To Every Friendship There is a Season

One of the things I constantly try to remind myself and others is that expectations are a relationship killer. And while I was thinking of that in romantic terms, I should have also been looking at that in friendships too.

Friendships have been on my mind a lot lately —friendships lost, tested, stretched, made, molded —and what it all becomes. I’ve been looking back at my friendships over the years and some really hard friendship breaks…almost worse than a break up really. That anxiety that builds up and you feel like you’re drowning and don’t know what to do to save it. I found some advice recently that really empowered me: Continue reading “To Every Friendship There is a Season”

Romantic Wednesdays: Love for Friends

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away! In order to shake things up a bit though I thought I would offer some books that focus on the bonds of friendship rather than romantic relationships. After all, friends are the ones who are there for you before, during and, if it doesn’t work out, after a relationship. You’ll find yourself in some good company with the following books.

Summer Rental in the Library catalogThe Quilter's Apprentice in the Library catalogFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe in the Library catalog

Continue reading “Romantic Wednesdays: Love for Friends”

Family lives and relationships in fiction: 10 books to try

As families have changed to become more inclusive so has our concept of what used to be called “domestic fiction” or “women’s fiction.” Here are 10 newer stories that reGirls in White Dresses available at SPLflect social changes and are of interest to a wider variety of readers.

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
Realizing it’s time to get their lives together, Isabella, Mary and Lauren gather time and again in a collection of stories that highlight the angst of post-college years for those who don’t fit the mold.

Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
In a plan to normalize life after her bout with cancer, Kate vows to confront her fears, starting with a white water rafting trip, and challenges her friends to conquer their own demons. By a Seattle author.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Sisters Rosalind, Bianca and Cordelia gather at their childhood home to care for their cancer-stricken mother, though it’s apparent each daughter brings baggage of her own to sort through.

Falling Together by Marisa de los SantosFalling Together in SPL catalog
Despite their falling out, Pen and Wil arrange to meet Cat at their college reunion. When Cat doesn’t show, a search for her sets them on a long journey, both physical and emotional.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah
Lexi, whose drug-addicted mother recently died, and two high school friends drive home drunk after a party, with tragic results that continue a long line of bad luck for Lexi and her new family.

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Dana Witherspoon knows her father is a bigamist and so does her mom and even though it’s annoying to keep the secret, no one expects Dana to befriend her own half-sister.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
After a head injury, Alice wakes up on the floor of her spinning class  and has lost 10 years’ memory. She’s shocked to discover she’s 39, has three kids and is in the midst of a custody battle with Nick, whom she’s certain she loves.

I Think I Love You by Alison Pearson
Middle-aged Petra discovers a missed opportunity to meet her teenage idol, David Cassidy, and tries to reclaim that chance with the help of a reporter who nurses his own unrequited desires.

Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsFind this book in the library catalog
Another Phillips laugh-out-loud romp lands Meg in Wynette, Texas, where her intervention in her friend’s nuptials makes her the town pariah.

Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Suk Sin
Separated from her husband at a busy South Korean train station, Park So-nyo disappears and her loss makes her family realize how much she sacrificed for them, perhaps including her happiness. A bestseller in Korea.

You’ll find these 10 titles and 22 more in our Seattle Picks: Family Lives and Relationships list in our catalog.


Films Found at my Branch

I often browse the shelves of my branch library for impulse DVD’s to watch instead of commercial TV. This can lead to some winners and some losers. Staring at the shelves one asks oneself, “If this film is really any good, how come I haven’t heard of it?”

Every now and then I get lucky and find an unknown gem. Two recent finds that were unexpected pleasures were:
deliriousDelirious, directed by Tom DiCillo, starring Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt, with assists from Alison Lohman, Gina Gershon and Elvis Costello, spins a narrative of glamour vs. obscurity in the context of an awkward friendship between paparazzi Les Galantine (Buscemi) and his street urchin understudy Toby Grace (Pitt). Les makes his living as a cynical bottom feeder in the world of celebrity fame, while Toby is all sincerity, offering to act as his assistant for nothing but the opportunity to get along in the world. Somehow Toby’s sincere approach begins opening doors into the world of the stars, lifting him away from his sleazy “mentor” and into the spotlight. As usual Buscemi is terrific, playing the role of the whining, pushy shooter to a T, with just the right undercurrent of pathos to keep you caring. Pitt’s baby face and unshaven good looks make for a believable “rags to riches” story. The scene scouts, or whoever found or created the photographers’ New York walk-up apartment set also did a terrific job: it’s the perfect combo of fading kitsch and cockroach infested slum, the natural environment of the celebrity stalker.

On the extreme opposite end of thebernardanddoris financial spectrum, Bernard & Doris, directed by Bob Balaban starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes depicts a friendship on the other side of the spotlight. Sarandon plays tobacco heiress Doris Duke, and Fiennes her dedicated butler Bernard Lafferty. Duke (Sarandon) lived in the fishbowl of fabulous wealth throughout her life, becoming as selfish, petty and unpredictable as anyone in her position might. Bernard (Fiennes) comes into her service rather later in her life, after the failure of her marriages, hired to care for her and her New Jersey mansion. Despite her terrible treatment of him, and his personal alcoholic demons, the two become close friends. Cushioned from her promiscuity by his homosexual preferences, Bernard has a touching affection and regard for Doris, and she slowly comes to reciprocate, finally coming to trust him enough to leave him in charge of her enormous estate when she dies.

Friendship breeds strange bedfellows certainly, and in the case of these films, amusing yet thought provoking entertainment.