Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quick Quote for the Day

"The world is but a canvas to our imaginations"
  Henry David Thoreau
 (Image: Wassily Kandinsky/The Swan)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Memory Keeper's Daughter (Fiction, 2005) Kim Edwards

This fictional novel begins on the night of an unusual Kentucky blizzard with Dr. David Henry delivering fraternal twins to his wife, Norah, assisted by his devoted nurse, Caroline Gill. David realizes that Paul, the boy baby, is healthy but that the other child, a girl, has Down’s syndrome. In order to spare Norah the heartache of this discovery, David orders Caroline to place the baby in an institution. Caroline, thirty-one and single, ignores David's request and flees with the baby, Phoebe, to a new life in Pittsburgh. The plot thickens and a dark shadow appears over the marriage of David and Norah. Paul, the male twin, is impacted by the problems of his parents. The new life of Caroline and Phoebe is also detailed. The novel chronicles the characters lives over three decades from 1964-1988. This is one of the best fiction books I have read in years. A page turner that I read over two nights. Every person I have recommended it to has the same reaction. Mesmerizing and excellent, the novel spent most of 2006 on the New York Times Best Seller List mostly through word of mouth. Deep themes of the treatment of the disabled and women are evident. In the end, life continues and we must live with the choices we make.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Black Wave: A Family's Adventure at Sea and the Disaster that Saved Them

This is the story of John and Jean Silverwood and their four children, Ben (16), Amelia (14), Jack (9), and Camille (5) and their adventure sailing around the world on their 50 ft catamaran, the Emerald Jane. In 2003, the family decides to leave their hectic life in surburban San Diego and embark on a life changing journey. Jean narrates the first part of the memoir and describes adapting to life on the high seas. I enjoyed her depictions of the family adjusting to the close quarters of a boat (especially the teens), passing through the Panama Canal, the enriching experiences of observing marine life and exploring other cultures. The children become adept at sailing and navigating. There is the threat of pirates in certain ports.
John is the voice of the second portion of the book and gives the reader his perspective of the trip along with historical information. The family confronts a dramatic collision with a coral reef 350 miles off the coast of Tahiti and the event has dire consequences for John. The strength of the family is tested and the the accident is life altering. In the vein of the Perfect Storm, this is a real life adventure tale that promises to be a memorable read. Hope you enjoy it!