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The Skies Belong to Us #Book Review

I took my first flight when I was three years old. I was too young to have any real memories of that flight, but I do have pictures of my mom and I standing outside of the airport in San Diego, waiting to go inside where I would be passed off from my mom to a flight attendant, stewardess way back then in 1975, for the flight to Hobby Airport in Houston, TX. I must have flown twenty more times by myself before long distance driving became my family’s preferred mode of travel. I always thought it was because my mom liked road trips, but after reading “The Skies Belong to Us” by Brendan I. Koerner, I think it could also be that in the 1970s, hijackings made flying the ‘friendly’ skies much less friendly.

Koerner’s attention to details highlight a country learning how to navigate the increased number of flights, while trying to understand the personality traits of plane hijackers – and a small note here – many of the first hijackers were disillusioned military veterans – young men who had been sent to Vietnam to fight in a way they couldn’t understand, seemed to just want to get home – wherever home was to them – and hijacking a plane seemed the best way to go.

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Showing Up is Not All of Life…HRC #BookReview

If you’re a lover of books, and burdened with the ability to read way too fast, what do you bring on a 17 hour flight from New York City to Ethiopia?

If you’re a political junkie and lover of all things electorate, you pack “HRC” by Jonathan Allen, which documents the time between Hillary’s defeat during the 2008 Democratic primary and selection, and ultimately her political rebirth as Secretary of State in the Obama administration.

I remember reading “Game Change” a couple of years ago and thinking that to have been on the very inside of either the Obama or Clinton campaign would have been both inspirational and disheartening. In order to achieve as much as Hillary Clinton has, it must have been heart-breaking for her to lose in the primary to a young unknown senator from Illinois.

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The Banning of Books. World Book Night 2013

When I was a little girl, my mom would bring me into her bed and let me help her do crossword puzzles. For some reason, doing crosswords calmed my mom because each word, fitting in a specific way, following rules, gave her unstructured life structure. I can remember being about four years old the first time she handed me a word jumble and let me draw lines around random letters. And, I remember it was just a year later when I got my own crossword puzzle book and a small dictionary and we’d sit, in her bed, for hours every weekend working on finding new ways to say the same things.

I started reading at a very early age and, in a lot of ways, I wouldn’t be here today without books. When my mom was suffering through her depression, I read. When she beat me, I ran to my room and read. When once, she accused me of being a ghost from her past, I ran under my bed and pulled books out of the secret spaces I’d made inside of my box spring foundation. And I read.

I was 10 when I first saw the episode of the Twilight Zone with Burgess Meredith and his books. I cried when his glasses broke because I never wanted to imagine a world where I couldn’t read. I was 12 when I read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and, once again, I was moved to tears over the thought that a society might want to ban the one thing that kept me going when everything around me turned to chaos.

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What’s the Half Life of Love?

I’ve just finished reading Junot Diaz’ new book “This is how you lose her” and I am in love. No, not with Junot (I don’t know him, although I did email him yesterday – he replied, I invited him to lunch) but with his ability to make a point in simple, yet elegant ways.

“The half-life of love is forever” – that’s an epiphany reached by the main character in the book and I read it while sitting at my favorite diner yesterday during a forced sabbatical from anything having to do with thinking. When I want to read, I go to this one diner in Tarrytown and I get a booth and I spread out a books and magazines and Moleskins and I focus. The diner staff is wonderful – they come over and ask how I’m doing, ask what’s new, ask what I’m reading, then they seem to know that it’s time for words to take over and they let me sit, sometimes for hours, with my thoughts.

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