Bookish Spotlight (10): Left Neglected & Still Alice by Lisa Genova

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Bookish Spotlight is a new feature for 2014. I wanted a feature that would showcase — in my opinion — the best books, or, the books that I absolutely love and can’t stop sharing with other people. These can be books, entire series — anything goes! My goal is that my readers might find a great new read after reading this feature. 

It’s a two-fer today! Lisa Genova is such a favourite of mine that I couldn’t pick just one. :) Kind of like potato chips.

leftneglectedTitle: Left Neglected
Author: Lisa Genova
Released: January 2011

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Sarah Nickerson is like any other career-driven supermom in Welmont, the affluent Boston suburb where she leads a hectic but charmed life with her husband Bob, faithful nanny, and three children—Lucy, Charlie, and nine-month-old Linus. Between recruiting the best and brightest minds as the vice president of human resources at Berkley Consulting; shuttling the kids to soccer, day care, and piano lessons; convincing her son’s teacher that he may not, in fact, have ADD; and making it home in time for dinner, it’s a wonder this over-scheduled, over-achieving Harvard graduate has time to breathe.

A self-confessed balloon about to burst, Sarah miraculously manages every minute of her life like an air traffic controller. Until one fateful day, while driving to work and trying to make a phone call, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In the blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her jam-packed life come to a screeching halt.

A traumatic brain injury completely erases the left side of her world, and for once, Sarah relinquishes control to those around her, including her formerly absent mother. Without the ability to even floss her own teeth, she struggles to find answers about her past and her uncertain future.

Now, as she wills herself to regain her independence and heal, Sarah must learn that her real destiny—her new, true life—may in fact lie far from the world of conference calls and spreadsheets. And that a happiness and peace greater than all the success in the world is close within reach, if only she slows down long enough to notice.

Why it’s a favourite: This is the first book I read by Lisa Genova and I was majorly in LOVE from the first pages. I’ve never been a mystery fan, but the idea of a medical mystery about losing your left side was so intriguing. I mean, losing your LEFT SIDE. To you, left doesn’t exist. How crazy is that? I love that Lisa brought in her expertise as a neuroscientist (correction: a HARVARD-trained neuroscientist) and really put forth something amazing for readers.

stillaliceTitle: Still Alice
Author: Lisa Genova
Released: June 2007

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Alice Howland—Harvard professor, gifted researcher, and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children—sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. She has taken the route for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Medical consults reveal early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Alice slowly but inevitably loses memory and connection with reality, as told from her perspective. She gradually loses the ability to follow a conversational thread, the story line of a book, or to recall information she heard just moments before. Genova’s debut shows the disease progression through the reactions of others, as Alice does, so readers feel what she feels: a slowly building terror.

Why it’s a favourite: After Left Neglected, I wasn’t so sure I should try anything else. I mean, Lisa really hit that one out of the park and I didn’t want to be disappointed by her other reads if they didn’t live up to that calibre, but when I read Still Alice, I was in love. AGAIN. Alzeimers really freaks me out — I mean, not only do you lose yourself, but others lose you as well. All of the things, the memories and moments you’ve built up and made throughout your lifetime are lost. I can’t even imagine losing my memories and my memories of the people who have been in my life. This book is both terrifying and lovely.

Have you read these books? 

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BOOK REVIEW: Love Anthony, by Lisa Genova

Date(s) read: November 20 – 21, 2012
Genre: Contemporary

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SYNOPSIS
From the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of 
Still Aliceand Left Neglected, comes a heartfelt novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life.

Two women, each cast adrift by unforeseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.

Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.

Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.

My Thoughts
And confession time – I love Lisa Genova. When I first read her book, Left Neglected, I knew I had to read everything she ever released. So I read Still Alice and loved her even more. When I heard she was writing a new book, Love Anthony, I was so excited. I even went to the store and bought the new book the day after it was released! Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday: Love Anthony, by Lisa Genova

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming books whose releases are being eagerly awaited. Bloggers are encouraged to join in and post about the book they’re looking forward to reading.

I absolutely LOVE Lisa Genova. I wish she had more than two books available because I honestly think that her first two novels are stunning and amazing. So, naturally, I’m soooo excited for her next book, Love Anthony!

Here’s the synopsis (from Goodreads):

From the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Still Aliceand Left Neglected, comes a heartfelt novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life.

Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.

Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.

Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.

Lisa Genova writes amazing books … I can’t believe I have to wait until next year for this one, still! Lisa revealed the cover last week and I’m completely in love with it!

Love Anthony will be released by Gallery Books on January 15, 2013. You should read it! Continue reading