Readers’ Corner July 2024: Life as It Really Is

By Bonnie McCune and Kathleen Duhamel ~

The Consequences. This collection of short stories from Manuel Munoz deserves to be on the reading list of every reader in the country, with special dispensation for young people. In addition to submerging you over your head immediately in the culture and personalities of Fresno, California, in the Central Valley, it captures snapshots of Hispanic culture and the captivating diverse personalities of people from teens to the elderly. They live and love, cry and fight, win and lose, in a startling array of humanity anyone can relate to. The writing surpasses anything I’ve read in 25 years, in emotion and accuracy. Absolutely honest, absolutely soul-touching.

Brave the Wild River: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of the Grand Canyon. Our view of the roles of women in years past may be flawed, and this story of two young botanists in 1938, the first women to challenge the entire length of the river, proves our shortcoming. Melissa J. Sevigny plumbed every source of information for accurate details about their self-appointed trial, including their letters and journals. Led by an ambitious and expedition leader and amateur boatmen, Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter set off in a boat down river rapids, precipitous cliffs, and boat-destroying boulders. The Colorado was famed as the most dangerous river in the world. For Clover and Jotter, its tantalizing appeal–no one had surveyed the Grand Canyon’s plants, and they were determined to be the first.

What a Fool Believes: A Memoir, by Michael McDonald and Paul Reiser. How did a high school dropout from Missouri survive the cutthroat music business to become a platinum-selling singer-song writer whose soulful baritone defined the rock and R&B generation? McDonald’s refreshingly honest memoir spares no details, starting with his humble beginning as a regional act before joining Steely Dan, and, years later, taking the Doobie Brothers to international fame. Throughout his musical journey, McDonald struggled with drug and alcohol addiction while plagued with periods of self-doubt, ultimately conquering his demons and enjoying a successful solo career. His warm personality shines on every page. (Audio version is highly recommended.)

Authors Kathleen Duhamel, https://www.kathleenduhamel.com/, and Bonnie McCune, https://BonnieMcCune.com, write women’s fiction.

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