The Diving Bell and the Poet

September 19, 2006 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I’m reading two fabulous books right now. I highly recommend them both.

The first is Ted Kooser‘s Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps. It’s a wonderfully entertaining look at the Bohemian Alps of southeast Nebraska. If you have lived in this area for any length of time, you will see yourself and your neighbors in this book. And no, it’s not a book of poetry, although it is very poetic throughout.

The second is Jean-Dominique Bauby’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Bauby was the editor of Elle in France until he suffered a stroke and found himself with “locked-in” syndrome. His only means of communication—and the means by which he composed the book—was the ability to move his left eyelid. It’s a fascinating, frustrating, and peaceful look at the final days of a man dying from the outside in.

Both of these books are short, and they are both broken into small chunks that are perfect for reading in pieces, if you can avoid reading them straight through. If you’ve been looking for a book for yourself or your book club, both of these would be excellent choices.

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Karin September 19, 2006 at 1:08pm

I will add a recommendation for the One Book One Lincoln book “The Devil in the White City.”

This one’s not short, but is a sort of history in novel form about a mass murderer at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.  (as well as the fair itself)

Thanks for the other ideas, I’m heading to the library today, and need something new.

Ryan September 19, 2006 at 6:40pm

Local Wonders is a wonderful book. I take it with me whenever I leave the state, so I can have a part of Nebraska go with me.

Karin September 21, 2006 at 12:49am

I’m about halfway through “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” and I’ve just been reading on breaks! It really is a wonderful book, thanks for the recommendation.

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