Robin by Dave Itzkoff - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781250214812
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Published: Picador - May 14th, 2019

Testimony to both Robin Williams' artistic brilliance and to this nation's utter inability to understand depression, Itzkoff's biography, Robin, characterizes the actor's intensive vitae as spirited by his creative depths, and by how Williams desired, always, to improve upon his art. Yet this desire manifested as a need to push beyond his self, which following his death left even his family and his closest friends, almost all of whom are comedic performers, as unwilling to accept his final act's role. ~ Reviewed by Ray Marsocci

Travel Light, Move Fast by Alexandra Fuller - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781594206740
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Published: Penguin Press - August 6th, 2019

After her father dies, Alexandra Fuller realizes the world she had written herself out of contained the life his laid-back nature had composed, from his moving her and her family to pre-Revolutionary Rhodesia when she was very young. In her newest memoir, Travel Light, Move Fast, Fuller reconsiders her father's role in shaping her world, exploring ideas about 'forever,' a concept she now recognizes as untenable in her. She talks with her mother, who recalls too well the poverty her husband's socialist ideals forced them to endure, and with her sister, who like the author was sent to attend Africa's best white boarding schools, which opened opportunities for them upon which they both left Africa. Now finding herself unable to elegize her or her family's loss, Fuller realizes that the "peace and calm" her father lived by were the same concepts which continue to elude her living as an adult. ~ Reviewed by Ray Marsocci

The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times to Live by Heather B. Armstrong - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781501197048
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Published: Gallery Books - April 23rd, 2019

According to the World Health Organization, 300 million people around the world have depression. Heather Armstrong survived a debilitating form of treatment resistant depression which rode her for an unbearable 18 month period, but she survived. Her sadness was so profound, so relentless, and so all consuming, that as she describes in visceral detail, "she wanted to be dead."
Desperate for a solution, Heather volunteered to be one of 10 participants in an experimental study where doctor's used anesthesia to flatline her brain - a state much deeper than anesthesia for surgery, a state dangerously close to death. Ten times in three weeks.

Her story is not only remarkable as a success story. Her story is a plea for a deeper sensitivity and understanding of depressive disorders and the real possibility of hope for those who suffer.
This is a rare and incredible story of love, bravery and courage. Highly recommended. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780316505116
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Published: Hachette Books - January 22nd, 2019

Stephanie Land is a quiet hero. As a brand new young mother she left her abusive partner to become a homeless single parent. This is her story of dedication to herself and baby, of struggling to meet the demands of social services, how she cared for her daughter, put herself through undergraduate school, and broke away from the shelter system. Most would have quit before trying. Stephanie starved. She cried a lot. She cleaned homes for the middle class, and she wrote this courageous memoir. If you want to truly understand what millions of Americans face every day, and how easily this can happen to many more, this book can help you. ~ Reviewed by Nancy Scheemaker

Embracing Nature

Spring has arrived here in the Northeast- the days are getting longer, the sun a little warmer and the precipitation is leaning towards rain instead of snow, and with the shift comes a restlessness to re-emerge into our outdoor world. We may not need to hibernate but it certainly feels as if we do it to a degree. In a climate with a long, cold winter cabin fever is a real state of mind.

The Salt Path: A Memoir by Raynor Winn - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780143134114
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Published: Penguin Books - March 5th, 2019

When faced with tremendous adversity, Ray and her husband Moth take an unusual path, literally. In a short span of time, they find themselves homeless and dealing with a terminal illness, and the way they deal with it is to walk, and keep walking. They embark on the epic 630 mile South West Coast Path, wild camping and living on less than $50 a week. Their journey is a joy to be taken on, an ode to human resilience, and a reminder of what’s important in life. I loved every minute of it! ~ Reviewed by Becky Doherty


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