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Peggy Vincent "author and reader" RSS Feed (Oakland, CA)
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Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying, 3rd Edition
Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying, 3rd Edition
by Derek Humphry
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.84
85 used & new from $4.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Important information, not easy stuff to get elsewhere, August 19, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Essential. I'm glad I'll already have it on hand when the Time comes.


Mink River
Mink River
by Brian Doyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.27
86 used & new from $5.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Not since The Goldfinch have I loved a book this much, August 3, 2014
This review is from: Mink River (Paperback)
Not since The Goldfinch have I loved a book this much.
Sweeping 3-generational sage set in a very small coastal town in Oregon, a town originally populated by Salish (Pacific Northwest Native-American origins) people, some of whom remain.
Beautiful language with the music and lilt and cadence of the author's Irish lineage. Animistic, a tiny bit of magical realism, wise, deeply loving and hopeful.
A bit of Gaelic (with minimal translation) and Latin (also minimal translation) and a Salish word here and there.
I was hooked from the first page.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful...


Hannah, Delivered
Hannah, Delivered
by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.47
30 used & new from $11.55

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another one for the bookshelves, May 3, 2014
This review is from: Hannah, Delivered (Paperback)
I read the ARC of Hannah, Delivered - and I'm honored to review it now that it's been released to the public. It's hard to believe it's not a memoir and that the author isn't even a midwife/OB nurse. It's that good.
My favorite parts were:
Hannah being enchanted w Birth in a hospital setting...and her self-doubts.
Her training experience in New Mexico. Too few midwifery tale books devote much time to the training period, and Hannah, Delivered, fills this gap. Although it is a homebirth training facility in a rural setting rather than a university MSN program, it still rings true.
Her struggles against the medical establishment; very real.
My least favorite, though interesting and mysterious, part was the issue of secrecy surrounding her own birth. I felt it was too ambiguous.
Most of all, I would have loved to read more birth stories! We birth junkies can't get enough of them.
I am asked to read/review quite a few books. I accepted this one, of course, because of the subject matter. I opened it gingerly, hopefully, w some trepidation, and after reading the first 5-6 pages, I said to my husband, "Oh, thank God! She can WRITE!" It's one thing to have a good story, but it's another to TELL a good story in a way that draws people right into the scene. Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew deliveres - in spades.


Camp Follower: A Mystery of the American Revolution
Camp Follower: A Mystery of the American Revolution
Price: $5.99

3 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars probably not, December 3, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wouldn't advise reading this book, actually.
It's really a tease of a bodice-ripper fluffed out with American Revolutionary War history, but it's too long, too convoluted, too many characters (almost a Russian novel in that respect) and filled with too much over-the-top chest heaving, engorgement, blushing, innuendo, bosoms, and purple prose. There was just enough interest to keep me reading to the end, but barely, and I found myself reading particularly egregious snippets aloud to my husband.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 3, 2014 4:00 PM PST


When Pigs Fly
When Pigs Fly
by Bob Sanchez
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.69
23 used & new from $2.05

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars channeling elmore leonard, August 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: When Pigs Fly (Paperback)
When I review a book, I don't use Great Literature as the standard against which to measure another piece of writing worthy of 5 stars. I do it genre by genre. With that in mind, I definitely give When Pigs Fly those 5 stars. Great characters: good, bad, ugly, smart, stupid, old, young...And what's not to like about the character names, esp Dieter Kohl, who goes by Diet Coke?'
It's a tale set in the Southwest involving a guy who is unknowingly in possession of a huge jackpot lottery ticket stashed in an urn full of his friend's ashes...and a loose gang of petty thieves and thugs who are determined to get their hands on it. And then there are his parents...and his wannabe new girlfriend.
Bob Sanchez's writing reminds me a lot of Elmore Leonard and Donald Westlake...with a little bit of Carl Hiaasen thrown in.
There are parts of the book you just HAVE to read aloud w someone to share the chuckle.
Loved it.


Birth, Breath, and Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula
Birth, Breath, and Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula
by Amy Wright Glenn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.70
24 used & new from $9.85

5.0 out of 5 stars like a meditative spiritual essay, June 21, 2013
Birth, Breath, & Death is a meditative spiritual essay about one woman's search for meaning and spirituality thru 3 distinct but interwoven methodologies: doula work supporting birthing women, hospital chaplain work in aid of the dead and dying and those left behind, and breath-centered yoga practice.
I found the book a very fast read (it's only 98 pages), but I also found myself re-reading, lingering, pausing to think and to settle into the peace and love that pervades every word in this little but powerful book. Beginning with questioning her Mormon upbringing and faith, she branches out into the study of comparative religions, traveled the world exposing herself to different modalities with a wide variety of teachers and settings, trying to come to grips w her mother's demons, depression, delusions, darkness and ultimately the rejection of several of her children, including Amy.
Eventually, after what we assume were several semi-false starts, the auther goes thru the transformative process of giving birth to Taber, her son. But one feels as tho perhaps she also gave birth to herself, to the core of Who She Is in the world.
She probably doesn't begin to consider herself A Teacher, but I would gladly sit at her feet and just soak up her inborn and learned wisdom.
Thanks, Amy, for writing this book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 17, 2013 9:25 AM PDT


Skidboot 'The Smartest Dog In The World'
Skidboot 'The Smartest Dog In The World'
by Cathy Luchetti
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.57
20 used & new from $9.99

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doghood, June 5, 2013
I was privileged to be asked to read/edit the beta version of this terrific book.
It's a hilarious rendition/documentation/history of the amazing Blue Heeler, Skidboot.
The story is really astounding, but the writing is also part of what makes the book so engaging. Cathy writes in a rollicking style that perfectly suits this Texas dog and his rodeo cowboy owner. The wording of some of her passages made me laugh aloud at the dog-hood-ness of the story. It's a doggone good book, a doggone quick read about one doggone smart dog...and the man who knew how to handle the critter that's probably the most intelligent dog ever born.


Telegraph Avenue: A Novel
Telegraph Avenue: A Novel
by Michael Chabon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.60
305 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great New Oakland/Berkeley Novel, December 28, 2012
It's not The Next Great American Novel, but it is certainly the Great Oakland/Berkeley Novel.
A friend got fed up with the wordiness of this book, and I can certainly understand his frustration. There were paragraphs I skimmed right over because of the blahblahblah...but not every single word/sentence/paragraph is necessary for the understanding or enjoyment of a book, and sometimes I just want to move along a little more quickly than the author is allowing.
So I cheat.
For me, the huge draw of Telegraph Ave. is that I live right in the bull's eye of this book. Every single road, building, freeway, restaurant, store, neighborhood character, donut shop, bakery, Chinese take-out joint, vacant lot, vista, skyline, bridge, porn studio, bookstore, intersection is 100% familiar to me.
I'm a lover of similes/metaphors, and Chabon lays them on thickly. Works for me. But I'm sure the relentlessness of them will irritate some readers. I remember reading once in some List of Writing Rules that 1 simile/page was the absolute max. Chabon often has 2/sentence.
...sat in a chintz armchair as big and soft as a grandmother...
...a smile as thin as a paper cut...
...a skirt that looked like a couple of lengths of Ace bandage wrapped around her butt and thighs...
He writes without restraint and with wild, elegiac, joyful abandon, in love with words, his neighborhood, his characters, comic books, music, the vast scope of his eclectic knowledge, and with Life. His pure joy in the art and craft of writing and with the typical eclectic mix of his Berkeley characters comes thru on every page.
He DOES come off as a bit of an Arrogant Boy Wonder, but I can forgive a lot when someone writes so lovingly about restaurants and subway stations and shops that are a block from my house.
There's only one thing I'd really really really really like to know: Why did he rename Alta Bates Hospital as Chimes Hospital???? Chimes is an historic name in the neighborhood: corner market, liquor store, drugstore, bookstore, so I can see using it liberally. But the HOSPITAL? Every other real-life person, store, location is depicted with accuracy, including Highland Hospital (Oakland's county hospital), so was he forbidden by the hospital from using the real name? Yeah, the book didn't paint the hosp docs in a very cool light, but I really can't see him buckling unless there were lawyers involved...but why would the hosp CARE so much?
I hope I run into Chabon at Peet's Coffee so I can ask him myself some day soon.


The View from Down Here
The View from Down Here
Price: $0.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wry, self-deprecting, insightful, May 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As a member of the Internet Writing Workshop, I've read and critiqued several of these essays previously...and am awfully glad they are now available as a collection to the greater world.
Gary is gifted. He has a way with words that is admirable, a view of humanity that is all-encompassing, a wit that gentles his honest words, a willingness to share the nitty-gritty of having "butt-surfed" his way thru the world in a wheelchair for the past 50 yrs, and the enviable ability to link seemingly disparate themes into a piece of writing that can take your breath away.
Worth a lot more than $0.99, that's all I can say.
Peggy Vincent
Author: Baby Cather: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife


Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant
Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant
by Daniel Tammet
Edition: Paperback
30 used & new from $0.14

4.0 out of 5 stars Bully for him!, April 12, 2012
Fascinating memoir by (yes, he wrote it himself) an autistic savant who also has synesthesia, that condition in which letters, words, and numbers have colors or textures or arouse emotions, like #6 is dark and scary, where Wednesday is blue but Thursday is fuzzy.
The author is fascinated with pi, the squares of numbers, and prime numbers. He once memorized pi to 23,000 digits after the decimel point, establishing a record (duh). He calms himself by counting things. Many of us visit a beach for the calming aspect of it, but he finds it distracting because he spends all his time trying to count the grains of sand.
The really cool thing is that he lacks most of the areas of social ineptitude that others on the far end of the autistic spectrum usually display, and he is able to maintain a loving relationship and function independently in the world.
The writing is a little flat, lacking in emotion, but... he IS autistic, so all things considered, it's pretty amazing.


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