2 memoirs + 1 novella


Stephen King’s latest

No author has the power to completely surprise me like Stephen King. You simply cannot put this man in a box and call him a certain “type” of writer. I’ve been reading his books all my life, many of which were HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE, but I was a teenager in the 1980s when respectable parents certainly did not pay attention to what you read. They were just glad you were not underfoot.

King’s earlier writing was rooted in horror stories like “Carrie”, “Salem’s Lot”, “Pet Sematary”, “IT”, and my personal reason for hating big, giant hotels with creepy, long hallways, “The Shining”.

Anyway, “Elevation” is a dramatic departure from the typical King-esque nightmare-inducing tale. Nothing scary happens here. Set in Castle Rock, Maine, protagonist Scott Carey has a bizarre condition which causes him to lose weight without getting thinner. Sounds fun, right? Only a masterful storyteller like King can find a way to turn this into a really intriguing and thought-provoking story. He weaves garden-variety prejudice and unlikely friendship into a tale that will resonate with many readers.

I enjoyed this book because I finished all 146 pages in one sitting. Also, I checked it out from the library and I think it’s been well established that my standards are remarkably lower when I don’t actually pay real cash for a book.

“The Elephant in the Room”

Former ESPN magazine, Sports Illustrated, Garden and Gun contributor, and long-time Charlotte Observer columnist Tommy Tomlinson’s memoir about his attempt to lose weight is one of the best memoirs I’ve read in a long time.

This is no diet book.

Instead it’s a revealing and painfully transparent peak into what the day-to-day struggles and challenges are for someone who desperately wants to lose weight, in a country that is getting larger every year. I did not want this book to end. I highly recommend it!

“My belly, in a weird way, is a monument to the incredible feat that Dad and Mama pulled off. They survived the cotton fields and scraped together a better life through hard work and good sense and kindness. They raised a boy who never had to worry about having enough to eat.”

Tommy Tomlinson, “The Elephant in the Room”

“The World’s Strongest Librarian”

Josh Hanagarne’s memoir of “Tourette’s, faith, strength and the power of family” will stay with you long after you close the book on the final page. In one way, Josh and Tommy (“The Elephant in the Room”) have a common bond: the deep respect and love of their parents carried them through many tough times.

Josh is born into a Mormon family in Utah and is extremely tall for his age. He’s cast to play the role of a tree in the school play and twitches uncontrollably. After finally being diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome he goes through every treatment available and some of them are pretty wacky. He finally tries weight-lifting and learns to “manage” the tics. Due to his shockingly disruptive and physically exhaustive condition, he starts and stops school for many years but eventually gets his degree and becomes a librarian.

Josh’s hilarious stories from working in the library, his questions and struggles with his faith and the amazing, enduring love and support of his family make this a truly great memoir. Best of all, you can visit his blog to find out how he’s been getting along since the 2013 publication of his book.

P.S. He loves Stephen King and mentions him several times in the book!

And finally. . .

Would you like some cheerful news? Read this story taken from the headlines this week courtesy of my Daniel Island buddy Tiannia.


Happy Reading!!!

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