Summer reading blog hop

I’m so pleased that Susan Weidener invited me to participate in this blog hop and was so generous in her praise of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. I’m now paying it forward by recommending a few traditionally and independently published books for your summer reading enjoyment. Please include some of your favorite reads in the comments below.

adventuresAdventures in Mother-Sitting by Doreen Cox. In this love story Author Doreen Cox shares her experience as a “care bear” during the last three years of her mother’s life and how she learned to live with her mother’s slow progression from a viable, interesting, lovable, and happy woman to a woman overcome by dementia unable to handle even her most basic bodily needs. And Doreen doesn’t shirk away from those details. She repeatedly quotes her mother’s mantra: “You just do what you have to do.”

Doreen gave up her as a career group counselor at an alternative school for at-risk and SED high school students to care for her mother, and she never regretted it. She took on all the necessary tasks that were required to keep her mother fed, medicated, and clean and she never shied away from them. Even after her mother’s death, she says: “The desire in me to take care of Mother to her end-time had been very strong, a `calling,’ I had termed it. My `calling’ included the care of Mother’s body to its end.” She never asked the question on many other’s minds: “How could anyone do this day after day, night after night, for so long?” Her loving heart and soul just wouldn’t allow it.

With a second edition due out it August, I recommend Adventures in Mother-Sitting for anyone dealing with dementia. It definitely is a lesson in love.

Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story by Eleanor Vincent. Swimming with Maya traces the life and death of author Eleanor Vincent’s 19-year-old daughter and the subsequent donation of Maya’s organs and tissues. I loved this book for the beauty of the writing, its story about love between a mother and her daughters, the resolve it took for Eleanor to meet the person with her daughter’s heart and feel Maya’s heart beat in his chest. I also praise the courage, faith, and sheer tenacity it took for Eleanor to heal and come to terms with her daughter’s death. She writes her story in a raw, straight forward, and visceral way.

The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son by Izzy Eichenstein. In his memoir, The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son, Izzy Eichenstein, gets down into the depths of his being to reveal the deepest and darkest secrets and truths of his life. He has left himself raw and vulnerable on the page for the world and his estranged extended family to see. That is why, as he’s shared, he feels like a thousand pounds has been lifted off his back. Writing this real and compelling book has enabled Eichenstein to come to terms with who he is with respect to his family, his extended family, his profession, and his Judaism.

SlantsSlants of Life, edited by Susan G. Weidener. Kas Sartori praised Susan’s memoirs Again in a Hearbeat, A Memoir of Love, Loss and Dating Again, and its sequel, Morning at Wellington Square. I absolutely agree. I loved each of these books. I’d like to also praise Susan for her work with the Women’s Writing Circle. She was instrumental in gathering the group’s work into an anthology of true life stories, Slants of Life: Stories and Poems From the Woment’s Writing Circle. The stories are simply elegant. Rich dialogue, vibrant settings, and situations we can all find familiar remind us of the importance of women writing about our lives and the healing effects of telling our truths. Each prose and poetry piece and the pen and ink drawings of Jane Choc in Slants of Life are gifts to savor.

Better You Better Me: Personal Development for a Happy Life by Jason Matthews. I had the pleasure of Betterreading a review copy of Jason’s book, Better You Better Me: Personal Development for a Happy Life, and I’m pleased to let you know it has just been released. In its description Jason says, There’s a better version of you ready to be energized. The ideas in this book are easy to add to your life, and they work wonders. You’ll be happier. Your body will be healthier. Your mind will be activated, creating the life of your dreams. Success and prosperity are in your power. Deeper, more meaningful relationships are there too. You’ll surge with gratitude for the abundance life delivers. It’s time to embrace the ˜new you.’

Please do yourself a favor, read Jason Matthews’ Better You Better Me : Personal Development for a Happy Life. If you’re looking to better yourself, Jason shows you how. His helpful suggestions with anecdotes from his own journey will make it seem easy.

My Gutsy Story Anthology edited by Sonia Marsh (author of Freeways to Flip-flops). In this award-winning anthology of sixty-four gutsy life stories, Sonia Marsh fulfills her wish to create a community where we can feel safe to share our experiences and help one another take risks in life. This is a group of amazing stories by courageous authors. I’m proud to have my gutsy story included.

Now I’ll pass the baton to Doreen Cox as our blog hop continues.




  1. What an honor being included with these great books. Thank you, Madeline.

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      It is my pleasure to include your book. It will surely be a great help to many many folks. Best of success with it, Jason.

  2. Thank you, Madeline, for including my memoir in the company of these other engaging, real-life stories. They are reminders to me that we are never alone. I look forward to continuing such a memorable blog hop.

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      You’re so welcome, Dody. I love your book and your story. It is a pleasure to revisit it here along with the others.
      I look forward to your blog hop post. xo

  3. Madeline, you have included some of my favorite authors and books. I echo your praises for each one. And thanks for introducing me to a new author, Izzy Eichenstein.

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Kathy, I’m so glad you agree with my choices. Please check out Izzy’s book – it is really an eye opener. Plus I look forward to posting about your book soon. xo

  4. Madeline, My heartfelt thanks goes out to you for being so very supportive of my work and the work of the writers of the Women’s Writing Circle. I am in Saratoga Springs attending a conference on women making changes in the world by thinking outside the box and this gave me a wonderful jumpstart to keep moving forward with my writing and helping others achieve their writing and publishing goals. I am honored to be included among the fine authors on this list. Yours truly, Susan

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Dear Susan, Thank you so much for suggesting I join the blog hop. Your and writing are so inspiring that I know you’ll be successful helping others at the conference. I feel so blessed to be among such a wonderful group of authors like you. Best, Madeline

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