Still Alice

My plans for the weekend involve a blanket and a book or two.

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I’m a committed non-fiction reader; resistant, for whatever reason, to the suspension of reality necessary to enjoy most novels. Sure there’s the occasional story that grabs and holds me, but more often than not I leave them half-read and only half-enjoyed.

Sometime before the holidays I read the debut novel by Lisa Genova which was recommended to me by the owner of a little bookstore I found here in town.

(As a side note: How wonderful is it to have someone, anyone, employed in a bookstore actually be familiar enough with the inventory to be able to recommend something based on one’s favorite authors?)

Still Alice tells the story of a Harvard professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. A sad story, sure, but unique in that it’s told from Alice’s point of view and thereby offers insight into the painful descent into dementia.

One of my most favorite parts of the novel occurs toward the end; Alice has been invited to deliver the keynote at a national conference for Alzheimer’s care professionals. She makes a plea to not be forgotten and written off or limited by her disease saying, “… My yesterdays are disappearing, and my tomorrows are uncertain, so what do I live for? I live for each day. I live in the moment. Some tomorrow soon, I’ll forget that I stood before you and gave this speech. But just because I’ll forget it some tomorrow doesn’t mean that I didn’t live every second of it today. I will forget today, but that doesn’t mean that today didn’t matter.”

A worthy credo for any of us, I think.

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So… any good books this weekend to stay warm with?

8 thoughts on “Still Alice”

  1. Right now, I am reading Jeff Sharlett’s THE FAMILY. It is scaring the dickens out of me…oh, right, you wanted books to stay warm with.

  2. Warm — Pfft!

    This weekend has me getting up way too early go take pictures of birds Saturday and again getting up much too early Sunday to help save Pickering’s Morning Glory (habit cleanup with fellow plant geeks). With an intermission of beer, football, and friends Saturday evening.

    But it’s only 27 days til I’m headed for the Florida Keys! (I’m not completely insane.)

    Anyways, I’m not really all that into books … (hahahaha)

  3. BL just finished The Art Of Racing In The Rain .. a dog’s story .. and so I’m on it next. She also just read a book about Wesley the Owl … true by a lady prof at Cal Tech who saved a baby owl and it lived with her for many years (and many thousands of frozen, thawed mice!)

    I’m a bit with MevetS – going early Sat. up the Skagit River toward the No. Cascades Nat. Park to see some of the yearly Bald Eagle gatherings … they come to feed on spawned out salmon.

  4. You’re right! All of us need to strive to understand that people with disabilities are far more than merely those disabilities. They have hopes and fears and dreams and plans just like the rest of us. They have friends and everyday troubles and hearts that can swell with pride or break with sadness. And they happen to have a disability.

    Great post and a fine reference to the book. (Can I say I’m a little surprised that you aren’t a fiction reader?)

  5. For non-fiction I’m reading Ted Kennedy’s autobiography. Drags a bit at times but I feel obliged to read it.

    My fiction book is John Irving’s “Last Night in Twisted River” which I am finding much better than his other latest books.

    I so totally agree with your about local booksellers. That’s the main reason I haven’t gotten a Kindle or other ebook. My little bookstore needs my business.

  6. KG Mom: I like scary books sometimes…

    MevetS: Better you than me, I guess… I was happy with my blankie and books!

    Rabbit’s Guy: I’d love to hear more about those eagles.

    (and I’ve been tempted to buy both of those books!)

    Pablo: 🙂

    I do read fiction… I have my favorites, of course.

    Lately it’s hard to let go into a novel tho.

    Have you read this book? Thoughts?

    Susan: Stephen King was a favorite of mine… how are you finding his latest?

    NCMountainWoman: Ah… another John Irving fan! I haven’t read him in a while.

    The people who work at B+N are really frustrating to me… they seem clueless about books… granted I don’t read exactly mainstream but… a corner bookshop is a treasure i think.

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