Bedside Table Reading

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I’ve found some good books and have plowed through a nice selection during the hottest days of summer and into the coolness of almost-fall.

Right now on my bedside table is Rosemary-The Hidden Kennedy Daughter.
What a story!
But’s it’s not a book of fiction, it’s the true story of the eldest Kennedy daughter who was born with brain damage and lived a life of confusion and control.  She was moved to so many different schools that I have lost count.  The status of someone born at the end of WWI who had limited mental capacity was a recipe for disaster.  Education for those with learning difficulties was in its infancy.  And many people were thrown into institutions where the residents were a mix of those with true mental health problems such as schizophrenia and those that were poor and had a hard time reading because they had dyslexia.  Rosemary was kept out of places like this because she was a Kennedy.  The Kennedys did not want scandal.  So they kept her hidden away.  Taking her out only when they could completely control her every move.  Then her father thought she should have a lobotomy.  Even though experts in the medical world advised against such an unknown procedure.  She was hidden away even farther away from the public after her disastrous surgery.  Rosemary was the reason why her sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver started her work with people with intellectual and learning disabilities.  Work that later evolved into The Special Olympics.

I read three different books based on Paris or Parisians.
The first was the true story of Lisa Anselmo who loses her mother to cancer and who decides to take that leap that she’s always wanted to take and buys an apartment in Paris.
She lives part-time in New York and part-time in Paris.
Her Paris apartment needs renovations and she finds that things don’t always go as planned.  It was an interesting read because I liked looking at real Paris neighborhoods through her eyes, but she did get a bit whiny.  Too many tourists (even though she had been one for years) and the relationship that she had with her mom didn’t seem quite as rosy as she had first let on.  Overall, I enjoyed the idea she planted that you must live the life that YOU want or you won’t truly be happy.

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The Little Paris Bookshop was intriguing.  A man has a boat on the Seine River that houses books.  A floating bookstore!   And he knows what book you NEED based on having a small conversation with you.  But he’s plagued by a woman from his past.  Who he has never gotten over.  Wonderful characters emerge as his sidekicks as he navigates the riverways heading from Paris to Southern France.  Always looking for what he believes is his truth.  The ending was a bit hokey for me, but overall I really enjoyed this story.  The author has written another book that I’ll be checking out from the library at some point.

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The Velvet Hours is also a book about the Paris I love.  Paris during the late 1800’s is highlighted and it’s the story about a woman who meets her father’s mother and develops a strong bond with her.  A bond that her father never was able to hold with his mother.  It’s the story of how this woman’s grandmother became the person she ended up being, her life’s journey told through recollections.  I loved it from beginning to end.

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Hillbilly Elegy was recommended to me by a mom friend I have while we were sitting waiting for our daughters to finish up at tumbling practice.  I saw it sitting on the shelf at the library the next week, so I knew I had to snatch it up.  It is the true account of one man who grew up with loving, but hard-edged grandparents and a mom who was plagued with her own self-doubt.  It’s the story of how America’s hill people (Appalachian Mountain people) where moving into the cities of the north that promised hard work and good rewards.  And they got those things, but the hill county ideals never left their souls.  And the struggles they worked through and thought that they had left behind followed and flowed into future generations.  After reading this and seeing some characteristics from my own family, my mother’s side of the family, I realized that this elegy rings true a bit for me as well.

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In light of recent news about North Korea’s nuclear exploits, this book was thought provoking on so many levels.  Ordinary North Koreans have become keenly aware in the 21st Century to the true ideals of their country’s leaders.  Their well-being is not one of them.  Food is scarce, housing is primitive, education is non-existent.  All of this rings true for anyone who hasn’t been selected by the political leaders as being worthy.  Medicine is scarce, the government dictates where you live, where you can work, whether or not you can get food if you do work as money doesn’t exist in North Korea.  It’s a regime like no other in the world.

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The Radium Girls is the true story of the perseverance of women who have been wronged.  Radium was seen as a wonder when it was discovered.  It literally made you glow in the dark.  No one told these women that working with it during WW2 would eventually kill them.  Secrets were kept to help pad the pockets of men.  But, when women started getting sick, their teeth literally falling out of their mouths and their jaw bones crumbling into powder, action was taken by a group of very sick but strong-willed former workers.  Women who took on big business.  Women who changed the way safety in the workplace is handled today.  We owe these women a lot.

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A good quick read.
The Silent Wife.
Abuse.
Scandal.
Secrets.
Redemption.
All a great mix and worthy of a look.

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I found this as I was walking through the library one day.  I always enjoy a Stephen King novel.  This wasn’t nearly as good as I had hoped it would be.  I needed more scare and this didn’t hit it for me.  While the idea was good, the outcome left me wanting MUCH more.

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WHAT A BOOK!  I loved this one.  I saw this at Barnes and Noble and took a picture of it to remind me to look for it at our local library.  It did not disappoint.  It’s a story about maternal love, about losing someone that you didn’t think you would ever see again, it’s about the ultimate in forgiveness, it’s about realizing that the world isn’t really as big as you imagine it to be, and it’s about family.
Get it.
Read it.
Tell me what you think.

teabook

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