Back to the Prairie: a Home Remade, a Life Rediscovered

Back to the Prairie is Melissa Gilbert’s memoir of her recent years, starting in 2019 with the purchase of a home and property in upstate New York. Living in rural Michigan after marrying actor and director Timothy Busfield, Melissa & Timothy’s work takes them to New York City. Life in the busy and hectic Big Apple leads the couple to purchase a house in the country to relax and get away from all the demands of modern day living. However, the home they purchase has been abandoned for years, and takes the two (along with the help of friends) a great deal of sweat and equity to ready it to be lived in. This is accomplished just before COVID 19 strikes the country, and they settle in as pioneers, living off the land. Ms. Gilbert is a down- to- earth writer, and I enjoyed reading about her life and times.

Skinny House: A Memoir of Family by Julie L. Seely

Despite having limited details and most of the book’s featured people being dead, Julie Seely paints a vivid picture of her family’s experience during the Depression. Now instead of seeing an architectural anomaly, I see a man who tried his hardest to hold his family together. 3/5 stars.

–An anonymous summer reading participant

Tinkerlab Art Starts: 52 Projects for Open-Ended Exploration

This book is a great aid for anyone who is looking for open-ended art projects for children. It covers all kinds of materials: crayons, paint, charcoal, paper scraps, felt, beads and building materials like toothpicks and blocks. My favorite was a painting project that uses cups and paper towel rolls to make circular designs. I enjoyed this quote from an educator: “Children need what we rarely give them in school: time for messing about.” Rachelle Doorley offers simple but satisfying prompts to encourage creativity and imagination.

The Broken Circle: a Memoir of Escaping Afghanistan

Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller has written a moving story of her family’s escape from Kabul, Afghanistan in 1979. Russia had invaded the country and murdered the democratic president, Daoud Khan and 17 members of his family, including his baby granddaughter, installing a new communist president in his place. Enjeela’s mother left for India with her two sisters, for a heart operation, and her father hires a guide to lead his four remaining children out of the country as well. Enjeela’s description of her travels is very poignant; much of the trip was spent on foot, and it was a very harrowing journey. The family is eventually re-united, so there is a happy ending to her story.

A Paris All Your Own

For anyone who wants to compare notes on Paris, this is a book you can’t miss. Eighteen of the best selling women writers offer a glimpse into their experiences in the city of light. They include Cara Black, Lauren Willig, M.J.Rose, Paula McLain and Michelle Gable, to name some of my favorites. At the end of each story, the writer chooses a favorite and least favorite Paris moment, recommends places you must visit and activities not to be missed, as well as strangest must-have travel item. They also include their contact details and reasons for writing about Paris. I thoroughly enjoyed this, hope you will too.