Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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‘Independent Woman’ Memoir Opens Window into Yugoslavia

An Independent Woman in Yugoslavia: A Memoir

By Iris Novak

Genre: Non-Fiction/Memoir

Pages: 327

Via: Author Request

Kimber the Magnificent here asking “What’s an “irregular declension”? Can I eat it? I’m only asking cuz it showed up in a book Her Momness recently read, An Independent Woman in Yugoslavia.

“You do not see me. I am Kimber the Invisible!”

First thing I had to do was look up the location of Yugoslavia. (One of us knew it was in Southern/Central Europe. And about Tito. One of us is also old enough to remember Kosovo. So don’t laugh. Bet you had to look it up, too. So here ya go. You’re welcome.)

Knowing a bit about Yugoslavia is kind of important. Cuz this memoir is about  how the 20th century moved into the 21st century in that part of the world as seen through the eyes of author Iris Novak. Mom will pick it up from here:

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‘Walking Home’ Charts An Unforgettable Trip On The PCT

Walking Home: Common Sense and Other Misadventures on the Pacific Crest Trail

By Rick Rogers, 2021

2021

Genre: Non-fiction/Humor/Outdoors/Adventure

“I finally went to find out.”

One of us was planning to plop down with this book and knock out a coupla quick chapters during lunch the other day. (Hi, Mom.) You know. Just an appetizer nibble. After all, our schedule was packed. Next thing ya know, we’re 20+ chapters in and going for broke!

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“All Sides Now” Falls Flat

“Well. That’s two hours out of my life I’ll never be able to get back” grumps Her Grumpiness. “What a hunka junk! And to think I coulda been playing Canasta! Or watching cheese grow mold!”

What?

Mom has just finished reading a real dud. It’s called All Sides Now. You might want to grab the nearest flak jacket. Cuz…. Incoming! I’ll let her explain:

Remember that iconic Joni Mitchell folk tune from yesteryear, Both Sides Now? Sung by Judy Collins, the song’s “bittersweet lyrics” portray “the duality of human experience.” Along the same lines, All Sides Now seeks to describe a life “steeped in duality and balance” via a mildly interesting collection of personal essays on a wide variety of topics.

What Mom Really Thinks

That’s what I said in my Reedsy/Discovery review. Here’s what I really think:

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Hop on The Road Less Travelled With “Wax & Gold”

Wax & Gold: Journeys in Ethiopia & Other Roads Less Travelled (‘M’ Publishing House, Ltd., 2021)

By Sam McManus

Genre: Non-Fiction

Via: Author Request

Summary:

A collection of first-person stories detailing “off-the-beaten-path” adventures in Ethiopa, Japan, Bolivia, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Mongolia, Lebanon, Oman, and Costa Rica.

Wax and Gold isn’t your average travel guide. If you’re looking for lists of “must see” sights at specific destinations, where to stay or shop or eat, this isn’t it. It’s seventeen chapters covers 2005 to 2019.

The title comes from a form of Ethiopian poetry. “Wax and gold” is “meticulously comprised with a focus on the duality of its meanings. The surface meaning, the wax must be stripped away to reveal the hidden core of gold underneath.” The author explains description of how wax must be stripped away to reveal the gold underneath.

In similar fashion, the author describes how “the allure of Ethiopia” encouraged him to look deeper within himself. Indeed, Wax and Gold combines colorful, detailed chronicles of the people, places, destinations, and cultures the author discovered in his many travels with a more subtle discoveries gained during his inner journey.

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Travel Memoir Offers Deep Dive Into West Africa

A New Day Dawns

By Terry Lister

Publisher: Brooklyn Knight Enterprises, 2021

Via: Author Request

Genre: Memoir/Travel

“This is Africa!”

Terry Lister is an experienced world traveler. He’s also a first class storyteller with a knack for drawing readers into his adventures. As in his first volume, Immersed in West Africa, Lister invites you to join him in traveling through four West African countries as he seeks to “learn what makes people tick.”

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How ‘I’m Supposed to Make a Difference’ DOES

I’m Supposed to Make a Difference:

A Memoir About Overcoming Trauma and Abuse

By Kevin Vought

Non-fiction/Memoir

Via: Author Request

Summary: The true story of one man’s quest to confront the inner demons of his horrible childhood and chart a course toward hope and healing.

“The events that unfolded over the next few hours would define who I was to become in life. These few hours spawned much of the hatred, loneliness, terror, pain, and dread that have plagued me for decades. I still have nightmares about that day. I would go years at a time without a good night’s sleep because of those nightmares.” – Kevin Vought, I’m Supposed to Make a Difference.

This is a story of childhood abuse and its lingering, lifelong effects. It’s also a story of transformation and hope. The author shares how he not only healed from horrific childhood trauma, but how his journey also transformed him into someone who wants others with similar experiences to be able to heal and become whole, too.

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Two Non-Fiction Books To Read If You Don’t Usually Read NF

Are you a non-fiction reader or a fiction reader? Or both?

We’re good either way. But if you fall into “fiction only,” we have a coupla recently read books you may want to consider. They’re both excellent reads, with superb writing and taut storylines that’ll keep you turning pages until the very end.

One is based on the real-life story of the hunt for the world’s most notorious Nazi. The other, told by former NFL star Kermit Alexander (L.A. Rams and San Francisco 49ers), is his personal story of tragedy and redemption.

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Julie Andrews’ ‘Home Work’: A Drop of Golden Sun

Home Work

A Memoir of My Hollywood Years

By Julie Andrews

Non-Fiction/Memoir/Autobiography

Julie Andrews’ second memoir, Home Work is a substantial tome, clocking in at over five hundred pages. Is Home Work worth the time? Mom will let you know – if ever stops prancing around the house singing about female deer and a drop of golden sun. Oh, wait:

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer:

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The “deliciousness of exploring a new place” CAPTURED in ‘Travel Mania’

Travel Mania: Stories of Wanderlust

By Karen Gershowitz

Travel/Memoir/Non-Fiction

“It’s Summer!”

What a kick in the passport!” Mom hooted after finishing Karen Gershowitz’s Travel Mania: Stories of Wanderlust. “It’s fun and educational!” (She’s outside turning handsprings. Don’t tell anyone, okay?)

“But Mom,” says The Level-Headed One. “You say that about every travel book!”

Ever see someone try to stop hand-springing halfway through?

“I do not!” barks Mom.

Okay, fine. Whatevs, says I, Kimber the Magnificent. But tell me, Mom. What makes this book so splendiferous?

Well. Buckle up. Cuz here we go:

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