My writing PLN (professional Learning Network) pretty much revolves around blogs and the authors who share their insights and advice online. When I have a question, I often go there first, before digging through my shelves of self-help writing books. Along the way, I’ve read many of their books. Here, I want to share those that I’ve particularly enjoy and think you might too.
- The Palaver Tree — one woman’s tale of growth from great personal loss to a challenging but fulfilling life
- PS I Forgive You — memoir of a life lived with a narcissistic parent
- Hurricane Crimes — fiction based on the power of nature
- Lilith — a thoughtful discussion on life, based on Jungian psychology
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wendy Unsworth’s Palaver Tree (Amazon Digital Services 2012) is a beautiful, sad but happy story about Ellie. Ellies leads a fairly boring–well, uneventful–life in Cornwall England that is upended when first her husband and family dog are killed by a hit and run driver and then her elderly mother dies. She no longer has any reason to remain in a town that, though it includes friends, has never really felt like home, and now holds nothing but lonely memories.
“Even after two years of marriage, she often woke with the feeling that she was somewhere she didn’t belong and would be caught, any moment, on the loose without an entrance ticket.”
She moves to a small African village to teach, but that turns out to include its own set of problems.
I was originally pulled into this story by the cover, but it was the gorgeous storytelling from Wendy that kept me reading.
“There was a tension in the house like musical strings, stretched to their limit and fit to snap.”
“Lately, any sentence honored with a mention of her husband was apt to hemorrhage sarcasm like warm treacle through a sieve.”
You cannot fail but enjoy this tale of Ellie’s personal growth from unmotivated housewife to extraordinarily accomplished adult.
by D.G. Kaye
Originally a sequel to Conflicted Hearts: A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt, PS I Forgive You (Amazon Digital Services 2016) became a stand-alone final chapter to D.G. Kaye’s emotional story about surviving a narcissistic mother. You can feel Kaye’s strength as she’s forced to break off communication with her mother as a last-ditch effort to protect her own mental health–even as her mother is dying. If you come from a loving supportive family (like I do), it’s very difficult to understand the damage caused by this sort of emotional abuse, but through Kaye’s eyes, I felt it. Suffered it. At one point, Kaye mentioned a concern that her mother might read what admittedly was a less than flattering book about her, but I already knew enough about her mother to know that she would never either read her daughter’s published words or listen to them.
That is how powerful this story is: I feel like I knew both Kaye and her mother well by the time I turned the last page. Highly recommended by anyone with a narcissistic family member. This will help you.
by Chrys Fey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love stories where nature is the antagonist (or protagonist–I’ll take either). This series uses natural disasters as the setting for each killing. This one–obviously–is a hurricane. Chrys does an exemplary job of making me feel the power of this hurricane and how small man is next to it.
by Susan Scott
In Praise of Lilith (Olympia Publishers 2009) is a delightful collection of thoughts Susan Scott, a devotee of Jungian psychology, has put together for readers. Five of them are personal, two not so much, but all thought-provoking and cerebral.
“…as I write, that ‘feeling’ comes into it, which is always satisfying, if not altogether surprising. While writing, I seem to undergo an attitude change and find I am more willing to be honest with myself and therefore to the reader as well…”
This sense Susan has of being more honest with herself and readers stands out in her writings. I felt like we were friends wandering down a dirt path chatting about the meaning of life and the world and our purpose in everything. Though this is Susan’s first book, it’s not her last. I will soon read another thoughtful book she has just published called Aging and Becoming.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, is scheduled for Spring, 2017. Click to follow its progress.