compassion are matched by his gift of communicating these to the reader.


Description:

Winner of the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize

A beautiful, haunting novel inspired by the true life and loves of the famed Russian scientist, inventor and spy Lev Termen – creator of the theremin.

Us Conductors
 takes us from the glamour of Jazz Age New York to the gulags and science prisons of the Soviet Union. On a ship steaming its way from Manhattan back to Leningrad, Lev Termen writes a letter to his “one true love”, Clara Rockmore, telling her the story of his life. Imprisoned in his cabin, he recalls his early years as a scientist, inventing the theremin and other electric marvels, and the Kremlin’s dream that these inventions could be used to infiltrate capitalism itself. Instead, New York infiltrated Termen – he fell in love with the city’s dance clubs and speakeasies, with the students learning his strange instrument, and with Clara, a beautiful young violinist. Amid ghostly sonatas, kung-fu tussles, brushes with Chaplin and Rockefeller, a mission to Alcatraz, the novel builds to a crescendo: Termen’s spy games fall apart and he is forced to return home, where he’s soon consigned to a Siberian gulag. Only his wits can save him, but they will also plunge him even deeper toward the dark heart of Stalin’s Russia.

Us Conductors
 is a book of longing and electricity. Like Termen’s own life, it is steeped in beauty, wonder and looping heartbreak. How strong is unrequited love? What does it mean when it is the only thing keeping you alive? This sublime debut inhabits the idea of invention on every level, no more so than in its depiction of Termen’s endless feelings for Clara – against every realistic odd. For what else is love, but the greatest invention of all?

“Michaels’ book is based on the life of Lev Termen, the Russian-born inventor of the Theremin, the most ethereal of musical instruments. As the narrative shifts countries and climates, from the glittery brightness of New York in the 1920s to the leaden cold of the Soviet Union under Stalin, the grace of Michaels’s style makes these times and places seem entirely new. He succeeds at one of the hardest things a writer can do: he makes music seem to sing from the pages of a novel.”

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