Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Feature! A Guest Post by Madeline Sharples

Today I'm thrilled to begin a brand new feature on Suko's Notebook, original guest posts by writers.  Author, poet, and web journalist Madeline Sharples has written an exclusive guest post for my readers.  Her new book, published in 2011, Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother's Memoir of Living with Her Son's Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide, is a book I expect to find both affecting and insightful. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


In Her Own Words: A Guest Post by Madeline Sharples 

Now that I’m a published author people are always asking me about what books I would recommend to everyone.  That is a tall order.  I think our reading choices are very personal.  Besides I’m not a very good person to ask.  I seem to fall in love with the book and author I am currently reading.

Right now I’m reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, and even though I find the character Steve Jobs someone I’d never want to meet personally – he was a little brusque to put it mildly – his story is incredibly uplifting and motivating. This man could make things happen that were not even possible.  He had that kind of attitude.  He’d tell his brilliant employees they could do something they totally believed they could not, and guess what?  They ended up doing it.  Since I grew up with computers – from the large ones that filled up huge rooms in the aerospace company where I worked, to the first cumbersome text editing systems I tested, and now to the marvels of the products Job’s created, this was definitely a book for me. I loved every word of it.

Another book I loved this year was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I think Foer is totally original. He uses graphics, he writes about very smart precocious children, and his story about Oskar’s search for the lock that his father’s key opens after his father dies during the September 11 attack makes me cry.  That Oskar is the narrator gives this book more poignancy.  Sure it is clever, it is gimmicky, but why not?  He’s a young author of the twenty-first century.  And old as I am, I can still relate.

A few years ago, I was very taken by Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, her story about her first year after her husband’s sudden death.  I experienced magical thinking after my son died in 1999 – even though I never for a minute believed he would or could really come back to me.  Didion’s book is raw, passionate, stunning.  I believe nothing less should be expected in a memoir.  She tells the truth and her inner thoughts and feelings.  I only wish she had done the same in her memoir about her daughter’s death, Blue Nights.

Others books I gravitate to are about strong women.  Even as a child I loved A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, both by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Then as I got older I raided my parents’ bookshelves and read Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor and my favorite book of all time, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind.  Amber and Scarlett – both great names – were strong-willed, feisty, and outspoken women who fought endlessly and ruthlessly to get what they wanted. Other books on that list are Mrs Dalloway and LolitaLolita mainly for the beauty of the writing although Lolita was a very strong-willed character.  And, if you haven’t heard Jeremy Irons read the audio version, you’re really missing out.

One other book stands out on my list. It is the book I’d suggest everyone read: Remember, Be Here Now by Ram Dass, in print since its initial release in 1977.  It’s about spirituality, yoga, and meditation.  But the lasting message for me is live in the now: don’t look back, the past is over; it is little more than story, and don’t look ahead.  The future doesn’t exist yet – except in your mind.  Such a simple message yet so hard to achieve.

So whatever you read, just enjoy.  Maybe you’ll also fall in love with the book you are reading now – until the next one comes along.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Madeline, thanks for sharing some thoughts about books--the perfect topic for this site! You've given us some wonderful contemporary and classic recommendations.  I'd definitely like to read Steve Job's biography--I'm deeply interested in what makes a person excel, and I'm a huge Apple fan.  I've read a handful of the books you mention--including Mrs. Dalloway, The Secret Garden, Gone with the Wind--and I read Be Love Now, a more recent book by Ram Dass.  Best of luck with your book! 

Leaving the Hall Light On is available at many places, including Dream of Things.  Your comments are welcomed.  If you're an author and would like to write a guest post, please contact me by email

16 comments:

  1. What a wonderful set of books to recommend. Ram Das's book is first on my list. I do try to live in the immediate present in order not to daydream, fret, or worry about the past or the future. Excellent post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Harvee. I know you'll like Be Here Now. It's a book to savor and reread over and over again. Best, Madeline

      Delete
  2. Perfectly awesome list and new ones to me to check out. Love this new feature here S--! Nice to meet ya Madeline!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kim. I'm glad you like the list. All best, Madeline

      Delete
  3. A lot of these books are ones that I have really enjoyed, or have sitting on my shelves to enjoy in the near future. Thanks for sharing your favorites with us Madeline!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Zibilee, I'm glad you've enjoyed these books too. Of course there are loads more and loads more to come. Keep reading. Best, Madeline

      Delete
  4. Great feature Suko. I enjoyed this post!
    Nice list of books by Madeline. I have to put the one by Ram Dass on my wishlist. Living in the 'now' is such an important thing, like you say so simple, yet so hard to achieve.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Have enjoyed this feature, thanks Suko and of course Madeline. Such an interesting and eclectic selection of books, there are several I'll have to keep an eye out for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Petty, I hope you get to read some of these books. I'm sure you have a great list of your own. So many books, so little time. All best,
      Madeline

      Delete
  6. Dear Suko, Thanks so much for launching your new blog feature with my post. I am indeed honored. I'll keep checking back here to respond to comments. And I'll look for more posts about favorite books on this page.
    All best to you and thanks again, Madeline

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Madeline, thanks very much for stopping by and for your comments! I'm honored to have you as my first guest.

      Delete
  7. What a fun post today. I have read a few of the books she mentioned, and I agree with her that GWTW is one of my all time favorites. I also loved "To Kill a Mockingbird" that book is also one of my all time favorites as well. It was so nice meeting Madeline Sharples, and I so enjoyed reading her complimentary today. Thanks for sharing her with us today Suko....

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dear Ann, Thanks for reminding me of To Kill A Mockingbird - another wonderful and timeless book. I wish you lots of favorite books in the future. Best, Madeline

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great post! What a great new feature!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great reading list! I loved Forever Amber, Gone with the Wind, The Secret Garden, and A Little Princess myself. I need to check out the rest of the books on this list.

    ReplyDelete

Your comments make this site lively! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I value each one, and will respond to questions.

If you're entering a giveaway, please leave your e-mail address (or a link that leads to it).

Blog header by Held Design

BLOG ARCHIVE









Some of the books reviewed here are given
to me free of charge by authors, publishers, and
agents.



I'm honored to be an Amazon Associate. If you
make a purchase from Amazon through a link on
this site, I'll earn a small advertising fee. Many
thanks to those who place orders through my site!