Archive for the ‘Life lessons’ Tag

A Long, Unseen Existence   Leave a comment

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In a small French village in 1714, on the brink of being forced into marriage, Addie LaRue makes a pact with the devil: to live her life without limits with the caveat that she determines when she’ll finally relinquish her soul. The result is a story spanning centuries, with historic events referred to only in passing.

Instead, V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue highlights Addie’s evolution from a young woman alone who must fend for herself to her realization that no one remembers her from day to day, often hour to hour. Thus, she steals not only to survive, but to thrive – even if she isn’t particularly happy. She never ages, yet she’s lived 400 hundred.

Luc, aka Lucifer, checks in with Addie from time to time to see if she’s ready to finally surrender to him. She dreads these meetings; yet at times they’re also what save her (long) life since he’s the one who transports her from place to another.

Fast forward to New York City 2014 when she meets Henry, a bookseller, who remembers Addie the next day, the day after and many days to come. Thus begins a relationship that endures beyond the one-night stands she’d previously experienced.

Yet, there’s a twist. Henry’s story begins in 2013. (I’ll leave it at that rather than include any spoilers.)

Surprisingly, the narrative isn’t far- fetched. Rather, it’s an engaging love story, a story of regrets, loss and an acknowledgement of what it means to be alive.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Tom Doherty Associates Books, 2020

444 pages

Four and a-half Bookmarks

Summitting a Career   3 comments

(The University of Tennessee College of Communications and Information, where I attended graduate school, was in the shadow of the football stadium. At the time, the Volunteers were the nearest thing in the state to a pro team. Close as I was to the gridiron, I never attended a game. Instead, my attention was drawn to the Lady Vols basketball team because the coach, then in her fifth year, and I shared a name. I’ve followed Tennessee women’s basketball ever since.)

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Nearly two years ago, Pat Summitt who coached the Lady Vols for 38 years, announced that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia. She continued to coach for a year, but last season handed over the reins to an assistant. Although still involved in the program, Summitt spent a large portion of the past year writing her memoir, Sum It Up with Sally Jenkins. It’s subtitled “1,098 Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective.”

Her records aside, what is particularly noteworthy is that when she began coaching, Tennessee high school girls were still relegated to playing half-court ball. Summitt recounts growing up on a farm in rural Tennessee, and after graduating from college initially being offered an assistance coaching job at UT. That never happened. Instead, she became head coach where,  in the beginning, she did everything except sell tickets. Ultimately, she was instrumental in drawing national attention to women’s basketball.

Summitt’s accolades include Olympic medals, as a player and coach, national college championships, and the fact that 100 percent of all of her athletes graduated from college – many of whom went into teaching or coaching.

The latter and her love for her son are what fuel her passion for life. Anyone who’s seen Summitt pace the sidelines during games knows her as a no-nonsense, disciplined and demanding coach. What many don’t know is the depth of her compassion for her players, colleagues, and women’s sports. In an honest, unsentimental voice, this is what comes through in her book.

Sum It Up
Four Bookmarks
Crown Archtype, 2013
385 pages, including appendices

God, Golf, and Growth   3 comments

I am not sure I would have chosen Corinthia Falls off the bookshelf on my own,
but I volunteered to judge a competition. Kim Hutson’s book is what I received in
the mail, along with a list of reading criteria. It was entered in the Fiction Category,
but that should’ve been amended to Christian Fiction. There’s nothing wrong with
that genre, I just think it warrants a heads up. Or maybe I should have paid more
attention to the photo of a church on the cover.

The book gets its name from the small town in Oklahoma where most of the story
takes place. The first two-thirds is narrated by 18-year-old Timber Oaks who has a
strong sense of faith, a group of best friends, loving parents, and an impressive golf
game. The town is full of the requisite eccentric characters, many of whom initially
don’t get along. An itinerant evangelist arrives to help the Corinthia Falls Church,
the townspeople, and Timber fully realize the presence of God in their lives.

The book’s final third begins 30 years after Timber’s narrative ends. Priscilla Luke,
a long-time journalist and, as it turns out, Oaks’ family friend takes over as narra-
tor. This change in voice is interesting. Pris brings the reader up to date on the
major changes many of the characters have experienced, and tells Timber’s story
from the outside looking in.

Some editing and grammar issues distract from what is otherwise a story strong on
faith with occasional lapses in believability.

Corinthia Falls

Three Bookmarks
Outskirts Press, 2011
404 pages

Sorry for the delay in posting, but the wildfire here in Colorado Springs was a major distraction this weekend. We still need some rain.

Posted June 24, 2012 by bluepagespecial in Books, Reviews

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Grandmas With Attitude   2 comments

Just because everyone has a story to tell, doesn’t mean everyone should. It’s
nice, though, that Adriana Trigiani shares hers in the memoir, Don’t Sing at
the Table: Life Lessons From My Grandmothers.

Trigiani imparts memories and the advice given by both of her grandmothers:
Lucy (on her mother’s side) and Viola (on her father’s). Although the two
had little direct interaction with one another, they had a profound influence
on the author. Both were hardworking, independent women who raised families,
ran their own businesses, suffered personal losses, but lived long rich lives.
This describes many grandmothers today, but this was the 1940s and ‘50s.

These Italian-American women weren’t just role models to their granddaughter
(and others); they also had plenty of advice to dispense, from parenting to
femininity, from marriage to adventure. Trigiani’s writing is conversational.
It’s easy to imagine the time spent with Lucy and Viola, and to feel the im-
pact they had. These were tough but caring women who found success at work
and happiness at home.

The title is what caught my attention. Not singing at the table was one of
many family rules when I was a kid, but there was never an explanation.
Trigiani provides one. It comes from an Italian proverb: “Chi e canta a
tavola e piu stupido che fuma a letto, which translated means ‘He who
sings at the table is more stupid than the one who smokes in bed.’” This
is debatable, but it certainly makes for a good title.

Three Bookmarks
Harper Collins, 2010
204 pages