The Next ‘Hunger Games’ Is Worth a Read

Looking for a juicy fall read? Then you’ve may already have heard about The Bone Season, the debut novel that’s being called the next Hunger Games. Written by 21-year-old English author Samantha Shannon, The Bone Season is the inaugural pick of the Today Show’s new book club.Does the novel – the first in a series projected to total seven – merit the hype? Elizabeth Word Gutting in The Washington Post thought mainly yes (though she carped that the novel’s back story …

Bea Kozera: Jack Kerouac’s Lost Lover

If you’ve read Jack Kerouac’s 1957 novel On The Road, you probably remember the heart-rending section in which protagonist Sal Paradise, who’s waiting to catch a bus from Bakersfield to Los Angeles, suddenly spies “the cutest little Mexican girl in slacks coming across my sight.” Suddenly lovestruck, Sal rushes to jump instead onto the bus that the woman is boarding, and spends five minutes trying to find the courage to offer her his raincoat to use as a pillow. Sal …

Making Sense of Alzheimer’s: 9 Books for Kids

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can be mind-boggling and confusing to kids. Their grandparents, great-grandparents or family friend may act “weird” and yet look normal. How do you explain what’s happening to children? A 17-year-old college student recently emailed me about a children’s book on Alzheimer’s he has coauthored. Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator? is based on Max Wallack‘s experience with his great-grandmother (“Great Grams”).  She lived with his family from the time he was 6 until …

Caregiving Books You Should Care About

Ah, it’s summer. Beach reading time if you’re a lucky caregiver. What I’m going to propose may not be your idea of breezy escape books. But I’ve made a list of top-notch resources for family caregivers. If you can’t get to them now, they’ll be helpful in any season. The books are written by professionals (physicians, nurses, therapists, gerontologists, bioethicists and journalists), many of whom know about caregiving firsthand. With tips, strategies, information and contacts, they focus on sick spouses, …

The Generation Gap: Sometimes a Great Notion!

Three years ago, magazine writer Katie Hafner’s family was in turmoil. Her mother was 77 and at loose ends, cast adrift by her husband’s incipient dementia (he had moved back in with his family of origin). Her daughter, Zoe, was an impressionable 16 and still reeling from the 2009 death of her father (Hafner’s husband, Matt). And as a 51-year-old widow, Hafner herself was eager to resolve some long-standing conflicts with her mother: abandonment and estrangement, for starters. Wouldn’t housing …

The 4th of July – in June!

Think you’re a firecracker on American history? Bet you didn’t know that… …George Washington stood nearly 6 foot 3. …John Adams was all about the girth of a nation; the man weighed in at 200 pounds. …Thomas Jefferson was a shy and aloof young man, “known to cross his arms over his chest” during the deliberations that led to the Declaration of Independence. Don’t feel bad – I didn’t know any of that either. At least not until I read …