Tributes to books and to good ol’ MomPublished 8:53am Thursday, September 29, 2011
Column: Thanks for Listening
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
— Ernest Hemingway
Books are amazing.
Books challenge you.
Books electrify and expand your mind.
The first book that really made me a book addict was “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Have you ever been mad that a book ended? If you have, then that book was a great read. Some books just capture your soul.
I was recently speaking with a few other book aficionados and decided to ask you, my loyal 82 readers about what books you consider great. I thought it would be fun to once a month, print in my column a list of suggested books for everyone to enjoy.
You would provide the books from what you have read. We could call it “Book Club.” The first rule of Book Club is to not talk about Book Club. Instead we could share excessively the name, author and general tidbits about why the book is to be read and enjoyed.
The Book Club can include everything from fiction to nonfiction and be about varying topics like humor, history and the classics. To get us motivated, I will list some of my favorites.
1. “Theodore Rex” by Edmund Morris
2. “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand
3. “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski
4. “The River of Doubt” by Candice Miller
5. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo
6. “An Ordinary Man” by Paul Rusesabagina
7. “Good to Great” by Jim Collins
8. “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch
9. “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell
10. “Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell
11. “Huckleberry Finn” and “Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain
12. “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair
13. “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau
14. “A Farewell To Arms” by Ernest Hemmingway
15. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
16. “The Call Of The Wild” by Jack London
17. “The Devil In The White City” by Erik Larsen
18. “Bossypants” by Tina Fey
19. “When Pride Still Mattered” by David Maraniss
20. “The Cat In The Hat” by Dr. Seuss
Another book that I am inching away at is the “Autobiography of Mark Twain” by Mark Twain. This book is noteworthy because it was just released after 100 years because of Mark Twain’s wishes. What is so noteworthy about this book is how many of Twain’s thoughts 100 years ago are so relevant today.
As you can see, I am all over the place in what I like to read, but nonfiction seems to be a constant. I tend to be quite a history buff and my reading patterns tend to follow suit.
A few of my favorite authors are David Maraniss, Pablo Coelho, Mark Twain, Dr. Seuss and Ernest Hemingway.
So to take part in Book Club just email me at email@example.com your favorite book, author and a quick snippet about why you liked the book so much.
A tribute to Mom
My mom is amazing.
She was a U.S. Army wife for 20 years.
Why is that so significant you may be saying to yourself?
The reason I think this is so momentous is that during those 20 years, my mother gave birth to and raised six children. She lived in several different states and continents following my father to his different assignments in the Army. When my father was away, my mom was both father and mother to all of my brothers and sisters.
Moving to different towns in Colorado, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan and Germany meant packing up your life and the lives of your children and helping them to cope with new schools, making friends, homework, missing family back in Michigan, and, of course, missing our dad, who was away fighting for our country. My mother became a nurse, teacher, therapist, chef and referee to my brothers and sisters as well as to me.
I remember dinner consisting of 12 stalks of corn on the cob and a loaf of bread with butter, or sometimes chipped beef on toast. Feeding six kids on a small budget was never all that easy, but you know what? We kids never wanted for anything and always came away full.
My mom never had a new car or fancy silverware set to show off to the neighbors. We never tried to keep up with the Joneses; heck we would have to travel several miles to even be in the same neighborhood as the Joneses, but again we didn’t know any better, and that was because of my mom. The pictures we colored at school replaced her new car and she always taped them up on the fridge.
When my dad passed away when I was 13, I was told to be brave for my mom. I was told not to cry and to be strong for my mom. I was, too. No tears from me, until about a couple days after my father passed, I was sitting in my room and my mom came in.
She asked me how I was and I said good. My mom was not buying that answer for a minute and soon began prodding me a little more until I said that I was told to be tough for her and that I was holding up my side of the bargain. She stopped, held out her arms and told me it was OK for me to cry. I balled like a baby.
All the pent up anger, confusion and sadness over losing my father just burst out in a much-needed venting of all my emotions. My mom just held me and was strong, once again for me. Here my mom sat — just having lost her soul mate — and her only concern was my feelings.
That is mom.
That is why I love her so much.
Happy 75th birthday, Mom.
Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.