Friday, July 31, 2009


I recently watched one of my favorite movies again - Proof, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins. It made me remember how much I love that movie, how much I love Gwyneth, how much I miss my dad and that I have completely forgotten to blog about two outstanding books I read this summer.

But, first, back to the movie Proof. For anyone who didn't see it or forgets the plot, Proof is the story about a young woman whose father is a mathematical genius - but he's losing his mind and she gives up her college career and goals to go home and care for him. With the fresh perspective of having just gone through something similar with my own dad, the movie was even more poignant. Of course, my dad was no mathematical genius, but he was a master mechanic and often in the nursing home when I'd arrive, he would be going on about things he needed to get done and jobs that needed to be finished - and sometimes, when he could speak more than a word or two, he'd belt out, "Let's go, I got work to do."

I often looked for proof that my dad knew what was happening to him - usually, it wasn't there. And, I suppose in a way that is good. Because he was only 58 years old and having the realization of his situation would have made things much worse. There were, however, two times I can remember in the year I spent with him when he showed signs of knowing what was going on. Two times before he died when he looked at me - really looked at me - grabbed my hand, squeezed and cried for all that he had lost. It was heartbreaking. But, for me, it was proof that he was still there, somewhere, and that he knew I was by his side.

The movie Proof also reminded me of another beautiful story about a math genius - No One You Know by Michelle Richmond. I devoured two of Richmond's books this summer (No One You Know and The Year of Fog) and I can't believe I forgot to add them to my list of recommendations for summer reading.

And don't fret if you aren't a math fan - I should say that neither the movie Proof nor the book No One You Know is about math (though math plays a huge part, a wonderful character in each.) No, just as the movie is a human story about a woman and her father, Richmond's book is about two sisters - one, the top math student at Stanford, who is murdered. She leaves a notebook and unanswered questions behind and the real story is the journey of the other sister, Ellie, to find out what really happened to her sister.

I love Richmond's writing - she is lyrical and poetic and weaves places and things into her stories like no one I know. She breathes life into San Francisco and brings you so far into the place and story that you can taste the coffee and see the fog, and you won't put her books down until the mysteries are solved.

So, if you haven't already - pick up both of her books: The Year of Fog and No One You Know.

And rent an old movie - Proof with Gwyneth. (And go home and hug your dad.) Oh, and speaking of Gwyneth... check out her new issue of GOOP to see what she and her lovely friends are reading for their end of summer downtime.(And thanks @JennyBrooks for sharing that list.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

End of Summer Reading

What happened to the time? It seems like just yesterday when the entire summer was spread out in front of me, complete with endless possibilities and the promise of lazy, hot days doing absolutely nothing (except reading and writing, of course). Yet, already the kids go back to school in less than two weeks and the choas of gathering school supplies, bus schedules and weeding out too small clothes is in full swing! I barely saw a firefly, let alone caught one. And with the recession still breathing down our necks, we didn't step foot on a beach - we barely left our own yard. Where did all that time go?

Speaking of time and it getting away from you, time travel seems to be one of the literary trends of the moment (does this mean vampires are fading? doesn't appear to be, but one can hope, right? And don't go hating on me all you Twilight fans, I actually love the's just all the other vampires coming out of the woodwork that irk me.)

Anyway, I've just finished two time travel books - two completely literary opposites, but both worth your time, nonetheless.

The Time Traveler's Wife
Earlier this summer, I picked up Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife because I wanted to read it before the movie comes out (can't wait by the way, August 14th starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, both whom I adore! View the trailer.) Many of you know, I am interviewing her for my piece over at She Knows and I'm so excited.

The book is a journey through time, a powerful love story between Henry (who time travels uncontrollably due to a genetic epileptic-type disease) and his wife Claire (who spends much of her time waitng and wondering when Henry will return.) One minute he's there, the next he's not - a pile of clothes left in his wake. You see, he can't take anything with him when he goes. And on the other end, he arrives naked and completely unsure of where and when he is, or when he'll get back to Claire.

Friends who read the book indicated that, at times, the datelines and time travel could be confusing, but stick with it. The book is worth the energy - it's literally a love story for all time. For me, the book was like gravity, pulled me in and I can't wait to pick the author's brain!

Time of My Life
The other time travel type book I just finished, called Time of My Life, comes out in paperback next week. I had the chance to interview the lovely author, Allison Winn Scotch, who is so fun and sweet - my interview with her will be up on She Knows early next week (she dishes on the movie version and the glamorous life she leads!) and she's also answering "25 Things Liz and Lisa Want to Know About..." over at the popular chick lit blog: Allison is also one of those lovely authors who blogs and answers questions about writing and the industry and things we writers love to know.

Time of My Life is the ultimate "What if?" book - it's the story of Jillian Westfield (a woman who has it all - perfect husband, lovely home, angelic toddler) until she wakes up and finds herself seven years in her past. Suddenly, she's living with her ex-boyfriend (the star of her what-if fantasies) and back at her high-powered ad agency job - before marriage, before baby. Can she do things differently this time around? Will she? It's worth your time to find out.

So if you are lucky enough to be planning a last-minute summer getaway, pick up one or both of these books. Neither will disappoint.