This is the true story of mother and son and the books they discuss and she undergoes treatment for terminal cancer. The mom is a superwomen who raised three kids, worked for Ivy League schools and devoted her life to the plight of refugees around the world.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
The following quote pretty much sums up the book:
"They (books) help us talk. But they also give us something we all can talk about when we don't want to talk about ourselves." (58)
"Throughout her life, whenever Mom was sad or confused or disoriented, she could never concentrate on television, she said, but always sought refuge in a book. Books focused her mind, calmed her, took her outside of herself; television jangled her nerves" (25)
"It was as if you were critiquing a restaurant based on the decor, while she was talking about the food." (41)
"I often forget that other people's stories aren't simply introductions to my own more engaging , more dramatic, more relevant, and better told tales, but rather ends in themselves, tales I can learn from or repeat or dissect or savor" (50)
-I am so guilty of interrupting people-it drives my husband CRAZY! So I took this to heart.
..."he wore his learning so lightly and had such curiosity about other people that he had the ability to make everyone around him feel smart and well-read." (56)
"Secrets..rarely explained or excused anything in real life, or were even all that interesting." (58)
"If you want to work outside the home, you should. if you can afford not to and you don't want to, then you shouldn't." (72)
"The world is complicated. You don't have to have one emotion at a time." (88)
"Do you want me to ask how you're feeling" (99)
-I think this is great advice for dealing w/ someone with a serious illness.
"But I don't entirely approve of people who get advance degrees and then decide to stay home. I think if society gives you the gift of one of those educations and you take a spot in a competitive institution, then you should do something with that education to help others." (246)
-What do you think of this? I think it's stupid to take out hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for a degree that you don't plan to use, but I don't think any education can ever be "wasted".
I read this book over several weeks. It's just not the type of book that you devour in one or two sittings, but there is a lot of wisdom and insight and it is worth your time. 4 stars