Lady Writers of the Poconos,  SDP View Club

Welcome to the Shaggy Dog View Club!

What’s a view club? It’s like a book club with an expanded inventory. Each month, our authors will share their current inspiration, ranging from books to TV shows and movies to podcasts. Stories are everywhere and writers draw on all sources for ideas. We also like to relax with someone else’s story from time to time.

Here’s what we’re enjoying in September:

Sahar Abdulaziz

My son recommended I read the book PHARMA: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America by Gerald Posner for a book idea I am researching. The book was engrossing, and read more like a historical novel than a dry chronological accounting of how some of the most significant—and worst-discovered pharmaceutical advances came into existence. Posner tracks, from inception, the industry’s discovery journey: vaccines and medications while providing an in-depth account of the leading players [brilliant scientists, entrepreneurs, financiers] as they discover, create, finagle, and manipulate the world’s need for medical advancements.

The author thoroughly explains the opioid addiction that swept through this country. Likewise, the author gives an in-depth accounting of the Sackler family, who rose to power, becoming wealthy through the mishandling of the abusive narcotic OxyContin as an answer to society’s dire need for chronic pain relief. Although a long read, this brilliant overview of the pharmaceutical industry from the 19th century forward is exceptionally well-researched, engaging, informative, and most disturbing. The book highlights the many successes, dismal failures, medical breakthroughs, and excessive greed that made pharma the all-powerful industry it is today.

Belinda M Gordon

I’ve read two books in the “Minerva Biggs Mysteries” trilogy by Cordelia Rook, and I’m looking forward to the third. This quirky set of cozy mysteries, set in South Carolina, checks several boxes: a sleepy village, a protagonist with an interesting backstory, and a big old dog. The protagonist, Minerva Biggs, is a former history teacher, and the town’s colorful history plans a big part in each story.

For me, the most important thing in any cozy mystery is that it keeps you guessing and when the truth comes out, it fits the story. Two out of three have hit the mark and I have faith the third will too!

The Minerva Biggs Mysteries:

Mystery Repeats Itself
Old Knives Tale
Past Resort

Evelyn Infante

Extraordinary Attorney Woo is a Korean series on Netflix that came up in my feed recently. I texted my daughter who watches a lot of Korean series and movies on Netflix. She said she already had it on her list. Of course she did.

I watched the trailer and was hooked. The story is about a lawyer, Woo Young-woo. She is on the autism spectrum, a prodigy, who graduated at the top of her class from the most prestigious law school in the country. In the real world, she has to deal with people who do not understand her differences. She loves whales and can’t stop talking about them. Her colleagues wonder how she got hired, but Young-woo dazzles everyone in the courtroom, winning cases. This is a heart-warming story of someone with a disability struggling to fit in. The actress who plays Young-woo makes you believe she is autistic. You can’t help but love her. It’s no wonder the Script Book sold over 5,000 copies in advance orders.

Susan Moore Jordan

As a great lover of Rachmaninoff’s music, I knew the basic facts about his life and work, but this book goes into considerable detail and could be the “definitive” biography. One thing I particularly appreciated about the book: while it is divided into different notable periods in the composer’s life, each page indicates the exact year of the events being discussed.

Composer, concert pianist, and conductor, Rachmaninoff’s life was indeed music. Forced to leave Russia during the Bolshevik revolution, he lived for many years in the United States, while spending time in Europe performing and enjoying summers in various resort communities.

Much of the book is excerpted from his extensive correspondence with friends, and because of that a full picture of Rachmaninoff the man emerges. He was physically imposing, 6’6” tall, with long arms and huge hands, and seldom smiled during his concerts, so that the general impression was of a somewhat dour man. But there is much in the book to indicate that he loved his family (wife, two daughters, and grandchildren) and spent many happy hours with them as well as with close friends. He writes eloquently in great detail and sometimes with wry humor.

He always responded graciously to letters he received praising his music and concert performances. Music certainly was all-consuming, and his legacy is a wealth of beautiful compositions: the best of Russian romanticism. After reading this book I wished I had known him, and loved his music even more because of the passionate, genuine, kind, and caring man who created such beauty.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fellow aficionado.

Kelly Jensen

I was going to recommend the book I’m currently reading because I’m on my second reread and it’s just about my favorite book of all time, but I’m going to save it for next month because last night I watched Everything Everywhere All At Once and it truly is the most amazing movie. So different but familiar at the same time.

Briefly, it’s the story of a woman, Evelyn Wang, who has apparently failed to follow her dreams, her true passions, so spectacularly, that countless other versions of her exist in multiple parallel universes—each representing a path not taken. Sounds confusing, right? And to begin with, the movie is a bit weird. But not in a way you can’t follow.

Kung Fu Hustle/Matrix vibe aside, Everything is really a movie about family. About love, and what one woman (or perhaps all of us) would be willing to do—or give up—to embrace that love. The movie is hilarious in places; we laughed out loud a number of times. It’s also incredibly touching. The scenes between Evelyn and her daughter resonated strongly, and by the end of the movie, both my husband and I were in tears. Highly recommended.

M.A. Moore

The Other Einstein: A Novel by Heather Terell is the riveting story of one of my heroines: Dr. Albert Einstein’s first wife, Mileva Marić. Although fiction, a lot of research went into this book. Albert was a genius, but also a flawed man, a man of his time when it came to his attitudes towards women. Meleva got the money from Albert’s first Nobel Prize for good reason. Beautifully written and engaging. 

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