Erin's Picks

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison (release date August 28). I had the chance to see this author speak at Book Expo America and his talk was so moving I couldn't wait to tear into this book. After a tragic accident that leaves Benjamin without a family, he enrolls in a class on caregiving at a local church. He then becomes a caregiver for 19-year-old Trev, who has muscular dystrophy. Together, they embark on a roadtrip to sites of strange American oddities. Along the way, they pick up a few characters while being followed by a mysterious man.

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures by Emma Straub (release date September 4). This debut novel describes the life of Elsa Emerson, the youngest of three sisters in Door County, Wisconsin in 1920. Her family owns and operates a community playhouse, where she gets her first taste of the stage at a young age. The rest of the novel follows Elsa’s life as she transitions from blonde to brunette and from Elsa Emerson to Laura Lamonte. She marries in a fever, moves to Hollywood, and begins her career as an actress with a popular film studio. After describing the book to my mom, she said, “Oh like that Judy Garland movie A Star is Born!” So…kind of like that I think? I’ll have to watch the movie and let you know.

We Were Here This documentary explores the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco during the 1980s. I volunteer at a nonprofit that originally sprang up to deliver hot meals to people dying with AIDS. My vounteering friends have told me a lot about what it was like to live in Greenwich Village at this time. This film takes viewers to the other coast, specifically San Francisco's Castro District. Recommended for anyone interested in U.S. History or the history of infectious diseases.

Pat's Picks

Dream New Dreams: Reimagining Life After Loss by Jai Pausch. She writes about her loss after her husband's illness and subsequent death, as well as her perspective as the caregiver and she gives voice to the challenges of anyone who has served in this role.

Anna Quindlen's newest book Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is a memoir of reflective essays about looking back, as well as forward as she celebrates 60 years of life. She writes with humor and candor about her strong marriage, the joys of parenting three young adults as they find their way in the world, bonds of friendships that sustain and strengthen her daily life and the anticipation of aging and what that all means. I think her poignant reflections will resonate with many of us baby boomers!

Blue Nights by Joan Didion. Didion writes about her daughter Quintana's death and reflects on her years growing up in a privileged world exposed to the celebrities who were part of Didion and John Gregory Dunne's circle of friends and business collaborators. Along with dealing with her grief, Didion is also trying to come to terms with the whole aging process. Didion leaves herself emotionally exposed in writing this honest and moving memoir.