Monday, June 10, 2013

summer reading


I’ve just finished reading the final page of Paula.

And I’m not ready to put it down…



I’ve closed the book and yet part of me is still lingering between the pages, unwilling to give up the connection I have with the fascinating, heart-wrenching and inspiring world created by Isabel Allende.

So I’ve just been sitting here in silence, thumbing through the pages and reading certain passages I’d underlined for their rich description or flowing transition. In the process I stumble on a brief interview with Allende in back of the book in which she answers questions on the topic of personal tragedy and writing. And she shares her memory of the year following Paula’s death. Which of course is something every reader who has finished this book wants to know. Every parent who has birthed a child or committed their lives to the well being of their children wants to know.

How did you do it Isabel?

How did you transform your grief into a memoir so riveting that I feel pangs of sadness now that it’s over.


Here is the story.

What would you do if your only daughter suddenly fell into a coma from a mysterious, rare and relatively unknown condition?

One minute you have a gifted, beautiful, intelligent adult daughter, an exuberant newlywed with her entire life in full view. And the next minute you are sitting at her hospital bed weathering a steady stream of despairing  prognosis from the medical world. While your daughter lies there with open eyes, unable to recognize or communicate with anyone.

How would you stay sane, keep your hope intact?

This is what Isabel Allende did. During the months when her daughter’s illness became the center of her existence Allende wrote this singular sentence.


And  this became the first line of her book.

Yet the story that unfolds  is not one of sickness or of a mother’s depression; it is interestingly, a passionate story about living. It is story that includes gripping political upheaval in a foreign land, sensuous love affairs and wondrous family history. It is story about ordinary moments and breath-taking tragedy told from the eyes of a robust woman, a loving mother …



and a gifted writer who transported me into another world

and touched me with her words.



This is why I read books.


how about you?

Tell me what you’re reading this summer. I’d love to hear.




I’m linking this post up here.



Unknown said...

I love that first quote & SO know how that feels. I've read so many books that make me feel that way, in fact most books make me feel like that!! Xx

Lori said...

I truly love reading and I always have a book on the go. I picked up some "fluff" last week while out with a friend but will read just about anything. I do enjoy a good mystery, chick lit, and the odd romance thrown in for good measure. Like Simone I love that first quote ~ that was one of the reasons why I enjoyed book club so much because sometimes you just have to talk about it and hear what others thought of it.

mimi charmante said...

Do you believe in serendipity? I absolutely do- that you left a comment today, a day that I am smack dab in the middle of the first book that has completely captured me in a very. long. time. 7- an experimental mutiny against excess has already planted it's roots into my psyche and I am feeling completely altered by it all. (it is also funny that the first two comments are from two of the dearest people in my life who live the furthest from me!).
Thank you for stopping by- truly.
x (because I have to sign in with google to leave a comment and my google account is completely unrelated!)

Something Nice and Pretty said...

I love to read...ever since I was a kid! I read Gone With the Wind when I was 11 also Peyton Place but really can't remember where I got the books from:)
Kristan Hannah, Jodi Picoult are the authors of books that make me not want to finish them and to also make me think so much about a situation!

Blondie's Journal said...

"...lingering in the pages, unable to give up the connection." This so absolutely describes how I feel when I finish a book. And I just finished one filled with sadness, humor...a great love story. After I put it down, those characters lived with me for days.


Calypso In The Country said...

Hi Leslie, you have captured that feeling so beautifully which is why I enjoy reading everything YOU write! I feel like I am always searching for that book that will transform me in some way. I get frustrated when I start reading a book and realize early on that I will get nothing out of it. I will have to consider reading this book although I do have difficulty reading anything that has to do with children being sick or dealing with any kind of tragedy in that area. Thanks for the recap and for sharing your thoughts!

Art and Sand said...

Oh, thank you for letting me know about this book. I have a long list of books ready for the summer and Paula will be added.

When will you be publishing your book? I know if you wrote a book that it would be a lovely read that I would be sad to finish.

Unknown said...

Leslie I have goose bumps - you had me at " Listen Paula " - I have to buy this book..........
The written word is such a part of my world that I can't imagine not having a list of books to read.........
They pile off my bed side table.
I will give anyone anything - except my books - I'm a very greedy reader - and selfish one......if there's even only one line that moves me - I can't give the book away. Have you read Night Circus yet? Not a book I would normally read - but wow what a fantastic journey that book takes you on. I don't generally like to watch a movie a second time - but a favorite book can be read over and over again........sometimes when I read a particularly moving passage - I actually have to put the book down and process it - absorb it - and then go back and read it over again. God, words are so magical.
Thanks for the tip on the book.
Much love,

Unknown said...

This sounds like a book that should be on everyone's must read list - it's now on mine. I love that feeling when I don't want a book to end, when it "haunts" me throughout my regular life.

Right now as I'm stuck housebound due to a broken ankle I'm immersing myself in "Call Me Zelda", a very moving story about Zelda Fitzgerald and the nurse who looks after her during her mental illness crises. Love it.

Dayle ~ A Collection of Days said...

I love books that make me never want to put them down. I usually read those multiple times.

Speaking of ... every summer, I read what is probably my favorite book, "Gift From The Sea," by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Written in 1955, it contains timeless truths.

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

This does sound compelling, and heartbreaking. I haven't read Allende for a long time. This summer I have so many books to choose from to take away, as well as my own manuscript to revise! For sure I'll be taking Murakami's 1Q84, and Alexis Wright's Carpentaria. And probably some short stories and poetry. I do love swimming mornings and reading afternoons x

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Oh I just love it when you finish a book and just don't want to move! You need to take it all in and savor the moment. Sometimes you actually sit there hugging the book! ... Right now I'm only managing one book a month, so I want it to be a good one. This sounds like a great read! ... I've been in a book club for 11 years. We have a great group of girls and we've read some amazing books. And even the clunkers made for good discussion!

Unknown said...

Just found your blog!!
Now following.
looking forward to getting to know you and keeping up!

I am doing a free blog design giveaway. Check it out! :)


Unknown said...

Hi Leslie - Thanks for coming over and following my blog! I am now following back via GFC, Facebook, and Pinterest. I thought this was a great post. I know exactly what you mean about putting down a good book, although these days I feel like I only have time for blog reading! Have a wonderful weekend!

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