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Uplifting Reading for Shut-Ins!


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#16 dragonfly7

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 03:04 PM

Hi,

Some suggestions:

1) The Last Time I Saw Mother by Arlene Chai
2) Eating Fire, Drinking Water by Arlene Chai
3) When The Elephants Dance by Tess Urize Holthe

Both writers are Filipina.

I also like Maeve Binchy - most of her novels are set in Dublin/Ireland.

Judy Blume, who is a children's book author has an adult novel called "Summer Sisters" which she might enjoy.

Fannie Flagg is a great suggestion too.

Frances Chung has a book of poetry called "Chinese Apple, Crazy melon", which is one of my all-time favorites, in case your mother likes poetry.

Hope this helped!

#17 dragonfly7

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 03:08 PM

Forgot to add:

1) The God of Small Things, Arundrahti Roy (sp?)
2) Jaroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (sp again?)
3) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

#18 BW

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 03:48 PM

grace, you've gotten so many great suggestions and everyone's pretty much hit on all the suggestions that initially came to my mind.

I'll second and third Amy Tan's "Joy Luck Club" and "The Geisha" by Golden, too, but then again I feel this way about the suggestions of many.

In re C.S. Lewis' books - you don't have to be "religious" or even Christian to enjoy this man's work. Here is a link to his version of "The Divine Comedy" entitled "The Great Divorce" on Amazon for a nice little synopsis.

She might enjoy Thomas Merton's autobiography, one of my favorites, "The Seven Story Mountain" as well.

My own mother fell into similar circumstances towards the end of her days...and she too was a voracious reader - what a saving grace. :)

Please keep us posted and feel free to give us her reviews!

#19 vagansmom

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 04:35 PM

This is fun. I remember some more books my mom and I both liked:

Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith
All the books in the Mitford Series by Jan Karon
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I discovered, in trying to come up with light books, that most of what I read ISN'T :)

Some wonderfully written books are almost anything by Willa Cather and Rumer Godden. Cather's My Antonia, O Pioneers, Death Comes for the Archbishop, and Song of the Lark(about an opera singer) are real treasures.

Some good Godden books include The Greengage Summer, River, In This House of Brede, Episode of Sparrows, and China Court. I learned so much about Eastern cultures from reading her books.

Finally, Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and To Serve Them All My Days (about a teacher's life in an English boarding school - the story takes place in the first half of the 20th century) by R.F. Delderfield.

#20 floss

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 07:14 PM

Has your mother read Angelas Ashes, A Monk swimming, A Fortunate Life. My Grandmother loved these books, stories about tough lives but have some humour. She also loved "The Winter Sparrows" ( I think, will try to check for you). She chuckled through it, a little bit of "language" through it by she didn't mind. I will check her library and try to come up with some more titles. She also enjoyed Sally Morgan's books.

#21 Ed Waffle

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Posted 13 June 2003 - 08:16 PM

The James Herriot books may work.

They tell the story of a young vetranarian coming to age in rural Yorkshire between the wars. There is lots about animals--it is possible to be less enthusiatic about cows giving birth than the author--but more about the people around him.

Decently written, quite uplifting.

#22 grace

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Posted 17 June 2003 - 08:02 PM

WOW! you guys are great!

sorry that i haven't been able to find this thread for a few days (i did something silly with my computer...long story).

anyway - these are right on the money. yes, Ari - she has read all of amy tan's books and yes, that is just the right sort of stuff. although she reads widely, i recognise the names of what she has.

kate B - helene hanff would be just right too, if we both hadn't enjoyed these many years ago, so you, too, are on the right track.

floss - isn't 'A Fortunate Life' a remarkable book? (yes, we both have read it, but i agree with you, that it is amazing and suitable).

most of these other posts include some names which i am UNfamiliar with, which probably means that they make a good list of things she should start requesting from the library. thank you very much :)

a few other comments:

1. if i could just get her to upgrade her modem and/or computer ( a powermac), and not be so negative about not 'needing' to be online...she could renew with her ISP, and post her OWN responses. that would really brighten her up, but i bet i can't do it!
:(

2. alexandra & others: it's not so much that she's a prude, but more that she has always been of the view (that i share) that ALL media is stuff which one can allow into one's brain, or not. and that one's brain BECOMES the sum total of what we allow in. so, it's worth being careful. especially if you want to retain a positive outlook in a scary, often ugly world.

3. if she ever does get online again, and i recomend her to this forum, i'll have to delete this thread, so she's not embarrassed by 'public exposure'.

4. this brings up another possible consideration: alexandra - you said yourself, in the intro to this forum about books, that this forum has/need have NOTHING to do with ballet.

BUT: do you actually want to invite in here, NEW people who have little or no interest in ballet - but who love books (like my mother, and other friends of hers i can think of.)...

...thinking: 2 websites, 2 'jobs' for you, 2 fundraising requirements, possible conflicts between up-to-now very friendly 'clientele' who DO have something in common & new people who don't, etc etc...

what do you think? ('we' should make that a new thread, shouldn't 'we'?) :)

#23 Estelle

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Posted 18 June 2003 - 01:03 AM

vagansmom, I love Willa Cather's books too.
There's also "Shadows on the rock" that I'd recommend, and "One of ours", a great book but perhaps not very uplifting (as much of it deals with WWI). Unfortunately, many of her books haven't been translated into French... :)

Alexandra, has your mother tried the "Miss Seeton" series, by various authors (Heron Carvic, Hamilton Crane, Hampton Charles)? I don't find it very well-written, but it's quite funny, and really "clean" I think (the main character is a retired female drawing teacher in a small English village in the 1970s, who gets involved in some crime stories but never really realizes what's happening, as she's veru naive and thoughtless, and she helps the police find the criminals a bit by chance...) My brother reads mostly mysteries and dagger-and-cloak stories (and also adventure stuff like the Horblower series and the Aubrey and Maturin series) so I have to find some inspiration for his birthdays and Christmas gifts...

#24 floss

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Posted 19 June 2003 - 05:41 PM

Checked with Grandmother and here are some of her suggestions however she did say some people may not consider them as uplifting but the books are certainly not depressing. Taylor Caldwell's novels, E.V. Timms, Sharon Penman Your hills are too high by Roslyn Taylor, James Herriot as suggested by some posters plus the latest (?) which is an autobiography, Michael Crawford's autobiography. She said she would try to come up with some more ideas for you.

#25 dirac

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Posted 19 June 2003 - 06:12 PM

Thank you, floss. How could I have forgotten Taylor Caldwell? :) "Dear and Glorious Physician" would be an excellent choice, I think.

#26 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 20 June 2003 - 04:28 AM

Well one book that I find very uplifting was written during the 2nd World War, and is entitled "Paris Underground" by an American woman who lived in Paris during the occupation, named Etta Shiber.
A synopsis:
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At the time of the German invasion of France, Etta Shiber, American author of Paris Underground (1943), then in her 60's, lived in Paris with her good friend Kitty Beaurepos. They had met in a dress shop on a trip Shiber had made to Paris in 1925.
Yearly, Shiber visited Beaurepos in Paris and when Shiber's husband of 35 years died in 1936, she moved to Paris to live quietly with KB. In 1940, they resisted fleeing Paris until there was no hope and then they joined the jam of refugees fleeing south.
Her book graphically describes the confusion and fear felt by the refugees on the crowded roads, some on foot carrying what possessions they could, others in dog- or horse-drawn vehicles, and some like Shiber-Beaurepos in automobiles - all subject to being machine-gunned and bombed from German planes - and there was no food left anywhere.
The two old women stopped at an inn to search for food and found, instead, a British aviator who failed to get evacuated at Dunkirk. They hide him in the trunk of their car and when the Germans caught their refugee column and turned them back to Paris, the aviator - undiscovered - went with them. They hid him in their apartment, finally making contact with the underground to get him out.
They were told there were nearly a thousand starving British soldiers hiding in the woods around Concy-sur-Conche and Shiber-Beaurepos and the underground brought groups of four of the Brit soldiers to their apartment to house them while they prepared false papers and made arrangements to get them through German lines. In all they helped more than 150 English soldiers escape, but inevitably the Gestapo discovered their underground.
KB was sentenced to death - she was English and had had a French husband - and Shiber (the U.S. was not at war with Germany yet) was sentenced to three years at hard labor. On May 17, 1942, Shiber, ill and half-starved, was exchanged for Johanna Hoffman who had been convicted of espionage for the Germans in the U.S.

#27 BW

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Posted 20 June 2003 - 05:28 AM

Thank you Mme. Hermine - that sounds like an excellent book! I'm putting in on my own must read list, right now.

#28 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 20 June 2003 - 05:42 AM

It really is, BW, one of those hard to put down reads. Interestingly I found that Mrs. Shiber died in 1948 at her residence in NYC at the Beacon Hotel!

#29 BW

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Posted 20 June 2003 - 06:01 AM

How interesting! I wonder if she is listed in that book that WNYC is offering now as a "gift" for one of their membership levels...about authors and their homes in NYC...

I did check out Amazon for this book and, though it is hard to get new, there are some very inexpensive second hand copies for sale. :)

#30 Ari

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Posted 20 June 2003 - 08:12 AM

Grace, another author your mom might like is Chaim Potok. He wrote a number of novels set in the Jewish Hasidic communities of Brooklyn. He was a natural storyteller; as soon as you start to read him, you feel like getting cozy in a nice chair and just settling in. His novels create a warm, positive feeling about the world, while not ignoring the dark side. His best-known book is The Chosen, which is very good, but my favorite is My Name Is Asher Lev, about a young Hasidic boy who has great gifts as a painter.


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