From Ellen Druda
Author: Rod Freedman
Title: Wrong side of the bus [videorecording DVD]
Sidney Bloch, an accomplished Australian professor of psychiatry, tries to resolve his guilt about his compliance with apartheid growing up in South Africa while on a trip back home to Cape Town. Bloch’s son Aaron tags along, serving as the film’s narrator and chief questioner over his father’s true feelings and motivations. As Sidney visits old haunts, friends, and neighbors, he talks about growing up Jewish in a racist society, his anger over what seemed clearly morally wrong, and his painful realization that he did nothing of substance to protest. Bloch asks for forgiveness from those who suffered: his aged mother’s black nurse, a white man who led protests and lost an arm and an eye as a result, university schoolmates who were discriminated against, and, finally, a former prisoner who was jailed in the same place as Nelson Mandela. It is this prisoner, now the jail’s tour guide, who gives Bloch the key to release his guilt in the film’s moving resolution. Wrong Side of the Bus asks big questions within the framework of one man’s journey.
From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Liz Stavrinides
Title: Miracle dogs : rescue stories
Miracle dogs: rescue stories by Liz Stavrinides is a collection of stories and photographs about rescue dogs. This book is not a one-sided interpretation. The dogs are rescued, yes, but in many instances, the people who adopt the rescues, are then rescued themselves, either physically or emotionally. The first story highlights the complexities of dealing with a child on the autism spectrum and how the dog was able to bridge the chasm. The dog fostered in Andrew feelings of empathy and sacrifice. Andrew, who eschewed hugs and comfort from his mother in particular, now tolerates them for the dog’s sake. Every time the mom wants a hug, she says to Andrew “A treat for the dog if you give me a hug” and Andrew with a put-upon sigh, complies. Another rescue dog alerted his owners on two separate occasions to an accident. In the first instance, the “father” of the dog fell and the dog ran into the house to alert the wife of the incident. He then returned to the “father’s” side and provided comfort. This same dog, Marvin, alerted the “father” when the blind “mother” fell in the night as she was navigating her home. He repaid their adoption of him a thousand-fold. The whole book is a testimony to the ability of animals to recover from abusive situations and to repay their “rescuers” in myriad ways. This book brought me to tears at times. An excellent, heartwarming collection of dog “tails” which encapsulate the benefits of the human-canine bond.
From Eileen Effrat
Author: Helen Rappaport
Title: The Romanov sisters : the lost lives of the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
The four daughters of Tsar Nicholas were the most talked about royals of the early twentieth century—–think Diana or Catherine. Drawing on previously unpublished letters, diaries, and archival sources from private collections, Rappaport focuses on the their daily life, and the recollections of those closest to the girls. The daughters—Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia—referred to themselves as OTMA, while Alexandra called them her “girlies”. As the author states, “the girls never bristled against being a collective”. What emerges in this biography is the unique individuality of each sister. The book does not dwell on their final days in Ekaterinberg. For that, you will have to read Rappaports previous book, The Last days of the Romanovs. For those with an interest in Russian history, this is a meticulously researched and quite readable account of four sheltered girls in the twilight of the Tsarist regime.
From Ginny Pisciotta
Author: Nina Teicholz
Title: The big fat surprise : why butter, meat, and cheese belong in a healthy diet
Do you miss bacon and egg breakfasts? If you are looking for a reason to add delicious saturated fats back into your diet, or if a low-fat diet just isn’t helping you lose weight or gain health, you may want to read this book. Investigative journalist Nina Teicholz exposes the flawed research and thinking behind so much of the nutritional advice we’ve been getting for decades. Be prepared, though, to eliminate some other foods you like.
Although the reading can be slow and a bit dry, the subject matter is extremely interesting. In my opinion, any book that gives me a reason to eat bacon and cheese is worth reading.