Let me highlight two excellent books that were part of my week. The first is a young adult novel that takes the reader to Lithuania. The second is a medical-oriented novel exploring the recovery of an accident victim.
Words on Fire
The young protagonist, Audra, lives in a quiet farm in Lithuania. But the quiet farm is not a safe farm community. Under the control of the patrolling Cossack soldiers, Russia poses a dangerous threat. Audra turns out to be a strong, brave patriot determined to help save her country’s sense of identity and history. The Russian government has ordered that the Lithuanian books, religion, culture, and even the language be eliminated from the country and all Lithuanians become Russians. Audra will be called upon to help resist such an assassination of her culture.
Her mother and father have sheltered their daughter from some of the realities of the cultural assassination, but the book quickly brings these conflicts to the surface. Audra is faced with many decisions that will determine her stand in the midst of conflict.
This young adult novel is worth a read. It is filled with adventure, quick thinking, loyalty, mixed with some tricks and a dose of problem solving.
Sarah Nickerson experiences a traumatic brain disorder called “left neglect.” One morning while racing to work, Sara is distracted by her cell phone, glances away for just a second or two, and finds herself in the hospital. She discovers that she is unaware of everything on her left side. And now must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole.
This novel is written by Lisa Genova, a graduate from Bates College with a degree in Biopsychology and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Harvard University. With this remarkable background, the author has the ability to paint the picture with realism and a medical foundation that allows the portrait to come alive with stark believism.
This book is such an excellent read. I was not aware that Left Neglect even existed. The brain is such an amazing entity. This novel reads like a memoir and has all the rings of truth. Genova writes with the lightness of humor and the stress of tragedy as she spans the gamut of emotions experienced in this accidental injury. I would highly recommend this book for its honest approach and hopeful outlook on overcoming adversity.
Book covers found at Goodreads.com