A BOOK FOR THE GOLDEN GENERATION

BOOK ONE

Carter’s book aims to make senior citizens, especially those in nursing homes, laugh, think and live more healthily.

In this far-ranging book, Carter provides his readers with jokes, stories and essays, history lessons about Jamaica and health care tips. Although much of the information can be found on the Internet, his engaging material and simple format will appeal to older readers. Senior citizens will be amused by the jokes Carter offers, many of which are geared toward their generation and have protagonists to which they can relate. For instance, in “Did ‘Old-Timers’ Set In?,” when a friend praises the protagonist for calling his wife “darling” and “sweetheart” after 53 years of marriage, the protagonist claims his pet names are merely the result of having forgotten his wife’s name 10 years ago. The jokes are succinct and snappily written, and readers will appreciate their easy wit. Additionally, Carter provides an intriguing historical account of Jamaica, contemplating simple elements like the country’s kitchen facilities and segueing into the more complicated role of women in Jamaican society. Carter employs a fascinating metaphor of “metamorphosis in the reverse” to describe contemporary Jamaica, claiming that the “emerald isle of the Caribbean has become a loathsome haven of crime and violence,” a “loathsome caterpillar.” Most useful are the health and safety tips Carter offers (with Eunice Carter, RN) in the book’s final chapters. Those who are elderly, particularly those who may be living alone, will gain tremendously from the advice offered. This advice is broadly inclusive, alerting readers to simple measures that nevertheless can be of great assistance; for instance, the author’s claim that “floors should be of non-slip and low glare material” and readers should “never combine multiple medications in the same bottle.” The book helpfully lists symptoms for various illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, giving readers a reference to check before calling a physician, should they suspect illness. Additionally, the book offers tips to avoid illness altogether. With the wide range of topics covered, readers may wish the book included an easily referenced index. An intriguing, somewhat unwieldy, genre-defying book with much to offer senior citizens.

 

Pub Date: Dec. 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-1466382923

Page Count: 198

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2012

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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