Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #74

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

Although our culture seems to bombard us constantly with information about what, how, and why celebrities are doing what they are doing, it still can be a fascinating and enjoyable experience to sit down and read a good old fashioned biography. I find biographies that are about the not so famous even more interesting to read. Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started.

Grieving: A Love Story by Ruth Coughlin

Similar in topic and tone to Joan Didion’s 2007 bestseller “The Year of Magical Thinking,” Coughlin’s book written in 1993 shows us that losing a spouse remains one of the most devastating events that can happen to anyone who has enjoyed a long and happy marriage.

Coughlin addresses her husband’s struggle with terminal cancer and like the Didion title explores what happened to her after his death and how she slowly and eventually built a new life while paying tribute to the memories of a happy marriage.


Slow Motion by Dani Shapiro

In her early 20’s Dani Shapiro’s life seemed out of control. Involved with an older married man, unsuccessful at her modeling/acting career, the highlight of her day becomes her clandestine meetings with her drug dealer. When both her parents are injured in a devastating automobile accident that will require months of slow rehabilitation, she comes to their aid. In the end their recovery becomes her recovery. Honest and ultimately inspiring, adults as well as young adult readers who enjoy stories of personal redemption should find this book a worthwhile read.

SHL Bio Shapiro

Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott writes fiction but it is her biographical nonfiction titles that have earned her a faithful and devoted following. Her books are a meandering mix of humor, insightful and personal observations about the complexities of life. Readers will find them entertaining as well as thought provoking. Lamott’s most recent book “Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith” was on the New York Times bestseller list for months. Her newest fiction title “Imperfect Birds: A Novel” is scheduled to be published in April 2010.

WAM WCV WMB Bio Lamott

Also available in Large Type

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailkas

From her very first illicit sip at age 14, through a harrowing decade of drinking, binge drinking, and getting so ‘smashed’ she couldn’t see straight, 24-year-old Koren Zailkas has an all-too-common story of a young girl’s alcohol abuse. She explains why she began, and how she chose to stop in this memoir.

Bio Zailkas WMB

616.86 Z WAM

Also available in Large Type

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