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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Recommendations and Reviews


When my mama discovered that she was dying sooner than later, it was her choice to die at home. Between the Palliative Care Nurses and my dad as her caregivers, we were able to honour this. From the time that we took her out of the hospital and settled her into her bed at home, she had only a couple of weeks left. Not long after my mom had died and her funeral had taken place and I had my dad relatively established with his new life, I returned home to my family. A friend’s mother, out of the goodness of her heart, suggested that I watch the movie The Notebook, with James Garner. I am a voracious reader but could not bring myself to doing so. I could, however, sit and watch the occasional movie. I cannot tell you how upsetting that movie was. I will never read the book nor watch the movie again. Not because it was/is terrible, but because of the timing with my emotional state that was off. Since then, I have been very careful about recommending movies or books to anyone.
I do, however, still like to read recommendations and reviews, because it helps me to see my common interest, at certain times, with other people. My very good friend Elaine has recommended some of the best books that I have ever read. She reads way more than I do and even though we are miles apart, I still manage to read a few of her suggestions. The first book that Elaine ever recommended I read was, The Children of Men by PD James. I was not a mystery reader and had never read any of James’ work. This book, she assured me was not a mystery. The year was 1991 and I was a single carefree twenty-nine year old while Elaine was a mother of two and about ten years older than I. What could we possibly have in common with regard to reading? Isn’t that the wonderful thing about literature though? Books cross all ages and time, even cultures. I found The Children of Men captivating and from then on, accepted many of the books that Elaine suggested.
Later, I was raising my own two babies and Elaine had teens when she queried why I had never read a John Irving and told me that I might like A Widow For One Year. Even though I threw the book across my living room when I was finished it, I loved the book. I was just so mad at the mother in the story. When I told Elaine what I had done, she just laughed and laughed.
One time while having a face to face visit with Elaine, at her home, her husband Craig expressed the notion that he thought movie reviews were a waste of time and what one person likes and another doesn’t just didn’t compute with him. Elaine and I laughed and I couldn’t come up with a good argument as to why I liked them. What I do think, is that he is absolutely correct, but what a book or movie review does do, is give me a little snippet of information into the content as well as a connection to someone else who feels the way I do about a certain work. If you and I both like eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert, we know a little bit about each other.
On this cold wintery day, and from my rural home that seems in the middle of nowhere at times, I am reading a nonfiction and another very scholarly work and yearn to lose myself, or maybe find myself, in yet another read and so I turn to a conversation that I had with Elaine on Twitter® a couple of days ago, and head to the online library to download yet another captivating read. Will it be The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes or The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenedies? Probably both.
As always, thanks @PRLDelaineap.
…Ellyn