Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Memoirs, Historical Fiction, and Self-Improvement

Finished July 2
Dream When You're Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg, read by the author
This is a bit different than what her novels usually are. It is set during World War II in Chicago, around an Irish Catholic family, the Heaneys. Besides the parents, Frank and Margaret, there are 3 girls Kitty, Louise, and Tish along with 3 younger boys. Louise and Kitty having been seeing two young men that are now shipping out to war. Louise and Michael become engaged, while Kitty remains unsure of Julian's intentions. Besides their own two young men, the sisters write to other young soldiers they have met at USO dances endeavouring to keep their spirits up. Kitty begins working at the Douglas aircraft factory to both help support the family and the war effort. She also learns to take pride in her work. Tish is the lively one, flirting with the men and keeping everyone's spirits high. As the war goes on, Louise finds herself pregnant after Michael comes home for leave and the family supports her through this. As the girl's allegiances to young men adjust, so do their relationships to each other. I found the ending forced and unfulfilling and generally did not enjoy this as much as Berg's other books.

Finished July 2
Live Longer: Boost Your Energy, Strength, and Mobility--and Feel Young for Life by Sally Brown
This is a nicely written book with each idea (of the 52 brilliant ideas) given in around 5 pages. I found several that I was already doing (yeah!) and some that I will definitely start doing. Each idea is fairly well presented and tips are given. There are links from one idea to others in the book and questions and answers at the end of each idea. The book is well formulated and the ideas reasonable and stated factually. I liked it and made notes on several.

Finished June 29
The Company They Kept: Writers on Unforgettable Friendships edited by Robert B. Silvers and Barbara Epstein
This was an interesting collection of writings on special friendships brought together in one volume. Many were published previously or given as talks at memorials. I found the range of writing interesting and the types of relationships varied. Some of the writers were more admirers than close friends, while other friendships had interruptions. The stories give new viewpoints to those written about as well as about the writers. An interesting idea, well-executed.

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