Thursday, August 25, 2011


This is the best book I've read in a very long time, and I've read some good books. I read a lot of books--one a day when I'm on a roll. I'll not quote from the first paragraph this time (Even the entire prologue is a bit off-putting, but hang on... It'll be worth it.), but from the opening paragraphs of the second-to-the-last chapter. Brilliant.

Our great romances and triumphs and conquests ultimately do nothing to bind us together, one to another. It is in defeat and tragedy that our souls show through, and we are known.

A person may tell you about a glorious achievement in business, about being promoted or being hired for a dream job, and be saying nothing at all about his core self. But have that person speak to the sinking feeling of once being laid off, the anxiety of scrounging for tuition money and coming up short, the terror of losing a business or a home, and you are on your way to having a real bond, a real friend.

A woman may speak glowingly about finishing a marathon, or building a dream home, or having a child admitted to college, and yet be telling you nothing. But have her tell you about her panic at getting older, about the slow erosion of her body, or the lingering grief of a miscarriage years ago, or her waning passion for the man she still loves, and you may realize that we are, truly, more alike than different in our needs and fears--and much more alone than we need to be.

But perhaps nowhere can we see each other more clearly than in an intensive care unit, under the cold fluorescent lights, exhausted by our vigils, surrounded by tubing running into and out of our bodies and those of loved ones, listening to the constant beeping of cardiac monitors. Because in an intensive care unit, your job doesn't matter, the new addition to your house doesn't matter, your religion and political party and even sexual orientation are irrelevant. The things that define you and those who love you are simply whether you will live or not.

There are no strangers and no enemies in the ICU.
The Architect
Keith Ablow
pg. 283

I'm going to read his backlist. When I finished this book, I didn't want to wait. I wanted to start reading another immediately. I tried to download his first Frank Clevenger book, Denial, but it's not available as an e-book. Back to the library.

Friday, August 19, 2011


It was only a part in a TV series, and only a one-bedroom apartment in New York. But parts of any kind, much less decent ones, were hard to come by, and even in Los Angeles, everyone knew the value of a pied-a-Terrence in Manhattan. And the script arrived on the same day as the final divorce papers.

If real life were a script, a movie executive would have stricken this fact as "too coincidental." but Schiffer Diamond loved coincidences and signs. Loved the childlike magic of believing all things happened for a reason. She was an actress and had lived on magic nearly all her life...


...It was Enid thought, simply the human condition. There were inherent questions in the very nature of being alive that couldn't be answered but only endured.

Usually Enid did not find these thoughts depressing but, rather, exhilarating. In her experience, she'd found that most people did not manage to grow up. Their bodies got older, but this did not necessarily mean the mind matured in the proper way. Enid did not find this particularly bothersome, either. Her days of being upset by the unfairness of life and the inherent unreliability oh human beings to do the right thing were over. Having reached old age, she considered herself endlessly lucky. If you had a little bit of money and most of your health, if you lived in a place with lots of people and interesting things going on all the time, it was very pleasant to be old. No one expected anything of you but to live. Indeed, they applauded you merely for getting out of bed in the morning.
One Fifth Avenue
Candace Bushnell

I was looking for a fun, quick read; an airplane book, a beach read. This one was great fun. Candace Bushnell is a fine writer and knows her subject matter--Manhattan and its inhabitants.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


For the first few days after Catherine's death, I find myself doing all the wrong things--though I'm not exactly sure what the right things are. I'm fairly certain you're not supposed to lie in a bath, listening to ABBA, when your girlfriend's just been killed in a car crash. But this morning, that's exactly what I find myself doing. Singing along with Fernando on the radio. Using Catherine's bubble bath. Mindlessly trying to churn up more bubbles with my hands.

Because what's just happened is so major, anything I do which is minor--and in my life, that's quite a lot--automatically seems wrong. Putting my feet up on the table this morning, reading the sports page, I caught myself thinking: Is this allowed? And making a triple-decker honey sandwich: Is this too frivolous?

I'm a Believer
Jessica Adams

Alright... I'm not ever a fan of mysticism, but still this book hooked me from the onset. This is a seriously fun read--clever, thoughtful, spiritual. Should seem frivolous on many levels but the underlying subject matter--death, grief, loss, love, relationship, friendship, religion, faith, reality... See! This story is chock-full of worthwhile thoughts and conversations.

I love it when a protagonist is self-aware, self-effacing, and intelligent. I love it when the main character does a lot of off-kilter sometimes irrelevant digressing. So much like real life, at least through my over-analytical perspective. Mark is complex, and whether you get him or not, he's an interestingly drawn, very human person. There's nothing shallow or self-deluding about him.

Ms. Adams is a fine wordsmith and I'm definitely going to check out her wittily titled first novel--Tom, Dick, and Debby Harry and also Single White E-mail.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Life has been complex and stressful of late, so I'm ready for a light and easy read when I head to the library. Not previously familiar with Elizabeth Adler's extensive backlist, I'm pleased to discover her through this book. I'm not a huge fan of romance because most authors have dumbed-down their dialogue, characters, plot lines, etc. to an insulting level. Either that, or the Romance genre employs some really bad authors.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sailing to Capri--of course you can't beat anything that's at least partially set in the south of France.

I especially love Ms. Adler's generous use of quotes prefacing each new section. Quotable quotes that I'm capturing on my Stories I Don't Remember blog.

It's snowing, great white starry flakes that cling to my red hair like a tiara on a princess for all of a minute, before melting and running in icy drops down the back of my neck. My mother, who was a stickler for proper behavior for young ladies, would have said it was my own fault, I should have worn a hat to the funeral out of respect for the dead. Of course she was right, but since I don't possess a hat, at least not one suitable for a funeral, I'd decided to do without.
Sailing to Capri
Elizabeth Adler

I'm looking forward to reading more from Ms. Adler.