What books are tucked away in your beach bag this summer? on your Kindle? lying next to the bed on the night-table? Did you say Veronica’s Grave? Well, that certainly makes me as happy as the day is long. As do your notes and emails telling how much the book has meant to you. Keep them coming! It has long been my hope that Veronica's Grave would shed light and bring understanding to a neglected problem -- that of children who have been silenced for a lifetime by family secrets.
Your kind words set me to thinking about the therapeutic value of books, just as a copy of Nina George’s beguiling novel, The Little Paris Bookshop, arrived on my doorstep. The book had been highly recommended by a talented artist, Anna Ball Hodge, whom I met in Bermuda where she had been painting and studying with another superb water-colorist who lived on-island. Below is one of Ms. Hodge's charming images, so full of life and happiness. Note the way she captures the light as it glances off the water. Is there another artist her work brings to mind? I'd love to hear. Leave me a comment. Or you can check out her website at: www.roundaboutartcollective.com.
The Little Paris Bookshop
Within an hour if its arrival, I found myself tucked away in a leafy corner of the terrace, my brick-and-mortar city-view turned into a wall of white hydrangeas. And there I sat for hours reading about a certain Monsieur Perdu who runs a bookshop on a converted barge on the Seine, one named the 'Literary Apothecary.’ You know me! if it has the word Paris in the title, I cannot resist.
Books heal is his philosophy, but to do that he must prescribe the correct book for each person. Thus he dispenses his books to his customers— not according to their wishes, but according to what he feels they need to brighten their lives and heal their souls.
The problem is that although M. Perdu has a talent for healing others, he has not been able to do as much himself. (BTW: Perdu translates as 'lost' in English.) Taking us from Paris to the south of France, the book is enchanting and has won major literary prizes in Europe. Recently translated into English, it was No. 9 on the New York Times Paperback List last week!
A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding
Another enthralling read last week, a real page turner, is Jackie Copleton's A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding. When a badly disfigured man turns up on the doorstep of Amaterasu Taskahashi, claiming to be her grandson who had died nearly forty years earlier during the bombing of Nagasaki, she must decide if it’s a hoax or a miracle.
In this tale, the personal and the familiar play out against a wider background of public calamity and devastation. Gripping you on page one, this story of intrigue and lost loves moves breathlessly along, never letting you go. As they say: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Don’t miss it!
And, finally, there is perhaps the most timely story of all: The End of Miracles. I've saved the best for last-- a great summertime read that is absolutely free!
The End of Miracles
The End of Miracles is a riveting psychological drama written by the esteemed psychiatrist and professor emerita of the University of Michigan, Monica N. Starkman. It's the story of a woman whose deep need to bear a child is sabotaged by feelings of inferiority and miscarriages. After which, grief and depression propel her to commit an unthinkable act with harrowing consequences for herself and others. As Foreword Reviews notes: 'Margo is a flawed yet admirably strong victim of circumstances and biology who refuses to be a victim anymore.
But why quote Foreword when I can quote my own review?
'The End of Miracles is a spellbinding fast-paced read—a beautifully written debut novel. Particularly so for those interested in mind-body connections. As someone who suffered unrelieved grief for years after the death of my young mother, I identified with Margo, specifically with the hidden damage done by the death of her beloved father. No child should ever have to grieve the death of a loved one alone. If left to its own devices, the mind can play deadly tricks on the body. Highly recommended.’
What's particularly timely is the topic of infertility, the subject popping up everywhere. In the film, The Light Between Oceans, debuting in local theaters on September 2nd. And in the updating of a tale by Garcia Lorca, 'Yerma,' which opened this week on the boards at the Young Vic in London, a theater known for its revitalization of the classics.
For a limited time only, Dr. Starkman is happy to send a free PDF copy of The End of Miracles to those who, after reading it, might be willing to write a review for Amazon. If interested, you can contact her at: Starkman@med.umich.edu.
By the way, what have you read lately that you would recommend pour moi?
That's it for today, guys and gals. Will you take a second to share this post with friends and family, just in case they might like to take advantage of Monica Starkman's offer. Hope to see you back next Sunday when I'll have the coffee waiting....on the terrace, rain or shine.
Bon week-end et à bientôt....Barbara