You saw your grandchildren, and you loved them. If nothing else, you did this, and for this I am grateful.

But you saw so much more. You saw me earn two patents. You skied with your kids. You shared difficult parts of your life with us. You gave more generously than your means even allowed.

My god, you were a pain in the ass, and I know I was a pain in yours. You were prideful, sometimes toxic, and sometimes just so completely off the rails I couldn't even tell what you were doing. But not once did you ever stop loving your kids or grandchildren. That's more than many can claim, and eternally inestimable.

You, though sometimes chaotically, loved your country, and loved the beauty of humans and the world. You valued both scientific knowledge and art, probably equally, which is pretty incredible. Many love one much more than the other, and many value neither. But you were fascinated by advances in technology and scientific discoveries, and in the same breath, would celebrate art from artists both famous and unknown. What a virtue it was to be so enthralled with the marvels of the world.

When I think of you, I'm virtually compelled to enumerate the experiences, arts, hobbies, sciences, animals, and media that you enjoyed, but it's nearly impossible to encapsulate all of them, and that was your best quality - you enjoyed what life had to offer, and I can never blame you for that.

I wish we'd had more time together. More, I wish your grandchildren had had more time with you. I wish you'd been there for your daughters for longer. I'm angry that you didn't take more care to be there for them longer. I'm angry that at 31 had to organize a funeral for you, and bring my four year old. My one year old wasn't old enough to come.

But you loved us, and you enjoyed much of your life. You made friends, and you tried some of everything.

It's so goddamn hard to figure out all of this.


I found my dad's book review on Goodreads. Archiving them here:

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards ✭✭✭✭

I really enjoyed this book. I was surprised to discover the Pittsburgh connection and also the Cincinnati setting. It's shocking to think about a father making the decision that David made and although I first thought I could never understand it - yet I found myself empathizing with him and his childhood. The ending was satisfying and left me with a sense of hope for the future and life in general. I've read before and believe that you should be kind to everyone because you have no idea what's going on in their lives and you never know what people are going through - this book smacks you in the face with that exact idea. Life can be so tragic and complicate and yet there is always beauty in the world to find and there's always the hope of love!

- George, 20-Oct-16

Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt, #1) by Frank McCourt ✭✭✭✭✭

Damn - so freakin' sad. Made me stop frequently to consider all I have to be grateful for in my own life.

- George, 28-Jul-17

My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh ✭✭✭✭✭

Well, I'm bummed out right now writing this review because it means I finished the book. It's been a long time since I actually felt this way and just wanted more, more, more. It's not that I didn't like the ending it's just that it was so beautifully written that I want to read more of it. I'm finding it hard to explain specifically what it is about his writing that I enjoyed so much - this book deals with very, very ugly things and it jumps all over the place on a time line and yet I was never confused, never found it hard to follow and I also never wanted it to stop - I found myself somehow feeling good even when the ugliness was presented. The narrator, who is also the protagonist, was likable & relatable. I really, really, really (really) liked this book: I loved the story and I love his writing style - it's a book to savor like a really delicious meal which you want to eat slowly, enjoying each and every bite!

- George, 14-May-16

Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6) by Stephen King ✭✭✭✭

Sucked me in completely but I thought this cliff-hanger was worse than the Blain riddling contest. I would have been pissed actually had I not already had the next book in my possession. I did like the Coda (writer's journal entries) - that was a really cool thing to put in a book and I absolutely loved the whole scene when Roland and Eddie meet Stephen King in the story. I've talked about that to several people and everyone I mention it to things it's cool too. Anyway, I just finished 132 pages in the last book of the series (which should have been at the end of the this book imho) - and now I'm ready for the next part of this saga. I'm excited to continue this journey and look forward to finding out how this all comes together ... in other words, I'm looking forward to seeing the clearing at the end of the path!

- George, 16-Jul-17

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green ✭✭✭✭✭

I cried like a heartbroken teenager. If fact, it was my crying teenager that motivated me to read this book. I walked past my daughter's room and she was on her bed crying her eyes out. I asked her what was wrong and she, all choked up, said "this book is so good". I always try to read what my children are reading so I can talk/relate to them and I grabbed her copy as soon as she was finished. I read it in 3 days and finished it in the bleachers of a high school soccer stadium (a 'soccer mom' friend of mine came over to me to see what was wrong and when she saw the book I was holding, she knew immediately). This was my first introduction to John Green and I have since read the rest of his books. Like I said, they are easy to read, and relate-able even for a 50 year old man.

- George

The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3) by Stephen King ✭✭✭✭

I'm really enjoying this series and this book did not disappoint. I love anything and everything dealing with time travel and alternate universes and here we go back to the place of my birth, good ol' NYC! Jake is back and his drawing back into Roland's world is every bit as "cool" as was the other drawings. On the whole, however, I did not think this book was as good as the previous one (The Drawing of the Three). It's a bold move indeed to end a book as long as this with a cliff-hanger and unresolved story line but I've committed myself to the entire series and already have all 7 books in hand so I didn't mind too terribly much. I did enjoy the ride and games played with Blaine as well as the battle with the guardian bear and his "companions". I'm already mostly done with book IV and I'm in love with Roland and his world.

- George, 2-Jul-17

The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom ✭✭✭✭

Another wonderful read from Mitch Albom. On a whim I picked this book up off a shelf in Target. I hadn't read any reviews or gotten a recommendation but knowing some of the author's other work I figured it would be worth my time - and it was! I really enjoyed the story and the hint of mystery. It seems that as with most things of any real value, it ultimately comes down to faith. What I liked most about the book was that, without being preachy, it made me question and look at my own faith in God and heaven and to take a look at death and ultimately the meaning and purpose or our lives. As Mother's day approaches I'm happy with the faith I have that my mom is happy in heaven and that she's somehow happy knowing that I'm happy to believe it. So in summary, it was worth my time to read this book and I believe that it will be worth your time to read it too.

- George, 4-May-16

Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5) by Stephen King ✭✭✭✭

Awesome. I really, really, really loved the ending of the this story. I think this is the first book I've read where the author weaves in stories from other books he's written and has one of his characters actually find one of those books and hold it. Not only hold it but marvel it and it's implication on the current story. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it but leave it to say that I found it super cool. In addition to that, I enjoyed this being a story of it's own while still advancing the overall quest for the Dark Tower. The climax was satisfying and I became engrossed with the new characters, their language, culture and way of life. Of course there were plenty of surprises. This book was fun to read.

- George, 13-Jul-17

The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón ✭✭✭✭✭

What a wonderful and intriguing story. There was a lot (I mean a LOT) going on in this tale but it was never too much and it always kept me interested and eager for more. Set entirely in Barcelona, it gave me a glimpse of a city I've always wanted to visit and reinforced me desire. The story takes place in the early 1900's and moves through the war in the late 40's. I was really caught up in the unraveling of 'the mystery'. I never guested any of the twists and I was extremely satisfied with how the ending was done and with how all the loose ends were tied up. The translation from Spanish was flawless and I just discovered there's another book (a prequel I think) to read - Yay!

- George, Sep-16

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George ✭✭✭✭✭

I loved this story. It was a pleasure to read. Heartbreak and how people deal with it is such a universal topic. It doesn't matter how long you spent with someone you fell in love with, 10 years or 10 days, if you love someone and they broke your heart it hurts. What's important is that you did love and that you will survive. It takes as long as it takes to heal and what's important is that you do heal. This journey was rich with emotion, laughter, love and hope. I really love the idea of prescribing books to cure ailments of the soul. I also enjoyed the beautiful description of Argentinian tango which cropped up unexpectedly in the middle of the story.

- George, Aug-16

Left Behind (Left Behind, #1) by Tim LaHaye ✭✭✭

I enjoyed the story and got sucked into the book quickly. It was not overly religious but where religion and Christ were discussed, it was done well and didn't come across a preachy. I found myself connected to the characters. I have the second book in the series and I'm likely to read it soon but knowing there are so many others, I can't help but think that the story is going to be stretched out too far and thin. Of course, I can't know that until I've read them so I'll at least read #2. Apr-16
The one thing best about this book to me is that it has caused to me pause and reflect on my own religion/spirituality and that is always a good thing to do.

- George

Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4) by Stephen King ✭✭✭✭

What a wonderful flashback. Almost the entire book is the story of Roland's first love. And it's not just a teenage love story (although it is that for sure), there is mystery, political intrigue and a host of very relatable and interesting characters. I found myself sucked in to yet another beautifully told story and I found myself like Roland more than I already did. The story of Susan Delgado takes place over the course of one night while the cast/crew from the "main" story camped outside Topeka, Kansas in the middle of I-70. This story however, was about 95% of the entire book.

- George, 9-Jul-17

The Universe in Your Hand: A Journey Through Space, Time, and Beyond by Christophe Galfard ✭✭✭✭

My son gifted this to me at Christmas. The author is a protege of Stephen Hawking's and his goal in writing this was to bring an understanding of complicated theoretical physics to uncomplicated minds such as mine. ;) I enjoyed traveling to the ends of the universe with him and I learned a great deal about our 'environment' and everything that surrounds us. I still have a lot to learn (don't we all?) but this was a great start to a better understanding of our planet, solar system, galaxy and the universe.

- George, Jun-17

A Dog's Purpose (A Dog's Purpose, #1) by W. Bruce Cameron ✭✭✭✭

I didn't see the movie but I did start reading this after the movie came out. It was a heartwarming story and a good commentary on humanity too. The author describes coming up with the story on a long car ride with his girlfriend who had recently lost a beloved pet. He told he this story to cheer her up and I felt cheered up myself reading it. It's not literary masterpiece but it's a good story that makes you feel good and well ... what more do you want from a book?

- George, Mar-17

The Widow (Kate Waters, #1) by Fiona Barton ✭✭✭✭✭

Love it! I really enjoyed how the author told the story from different people's perspectives. It was so interesting to look at what was going on through different eyes and with different emotions. I was captured by the plot early in the book and although it kept me guessing for a while, I did guess correctly at "who done it". I found myself empathizing with the protagonist and getting "emotionally involved" with her and her plight.

- George, Jun-17

The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower, #2) by Stephen King ✭✭✭✭✭

2 1/2 days and I wish there was more! Wait... there is more - YAY! It's going to be hard to top this book. Sooooo much fun and some serious excitement & action. We now have our ka-tet and I'm really looking forward to the rest of this journey. I've already started The Waste Lands (book III) and so far I'm not disappointed. The Drawing of the Three is a must read.

- George, 27-Jun-17

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi ✭✭✭✭✭

I was moved to tears, both the happy and sad kind. I finished the book with a sense of hope and I good dose of gratitude for the relatively insignificant problems in my own life. I was also forced to reflect on my mother's death and her struggle with pancreatic cancer. There were so many parallels at the end of Paul's life and at the end of my mom's. (p.s. cancer SUCKS)

- George, 8-Apr-16

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1) by Stephen King ✭✭✭✭✭

LOVED IT! I read the first 4 books in the series in "real-time" when they were originally released. I recently saw a trailer for an upcoming movie and decided that I'd re-read the series and finish all 7 now that it's completed. I'm very glad that I picked it back up and now I can't wait to continue reading (I'm picking up The Drawing of the Three tomorrow). Anyway, the new introduction and forward by Stephen King were very cool to read and although it's mostly the same story that I read so many years ago - each book was edited and revised/updated after the last book was FINALLY published. Stephen King gets automatically categorized as a horror writer and that's a shame IMHO (did you know he wrote The Shawshank Redemption & Stand By Me?) - Anyway, this isn't a horror novel - it's high adventure and it's awesome!

- George, Jun-17

The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King ✭✭✭✭

I was glad to take another short journey with Roland and company. I like they 3 stories in one format and really enjoyed the Skin Man sub-story. I could have read it after volume 4 but it was fine to read after the whole story was resolved. I really, really liked the message of forgiveness at the end.

- George, 27-Jul-17

The Postman by David Brin ✭✭✭✭

I liked this book and it's pace. The concept of mail delivery as a means to restore a broken society was very cool. I didn't really care for the introduction of the super-soldiers but overall, I'd recommend reading it.

- George, May-17

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green ✭✭✭✭

It was an easy read and I enjoyed the book very much. In chapter 11 Tiny sings a poem and that poem inspired me to write my own poem (for the first time).

- George

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse ✭✭✭✭✭

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this up. I hadn't read any reviews or synopses, I had just heard someone say it was a good book. Well, I certainly wasn't disappointed. It was a great story that I enjoyed reading. The kind of story that sticks in your head and makes you think about life and "what's it all about". I couldn't help but think about how I have lived my own life so far and consider where I'd like to go or what I'd like to do with the time I have left. I highly recommend this book, my copy is in the mail now going to my father and he's going to pass it on to my daughter. :)

- George, 19-Mar-17