I’m a major linguaphile and bibliophile. In my humble opinion, it is the written word that sets you free.
Outlander — Diana Gabaldon
When my good friend handed me this book, I read the synopsis and said, “You know what, I’m not interested.” Frankly, “time-traveling World War II nurse finds her in 18th century Scotland” didn’t appeal to me on any level — and I love me a good smutty romance novel. But I slogged through the first six chapters and was rewarded with a deeply moving love story and a female heroine that all women could stand to learn a great deal from. I’m currently reading book number 2, “Dragonfly in Amber” now. My only hesitation in recommending these books is this: be careful of how attached you become to these characters. They will live off of the page and into your heart and mind in a way that few other fictional characters ever have. This is a story I’ve have to take breaks from and “put on ice” more than once — it’s that good.
The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality — Avital Norman Nathman
I just received this book as a gift from one of my mommy friends after speaking with her about the subject of my post “Undoing Women’s Lib?” The book is a collection of essays from a veritable pantheon of Real Mothers and their struggle with the Good Mother mythos.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks — Rebecca Skloot
Mrs. Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer in a time when little about the condition could be treated. After she died, leaving behind several young children, the cancerous cells that her doctors had collected lived on. Those very cells became the foundation of a medical revolution and a multimillion dollar industry, all while her family lived on, unaware and in poverty. This book makes you question the extent to which our bodies are our property and the moral implications of harvesting one person’s illness to potentially cure thousands.
The Beginning of Everything — Robyn Schneider
Sometimes a good Young Adult novel is just what a twenty-something needs on a long weekend. Ezra Faulker is a pretty handsome, pretty popular, pretty happy guy until a drunk driver t-bones his BMW after blowing through a stop sign. The young athlete loses his leg and his social standing in the aftermath, having to come to terms with his personal tragedy while rebuilding his relationships with friends long-forgotten. Oh, and there’s a love story in it, too. Of course.
Still Missing — Chevy Stevens
This book unsettled me, and I still find myself thinking about it in those desolate times when your mind goes, unbidden, to those deep, dark places we never speak of. Written as if the main character were speaking to her therapist, we relive her horror as she is abducted, raped, beaten, and kept prisoner for a year by a deranged stranger. Sadly, the torment does not end when she returns home. Ultimately, she overcomes and the reader rejoices with her, but like the heroine of this story, the reader is left with lingering frailty.