ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s Disease, was a frequent subject in the news over the past few months. Via 2014’s “Ice Bucket Challenge” wherein individuals got doused with icy water or donated $100 to avoid a dousing, awareness of the neurodegenerative, wasting disease with no cure was heightened. As of August 2014, $15 million was raised for ALS – $14 million more than was raised in 2013.
D S. Lliteras’ Flames and Smoke Visible is his “day in the life” account of hardships and triumphs as a firefighter in Norfolk, Virginia. In the book’s short chapters, simple language and clear imagery, Lliteras recounts the danger and excitement of willingly risking his life for others. Whether delivering a baby to a 15 year-old mother in a car, battling a house fire during a windy downpour or his own health emergency while on duty, the author puts readers in the action with gritty detail.
If you have ever felt overwhelmed by the winter holiday season, take heart, you are not alone. If you have ever grieved the loss of a loved one during the winter holidays, you might find comfort in The 13th Gift, a true story about healing, togetherness and purpose.
Furry Logic’s 10th Anniversary Edition has a lot to recommend it. It is a small, colorful book with a large cat face on the cover - what’s not to like? The book can be read and enjoyed in as little as 10 minutes if you have a squirming toddler on your lap or can be lingered over at your leisure. Best of all, the book has Jane Seabrook’s detailed paintings of animals that render them lifelike with expressions nad body positions that complement the text.
To me, winter’s cabin fever and shorter days call for travel to warm climes and books of lighter subject matter than in the larger tomes I promise myself I will read before spring’s active months. Francesca Marciano’s The Other Language, a collection of 9 stories about change set in various places in present-day Europe, Africa and the USA, was a balm to my fleece-covered, travel-starved soul.