Friday, May 9, 2014

Does any goodness linger...

Anthony Doerr's wonderful new novel, All The Light We Cannot See, follows the lives of Werner Pfennig, an orphan boy in pre-World War II Germany and Marie-Laure Leblanc, a blind girl living with her father in Paris. Throughout, the book flashes forward and back through time. The novel explores the journey of both their lives and how it is possible for small moments to really change your life. Werner is driven by a deep love of science and math, while Marie is drawn to the power of books and the idea of story. In the midst of the rise of Nazi Germany and the beginning of the French Resistance, these two young people face the history they are born into. 

This is a brilliantly researched war story, a compassionate and authentic coming-of-age story, and a philosophical fable - all rolled into one beautiful tale.  This novel, like life, swirls between the moral uncertainties and necessary bravery of life, and the perceived certainty of knowledge and science... between the chaos and rhetoric of war and the incredible beauty of life and love. 

The short chapters, the alternating narration, the visual language, and the beautiful storytelling will have you reading this book slowly wanting to savor it… observing the significance of small moments.

I loved this book… so much so that I left several copies around Boise.

Into each was glued this note:

So, if you were in a coffee shop recently or if you happen into a public place in the next week, look around. You may find a complimentary copy just waiting for you to read.

Happy Reading!

Friday, May 2, 2014

a force for good

Yesterday, in New York...

"Find out what makes you kinder, what opens you up and brings out the most loving, generous, and unafraid version of you - and go after those things as if nothing else matters.
Because, actually, nothing else does."
- George Saunders 

I was just in New York. I met with lots of inspiring people who do good work. And, while flying, I read Congratulations, By The Way by George Saunders five times. And each time I read it, I cried a little. I cried in that good way you cry when you read Mr. Tushman's graduation speech at the end of Wonder. I cried in that heart pulling way you cry when reading Sarah Kay's spoken word poem, B.

If you need a graduation gift this spring, keep this little book in mind. I can't think of a better tribute or wish for a happy life.