It’s Utopirama time again – a time to take a brief time-out from the horrors, suffering and general discomfort of daily existence and look toward a higher goal. Today’s book is all about making that glass at least half-full before you metaphorically kick the proverbial bucket. It is Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer by Helen Lende. As it is also a memoir of sorts, I will be submitting it for the Non-fiction Reading Challenge hosted by The Introverted Reader, hence the comfy armchair.
In brief, easy-to-digest chapters, Lende takes the reader through the wisdom she has garnered from time spent composing obituaries in the local paper for her fellow townsfolk, both well-known to her and otherwise. Each chapter is titled with a little nugget of truth and follows the salient life lessons that presented themselves to Lende on reflection, ranging from “stop and smell the fish”, to “put on a costume now and then”. The stories are gentle and often humorous, and packed with unspoken exhortations for the reader to dig beneath the thin veneer of daily life and appreciate the untidy, unexpected and unexplored bits of our existence and that of those around us.
Let it shine
Seize the day
Lemons to Lemonade
Ask not for whom the bell tolls
5 out of 5 bubbles for the wholesome goodness (and unexpected sting) of squeezing fresh citrus fruits
This is a quick and gentle read and one that would make perfect before-bed reading for those who like to wind down by slowly shedding the layers of negative emotion accumulated during the day. Lende’s voice chimes with welcome and life-affirming humour and the format of the book suits those who like to dip in and out and reflect on what they’ve read. This is a great choice for when you need a cosy, restful distraction, such as during the daily commute, or while waiting for an unpleasant appointment.
Progress in the Non-Fiction Reading Challenge: 5/10
Until next time,