About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Determined to Read Again & Book Reviews

Reading in the school library in more stress-free times...

Oh for goodness sake!  I'm trying to write a post while fibro-brain appears to be at its worse?  My concern is: will I even make any sense?

But before I go on, I can't help "promoting" myself a bit. There aren't too many "highs" in my life, so this is a rather biggie for me.  Another blog, fibrodaily has a segment called "Fibro Warrior of the Week" and I was asked to be interviewed as their latest warriors, the seventh.  It came out yesterday.  Thanks so much FibroDaily: you made it all so easy and were so kind with what you said before the interview started.  

OK: enough with the odds and ends (moi) and let's get to the problems at hand.  

With the "cold" weather (understatement) it's the perfect time to curl up and read some mindless and fun books. If I'm to get back in my reading to where I was a few years ago, I need to get to the point where I lie down and not even notice the time passing by as I read.  So, it seems that for a while I'll need to forget Einstein's biography (true: what possessed me to buy one?)  or catching up on my Proust (made that one up) or reading about Malaria and how it ruled the world for thousands and thousands of years even into the present time in some places - like Papua New Guinea where my son "holidayed" not once, not twice, but three times when he finally came down with Malaria.  You'd think his mama would have taught him better!  But enough on the foibles (insanity) of my family.

I need books that will get my brain to start working out like you would exercise a muscle to stay in shape.  After all, in recent decades there were times when I had to force myself to read.  There were all too many days when my brain couldn't handle the usual and I had to adjust to that.  It was a funny time, one day a Harlequin-type romance, the next day a prize-winning novel.  In my shorthand way, I tend to say that I'm a moody reader.  However,  I've realized that's far from the truth.  It's that my brain simply can't tolerate or take in huge concepts, ideas, glorious writing which makes me gasp at the perfection of a word used or a sentence structure.  But in decades past, the Harlequin-type novel would creep in because the most important thing, as far as I'm concerned, is to read or you WILL lose that ability.  For example, I've never been the best at reading Russian, but I could do it.  The frustration set in because I read rather quickly in English but the Russian had always lagged behind,   However, in college I even read Dr. Zhivago in its original, plus a few other goodies.  But that sight reading is gone now.  So, use it or lose it!  I can't afford to allow this to happen with English.  

And so I'm into those baby-steps.  I focus on not thinking about my daughter and what she, as well as WE - our entire family - went through in her care.  I've had my own near-death experiences since my daughter's but enough time has passed that I need to get back to using that oh so important "muscle."  Now!  Fast and frequently.  Besides, reading is me.  I started back when I was four and would constantly get into trouble because I just couldn't bear not having a book in my hands.  I hear a title and it brings back memories of what we as a family were going through, almost more so than a picture.  

So, I'm admitting to a few books which I've read in the last few weeks, with the hope that some here will find a way to take a vacation from our DD:
  • The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.  I'd read her other novels and can't remember anything at all about them.  At the moment that's a good thing.  I find that if I reread a book, it's much easier to get into the reading habit, at the moment.  I certainly hope to progress beyond what I have already read, however. I did very much enjoy The Secret Keeper because it kept me guessing the "answer." I look forward to rereading her other novels. (BTW: forgetting what a book is about is not a negative: it's just the way my brain works.  I rarely remember what went on in a book a day later and that's one of the reasons I need to read a book in a single day or one sitting: otherwise I cannot  remember what had happened in the book the previous day!)
  • My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall.  This definitely belongs in the laughter category: by now I think everyone knows how I feel about laughter.  I've fallen in love with all the Marshalls.  What a family!  Funny as you would imagine, but there are so many more aspects to them to admire.  I love their love of family (despite the title: I won't give out more for fear of a "spoiler.") I loved this book so much that I then read her brother, Garry Marshall's, memoir, My Happy Days in Hollywood.   Anyone who grew up in the NYC area in the 50's and even 60's will absolutely love both books. BTW: I was able to "borrow" Penny Marshall's book for free with Prime on Amazon.
  • Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth is actually a trilogy and the last two are finally available here in the States through Amazon and kindle.  I absolutely adored the first book, and was extremely surprised that the TV version  actually respected the memoir, give or take a few minor liberties. I'm about halfway through the second book, Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse.  In this edition of her memoir Worth speaks about fewer people so that we can understand how certain things turned out the way they did in fewer characters' lives.  Her depiction of the workhouses is a great tribute/reminder to the horrific conditions that those "thrown" into those places had to endure.  It's a very compassionate and very well-researched book - though often as heart-breaking as it is eye-opening.  However, something about Worth's matter-of-factness and bits of humor here and there make this an enchanting memoir, definitely worth reading.
  • I've rediscovered Nevil Shute's A Town Like Alice and loved it as much as I did 50 plus years ago. 
  • I also reread To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Mockingbird really should be read every few years.  The love and gentleness of that particular era is striking. The quiet wisdom keeps you thinking long after you've finished reading the book.  You fall in love with Atticus with his quiet strength and goodness, as well as Scout, that observer of everything.  In other words, you fall in love with the characters all over again.  It's such a readable book and yet such a classic, perhaps one of the best American novels ever written.
  • The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe by J Randy Taraborrelli.  I knew very little about her, but just enough that I had the outline more or less already configured in this so-called brain of mine. This was a great reading foothold.  I can see the horizon where I'll be able to read almost anything that tickles my fancy!  Bring it on!  

As always, I hope everyone's feeling their best, only better!  Ciao and paka! 

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