Books: 735

Light Come Out of the Closet: Memoir of a Gay Soul
Roger Leslie, PhD
Paradise Publishing House

Leslie grew up in a close-knit, Polish-American family with parents committed to their children’s Catholic schooling. His firmly held three absolutes: “I love God; I love my family; I am gay.” He adroitly leads the reader through the fear and dread experienced when an intelligent child realizes that should his parents not unconditionally love a gay child, God, too, might withhold His affection. Burden enough for an adult, the conflict was overwhelming for the youngster. Now at peace and author of some seventeen books including Isaac Dinesen: Gothic Storyteller, spiritual inspiration volumes Divine Destiny and My First Last Year, this memoir is an inspirational recounting of his struggle to find love, discovering that “In the dark night of the soul we find our own happiness.”

My Friend Anne Frank: The Inspiring and Heartbreaking True Story of Best Friends Torn Apart and Reunited Against All Odds
Hannah Pick-Goslar
Little, Brown and Company

In 1933, Hannah Pick-Goslar’s Jewish family fled Nazi Germany for Amsterdam, settling next door to the Franks, also relocated, with a daughter Hannah’s age. Hannah, tall and shy, and Anne, slight and sprightly, became fast friends in nursery school. The power of this memoir is Hannah’s presence. She was with Anne through the last nearly normal days, kids going about their daily activities. On 12 June, 1942, Hannah attended Anne’s thirteenth birthday party; the roomful of classmates watched a rented Rin-Tin-Tin film and Anne, among many other gifts, received that red, tan, and cream plaid diary in which she began writing her thoughts now shared worldwide. It was to be Anne’s last childhood party. The darkness was nearly upon them. Heartfelt, heartbreaking; an extraordinary tribute to friendship.

Tomb of Sand
Geetan Jali Shree tr. Daisy Rockwell

Following her husband’s death, eighty-year-old Ma has begun to slide. Intransigently depressed, she has relinquished joy, and even, fear her responsible eldest son and dutiful daughter, the will to live. Hope is nearly abandoned when Serious Son, her youngest grandson, gives her a golden cane studded with butterflies. The cane’s magic draws her out of bed and into a hedonistic, carefree life as alien to her children as was her previous withdrawal. Escapades with her feminist daughter Beti, friendship with a hijra, even jettisoning her traditional saris, unchain her spirits while dumbfounding the rest of the family. Playful, fantastical, free with wordplay and matters temporal, Tomb encompasses Partition and gender anomaly, ecstasy and tragedy–what it means to live a life. Winner 2022 International Booker Prize.

Anatomy of a Breakthrough: How to Get Unstuck When It Matters Most
Adam Alter
Simon and Schuster

Alter, professor of marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business tackles “stuckness,” the dreaded place for anyone who’s wanted, needed, or been on deadline to produce. Using a large number of case studies of well-known individuals in wide spectrum of undertakings, Alter segues skillfully from one to the next, the swiftness of the changes providing a tour-de-force of “unsticking” right before your eyes. Changing your habit patterns can override inertia; defining your goal then breaking it into segments provides both better understanding and movement. Seek out different people  to shake up your thinking, change your perspectives, release the Stuck Thing. Alter’s own brisk pacing and barrage of suggestions offer a glimmer of hope–“Maybe I can do this!” keeping one turning the pages. Worth a try!

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