Books you can’t live without

Published 1:35 pm Monday, March 6, 2023

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“MAUS l”

By Art Spiegelman

Review by Anita Peters

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“Maus I” portrays the survivorship of Vladek Spiegelman in Poland during the early 1940s.  The expected horror of that time for Polish Jews is clearly detailed in matter-of-fact conversations, sprinkled among the mundane activities of day-to-day life many decades later. It turns out that the indescribable can, in fact, be described, and Vladek does so with very little apparent embellishment. Vladek’s story is extraordinary, but he survived day to day, decision by decision and without heroics — at least in his mind. Setting the story of the brutalization of the Polish Jews alongside a regular father/son relationship with all the associated tensions creates an edge that we all can imagine in our own lives.

This was my first graphic novel, so I was forced to slow down my reading to try to absorb all the nuances of the story told through the illustrations. The content of the novel was familiar, but somehow gained even more depth and emotion as the entire story was told to the author through the course of day-to-day activities and regular family visits. As the adult child of aging parents, the interactions between Artie and Vladek were completely relatable and the parent/child issues so basic as to be palpable.

Note: The reviewer says she never would have read it if it hadn’t been in the news as a banned book in Tennessee for one word and partial female nudity (the characters are mice and cats). There is also a “MAUS ll” that has been hailed as another great read.


3 Reads You Shouldn’t Miss

“Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir”

By Matthew Perry

Review by Linda Kane

Perry takes the reader through the terrible highs and lows of addiction and the long, slow path to recovery. He knows he isn’t affected differently just because he’s a celebrity. In fact, being famous was a hindrance at times.

His words and experiences are comforting, sometimes funny and so relatable — especially as he walks you through a childhood marked by divorce and blended families.

He goes through the same challenges as a lot of people and that’s almost comforting.

The book is also marked by comedic scenes and plenty of behind the scenes snip-its from that ever-so-popular TV show, “Friends.” Overall, you realize Matthew Perry is just a regular guy, going through a normal struggle like so many others.

I feel that most people will probably be able to relate to at least some aspect of his journey thus far. It’s worth your time to read his story!


“The Love of My Life”

“The Love of My Life”

By Rosie Walsh

Review by Julie Aamodt

“The Love of My Life” is a love story/mystery. It is about a happily married couple who have a young daughter they adore. Their marriage has survived a lot of storms, (infertility and cancer), yet they continue to share a deep devotion and love for each other. Emma is a marine ecologist/TV presenter. Leo is an obituary writer. Leo is given the job of prewriting her obit, a common practice with people in the public eye. As Leo researches, he uncovers secrets and lies about Emma’s life before they met.

The truth about Emma’s secrets are heart-breaking and surprising. This is a story about forgiveness, commitment and second chances.

I really enjoyed not knowing what was going to happen next in the story. It kept surprising me. I loved Leo’s character. The book is entertaining and a quick read, but not trite. I will definitely be reading her book “Ghosted” soon!


“Mad Honey”

“Mad Honey”


By Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

Review by Jennie Makowsky

This is a co-authored book, however, it is the Jodi Picoult that we all know and love. Picoult and Boylan write together seamlessly to a point that I didn’t know who was writing what. Picoult’s ability to provoke you with twists, turns and testing your moral compass is back, and Boylan seems to be alike Picoult in every way that matters to a reader. We travel to New Hampshire in current times to our first main character, Olivia McAfee, a survivor, a mother and a beekeeper. Her story unravels, truths come and lies go as she tries to find herself and save her son, Asher. Asher is a high school senior and is caught in a predicament of a murder/mystery with his high school romance with Lily. Lily, our second main character, has her own story and the lies and truths that bind her. Olivia’s and Lily’s stories unravel as we travel, bouncing back between the two, finding similarities and differences within ourselves. As always, Picoult writes about current topics of our crazy world and gives us her refreshing approach to dealing with them. The book showcases motherhood and how far a mother will go to protect her child. All the while, we get an education in beekeeping and the medicinal values and properties of honey. The sweet part of the book isn’t found in a comb!

This book is more than abuse, violence, motherhood and romance. It truly brought out so many emotions and feelings about these characters. Picoult and Boylan do what fantastic authors do and place you in the characters’ shoes, evoke emotion and help you see sides that you didn’t expect and think about the book and the characters days after you have finished reading it. This book has every aspect you need and want when you sit down to read. As the pages turned, I found myself cheering for triumphs, crying for the pain and wanting to befriend both Lily and Olivia. I couldn’t put it down, and I continue to recommend this to my friends and family. I admit when I saw that this was co-authored I thought I would be disappointed as Picoult is a favorite of mine. Instead of being disappointed, I now have several books of Boylan’s ready to read. I very much have that book hangover feeling that I am still reeling from.