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THE REINVENTION OF ALBERT PAUGH: A Novel Story about retirement ~Jean Davies Okimoto

Monday, August 17th, 2015

I can hardly wait to tell you about this delightful story, the third in Okimoto’s trilogy about Vashon Island and its special landmarks and the culture of living on an island close to a huge and popular city.   The book came into my computer as a digital file and I needed to make a list of 10 things I was going to accomplish before I read the first page because I knew I would just be hooked right away and unable to do anything else.   The author is a great story telling wizard with just the most remarkable humor, she must have a twinkle in her eye at all times.  She certainly has caught island life and the foibles and emotions of the folks who inhabit and live within it’s confines.

TLC Book Tours has now sent me each of the books Okimoto has written for review.  I am just so lucky.  THE LOVE CEILING   was the start and then we moved onto WALTER’S MUSE.    The wise philosopher has turned 90 and is included into this new story, along with Maggie and Walter and Howie and Mark but the cast has expanded to include more of the folks who are a part of Albert Paugh’s life and veterinary practice.

The characters are so believable and may just remind you of someone you know and enjoy.  I felt a need to call one of my neighbors and also to entice my husband into reading this story as he is looking forward to retirement with no major plans except to paint and walk our dog.  He may just find himself confused also.

Dr. Paugh has had a heart attack and his wife persuaded him to sell his practice and retire.  It was just in time, as she needed help to heal from a lung cancer, which changed her life and what she wanted for her future.  Albert was not included in that future and after 24 years he is about to become divorced.  His wife never did like Bert, his chocolate lab, and now the two must find a new place to live and what to do with their time.

The single women, of a certain age and dog owners are quite interested in Dr. Paugh’s new status and this is becoming a problem that sends Al and Bert to the beach for long walks.

I was able to persuade my large book group to read WALTER’s MUSE  and I think I will have luck again with THE REINVENTION OF ALBERT PAUGH.  What will we all do at retirement? And how will we feel useful and of service to others and what will capture our energies in a good way and in a concerning way?
It was delightful to see how Dr. Paugh and the folks on Vashon Island were taking hold and making a difference to so many.

From the Book:

“Jean Davis Okimoto is an author and playwright whose books and short stories have been translated into Japanese, Italian, Chinese, German, Korean, Danish and Hebrew.  She is the recipient of numerous awards including Smithsonian Notable Book, The American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, the Washington Governor’s Award, the Green Earth Book Award, and the International Reading Association Readers Choice Award.  Her picture book, Blumpoe the Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat was adapted by Shelly Duvall for the HBO and Showtime television series BEDTIME STORIES.  Jeanie, who is also a retired psychotherapist, began writing for adults when she and her husband Joe retired to Vashon Island in 2004 where they (and their dogs Bert and Willie) are visited by deer families and their six grandchildren.”

This book is for anyone who likes a good story, has retired, is failing retirement, and enjoys a fun read.  One does not need to read all three stories but they are so fun, Why not? THE REINVENTION OF ALBERT PAUGH

The Love Ceiling
Walter’s Muse

FIVE NIGHT STAND: A Novel ~Richard J. Alley

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

“Do we not owe it to those gone, to those still with us, to ourselves, to live to the fullest of our capabilities? To the extent of our passion?”  (location 86%)

I was excited to receive the un-proofed, uncorrected advanced copy of FIVE NIGHT STAND from TLC Book Tours for review.  It was a story about music and story about change and it seemed like a refreshing change of pace from the last few reads.  I was trying to get it read before I went to the hospital for a surgery, but I did not achieve that goal.   FIVE NIGHT STAND went with me and I read it between therapy and healing sleep in the rehabilitation center.  It was good company.

Oliver Pleasant is a renown jazz piano player.  He is in New York City and going to play 5 nights at a famous jazz club as his retirement.  At 85 he needs to leave NYC and move to Memphis to live with his youngest sister.  Alley takes us through Pleasant’s life and all his concert tours and years of playing, how he learned and who took him under their wing.  We are also invited into his married life and how his wife and children influenced his career.  The five nights of playing are packed full of the fans and stories of those who come to honor and hear the musician.

Agnes is a 20 something musician who has come to NYC for some medical tests and to hear the concerts of her  inspiration Oliver Pleasant.  She comes from New Orleans where she plays in the clubs and is originally from Memphis.  Her story is an interesting addition to the concerts and she ends up meeting Pleasant and playing his music for him, with her added touch and devotion.  The two have an interesting connection and this story line adds a creative dynamic to the story’s unfolding. FIVE NIGHT STAND is genuinely motivated by the passion.

Frank a third character from Memphis pulls the story into a relationship study.  He is a journalist recently unemployed who sees the Concert by Pleasant as an opportunity for writing a big story about the musician’s career and his trip home at the end of his public life.  Frank is struggling with his own life and his passions and his love for his wife and hoped for child to come.  The story connects the three and the passions into some fine resolutions and outcomes.

The writing made the story a fine part of my healing experience and a good read.  There were moments of music in the words and the telling of these character’s lives.

Richard J. Alley is an award-winning reporter, columnist, and editor from Memphis, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and four children.

Please visit Recommended Reading to discover all the book that have been reviewed on this.

The Last Gift Of Time: Life Beyond Sixty ~ Carolyn Weilbrun

Monday, July 9th, 2012

The Last Gift of Time is a memoir written by feminist author Carolyn Weilbrun and I was referred to the good book by  Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake  author Anna Quindlin’s memoir about being 60.  This book is about how fabulous it is to be 70 and looking back and forth.

This memoir was inspiring and helped me get through a medical procedure I was undertaking.  Weilbrun was so positive about her life and her time here on earth.  Her writing was fairly formal and just full of lovely literary reference and exquisite quotes; a pleasure to read.

You may not recognize Carolyn Weilbrun’s name but if you are a mystery reader then maybe you are familiar with her by her pen name Amanda Cross?

If not that name, maybe your are aware that she was the first woman CHAIR of an academic department of Columbia University or that she was the biographer of Gloria Steinem.     Weilbrun is also known as a woman who wore pants/slacks early on as a statement of her liberation and the power of women to be comfortable.

The author was married for many years; the parent of 3 children and the Grandmother to quite a flock.  She grew up as an only child of immigrant parents and only later in life discovered that her father had also funded the arrival of his mother and 3 sisters to this country during the war.

That which Weilbrun loved about being 70 was how much joy she found in her daily living.   She loved having an internet connection and being able to email her friends from college and graduate school daily.  She so enjoyed writing and after retiring she enjoyed that pleasure even more on her own schedule.

Solitude was a greatest pleasure and highly ranked.  Weilbrun enjoyed her walks with her dog and just being satisfied in her own company.  She felt a happiness in truly being her own best friend.   She had a family home outside of New York City, but did not enjoy all the yard work and country chores, nor the busy clamor of all the family being around and their activities.  So she bought herself her own house about an hour away from the family home.  She had neighbors with extensive gardens on either side and she walked in their space for her meditations and exercise.

Her life was minimalistic at her own house.  A desk to write, a grand chair by the fireplace, and a bed for sleep.   Her partner joined her on Saturday nights and Sundays after days spent at the family home just down the road.   There was the weekday hustle and bustle of the NYC apartment to wind down from or enjoy if they missed the rigors of city life.

I have several friends who are in their late 70s, one is doing senior triathlons and another is teaching master piano studio classes and  gardening.  There is no sign that they are slowing down and they love their sense of freedom and lightness of spirit.   They too love their solitude and being their own best friend.

I reviewed the book So Far Away by Christine Hartmann  last year.   Her mother decided to end her own life rather than get into a state of needing nursing care, extra funds, dependence, surgeries or pills.   At age 73 she ended her life.   At age 77 Carolyn Weilbrun decided she had had “enough” and also ended her life.

I am enjoying reading about these amazing people who are thrilled with living their life at their creative best especially as they reach the peak of creativity, about age 65!  I feel empowered to make the changes I need to make the best of my life and to celebrate being my own best friend.

I believe the The Last Gift of Time is about the pleasures of living – it is about getting better with age and not just older. I think you will enjoy spending time with these books.

I purchased this book for my own library and no one sent me anything to review this book.  If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you

You may also enjoy reading our words on WiseEars  or Biking Architect .

Related reading:
The President’s Club
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
The Paper Garden
So Far Away
Walter’s Muse

Walter’s Muse ~Jean Davies Okimoto

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Walter’s Muse  is enchanting, delightful, fun and just a lovely read by a fine storyteller.  This is the second book I have had the pleasure to read by Jean Davies Okimoto the first was The Love Ceiling, which came at a nearly perfect interval in my life.  This new book was another arrival with perfect timing.

Maybe I should say that when the time is right the right book will come!  Because Walter’s Muse  is about the first days and months as a children’s librarian is easing into retirement.  Maggie is a Vashon Island resident and knows the island routine.  She has purchased a new kayak for her paddling adventure but is planning on just letting this new phase of her life gradually occur.

You just know that that serene concept is not going to be part of the story and the book begins with the arrival of a wind storm, which entangles Maggie into her quirky and resilient neighbors’ lives.   As is want in any tight knit community each resident has their own unique story and resolve mixed in with the individualistic qualities that highlight the people of the Pacific Northwest.   The characters are real and ordinary and I found myself so happy that for the number of pages ahead they just lived right next door.

Okimoto has an impressive list of published children’s, picture, and young adult books to her credit.  I see that the book flap includes plays and some non- fiction.  I wish I had read her book about children moving back home, but shutter at the possibility that if I do read it, it just might happen to us again! In Walter’s Muse there is a new voice emerging in Okimoto’s writing,  whereas the LOVE CEILING reflected that quandary  of what to tackle next and autonomy, this voice gently touched the end of life theme, but brought it to the flow of living each day in contentment and discovery; weathering the storms.  There is peacefulness in this storytelling, even with the bumps and tweaks that make a story move along and keep you turning the page.  I think this story teller just gets better and better at her craft.

So what does one do when the snow, wind and ice knock out the power, well this ONE moved her best reading chair right next to the window, put her puppy on her lap, wrapped up in a blanket and read until there was no more daylight?  It was a cozy vacation and we were warm, dry and safe discovering how Maggie weathered her storm!  This book is a wise, witty and warm read.

I am intending to use some of the powerful and amazing quotes from this book as whole posts in the future, but here is one that just gives you a sense:

From outside the restaurant

This book was sent to me by TLC book Tours and I did receive a copy from Endicott and Hugh Books
tlclogoAuthor- Walter's Muse


Ms. Okimoto is giving away a copy of her book Walter’s Muse to the best comment for this book review.

TLC on line book Tours is promoting Walter’s Muse at the Book Club of the Month contest for March, by giving away 10 copies of the book on their site. Details to follow.

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket. (Kindle)

Related Reading:
The Love Ceiling
Dancing in the Shadows Of Love
Hannah Coulter
Olive Kitteridge