Blog Archives

I Sang That

I Sang That is a memoir by Sally Stevens looking back on her life as a session singer and later a vocal contractor spanning the decades from her upbringing to the present day and the recent global pandemic. The book provides a unique insight into the inner workings of the Hollywood music industry as it develops over the years and is brimming with all of the biggest names in the music industry. Written in an approachable and extremely humble manner, Sally charts her career progress and its impact on her personal and family life.  

I enjoyed reading this book and this incredibly talented lady’s fantastic adventures. The book like Sally’s career, spans over six decades and the writing provides a fascinating look into the entertainment industry and the broader social and political context of the time. Her writing reveals the sexism experienced by women in their lives, insights into the changing nature of the music industry, and the different political climates over the years.  

I found the letter to her mother after the birth of her first child and her first marriage particularly illuminating. Not only does the book provide an excellent window into Hollywood and its stars, but Sally’s emotional journey. She gives an honest look at being a single mother while trying to forge a career in a highly competitive industry.  

The book is written honestly and openly by Sally, whose achievements are far-ranging and well deserving through the dogged perseverance of her passion. Her work with the union is particularly inspiring, and she is a true role model. However, her writing also offers a pearl of hard-won wisdom on both life and romantic relationships that can only be gained from hindsight and life lived and is a privilege to read and learn from.  

I Sang That it is such an exciting and inspiring memoir. Sally has such a remarkable life to cover; it is a long story but well worth the read. Readers will come away from this true story with much to thing about and a greater respect for all that Sally has endured and acheived in her carrer.

Pages: 403 | ASIN : B0BK5NPYW6

Buy Now From Amazon

Lost in Beirut

Ashe and Magdalena Stevens’ Lost in Beirut is a true story of love, loss and war. It is a work of non-fiction and narrates the lived experiences of Ashe and how he managed to escape the war in Lebanon. Beautifully written, this impactful book will immerse you in the story and keep you flipping the pages, wanting to find out what happens next.

Set in 2006, in the socio-political context of the early 2000s with America at war with the Middle East, the novel depicts the truth of the racism, stereotypes, and prejudices Middle Eastern individuals had to face at that time. The story follows Ashe, a rising star in Hollywood, and his best friends, who get a chance to organize a gigantic concert in Beirut, Lebanon.

For the first few months, Beirut seems like a dream come true as he falls in love with Aleyna and Beirut itself. This bubble of bliss bursts when Israel and Lebanon abruptly go to war. Stranded in a country where being an American is equivalent to having a target on your back, Ashe and his friends experience the devastation of war in Beirut. The authors, survivors of this war, give a real representation of the Middle East’s political situation and war crises. The writing is powerful and evokes strong emotions in the reader. We follow Ashe through love and happiness and then devastation and grief, feeling these emotions with him.

Lost in Beirut: A True Story of Love, Loss and War is the true story that took Ashe Stevens fifteen years to overcome his PTSD and recount how he escaped the devastating war in Lebanon. Definitely, a five-star read, Ashe and Aleyna’s story will leave you feeling a riot of emotions. Violence, love, and grief have been written beautifully and leave a lasting impact on the reader.

Pages: 189 | ASIN : B09MTGCWBT

Buy Now From Amazon

Type One Determination

Type One Determination by Lauren Plunkett is a self-help book that guides readers on how to live a healthy life with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). While primarily written to guide T1D patients on how to live their best lives with good HbA1c values, practically anyone who struggles with any chronic condition can find great use in this book.

Part-instructive, part-memoir, Type One Determination is divided into three parts: a comeback story, nutrition, and exercise. Plunkett has masterfully used her personal stories and journey as a T1D patient and a registered dietitian to provide a step-by-step approach to how T1D patients can use nutrition and exercise to achieve remarkable clinical results and self-fulfillment.

In a chapter titled, ‘Feeding the Disease’, Plunkett opens a window into the emotional psyche of most T1D patients. While sharing in the relatable highs and lows of her anecdotes, her unmistakable humor makes it easy to forget you are reading through the pages of her lived trauma. This experience is, however, crowned with the epiphanic discovery of how nutrition can change the trajectory of living with the disease.

Plunkett’s words plunge deeply into the psychology of the average food lover. With the details of her chronicle, Plunkett offers information on how she used personalized but reproducible nutrition and exercise routines to achieve a satisfactory health record, body positivity, emotional awareness, and control. These methods are backed by scientific research from reputable sources, which Plunkett references.

You might think you are reading through a medical textbook with the details of the physiology of the cornerstones of diabetes- glucose, insulin, exercise, and nutrition. Yet, these concepts were written in the most comprehensible way that even health and nutrition students would benefit immensely from it.

Having consulted a variety of specialists for her condition over the years, lived through the challenges associated with T1D, and even studied nutrition herself, Plunkett has seen the A-Z of solutions offered to T1D patients and also seen how many of them fail. The exceptional technique she offers in her easy-to-follow counsel is the comeback determination anyone living with the disease needs.

Type One Determination is an educational look into how T1D impacts the lives of those living with this condition. With her medical background and personal experience as a patient, the author shares her knowledge with readers in hopes of helping them find a healthier self.

Buy Now From Amazon

Changing Destinies

Changing Destinies by Louis H. Falik is the biography of Professor Reuven Feuerstein written by Louis H. Falik. In this memoir, Louis H. Falik captures the experience and honor of working alongside Prof. Feuerstein and his many contributions. The author goes into detail about Professor Feuerstein’s accomplishments and the techniques he created. We get an in-depth look at Feuerstein’s life as it progresses in time.

Author Falik explores Feuerstein’s ancestry, culture, lifestyle, works, and thoughts, and much of the information in the book is from the professor himself. While covering the events of the personal life of Reuven, he has also elaborated in detail on the political and social conditions of those times. The Jewish culture has been explored and explained, people’s situation and mental faculties when war wages have been depicted, the way the family struggled with happiness and sorrow, Reuven’s love for his family, work, colleagues, and many more instances make the protagonist a real personality.

Reuven was not just a professor but a person who impacted many lives throughout his life. He was involved with many active groups that helped in the betterment of society. Reuven’s impact on the academic community is vast, and this garners a special place in history for him. He was focused on the welfare of the people. His researches and actions were help-oriented. He wanted the world to be a better and more accessible place for people on the borderlines instead of just revolving around a few privileged ones.

The author’s writing comes off as scholarly and packed with research and theories. The facts are there, the events described in detail, but the feeling of exhilaration after reading about Reuven’s success or the sorrows after reading about his challenges touched me emotionally. Overall, this memoir contains a lot of substance and information filled with Reuven’s accomplishments and how he impacted the people who came into contact with him. I will recommend this book to people who want to know each and every life achievement of Professor Reuven Feuerstein, especially if they are taking courses in Psychology.

Pages: 376 | ASIN : B07XJ9JSVV

Buy Now From Amazon

Thank You for Giving Me an Interesting Life

Marilynn is the love of Louis’ life. Unfortunately, Marilynn also suffers from a form of dementia, and grows farther and farther away from her husband, her family, and her friends as she spirals into decline. Thank You for Giving Me an Interesting Life, by Dr. Louis H. Falik, recounts the struggles, along with the touching moments, that come along with slowly losing a spouse to dementia. The book follows the entire course of Marilynn and Louis’ relationship, beginning with their first few dates at college and ending with her passing. No matter what point they are in their relationship, Falik strives to provide an accurate account of their relationship dynamics and how they help each other to grow, both emotionally and professionally.

In writing this book, Falik isn’t afraid to describe all the thoughts and emotions that come with being a caregiver to a person suffering through dementia. From moments of joy when Marilynn has a sudden recollection to moments of unfounded anger at her inability to do what she used to be capable of doing, Falik refuses to sugarcoat anything. As someone who has had a family member pass from Alzheimer’s and therefore saw much of the caretaking process, I can understand these feelings. Falik’s personal account is validating, as many of these feelings can seem shameful and alienating when you first experience them. Additionally, I appreciate that Falik begins his story before Marilynn had dementia since I feel that society tends to just see the disability or disease before they acknowledge the individual. By describing her life before dementia, Falik humanizes her.

The author’s style of writing is science and reason-based and comes off a little bit like you’re in a classroom setting, but I also felt educated on dementia and how it affects someone. As Falik himself mentions, he is very science and reason-based, and his writing reflects that mentality. The author does emphasize his feelings and connection with Marilynn making you fall in love with their relationship.

Thank You for Giving Me an Interesting Life, by Dr. Louis H. Falik, is a great book for those who want to have a better understanding of dementia and how it affects others and their loved ones.

Pages: 111 | ASIN : B08GLKM3CC

Buy Now From Amazon

Carbon Under Pressure

Carbon Under Pressure is the extraordinary story of an ordinary young woman called Rose. This emotional book starts with an account of Rose’s daughter Sophie attempting suicide. Then, the book follows Rose through the next three years of her life as she tries to save her daughter. As if this is not bad enough, more troubles follow this family as they try to wake up from the nightmare they are living and get through to the light.

Author Meg Heart tells her story in a manner that if the reader didn’t know beforehand that this was based on a true story, it would read like a fictional novel. The people portrayed in this book take on the appearance of a set of characters, with a relatable protagonist, a supporting yet devious husband, and a teenage daughter going through a dark phase in her life. While the entire story seems fictional on the surface and anything but ordinary, the most significant message of the book is that it can happen to anyone. The author adeptly carries the story forward while focusing on the mental state of all the characters involved and thus manages to evoke strong emotions in the reader.

This book is intended for mature audiences and covers topics of suicide and sexual assault. However, it is done with great care. The author only mentions the details that are required to tell the story without making the book too heavy to read. The book revolves around the themes of suicide, dealing with depression, family, and sexual assault and covers the topics in fair depth and accuracy.

Carbon Under Pressure is the memoir of one woman named Rose and about the darkest point in her life. How she survived and made it through is detailed with the cautionary tale that it could happen to anyone. This biography will appeal to readers that are interested in women’s studies, depression, sexual assault, and family issues. This book does an excellent job of describing the lesser talked about realities of life.

Page: 176 | ASIN : B09KY45J7P

Buy Now From Amazon

THOMAS JEFFERSON FAMILY SECRETS

Most people know Thomas Jefferson only as the third President of the United States of America. The name would mean nothing more to them than a fun fact heard in a tourist spot in other parts of the world. The truth is, Thomas Jefferson was a human being just as complicated and worthy of empathy as all of us. This is what author and Jefferson expert William G. Hyland Jr. sought and accomplished to convey in his book Thomas Jefferson: Family Secrets.

Written in prose that is accessible without sacrificing the scholarly gravity, this book would be ideal reading for any student of history. Not only does it shed light on this enigmatic figure’s life post-presidency, but it also inspires curiosity. This biography could be enjoyed by almost any reader who loves US history and wants to know more about their lives outside of their public deeds.

Each chapter covers a specific milestone of Jefferson’s twilight years with tidbits from personal letters, commentary from other scholars, and other references. This gives the biography an intimacy and depth no textbook can rival, giving Jefferson humanity that is easy to relate with. Because of that, the experience of reading this almost feels like reading a novel. Beyond the scandals and the history of slavery, you can’t help but empathize with him. However, before you write this off as a full-length fluff piece, it’s important to note that Hyland does not shy away from the less savory events of Jefferson’s storied life. Instead, he focuses on facts, not the modern emotions elicited from these facts.

Different readers will have varying opinions, and luckily Hyland Jr. understands that very well. As a result, the book doesn’t hammer us in the head with sugar-coated anecdotes in order to convert Jefferson’s detractors. Instead, it simply presents the facts and lets the reader decide on their own.

Thomas Jefferson: Family Secrets is a stimulating historical biography on the life of President Jefferson after he left office. History lovers that want to expand their knowledge will enjoy this unique look at his life.

Pages: 542 | ASIN : B09SD6ZD9B

Buy Now From Amazon

Live Each Moment Meaningfully

Rana Bitar Author Interview

The Long Tale Of Tears And Smile is more than just a memoir, it is the story of all those that came into your life.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

The hardest thing for me to write about in the book was my brother’s death.

What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?

What changed my life is my interpretation of Robert Frost’s lines:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?

I hope that the reader will gain a new perspective on their health and lives and the value of living each moment meaningfully and to its fullest.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Long Tale Of Tears And Smiles explores an immigrant oncologist’s journey of triumphs and struggles, from growing up in Syria, to the tragic death of her brother, to her experiences as a young immigrant medical student and trainee in the USA. Walk through her anguish witnessing the civil war in Syria and its devastation; see her become a practitioner, watching the field of oncology evolves throughout the years.

This narrative-driven case study interweaves the stories of the patients Bitar has cared for with her own life stories; it reflects on how her patients’ lives and the stories of their survival or death inspired and changed her life starting and raising a family. Each patient’s approach to illness and end-of-life is as unique as they are, and each person’s journey contains unexpected lessons.

In the space between life and death, Bitar’s profession thrives; and in that space, she can search for the meaning of her existence.
%d bloggers like this: