Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blue Nights by Joan Didion

Joan Didion, author of the bestselling memoir The Year of Magical Thinking (2005) which is about her marriage to author John Gregory Dunne (1932-2003), has written Blue Nights (2011), a haunting account of the illness and death of her adopted daughter Quintana Roo Dunne Michael (1966-2005). In 2003, Quintana was hospitalized with pneumonia which developed into septic shock, rendering her unconscious when her father died of cardiac arrest in the couple's New York apartment. She was hospitalized again in 2004 due to bleeding in the brain. Barely able to grieve for her husband, Joan became Quintana's caregiver until she passed away in 2005. The reader learns of the adoption and the doubts and fears Didion and Dunne faced, as well as, bits and pieces of Quintana's childhood, her wedding, her illness, and ultimately her death. Didion also discusses her health problems, getting old, and her intense feelings of guilt for being unable to save the lives of those she loved most because she felt she should have seen the signs that might have saved them. "How could I have missed what was clearly there to be seen?"

An honest, humble memoir of love and grief.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres

For all you "Ellen" fans out there, this is the book for you. I admit I have liked Ellen DeGeneres since way back when. I enjoyed her sitcoms, I loved her as Dora in the hit movie "Finding Nemo," (someone PLEASE tell me why there was never a sequel to that movie), and on the rare occasion I actually get to watch her talk show I love that program too. She simply comes across as a good, kind and generous person who is not afraid to laugh at herself. We need way more people like that too!

"Seriously...I'm Kidding" is a funny book with simple anecdotes on life--according to Ellen. She shares her life experiences about recycling, moving, getting older, being a "Cover Girl" over 50, her animals, her family, babies, being nice, being neat, and oh, yes--being funny and so much more. The chapters are short and sweet. I was so engulfed in reading her story when I heard someone laughing out loud. I looked around and then realized, I was the person laughing! This book is that funny.

It is short, sweet and hilarious. Pick it up today and get lost in a great read (or grab the audio version, Ellen narrates it and it is GREAT!)