Short Takes: February 2012 | Books & Authors | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion
Douglas Winslow Cooper
Outskirts Press, 2011, $13.95
The course of true love never did run smooth, but Cooper and his wife Tina Su handle its roughest curves with exceptional grace in this inspiring memoir. College sweethearts whose parents opposed interracial marriage, they married others, reuniting two decades later. As Tina’s degenerative multiple sclerosis weakens her body, their loving bond strengthens.

A Well-Seasoned Life: A Daughter’s Tales From Her Father’s Kitchen
Carol O’Biso
CreateSpace, 2011, $11.95
Warm as a six-burner cookstove, this reminiscence of growing up in a first-generation Sicilian-American household centers around—what else?­—food. Gardiner resident O’Biso includes evocative black & white family photos and recipes both toothsome (Escarole Minestra, Pasticciotti) and humorous (Pickled Pigs Feet: “Remove all hairs from feet—not yours, pig’s).

Conversations with Mom: An Aging Baby Boomer, In Need of an Elder, Writes to Her Dead Mother

Betsy Robinson, 2011, $11
Chronogram Fiction Prize winner and playwright Robinson went “off grid” to publish this epistolary work of imagination–letters to the mother she misses, and responses channeled in “Mums’s” distinctively feisty voice (response to a grandiose “Why?” whine: “Stop thinking and clean your apartment. It’s time you did laundry. I can smell it from here.”) We should all have such mothers.

Traveling Between the Lines: Europe in 1938
The Trip Journal of John F. Randolph and his Daughter’s Response
Rebecca McBride
Epigraph, 2011, $17
Years after her father’s death, McBride found four tiny notebooks in her mathematician father’s distinctive handwriting, detailing her parents’ on-the-cheap steamer, train, and bike tour of Europe before she was born. What was it like to travel through Germany as Hitler rose to power? How much did they know? A fascinating dialogue with a vanished time and place.

Spirit Speaks. Are You Listening? The Transformative Journey and Teachings of Spiritual Intuitive Valerie Croce Stiehl
as told to and written by Vera Haldy-Regier
iUniverse, 2011, $17.95
Woodstock channeler and spiritual counselor Stiehl shares her circuitous life path (gritty Bronx roots, a devastating car accident and house fire in different parts of the Hudson Valley, 10 years living with the Lakota Sioux in Flandreau, South Dakota) and clear-hearted vision in this combination of memoir and personal teachings. Its final words: “May abundant blessings be yours.”

The View From Outside

Susan Barnett
Hen House Press, 2011, $10
WAMC listeners are familiar with Susan Barnett’s spoken voice, as host and producer of “51%: The Women’s Perspective.” Her literary voice emerges with similar clarity. Barnett’s characters struggle with everyday life; she brings great insight to small revelations. The hilarious story “The Susan Float” fills a small-town parade float with her namesakes; readers will savor the many Susans on display in this pithy and vibrant collection.

Comments (0)
Add a Comment
  • or

Support Chronogram