What Are You Reading?

Have you read a great book lately? Let me know!  Email Devon Murphy-Petersen with your newest literary find. We look forward to hearing from you.

Mar 19

A Mother, A Son - A Love Story

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 2:02 PM by Sage Tebeest

Songs of Willow FrostBest-selling author Jamie Ford’s new novel, “Songs of Willow Frost” opens with a quote from Irving Berlin that beautifully sums up the sentiment of this moving book.“I lost the angel who gave me summer the whole winter through.I lost the gladness that turned to sadness, when I lost you.”

At twelve years of age, William Eng is the only Chinese-American in the Sacred Heart Orphanage in Seattle.He last saw his beloved mother when her limp body was carried from their tiny apartment five years previously.As she was carried out the door she looked at him and whispered “I’ll be right back.”

When the orphans are treated to a movie, a rare treat in depression-era 1934, William sees a beautiful singer and an advertisement for her upcoming appearance in Seattle.In spite of her glamorous makeup and beautiful clothes, he knows the woman is his mother, his Ah-ma.

If she is alive, why has she not returned for him?William and his best friend, Charlotte, plot to slip away from the orphanage to see Willow Frost’s show, and hopefully, to see Willow herself.

Will William be reunited with his mother?Or at least come to understand why she abandoned him?
Mar 19

Last Days in a Small Colorado Town

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 2:01 PM by Sage Tebeest

BenedictionThe word benediction is defined as the utterance of a blessing, an invocation of blessedness.Kent Haruf’s new novel, “Benediction” is truly all of that.

After Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer his wife, Mary, works to keep him as comfortable as possible.Although their daughter, Lorraine, comes back from Denver to help care for him, her devotion does not fill the hole left in the family by the absence of their estranged son, Frank.

Next door, a young girl moves in with her grandmother after the death of her mother.An elderly widow and her middle-aged daughter strive to provide help and support to both the young girl and the Lewis family.

In his spare, poetic prose, Haruf tells a story of death and life, and explores the bonds that tie individuals together.“Benediction” savors the fullness of life and the myriad hopes and dreams that allow us to move forward through the uncertainties and challenges of living.
Mar 19

Gratitude as a Way of Life

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 2:00 PM by Sage Tebeest

Choosing GratitudeIn his latest book, “Choosing Gratitude: Learning to Love the Life You Have” Des Moines author Jim Autry explores gratitude in the context of modern life.He delves into the stresses and strains of day-to-day actions and reactions to remind us that gratitude is always a choice.

In a series of essays Autry explores love, health, family, politics, travel, friends, spirituality, loss, and grief.In each essay he illustrates how gratitude can be a way of living through the deliberate cultivation of a spirit of thankfulness in times both good and bad.

Autry contends that by consciously choosing gratitude, life opens up.We may not be able to change the world and all its problems, but we can change our response to these problems.By filling our lives with multiple moments of gratitude, we will truly love the life we have.

I found this book quite uplifting, and full of food for thought.You can find it at the Waukee Public Library.