Readers’ Corner – June 2023
Feel good with books this month ~
By Bonnie McCune & Kathleen Duhamel ~
In Lessons in Chemistry, a bestselling novel, author Bonnie Garmus brings us insights about women’s lives, careers, and struggle for equality in the late 50s-60s. Elizabeth, a scrappy nonconformist, also a brilliant chemist, is forced to become a television chef when luck brings young single motherhood to her. Pretty unbelievable, right? Her strength, however, is her character. Without hysteria, tears, or moans, Elizabeth gets along getting along. A compelling, entrancing personality, she’s not a stereotype. So even though Elizabeth is definitely a 50s-60s girl, she earns every good break she gets, as well as a gifted, charming daughter and public acclaim and success. My pick for best novel of 2022.
The Runaway Wife. Dee McDonald’s delightful debut novel explores one older woman’s journey of self-discovery from retired housewife to vibrant individual. Sixty-six-year-old Connie McColl spends her time catering to the demands of her grandchildren while trying to engage her mostly absent husband. One evening while mashing potatoes for dinner, she snaps. The next day she leaves in her little green car (“Kermit”) on a road trip through England and Scotland, leaving her needy family to cope without her. Connie is a wonderfully relatable character, and her personal journey is both humorous and thought-provoking, ending with an unexpected twist.
Notes On A Nervous Planet. Are you stressed out by daily life? Isn’t everyone? Matt Haig’s collection of short essays and commentaries reminds us that our soul-crushing work culture, onslaught of information via the internet and social media, and ever-changing technology have created an expanding worldwide mental health crisis. Haig, who has been open about his own struggles with anxiety and depression, offers calming and comforting advice on how to deal with the various stresses of the modern age in order to live a happier, more fulfilling life.