“It must be a good book,” my husband said as I read by flashlight in the car on the way home from our Thanksgiving holiday.
What not to like: a spirit talking from beyond the grave, two writers practicing (or not) their craft, Lindy Hop lessons, a blue cat warming itself by the radio, birdwatching by the sea, and crocks and crocks of fresh fish chowder?
This novel takes place in Halifax and in a small village in Nova Scotia. The seaside village setting is spectacular with its wild Atlantic coast, historic graveyard, and old library.
The book tells the stories of two writers Sam Lattimore and his new wife, Lizzie. It’s the 1970s and they live in a Halifax hotel where they also had their honeymoon. Lizzie orders a chaise-longue for their living room in honor of the topic of her dissertation, The Victorian Chaise-Longue, a minor book by a minor writer that Lizzie has chosen for what it teaches about life. Read more about Next Life Might Be Kinder
There’s a business in Logansport, Indiana known as Fiberglass Freaks. They produce my dream car. They don’t make a lot of them as each car is custom built by hand. The car is known as “The Batmobile.” Over the years in the movies and television there have been several Batmobiles, but the 1966 Batmobile is perhaps the best known and one of the most loved. It is this car this small company builds. The popularity of this car is not just because of its distinctive lines and style, but because of the popularity of a camp, comedy version of one of the most well-known crime fighters in comic book history, Batman.
The 1960’s Batman TV series was originally conceived as a drama; at some point the decision was made to turn it in to a camp comedy. I don’t know why the decision was made but the result was almost literally pure gold. Read more about BATMAN (1966 - TV Series)
This novel begins in a psychologist’s office where a young, exceedingly unattractive woman says she is there because her mother’s dying wish is for her to see a therapist about her weight. The therapist asks Barb Colby if her mother is dying. “No, it’s an early request,” she answers.
A half hour later, Barb strips down to reveal that she’s been wearing a grey wig, false teeth and a fat suit. One of her dear friends committed suicide a couple years before because he fell in love with her on account of her beauty. Now Barb does all she can to conceal it.
The sound of a projector is heard as an old 8mm home movie is projected on to a screen. They show a young father playing with his children, making faces at the camera, laughing and enjoying his life. The camera pulls back behind an older couple watching the film from their couch. Then a close up. The older man is biting his upper lip then asks, “Who is that?” “That’s you honey” comes the reply. A pause then, “Oh, there I am.” And he laughs. Another pause, “Who’s that with me?” “That’s your daughter. Your first daughter Debbie.” And so begins this 2014 documentary on the life of Glen Campbell, now in his 70’s, struggling with Alzheimer’s and preparing to go on one last farewell tour. Read more about Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.
In our death-phobic culture, most of us need all the help we can get planning for our own and our loved ones’ deaths. This excellent guide, rich with examples, and a good smattering of humor gives just that—an overview of how to prepare for both the practical and spiritual aspects of dying.
Donna Schaper, who is also a minister, opens the book with “The Best Funeral Ever.” She shares funerals and memorials from actual people she knew and helped.
She describes the deceased and makes clear that their wishes should be followed. She closes this chapter with a eulogy she wrote for a feisty friend, Anita, who told the police she would keep driving, no matter what they said, and insisted that no one sing hymns at her service.
In a later chapter on bad funerals, she relates that mistakes happen. For one of the services she conducted, instead of the music the bereaved requested, she carelessly played a classical work left in the CD player. The widow never noticed the switch, and said later, that the music made her feel better during the funeral. Read more about Approaching the End of Life: a Practical and Spiritual Guide