Reading Books about the Differently Abled (Mentally & Physically)

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Reading Books about the Differently Abled (Mentally & Physically)

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1Limelite
Ago 15, 2019, 1:21pm

Because some of us indicated an interest in books about people on the Asperger and other spectra of mental ability and people, for instance, confined to wheelchairs who function as central characters or actively important supporting players in books, I thought it reason enough to launch this "informal genre" thread.

Fiction and nonfiction books about the topics are numerous, but I suppose fiction gives wider range to exploration of interesting incident, and the power of "story" seems to be greater than nonfiction, when discussing the largely unknown. After all, look how popular science fiction is! But memoirs have their value, too. Especially for the particular insights they provide. For instance Temple Grandin revealed much about her ability at original thinking and inventiveness when describing how her mind works when faced with a problem and how she thought of and developed humane slaughterhouses for cattle, involving pathways and cattle cuddling chutes. She is responsible for original contributions to animal psychology.

And where would mankind be without having been graced with the acute and inquiring mind of Stephen Hawking? Confinement to a wheelchair and forcible silence by ALS did not impede his ability to theorize about the origins of the Universe and propose the existence of black holes at the center of galaxies. An argument could even be made that by his very existence and increasing incapacity to communicate, he spurred the advancement of AI and artificial communications technology.

Obviously we have a lot to talk about. For instance:

Why have fiction writers begun mining the territory of Aspergers Spectrum for main characters to populate their books more than ever before?

Where does the curiosity of "normal" people come from that demands stories about "abnormal" people who are not considered socially adept but are impressive adepts in other areas, especially computers, maths, and music?

Are we witnessing an increase in numbers and acceptance of high functioning "abnormal" people as we evolve such that their stories are more generally considered of value and importance to our overall success as a species?

Since one of the most gratifying experiences from reading fiction is the insight it provides to us about the human condition, are we longing to expand this desire to include a dip into the lives of people who may seem alien but who really live among us rather than aliens who we will never encounter? Are the stories allowing us to walk in their shoes the true "Close Encounters" humankind craves?

What are the books you've read that left lasting impressions on you about these and other aspects of fiction and nonfiction? Which do you believe are most honest and accurate books about the differently abled? Do you wish there were books about _______ that have yet to be written? Are any of you writing such books?

Inquiring minds request that, like the heroine of one of my favorite novels, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, you do too.

2Limelite
Ago 15, 2019, 2:32pm

Some titles for your TBR stack.

The Rosie Project (first of a 3 vol. series) by Graeme Simsion Humorous sequence about the misadventures of high functioning Aspergers hero, making his way in the world.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon Move over, Sherlock Holmes, your young "protege" has some investigating to do.

When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald New Canadian author offers compassionate vision of struggles a brother and sister, who is on the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Spectrum, undergo as they attempt to be worthy heroes in the legends of their own making.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett The first book I ever read about a child who couldn't walk, on my stomach on the floor of nursery school. I read and loved and maybe understood a little. (kiddie lit)

Rear Window by Cornell Woolrich Famous in movie medium, a man in a wheelchair spies on his neighbors for entertainment and sees something he shouldn't have that places him in danger.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Learn more about the tragedy of mismatched friendship and the cruelty of "normal" people than about the misplaced yearnings of an "abnormal" man in the Great Depression. (classic)

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking The iconic book of popular consumption on cosmology. I bought my copy at Princeton University bookstore and stayed up all night, reading it in one sitting. One of the most influential books in my reading history. (nonficction)

Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism by Temple Grandin The revealing memoir of an animal scientist who thinks and feels like no other in her field, or like many in the gen pop. (nonfiction)

Controversial Candidates:

Moby Dick by Herman Melville Is Captain Ahab have a deficit or a difference as a result of having one leg and an obsession with an individual white whale? (classic)

Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up by J.M. Barrie And what about Captain Hook with his missing hand and ticking croc? (kiddie lit)

32wonderY
Ago 15, 2019, 4:39pm

The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon. Autism, how it affects a life, and should it be cured?

And the much older book that always makes me cry, Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

4Limelite
Ago 15, 2019, 9:04pm

Keyes' book should probably carry the "modern classic" label.

I remember being deeply affected by a tragic novel centered on Down Syndrome. Not easy to read if you're feeling emotionally fragile, or if the subject is uncomfortably close to home, but a beautiful and sensitive novel nonetheless.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

It's not easy to find much fiction for adults about this genetic disorder. Many books for kiddies and YA readers address it in an instructional way to promote acceptance and inclusion of classmates.

There's an interesting article about why there aren't many such books that was published in Australia's The Sydney Morning Herald by journalist, Sarah Kanake.

https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/telling-the-stories-of-characters-wit...

5Kat.Warren
Editado: Ago 17, 2019, 2:53pm

The Memory Man series by David Balducci features a protagonist with sinesthesia..

6Limelite
Editado: Ago 17, 2019, 5:56pm

>5 Kat.Warren:

I really enjoyed reading most of his "Camel Club" series. Guess I'll have to take a look at the "Memory Man" one. What type synesthesia does the protagonist have: sight with color, or names with smell, etc?

Amazon is offering A Gambler's Jury by Victor Methos, a court room drama featuring a defendant who is mentally disabled. This raises an interesting question: How do mentally challenged defendants receive a fair trial by their peers? I know one is excused from jury duty for some mental and/or physical illnesses -- I was called to jury duty while healing in a cast for a broken tibia, and asked if I wished to be excused, although I had been seated.

Is justice served when an all neurotypical jury sits in judgment over a defendant who is not? It seems to me most of the consideration is given to jury members rather than to the accused. How can "normal" people "walk in the shoes" of the atypical defendant and give the case a fair hearing?

Some discussion on juror consideration for people with mental illness here.

https://www.quora.com/How-can-you-serve-on-jury-duty-if-you-have-a-mental-illnes...

Another novel on sale on Amazon that features an institutionalized blind and deaf brother is The Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio. The book is set in pre-WW II Liverpool and should give readers a glance into the attitudes of 'Pudlians to the disabled there and then.

7Bookmarque
Ago 17, 2019, 6:18pm

Jeffrey Deaver writes the Lincoln Rhyme series - Rhyme is a quadriplegic. He can be a condescending jerk sometimes, but the books are good, the larger story arc moves and the individual cases are intense and tricky. The first one is The Bone Collector.

8Limelite
Ago 17, 2019, 6:31pm

>7 Bookmarque:

What kind of series is this? What do you like about it? (I'm assuming you do like it!) ;^)

9Bookmarque
Ago 17, 2019, 7:09pm

It’s a police procedural or forensic type series. Rhyme is a criminalist of the first order and evidence is all to him. I like the books for their unpredictability.

10Kat.Warren
Editado: Ago 17, 2019, 7:48pm

The crimes in the Lincoln Rhyme series are grotesquely violent so some may not care for the books. I read the first several then gave up. I was more tolerant of fictional violence when I was younger.

11Bookmarque
Ago 17, 2019, 7:17pm

Grotesquely being highly subjective.

12Kat.Warren
Ago 17, 2019, 7:47pm

Well, subjective anyway.

13southernbooklady
Ago 19, 2019, 8:44am



Relatively popular novels that would fit this category:

The Caveman's Valentine classical musician who is now homeless and living in Central Park stumbles over a body

Motherless Brooklyn detective with Tourette's Syndrome

And I'm blanking on the title, but there was a dystopian novel awhile ago set in a quarantined NYC where the lead character had OCD or something and could only make left turns? He lived in the remains of the NY Public library.

In terms of nonfiction under the fairly huge umbrella of "mental illness" the book I know best--because I know the author and she was working on it while I was running the bookstore -- is a memoir called Rescuing Patty Hearst. When the author was a little girl her mother had a psychotic break, took her kids to a shack on the Virginia peninsula, blacked out its windows and set the place up as a MASH unit for a secret war. She kept her kids there for three years, training.

The memoir is not really so much about the specifics of her mother's illness, though, as it is about her memories of what it was like to live through it, and the research she did into how society treated and treats mental illness then and now that allowed the situation to go on for so long without any intervention by family or authorities.

Hence the subtitle: "Growing Up Sane in a Decade Gone Mad." And she is achingly honest about her own fears, since mental illness can be hereditary. There is one frightening scene where she describes how she -- an adult, married, with a child of her own -- is up in the attic looking for something and she starts hearing voices and thinks "this is it...it's starting" and sits up there in a panic until her husband comes up and tells her that someone has a radio on in the house.

14Kat.Warren
Ago 19, 2019, 12:49pm

Loved Motherless Brooklyn.

15Kat.Warren
Ago 19, 2019, 12:51pm

In the non-fiction vein, Oliver Sacks has written a number of books and essay collections. All remarkable reading.

16lilithcat
Ago 19, 2019, 1:31pm

Let me recommend Good Kings Bad Kings, set at a group home for young people with disabilities, told in their voices and those of workers in the facility. It's won numerous awards.

The author, Susan Nussbaum, is a disability rights activist: http://www.susannussbaum.com/ (I almost wrote "disability writes activist", which I suppose would also be true!)

172wonderY
Ago 19, 2019, 1:43pm

Tom Griffin wrote a play The Boys Next Door, which was dramatized in 1996 by Hallmark Entertainment, directed by John Erman. It also depicts a group home and stars Nathan Lane as one of the residents.

18lilithcat
Ago 19, 2019, 2:05pm

>6 Limelite:

I know one is excused from jury duty for some mental and/or physical illnesses

I don't know of any mental and/or physical illnesses which would automatically result in a potential juror being excused. In general, the question would be whether there is anything about the illness which would make it difficult for the juror to serve. Does the illness, or medication for it, affect the juror's attention span? Does the juror have to go to physical therapy? That sort of thing.

There are some disabilities which previously would pretty much have barred someone from jury service, such as deafness or blindness, but courts are now far more willing to make accommodations (i.e. sign language interpreter) and to consider whether the individual case is such that the disability would prevent the juror from being able to serve (i.e. a blind juror on a case where the only issue is whether the defendant is the person in the video).

Is justice served when an all neurotypical jury sits in judgment over a defendant who is not? It seems to me most of the consideration is given to jury members rather than to the accused. How can "normal" people "walk in the shoes" of the atypical defendant and give the case a fair hearing?

That's a really interesting question, Limelite. But I honestly don't think that it is that much different that the many cases where people of extremely different backgrounds from that of the defendant are asked to walk in that person's shoes. The fact of the matter is that, at least in criminal cases, the defendant is very likely to be "atypical" as compared to the "typical" juror.

I will tell you that in any case I had in which I represented an individual with a mental disability, where that was either an issue in the case or resulted in the defendant's demeanor/behavior in court presenting in a way that might impact a juror, we engaged in extensive (well, as extensive as the judge would allow) voir dire to attempt to determine the juror's familiarity with, and attitudes towards, people with mental illness, mental health professionals (if we expected to hear testimony from them), etc.

How do mentally challenged defendants receive a fair trial by their peers?

Actually, nobody does, depending on how you define "peers". It's a phrase that, first of all, appears nowhere in the Constitution. The Sixth Amendment simply guarantees a right to trial by an "impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed". So for jury purposes, peers means equals under the law. It doesn't mean "people like the defendant". If that were the case, it would be almost impossible to seat a jury.

Courts have said that the jury pool (that is, the pool from which jurors are summoned, not necessarily those who sit in a particular case) should be a broad representation of the community. Many jurisdictions, in an attempt to ensure that, have gone from using voter registration lists to including driver's license lists. That has not always been the case; whole classes of people, notably women and African-Americans, have by law been barred from service on juries. That has changed, of course. Nevertheless, women have no right to be tried by a jury of women, and African-Americans have no right to be tried by a jury of African-Americans. There is a right to ensure that those groups are not excluded from the jury pool, and also to ensure that, in a criminal case, peremptory challenges are not used intentionally to prevent members of a particular racial group from serving, but that's as far as it goes.

19Limelite
Ago 19, 2019, 2:59pm

>18 lilithcat:

Appreciate your detailed answers and discussion to my questions. This is exactly the kind of dialogue and educational respoinse I hoped for.

Yes, in the larger sense, jurors probably haven't walked in any criminal defendant's shoes if they, themselves, have not been tried for a crime. I was concerned with our powers to see the world as a person with mental disabilities sees it.

I'm aware of the existence of the legal appreciation of being responsible for one's crimes, even if mentally "abnormal" based on knowing the difference between right and wrong. I just tried to imagine what might those two words mean to a person whose reality is altered compared to what is considered normal and whose ability to understand what it means to be responsible for one's actions within the limits enforced by "normal" society might be.

If the accused requires a legal guardian who is responsible for that person navigating in society (housing, transportation, finances, etc.), how can they be held legally responsible for whatever they might do?

20lilithcat
Ago 19, 2019, 4:16pm

>19 Limelite:

jurors probably haven't walked in any criminal defendant's shoes if they, themselves, have not been tried for a crime.

That's not really what I meant. I was referring to substantial differences between, for example, a young, uneducated defendant raised in a violent home, and an upper-middle-class professional serving as a juror, and similar vast gulfs between the background and experience of defendant and juror.

I'm aware of the existence of the legal appreciation of being responsible for one's crimes, even if mentally "abnormal" based on knowing the difference between right and wrong. I just tried to imagine what might those two words mean to a person whose reality is altered compared to what is considered normal and whose ability to understand what it means to be responsible for one's actions within the limits enforced by "normal" society might be.

If the accused requires a legal guardian who is responsible for that person navigating in society (housing, transportation, finances, etc.), how can they be held legally responsible for whatever they might do?


This may be more than you want to know . . .

We have to distinguish between the term mental illness, which is a medical term, and "insanity" and "fitness to stand trial", which are legal terms. And there's a difference between "insanity" and "fitness".

Jurisdictions have differences in how they define the terms, but here's a pretty reasonable summary.

"Insanity" refers to a defendant's mental state at the time of the offense. In most jurisdictions, it means that, because of a mental disease or defect, the person is unable to appreciate the criminality of his conduct (to tell "right" from "wrong"). A few places also include in the definition an inability to conform one's conduct to the law (again, due to the mental disease or defect). Being found "not guilty by reason of insanity" does not, contrary to popular opinion, mean that a defendant walks out the door. Rather, he would be sent to a mental health facility under strict conditions. In my state, it is for a period of time set by the court, which can't be more than the maximum he would have served if convicted. But a defendant so committed can petition for release prior to that time, and must show that he has recovered.

"Fitness" speaks to the defendant's condition at the time of trial, and generally addresses whether the defendant can understand the proceedings and cooperate with counsel. (This may be due to physical, as well as mental, disability. There's was an important case in Illinois involving a man who was both deaf and mute, and did not know any form of sign language.) If a person is found unfit, he is committed for treatment to restore fitness, which can often be addressed through treatment of the underlying illness. In my state, there are a variety of possible outcomes depending on whether the person is likely to become fit within a certain period of time.

It is also possible for a person to be fit to stand trial, but then deteriorate. My former office had a client who was "fit with meds". In other words, on the correct medication, she could understand the proceedings and assist counsel. Some idiot at the jail decided to change her meds without consulting anyone, and she deteriorated.

So you can see that someone might be fit to stand trial, but still have been insane at the time of the act, or to be unfit, but have been, legally speaking, sane when the crime occurred.

If I represented a client who had a guardian, it would definitely be a red flag, and I would have the client evaluated for fitness. But it is certainly possible for someone who needs a guardian to deal with things like housing and finances to nevertheless be able to understand that he is charged with a crime and tell me what happened. And of course the fact that a person has difficulty dealing with those issues, such that he needs a guardian, does not mean that he is incapable of knowing right from wrong, though, depending on the situation, I'd probably have him evaluated for that as well.

21Limelite
Ago 19, 2019, 7:24pm

>20 lilithcat:

Thanks again for the discussion. No, not TMI. Sounds like you've dealt with some interesting cases that were additionally complicated by your client's special needs. Somewhat morbid of me, probably, but I'd enjoy reading a novel told from the p.o.v. of a defendant who is diagnosed with psychosis and is kept fit for trial by meds that weren't prescribed for him prior to his arrest.

That would take some imagination.

22Kat.Warren
Editado: Ago 30, 2019, 7:52pm

“Set this House in Order” by Matt Ruff, features two protagonists hosting multiple personalities.

https://www.amazon.com/Set-This-House-Order-Romance/dp/006095485X/

23Limelite
Ago 31, 2019, 1:07am

That sounds like a book with too many characters! I'd get confused. Have you read it?

Multiple personality disorder, like high functioning autism, has also been well mined in books and movies, beginning earlier, I think, than readers' fascination with the autistic spectrum. I don't believe that I've ever read about, or seen a movie about a man with multiple personalities. But I know that I've never read any fiction -- or nonfiction -- with two such.

"Dissociative identity disorder," DID, is accepted newer term for this. So, I went on a search for some fiction books about it. There is LOTS of nonfiction, a great deal of it memoirs. I also notice almost all of the accounts of former DIDs are by women, and I find it remarkable how well psychiatric treatment works in re-integrating them into a single mind. These women's stories are very popular and have been starting in the middle last century. Your title seems to be one of the few straight fiction depictions.

24Kat.Warren
Ago 31, 2019, 1:13am

Yes, I read it and liked it very much.

25Nancy_Sirvent
Ago 31, 2019, 11:33pm

I liked that book quite a bit, too. Not confusing at all.

26Limelite
Sep 1, 2019, 6:48pm

Was browsing Amazon today to spy out Labor Day offerings and came across a book about two brothers growing up in 1980s Brisbane, Australia. One of them is mute. It's Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton ($1.99 Kindle edition). A debut novel published in April of this year about "brotherhood, true love, and unlikely friendships" that has received much positive attention.

Muteness, deafness, and blindness have appeared in fiction, probably since the time of Homer who surely recited other heroic tales starring people like him. They just haven't survived. ;^)

27Kat.Warren
Sep 6, 2019, 4:10pm

About Us: Essays from the NYT Disability Series

https://www.amazon.com/About-Us-Essays-Disability-Times/dp/1631495852/

28lisapeet
Sep 6, 2019, 5:13pm

>27 Kat.Warren: I have a galley of that—not sure when I'll get to it, but will report back when i do. It looks interesting.

29Limelite
Editado: Sep 6, 2019, 6:36pm

>29 Limelite:

Look forward to reading your post!

I didn't know that "Elephant Man" exists as a title of a novel by Christine Sparks, The Elephant Man. (I've never heard of her. Anyone?) I know the movie and more than one nonfiction account of John Merrick's biography, at least as a man with a disease.

Has anyone read the novel?

30vwinsloe
Editado: Sep 9, 2019, 7:19am

Good Kings Bad Kings: A Novel is a shatteringly realistic novel about institutionalized young people.

Rosemary is a wonderful nonfiction account of the life of the mentally challenged sister of President John F. Kennedy. The book tracks the evolution of this famous family's thinking about intellectual disability.

And just for fun, Borderline an urban fantasy whose protagonist is a woman with physical disabilities who also has a personality disorder.

31Limelite
Sep 8, 2019, 4:41pm

>30 vwinsloe:

Obviously, the Kennedy family was deeply affected by their sister's case and no doubt it inspired Eunice Kennedy Shriver's Special Olympics initiative.

Are there any other books anyone knows of that have produced similar inspiration? I'm thinking of Helen Keller's autobiography, The Story of My Life, which must be regarded as the impetus behind the move in this country to educate the deaf and mute and for Americans to take a more inclusive attitude toward people with either or both of those disabilities.

32vwinsloe
Sep 9, 2019, 7:19am

>31 Limelite:. Exactly.

33Limelite
Sep 9, 2019, 11:06pm

>32 vwinsloe:

Do you suppose that the push by scientists and physicians to "cure" polio in the 1950s partly funded by the March of Dimes donation campaigns in public schools arose from the fact that the much beloved WW II president, Franklin Roosevelt, had been crippled by the disease?

While he fell victim to the virus as an adult, polio ravaged young people and children. B&W photo images of kids in "iron lung" machines and a nonfiction book by a survivor that I read when a youngster scared the hell out of me.

I remember to this day receiving Salk and Sabin vaccines when in elementary school. It was only after I went to university that I learned the Sabin oral vaccine was made of three serotypes that were live virual agents! No wonder parents were terrified of the disease and the vaccine. Attenuated virus immunity was not known or understood by the gen pub, although it had been around in nearly the same form since the 18th C.

It occurs to me a lot of the present day anti-vaxxer nonsense may have been heavily influenced by fears of Sabin's vaccination. Probably arose even earlier when Jenner vaccinated people with cowpox to successfully immunize them against smallpox.

Thoughts? Ideas? Ruminations?

34lisapeet
Sep 10, 2019, 7:36am

There's a very good overview of the disease and efforts toward a cure by David Oshinsky, Polio: An American Story. It won a Pulitzer for history, I think.

35vwinsloe
Sep 11, 2019, 7:32am

>33 Limelite:. I'm not sure, because I have read that there were great pains taken to hide FDR's physical impairment as there was much stigma attached in those days. But I think that any disease that has such a widespread, undiscriminating impact on people would certainly gain substantial support to work for a cure or prevention.

36Pat_D
Sep 13, 2019, 1:32am

Interesting topic. I remember when Jonathan Lethem was the new, shiny thing and we were all ga-ga over Motherless Brooklyn. I just can't remember if it was at TT or Readerville. Not too long after its release, Edward Norton bought the rights (haven't checked the Movie thread, yet, so apologies if y'all have discussed this). Every few years, or so, I'd read about Norton's unending efforts to get the movie made. Well, finally he's done it: https://youtu.be/Fru8IkuDp_k

I really don't care what the reviewers are saying. I'm going. I kind of feel like I owe his tenacity.

Some might argue it doesn't belong here, but my contribution to this list would have to begin with "The Last Samurai" by Helen DeWitt

37gypsysmom
Sep 13, 2019, 3:59pm

Limelite invited me to post here after reading my post on the Audiobooks group about Miracle Creek by Angie Kim. The book is mostly about the aftereffects of a tragic explosion at a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) facilty, including the murder trial of a mother whose son was killed in the explosion. Most of the patients in the facility were young children with autism or cerebral palsy. The child killed, Henry, was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum at a young age and his mother went into overdrive taking him to special therapies. There was one discussion by the mother about how Henry hardly ever had a sit-down meal at home because he always had to be on the way to or at some therapy. The other mothers of the children at the HBOT facility were not quite as fervent as Henry's mother but all of the children were enrolled in multiple therapies. The day of the explosion a protest group turned up at the facility to decry the lengths the parents went to for their children. The protesters were all parents of autistic children but felt that their children were okay as they were. Thus, throughout the book, we get looks at the different parenting choices made. Some of the therapies sounded like they would help, like speech and movement therapy, but some, including HBOT, were definitely on the extreme edge of helpfulness and some may have even gone over the line into cruelty. I thought it was an extremely interesting book and I hope for more from this author.

38Pat_D
Sep 14, 2019, 11:21am

That is not a book I'd pick off the shelves, but I read the Amazon excerpt and it hooked me from the first few paragraphs. I presently have several ongoing reads, but I added it to my TBR list. Thanks for the rec.

39Limelite
Sep 14, 2019, 5:24pm

Great posts! Thanks for joining in the thread >37 gypsysmom:. You shot a bullet! Haven't read The Last Samurai, >36 Pat_D:,can you tell us unfamiliars why you mentioned it?

40Pat_D
Editado: Sep 14, 2019, 11:49pm

I consider genius, especially the kind exhibited by the 4 y/o prodigy in this story (and his mother, Sibylla), excellent examples of the "differently-abled." Often, it's accompanied by relationship difficulties, and TLS is a great example of that, also. The story and its embedded erudition are amazing, but Dewitt's writing affords us front row seats inside minds such as these in a manner I'd never encountered before. It's one of the few books I've reread multiple times and I can never get enough of it.

BTW, Lime, you linked to the wrong book. It's this one:

The Last Samurai

41Limelite
Sep 15, 2019, 7:52pm

Thanks for the correction. At the time I was too lazy to change from film to novel. What am I saying? I'm ALWAYS too lazy!

42lisapeet
Sep 15, 2019, 8:02pm

>40 Pat_D: I've had The Last Samurai on my (virtual) shelf for a while now. At 500+ pages it's kind of a commitment, but I think I want to make it an owned books priority. I've been turning a few those up lately, things that have been sitting for a while and need a little love/reading.

43Pat_D
Sep 16, 2019, 7:43am

It's a very niche book, Lisa, and you're right, it does take a commitment but it's an incredibly rich and rewarding reading experience. It's so chock full of lovely knowledge and stories and wisdom. I know it's trite to say, but every time I read it, I get something different from it. When you finish it, you're reminded of why you fell in love with books. It's a damn shame that Dewitt has had such serious issues with her own mental health. The world of publishing is so much poorer for it.

44Pat_D
Oct 10, 2019, 12:08pm

For any interested, The Last Samurai by Helen Dewitt (Kindle version) is on sale for $2.99

45Limelite
Oct 10, 2019, 8:54pm

>44 Pat_D: Thanks!

46Limelite
Oct 16, 2019, 10:12pm

Once again, Amazon is offering an irresistible deal -- a free download to Prime members of the novel, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni. The protagonist has red "Devil Boy" eyes, which ocular albinism his mother calls, "God's will."

From the novel. . .
My father was telling me that while we tend to remember the dramatic incidents that change history---Armstrong's walk on the moon, Nixon's resignation, and the Loma Prieta earthquake---we live for the quiet, intimate moments that mark not our calendars, but our hearts: The day we marry. The days our children are born. Their first step. Their first word. Their first day of school. And when our children grow, we remember those moments with a touch of melancholy: the day they get their driver's license, the day we drive them to college, the day they marry, and the day they have their children.

And the cycle begins anew. We realize it is in those quiet moments that each of us has the ability to make our lives extraordinary.
I realize that Dugoni is a prolific author and best-seller, but I've never read any of his work because I'm not a fan of the type fiction he writes. Believing from the blurb that this novel might be a departure from his usual fare, and because this thread prompted me to be on the look-out for "differently abled genre" candidates, I am taking a chance on him with Sam Hell's story.

47Pat_D
Oct 18, 2019, 9:12pm

Please report back, Limelite.

48Limelite
Oct 20, 2019, 9:02pm

Well, please don't hold your breath. Sadly, I have to rotate it toward the bottom of my astronomical TBR pile. But I shall endeavor!