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Deirdre Donahue

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A Guide for Seekers: ‘Waiting for Our Souls to Catch Up

Posted on 07/1/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Your LifeBy the time we reach 50, most Americans realize that the pursuit of happiness isn’t quite the same thing as attaining it. Yes, many if not most folks in the U.S. live lives rich with friends, family, careers, pets, hobbies, book clubs, not to mention technology’s 21st-century bounty: cars, computers, cellphones, AC, GPS, TV, 24/7 streaming entertainment. But what about those 3 a.m.-Peggy Lee-“Is That All There Is?” bleak moments? No matter how many marathons you run or antioxidant smoothies you …

Opera’s Jessye Norman Finds Her Voice in ‘Stand Up Straight and Sing!’

Posted on 05/9/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentJessye Norman’s once-in-a-century voice has carried her from 1960s segregated Augusta, Ga., to the opera houses and recital halls of Europe, Asia and America. Norman tells her extraordinary story in a just-published memoir, Stand Up Straight and Sing! Despite racism, Norman describes a happy childhood. She grew up in Augusta surrounded by a large, loving family and a warm community of neighbors and teachers. At the center stood their church. Her parents and older siblings were active in the civil rights …

Become a Great Communicator With ‘Pitch Perfect’

Posted on 04/18/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentTHE BOOK:  Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time. THE AUTHOR: Bill McGowan, TV correspondent turned media trainer, with  How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time Alisa Bowman. I read three to six books a week for my job as a book reviewer. So I almost never reread anything. Yet I have inhaled Bill McGowan’s new Pitch Perfect three times in three days. >> Sign up for the AARP Leisure Newsletter The reason: Pitch Perfect …

‘Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening’: A Must-Read Memoir

Posted on 03/14/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentOn the surface, Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart by Carol Wall, is a gentle memoir about a friendship between a white woman in Roanoke, Virginia and her gardener from Kenya. But that description fails to capture the book’s depth, its sometimes-raw emotions, nor its many surprising twists. At the book’s beginning, the author Carol Wall is 52. Married to her high school sweetheart, she is the mother of three, …

Love ‘House of Cards’ on TV? You’ll Adore the Novel

Posted on 02/14/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

Entertainment  Starting on Valentine’s Day, Netflix airs its second season of House of Cards. Which means a lot of folks will be snuggling up with Kevin Spacey as a ruthless Congressman named Francis Underhill. Spacey isn’t playing the first political villain named Francis, however. Instead he’s playing the American incarnation of a character who first appeared 25 years ago in an English novel. This week, Sourcebooks is re-releasing House of Cards as an e-book. (The print edition arrives March 11.) …

The “Tiger Mom” Roars Back with Another Provocative Read

Posted on 02/3/2014 by |AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentIn 2011, Yale Law School professor Amy Chua ignited a firestorm with Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Excerpted in The Wall Street Journal, it described how Chua demanded that her two daughters get straight As in school (they did—then later got into Harvard and Yale). In her new The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, Chua and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, also a Yale Law School professor, describe the …