Categories
Memoir Non-Fiction

Thanks, Mom!

Who? Trevor Noah? That was my reaction when Jon Stewart tapped Noah to replace him as host of The Daily Show in 2015. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report were practically my only sources of news during the George W. Bush era. The regular news shows were so depressing: I couldn’t imagine an administration […]

Categories
Non-Fiction Self-Help

The Body Keeps Score

I flagged so many pages of Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps Score that it became kind of ridiculous. But it is that important. Van der Kolk is a psychiatrist who has spent over thirty years working with trauma survivors. He has worked with patients with PTSD, victims of natural and man-made disasters, and people […]

Categories
Non-Fiction

The Troubles

I decided to read Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Mystery in Northern Ireland, by New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, because a recently solved forty-year murder mystery sounded intriguing. Also, I wanted to learn something about Northern Ireland. Much of the discussion around Brexit brings up the Ireland/Northern Ireland border as […]

Categories
Classics Poetry

Reading Dante in St. Louis

I tend to pick up long, dense literary works when I’m stressed out: Faulkner, Beowulf, Dante. I find hope that I can chip away at my troubles one problem at a time the same way I can finish lengthy tomes by reading a few pages every day. To be transported into other worlds and to […]

Categories
Memoir Non-Fiction

H is for Heartbreak

So, you are a middle-aged woman, single, no children. You are English. Your job as a researcher  and teacher at Cambridge University may not be renewed. If you lose your job, you lose your apartment on campus. Then your beloved father dies suddenly. You are disconsolate. What do you do? Well, if you are Helen […]

Categories
Classics Fiction

The Lord of the Rings: A Love Story

All stories live and die on their relationships. I have found the sweetest of relationships in, of all things, a three-volume fantasy novel — J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. This story about hobbits (pint-sized creatures noted for hairy feet), wizards, elves, dwarves, men and the One Gold Ring has stayed with me since I […]

Categories
Self-Help

Tennis, Everyone!

I am tired. I am tired of losing. I am tired of losing tennis matches. I am tired of losing tennis matches to people who don’t play as well as I. I am tired of losing tennis matches to people who don’t play as well as I despite having taken tennis lessons for years. So, […]

Categories
Non-Fiction

A Good Presidency Spoiled

I have reviewed over thirty books since I started the Dr. Bookworm blog last year. I have discussed all sorts of books: Roxane Gay’s Hunger, Lesley Stahl’s Becoming Grandma, Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, The Little Prince, War and Peace, Donna Leon’s The Temptation of Forgiveness and Richard Power’s The Overstory, to name a few. […]

Categories
Fiction

To Be Old and Useful Is a Happy Thing

Even though Texas in 1870 is very far in time and space from my life in 2019 St. Louis, Paulette Jiles’s 2016 novel News of the World, touches on subjects very close to my heart. The story is about an old man who transports ten-year Johanna four hundred miles through lawless Texas territory to her […]

Categories
Picture Books Self-Help

Guardians of Being

I can’t say if April really is the cruelest month. From my position here throughout April and into May, it feels pretty shitty. I am a cheerful person — some friends might say, relentlessly cheerful — yet, I feel edgy, unsettled, depressed. My next book review was going to be the redacted Mueller Report. But, […]

Categories
Self-Help

Help Me, Marie Kondo!

Marie Kondo is an international phenomenon. She is the Dalai Lama of decluttering, the Dr. Ruth of neatness, the Oprah of organizing. In her 2014 book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and on her new Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, this young, petite Japanese woman gives tips on organizing every item in […]

Categories
Picture Books

St. Louis Better Together and “The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip”

The town of Frip is “three leaning shacks by the sea.” The combined population of St. Louis City and St. Louis County is 1.3 million people. What the tiny fictional town and the Midwestern city have in common is that conditions are not working for the people. Something needs to change. I grew up in […]

Categories
Picture Books

The Bear on the Stair: Tales of the Prairie, with Paintings

Journalist Susan Caba wrote this book review. She first published it on her blog: http://www.resaleevangelista.wordpress.com. Susan is one of my co-authors of the book Guilty Pleasures. “As I was walking through our house one night, a smelly, fierce, roaring black bear appeared out of a dark corner and chased me up the stairs. He almost […]

Categories
Fiction

A Gentleman in Moscow?

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles spent over a year on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The novel is about a Russian nobleman who was forced to live within the confines of a Moscow hotel on orders of the new Bolshevik government. It is an elegant, charming jewel of a novel, a […]

Categories
Being Chinese Memoir Non-Fiction

West Meets East: Chinese Americans Visit Mother China

I had quite a few knowing chuckles reading Scott Tong’s account of his experiences in China in his book A Village with My Name. Like me, journalist Tong is Chinese American. Even though we grew up in Chinese homes in America, we both experienced major culture shock when we visited China as adults. Early on, […]

Categories
Being Chinese Memoir Non-Fiction

East Meets West: A Century of Connections between Chinese and Foreigners in China

As the last hundred years of Chinese history has had more than its share of upheavals, every Chinese family has stories of separation, betrayal, imprisonment, exile and death. In A Village With My Name: A Family History of China’s Opening to the World, Scott Tong writes about his search for his own family’s story.  Scott […]

Categories
Non-Fiction

George and Martha Washington’s Runaway Slave

Ona Judge slipped out of her master’s house as the family ate Saturday dinner and escaped bondage. She was 22 years old. That night, she boarded a ship bound for Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 400 miles to the north. It was 1796. Her master was George Washington. He was in his second term as president of […]

Categories
Fiction

The Pleasure of Detecting

“You are reading my favorite author,” said the white-haired hospital volunteer leading me to my bone density x-ray. I was holding Louise Penny’s latest mystery: Kingdom of the Blind. Then we shared a knowing smile and spoke simultaneously: “You have to read them in order.” We both knew that Penny would incapacitate, even kill off, […]

Categories
Fiction

Back to the Present

Everyone knows the story of putting a frog in tepid water and heating it up. The idea is that the change is so gradual that the frog will not realize it is being boiled alive. I’m not a frog, but I see myself adjusting to the changes in my life over the past 50 years […]

Categories
Essays

It’s My Pleasure!

My choice of books to talk about in this blog may seem a bit idiosyncratic. That’s one of the pleasures of having one’s own blog! I decide what books to review. I decide what it is about each book, as friend Mary Dee says, “sings to my soul.” The book I have chosen this time […]