Monday, December 29, 2014

A Short Reading List for January

There is a natural letdown post-Christmas and it's a good time (generally speaking) to stay inside, unwinding with a good tale.  More than 50 per cent of the country is having bad weather; mailboxes are filling up with bills and even some of the toys are already broken.  When better to pull in one's horns and disappear into the depths of a cozy armchair? 

Here's two ..

If you enjoyed seeing family then I recommend  "Burned Toast Makes You Sing Good, A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family" by Kathleen Flinn   Viking   266 pages   $27.95

Flinn has written a three-generations account of family cooking - hers - and how she came to see that cooking for others is an expression of love and affection.  She includes the recipes after anecdotes about and from the chef involved.  It's a nice "feel good" read and even though I don't consider Michigan "Midwest" (that would be Kansas and Missouri) they apparently cook well there.

The other book is both dark and depressing.  If you are recovering from post-Christmas blues, you might set this one aside until you are in a better mood. 

"Slow Dancing With a Stranger - Lost and Found in the Age of Alzheimer's" by Meryl Comer   Harper One   224 pages   $26.9

Comer's husband, a brilliant medical scientist began acting a bit differently.   In the hospital that he seemed to be more abrupt in his manner, quicker to fly off of the handle, but because that was his M.O. anyhow, they mostly just shrugged and thought, "That's just his way," and went on about their business.  His wife noticed that while he had always been a little distant from her, he could still be the charming doctor she'd met and married so long ago.

This change but not a change is a symptom of the disease and I am now so warned.  Oh, the same as usual - but - different.  It also shocked me to see how thoroughly a human brain can become disarranged.  Comer writes matter-of-factly that if he needed to urinate, he would.  Then and there.  In a house plant or the bathroom sink.  He exposes himself in public because his super ego (which controls behavior) is shot. 

If there is anything at all good to say about Alzheimer's it's that the person with it is blissfully unaware that there is anything wrong in their actions.

Comer is an activist and the back flap of the book states "100 per cent of the proceeds from this book will support Alzheimer's research."

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