hbellanca@northshire.com's blog

Heather Bellanca

I try really hard to love every book I read. The easy measure of a book that succeeds for me is if I don't leave it on my bedside stand for a few paragraph's nightly reading before nodding off, but carry it with me to read while brushing my teeth, eating lunch, etc. until it's done. I'm not drawn to Sci Fi, murder mysteries, romance novels or New Age - otherwise, my criteria is in the "je ne sais quoi" realm. Good character studies, historical settings, no action needed. I hope you'll read the books I recommended - they're here because I loved them!

The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780345806369
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 1-5 Business Days
Published: Vintage - March 27th, 2018

This period piece set post-WWII Maine when women's lives were still shockingly proscribed, is particularly timely given the devastating wildfires in California. Who knew Maine suffered such an extensive fire one extraordinarily dry summer? That revelation, with interesting details about such fires, is the backdrop for the spell-binding story of one woman's struggles with married life and her losses from the fire. ~ Reviewed by Heather Bellanca

A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781250095473
Availability: Special Order
Published: St. Martin's Press - October 16th, 2018

I listened to the audiobook and came away inclined to reply in conversations using the haughty tone and proscribed vocabulary of turn-of-the century, upper-crust socialites. It was a convincing reading with a wide variety of well-developed characters. The story itself is based on the life of Alva Smith Vanderbilt. While it is historical fiction, the reality of the lives of the 1% of that time is like fantasy. The many extravagant mansions (5), the elaborate gowns, the frequent, first class junkets abroad, the numbers of household staff, the strict requirements of a certain social level...all hardly of the earth the bulk of us know! The realities of their extremely privileged lives had costs but it was all a marvel to read about. I couldn't help thinking of today's 1%. Alva is presented as a complicated figure, both fearful of her family's lost fortune and her future; bold, assertive, while slave to and rebellious against, the rules of propriety. A well written, absorbing look at a distant time and stratum of social life. ~ Reviewed by Heather Bellanca

Andy Goldsworthy: Projects by Andy Goldsworthy - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781419722226
Availability: Click Title for IN STORE Location
Published: Abrams - September 19th, 2017

The heft alone of this book is a testament to the elemental nature of this world-famous artist's large-scale sculptural work. According to Goldsworthy, "Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. Process and decay are implicit." If you appreciate the forces of/in nature – or don't have the chance to – this book offers that inspirational gift. ~ Reviewed by Heather Bellanca

Just Mercy

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ISBN: 9780812984965
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Published: One World - August 18th, 2015

I generally avoid books that reveal too much reality. These shameful accounts are told in a way that I found utterly compelling. In spite of the clear injustices of these capital punishment cases, Stevenson relates his dogged efforts to rectify them in a clear way that left me with a sense of hope that these evils can and will be overcome. Read it. ~ Reviewed by Heather Bellanca

Even This I Get to Experience

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By Norman Lear, Norman Lear (Read by)
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ISBN: 9781611763195
Published: Penguin Audio - October 14th, 2014

Only because the set was handy, I took these CDs to pass the time in the car, anticipating a self-aggrandizing Hollywood tell-all. Boy was I wrong! Lear, at 90-something, in his own clear voice, tells his rags-to-riches story in a charming, funny and self-deprecating way. From his miserable childhood, to harrowing WWII service as a fighter pilot in Italy, to the shocking anecdotes about Hollywood stars, to legions of world leaders he's met, I had no idea that he should be a legend in his own time. Beyond his graciousness, his insider's account of the evolution of the great, radical TV shows of the 60s and 70s is fascinating. So sad now, to have to travel without being able to listen to him spinning yarns. Read the book if you can't abide audio-books, it'll be just as inspiring. ~ Reviewed by Heather Bellanca


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