splash

Welcome to Ask Gail – a place to share questions and answers about what matters to us most: family, friends, community, health, peace, books, favorite resources, what feeds our soul… Ask Gail is also where we can create and share very important information like “Gail’s Guide to Going to the Hospital” and “Gail’s Storm Checklist.” Stay tuned for more…

 

You Are Viewing BOOKS

I was born reading…

Posted By Gail Ostrow on August 17th, 2013

My mother used to tell everyone I was born reading. Didn’t everyone read under the covers with a flashlight?  Or pack a lunch and a good book and pedal to a shady tree to read the afternoon away?

I read for pleasure, for work, to lose myself, to find myself, to escape pain, and to delve deeply into other people’s pain.   I have the gifts of time, the public library, friends who pass on what they just read and must share, a cool shaded backyard, air conditioning when it is too hot or muggy to sit outside, and books. Books everywhere:  on the counter, on the tables, on the porch, sprawled on the couches, and piled up on the night stand.

What have I read?  Almost everything I started, but not quite.  If it was a struggle without a promised reward to keep going, I stopped and put it aside. Maybe another time it will be a good fit, like Cider House Rules all those years ago–couldn’t read it and then couldn’t put it down when read years later.

How grateful I am for my eyes and my mind.  So many books, so little time!

 

Posted in BOOKS
Comments Off on I was born reading…

I so love to read…

Posted By Gail Ostrow on June 29th, 2012

These last few days here at Beth’s in Half Moon Bay, I have been in “book land,” reading the most tender and heartbreaking story of Roseanne Clear.  The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry is the story of Roseanne’s life set amidst the bloody history of 20th century Ireland.  If you want to lose yourself and at the same time find yourself, go read a book.  And you would do well to read this one.

The Secret Scripture

“…that a person without anecdotes that they nurse while they live and that survive them, are more likely to be utterly lost not only to history but the family following them.  Of course, this is the fate of most souls, reducing entire lives, no matter how vivid and wonderful, to those sad black names on withering family trees, with half a date dangling after and a question mark.”  pp 11-12

” Because it strikes me that there is something greater than judgement.  I think it is called mercy.”  p 207

 

Comments Off on I so love to read…

Back to school…

Posted By Gail Ostrow on September 1st, 2011

The Bridgeport Public Education Fund makes books available to all first graders on the first day of school, so yesterday I read Memoirs of a Goldfish to 18 enthusiastic first graders.  The book is beautifully illustrated and it tells a  funny and sweet story about friends and family and community.   Such excitement and potential.  I am so juiced.

But I am also outraged.  (more…)

Posted in BOOKS, WHO KNEW?
Comments Off on Back to school…

The Earth Knows My Name

Posted By Gail Ostrow on August 9th, 2009
The Earth Knows My Name

The Earth Knows My Name

My dear friend Chris Treat turned me on to this book. The Earth Knows My Name: Food, Culture, and Sustainability in the Gardens of Ethnic America by Patricia Klindienst explores the deeper implications of what it means to cultivate a garden and to grow one’s own food. (more…)

Comments Off on The Earth Knows My Name

Here’s the book I wanted to write…

Posted By Gail Ostrow on June 2nd, 2009

Veteran journalist Howard Gleckman has written the definitive book about the crisis of finding, providing, and paying for long-term care services. He takes us from “the phone call” to the personal stories of people struggling to care for their loved ones to a clear understanding of the problems and their possible solutions. I am taking the book to Omega this weekend to read, along with some books by Pema Chodron—more about her later.

gleckman-2l_book2
Things You Must Know About Caring for Your Parents (from Gleckman’s web site) (more…)

Posted in BOOKS
Comments Off on Here’s the book I wanted to write…

Remember the children’s book “Are You My Mother?”

Posted By Gail Ostrow on May 27th, 2009

Well, in Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, Vendela Vida writes about a young woman’s search for her mother that leads her from New York to Lapland. The writing is sparse yet lyrical—it’s worth a quiet read.  And when you’re done, take another look at Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman.  Which leads me, of course, to My Mother/ My Self by Nancy Friday.  Who of us has not struggled with the mother/daughter relationship?  Who of us is not still searching for our mother or for the mother in us or for ourselves in our own daughters?

Vendala Vida

Vendala Vida

Posted in BOOKS
Comments Off on Remember the children’s book “Are You My Mother?”

What are you paying attention to right now?

Posted By Gail Ostrow on May 5th, 2009

In her new book  Rapt:  Attention and the Focused Life, acclaimed behavioral science writer Winifred Gallagher makes the radical argument that the quality of your life largely depends on what you choose to pay attention to and how you choose to do it. Gallagher grapples with provocative questions ”Can we train our focus? What’s different about the way creative people pay attention? Why do we often zero in on the wrong factors when making big decisions, like where to move?” driving us to reconsider what we think we know about attention.
(more…)

Posted in BOOKS, HEALTH
Comments Off on What are you paying attention to right now?

Painting Chinese & Youth!

Posted By Gail Ostrow on April 27th, 2009

Herbert Kohl’s memoir, Painting Chinese: A Lifelong Teacher Gains the Wisdom of Youth, describes what happened when his lifelong career in alternative education and social justice ended in his mid-60s and he signed up for a Chinese ink painting class, only to discover that it was for young children 5- to 7-years-old.

This slim book contains volumes about accepting where one is in life and rediscovering the joys and wonderment of childhood.

Posted in BOOKS
Comments Off on Painting Chinese & Youth!

A Life Worth Living : A Doctor’s Reflections

Posted By Gail Ostrow on April 8th, 2009

In his new book, Robert Martensen presents case studies that illustrate the problems and complexities of American health care system, and argues that safeguarding the quality of a patient’s life sometimes trumps the urge to sustain life at all cost.
(more…)

Posted in BOOKS
Comments Off on A Life Worth Living : A Doctor’s Reflections

Guide to the Great Beyond: A Practical Primer

Posted By Gail Ostrow on February 23rd, 2009

Here’s a book that will inevitably be of great use to all of us. Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond: a practical primer to help you and your loved ones prepare medically, legally, and emotionally for the end of life.
(more…)

Posted in BOOKS
Comments Off on Guide to the Great Beyond: A Practical Primer