What I’ve been reading

Although my reading time has been limited since I’ve been working a full-time consulting job, I have managed to complete several excellent books. Here’s my list since April.

Rabbit Remembered by John Updike – A novella that Updike wrote in 2000, several years after he finished the Rabbit quartet. It’s about the interjection of Annabelle, the illegitimate daughter to the now deceased Harry Angstrom, into the life of his middle-aged son Nelson, now separated from his wife Pru. Other key characters from the Rabbit series appear: Janice, Harry’s widow, who has married Harry’s old nemesis Ronnie Harrison; Judy, Harry’s granddaughter, now nineteen, who plans to become an air hostess; and his fourteen-year-old grandson Roy, with whom Nelson communicates via email. It certainly was very satisfying to read how these characters turned out and to learn Rabbit did indeed father a daughter, which he suspected all along. This was a page-turner for me as were the four other Rabbit books.

Man's Search 1Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl – This is a book about survival. One reviewer says, “Between 1942 and 1945, Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering, but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.” I found it very powerful and inspiring, AND graphic. A must read for everyone. If Victor Frankl could find meaning in his life while living in a concentration camp, anyone can.

The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes – A retired man named Tony Webster recalls how he and his clique met Adrian Finn at school and vowed to remain friends for life. When the past catches up with Tony, he reflects on the paths he and his friends have taken. It was awarded the Man Booker Prize in October 2011. I loved the writing – it’s almost poetry – and the major theme – that memory is imperfect. That’s why I’m so fixated in journaling daily and writing my memories down.

A Portrait of Love and Honor by Susan Weidener – Based on a true story, A Portrait of Love and Honor takes the reader from the halls of the United States Military Academy at West Point during the Vietnam War to a moving love story between two people destined to meet. Weidener very cleverly alternates fiction and memoir to tell this compelling and inspiring story. Look for my review when she is my guest at my blog Choices on August 13, 2015.

GirlThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – I’ve just started this book and I can’t put it down, even though I’m still not sure whether I like it or not. Written from the point of view of three characters in alternating chapters, Hawkins really gets inside their heads. That’s the compelling part. These three characters come alive on the page. I’ll let you know more when I’ve finished reading this current No. 2 “New York Times” best seller. As the NYT says, “It’s a psychological thriller set in the environs of London, full of complications and betrayals.”

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