It’s Award Time – Thank You Mae Clair

It’s Award Time – Thank You Mae Clair
The Booker Award – Five Fab Reads
  By – Sheri de Grom

          I want to hug the world or at least sing and dance and twirl. Joyful contentment flows freely and I’m thrilled.

          Mae Clair nominated me for the Booker Award—how awesome is that?

          You’ll find Mae Clair  here @ the purple underline. Her postings are brilliant—both the writing and the art work. Mae’s six-sentence-Sunday posts have me hungrily awaiting her debut novel, Weathering Rock on October 8, 2012. Her six sentences have intrigued me in such a way, I have no choice. Weathering Rock has become a must read.

          What, you might ask, did I do to earn the Booker Award?

                   I have a literary and book-centered blog.

          The rules I must follow to complete Mae’s nomination process have taken me a bit of time. The rules sounded simple but when asked to list my five favorite books of all time, that’s hard. Rule number two is easier; post the booker award icon on my blog, and number three should have been a breeze. I’ll nominate other bloggers who have literary and book-centered blogs. However, I subscribe to dozens of literary and book-centered blogs—it was tough choosing from what I thought was the absolute right mix for my selections.

My five favorite books are in no particular order and include both fiction and non-fiction:

Author-Robert James Waller

The Bridges of Madison County  (Don’t miss the sensuous words from the YouTube).  Bridges falls into two categories. Those who consider it senseless drivel and the population that kept it on the New York Times List for three years. It established beyond a doubt that it’s one of the bestselling books of the 20th century, with fifty million copies sold worldwide. The Bridges of Madison County was first self-published in the United Kingdom under the title Love in Black and White.

It tells the story of a married but lonely Italian woman, living in 1960s Madison County, Iowa, who engages in an affair with a National Geographic photographer. It portrays the intimate and sensitive language of two people who meet and fall in love, but make a conscious decision not to spend the rest of their lives together. It celebrates the concept of an ideal love which transcends the mundane and attains a spiritual quality. The writing is lyrical and images exquisite.

Author – Jodi Picoult

          A book seller at B&N placed The Pact in my hand and said, “You must read this.” I read the novel and immediately knew I would do most anything to get Jodi to our bookstore for a signing. At the time, her schedule was being prepared for a book tour and I was able to convince her publicity department that we could easily outsell a far larger venue. Then I had to get to work! At that particular time, Jodi had written several books and I wanted to read each of them before I met her. I was continually amazed by the wide range of sensitive topics and compelling characters—I was in awe of every novel I read.

          The Pact is the story of two teenagers from the same neighborhood and tight knit families. Chris and Emily have been as close as siblings since birth and as their relationship develops it turns into a romance. When they are seniors in high school, both families are called to the hospital: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head, and Chris says the two intended to carry out a suicide pact.

          The Pact is a sudden realization of what goes wrong when a family refuses to understand who or what their children have become on the cusp of adulthood.

Author – Velma Wallis

          Two Old Women is an Alaska Legend of betrayal, courage and survival. I’ve lost count of the number of copies of this little book I’ve given away—but well over fifty. I’ve put it in Christmas stockings, given it to friends, young people I’ve mentored, placed it in sunshine baskets, and the list goes on.

          The story is based on an Athabascan Indian legend passed along for many generations, from mothers to daughters of the upper Yukon River area in Alaska. It is the suspenseful, shocking, and ultimately inspirational tale of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine. Though these two women were known to complain more than they contributed, they now must either survive on their own or die trying. The detail is simple but vivid. The landscape and way of life are both merciless and starkly beautiful. In this story, the two old women are created and every woman today can see her own inner strength. The take-away message of this book is that every woman with steely determination—no matter the betrayal—can carve out friendship, community, and forgiveness.

A YEAR BY THE SEA (non-fiction)
Author – Joan Anderson

          Joan’s sons are grown and departed the family home. Her husband has accepted a great job out-of-state and she’s decided not to join him. It seemed the best part of her own life was finished. Shocking her family, she moves to a family cottage on Cape Cod for a year alone.

          Over the course of the year, Joan discovers her life is unfinished and she records her experiences and wisdom for readers.

          The novel reveals both highs and lows, as one might expect in any self- discovery journey. The book reads more like fiction than non-fiction and it led me straight into her second non-fiction book, An Unfinished Marriage.

          After a year of being alone, Joan finds she now faces a new challenge in accepting the risk of balancing her needs with her husband’s, of disrupting her carefully renewed sense of self. She explores what it’s like to live with someone who expects her to act a certain way—the way she’d been for thirty years of marriage—now that she’s been alone for a year.  Will she have the strength to allow her husband to come to terms with his own unfinished self?

          The second book leads right into the third, A Walk On The Beach and a fourth, A Weekend To Change Your Life. I recommend all four books—I loved each one. They do need to be read in order.

Author – Toni Raiten-D’Antonio

          The Velveteen Principles is a guide to becoming real—hidden wisdom from the children’s classic, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

          The Velveteen Principles embraces the enduring children’s classic and provides a guide to becoming real. Real with ourselves, with our hopes and desires. Real with the people we love and with everyone else, too. In a time when the pursuit of instant gratification and the stress of daily life can swamp us and cause us to “break easily or have sharp edges,” this book offers a safe and steady course toward peace, self-acceptance, and true love.

          I was thrilled when Santa deemed it appropriate to add The Velveteen Principles for Women to my Christmas stocking this past Christmas. Thank you Santa—you do deserve a kiss.

And—that’s a wrap. My fab five reads with a few extra.

Bring on the music and start the parade—my nominees for the Booker Award are:


          AMY NATHAN



          MARY METCALF

Who will you nominate? Ladies—the ball is in your court. Your rules are:

  1. Link to my blog,
  2. Post your five favorite books of all time,
  3. Nominate five other bloggers with literary and book centered blogs,
  4. And, post the booker award icon.

Thank you, Mae for nominating me for the Booker award.

About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
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18 Responses to It’s Award Time – Thank You Mae Clair

  1. I love this site, Sheri! Thank you so much for giving me the award. I’m twice blessed to see so many new and wonderful reads listed here. This is fabulous. I’m always looking for books for our book club and just reading pleasure and I haven’t read any of your picks. I’m very intrigued by the Velveteen Principles, since that’s still one of my favorite books.

    Thanks again, now I need to figure out my five. Yikes.

  2. thoughtsfromanamericanwoman says:

    I have nominated your for the Super Sweet Blogging award – go to:

  3. Florence – I knew you were ‘out there’ with all your moving and the insanity that goes with it. Wish I were near to help with some of those pesky tasks that anyone can do – just to get them done. I’m a firmer believer that some items have to be done by the individual that’s actually going to be living there. I know you are good for the ‘tag’ and wasn’t a bit worried. ‘I’ve been doing a lot of reading myself!’

  4. Sheri … bet you wondered where I was?? Finally made the move and then I lost cable/phone and internet for 36 hours … now I just catching up with blog posts and email !!! Thanks for tagging for this award. I am honored. As soon as I dig out from under “stuff” I’ll be sure to pass along the joy.

    Love your selection of books. Wish me luck with the rest of this insantity 🙂

  5. I’ll be looking forward to hearing what you think.

  6. Kitt Crescendo says:

    The Velveteen Principles intrigues me. I’m definitely going to need to give that a closer look. (buy it). I actually haven’t read any of the books on your list. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for stopping in, Kit. I keep The Velveteen Principles on the book shelf near where I write. When I’m feeling ‘less-than’ with my work, it gives me a boost. Amazingly enough – ‘Two Old Women’ does the same. It’s a tiny little book and a fast read through the first time. I’ve gone back and savored the stories of the two women so many times over the years. It’s also a book that keeps on giving and once I read it, I found myself drawn to more and more Native American writing.

  7. Congrats Sheri and WOOT WOOT…I love adding highly recommended TBR books to my list and I’ve added all of yours…squeeee!!!

  8. Thank you so much for this post, Sheri. I loved reading your list of five books. And, guess what? One of my favorite books and movies EVER is Bridges of Madison County. And I set my third book in Madison County in the town of Earlham – where John Wayne grew up. I’m going to buy the Velveteen Principles.

    • Patti – You are probably aware that Clint Eastwood wrote most of the music for ‘The Bridges of Madison County.’ Back when I was a single gal and feeling rather lost with all that was going on with my life, a safe place to go was ‘The Ranch’ in Carmel where you’d often find Clint at the piano singing and playing as if he was just some patron that had wandered in off the street. You’d never know he owned the place and had purchased it to preserve the wetlands of Carmel River. I often listen to the soundtrack over and over and also have some of the songs scattered throughout different playlist–some of the music is so haunting. Thank you for stopping in today.

      • Sheri, I love it that you told me that story about Clint playing the piano and singing at The Ranch. I wish I could have experienced that. I own the cd for the Bridges movie and no, I didn’t know he wrote most of the music. I love it. I did notice that for Gran Torino, either he or his son wrote the music. I don’t recall which one. So talented….

    • Patti – I just now placed the soundtrack on to play – it’s almost as good as hearing Clint’s fingers playing those haunting notes across the piano keys over and over on the ‘ivory keys’ – and I love his ragged voice. He always said he didn’t want to do anything with the syrupy story but neither could he let it go. The story behind that sentence has always been a mystery to me. Even today – if you happen to Carmel – drop in at ‘The Mission Ranch’ – your are likely to find Clint or a member of his family just hanging out. The piano is a favorite spot for locals and his family. It’s a homecoming of sorts.

  9. Mae Clair says:

    What a fun post! And I learned about so many new books. 🙂 Thanks for the shout-out, Sheri. Your faith in my writing and Weathering Rock means a lot to me.

    Very intriguing choices. Like you, I had a hard time picking just five too when I did my own Booker Award Post.

    I remember reading The Bridges of Madison County, but I’m not familiar with your other choices. I think, however, I’m going to be looking up The Pact. That one, especially, sounded like something I wouldn’t be able to put down!

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