Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Promise Me

Book Club Alert! Ever wonder who IS this Susan Komen and how HAS her name become so ubiquitiously associated with the Race for the Cure against breast cancer? Well, I know. Because I read stuff. And, I got friends at book club who know lots and lots of stuff – and recommend really good books like Promise Me, written by Ms. Komen’s sister, Nancy G. Brinker.

Promise Me seems (to me) to be three books in one!

  1. -A human interest story where we meet the infamous and beautiful Susan Komen (along with her incredibly ambitious sister Nan). “Susie” was a pretty lady and dedicated wife and mother - who died much too young. She suggested to her sister that cancer treatment need not be such a sentence. Perhaps victims should be treated with a speck more humanity. Have you, or someone you know, gone through treatment? Were the walls painted in bright colors? Or were there floral decorations of some sort? You can probably thank Susan. And, of course, her sister.
  2. -A medically intriguing history which takes us from the days of horribly painful surgeries without anesthetics to a completely amazing awareness campaign that we now know as "The Race for the Cure". (The phrase "Awareness Campaign" seems a bit trite!) Was there a time do you remember that it was shameful to discuss breast cancer? Some of you do, for sure. Thanks goodness we seem beyond that.
  3. -The story of Nancy Brinker herself. She certainly had her share of hardship, but boy has she made her mark on the world. I'd like have some of this fireball rub off on me...

Loved the writing. Loved the information. And for anyone who has been affected by a cancer victim, this is a story worth taking the time to read.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Summer Reading - The Chronicles of Narnia

I purchased the Chronicles set some time ago for my imaginative children who have a penchant for stories like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Most likely I was smitten by the first beautiful production of the The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe when a Scholastics book order came around. And, by jove, guess who of the Kramer clan has solely found herself in the land of Centaurs, badgers and telmarines?

It is I.

No, I haven’t convinced my children of the lovely, rich, and overall goodness of these adventurous tales whose allegories would please any English major on a rainy day. I’m completely delighted to study Mr. C.S. Lewis and his ability to spin a story, seeming at times to face the camera with a clarification, yet without one ounce of pedantification. He's like the charming grandfather I never knew.

Back to encouraging my kids to read this most awesome series. (Currently on Book 4- Prince Caspian.) They loved the movies, so I was perplexed by their hesitation on picking up the books. Alex, the elder, was already in the midst of another series. Cole, the younger, on the other hand, was more interested, but tentative. Then I learned that he had tried. And he read the first few pages several times...attempting to understand. Sigh. So, the next time I picked up where I was reading, I considered it from my son's perspective.  "In the name of Aslan, I wonder you have never asked me before?"  Hmm. A slight twist in the dialect probably made this book a bit ardous for Cole. More than I had anticipated. But good for him for trying.

So, I'll journey to Narnia alone for now. And await for my children to join me. I'll be patient. I believe they have some wizards to watch. 

Sidenote: I would like to thank the Narnia film producers - as I read, the imagery is tainted but what I saw in the movie, but in a magnificent way by the fine actors and great scenes. And, of course, Liam Neeson's voice as the powerful Aslan...