The Bridge Ladies: A Memoir Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 3, 2016 by
A fifty-year-old Bridge game provides an unexpected way to cross the generational divide between a daughter and her mother. Betsy Lerner takes us on a powerfully personal literary journey, where we learn a little about Bridge and a lot about life.
After a lifetime defining herself in contrast to her mother’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” generation, Lerner finds herself back in her childhood home, not five miles from the mother she spent decades avoiding. When Roz needs help after surgery, it falls to Betsy to take care of her. She expected a week of tense civility; what she got instead were the Bridge Ladies. Impressed by their loyalty, she saw something her generation lacked. Facebook was great, but it wouldn’t deliver a pot roast.
Tentatively at first, Betsy becomes a regular at her mother’s Monday Bridge club. Through her friendships with the ladies, she is finally able to face years of misunderstandings and family tragedy, the Bridge table becoming the common ground she and Roz never had.
By turns darkly funny and deeply moving, The Bridge Ladies is the unforgettable story of a hard-won—but never-too-late—bond between mother and daughter.
One Man’s Everest Hardcover – August 27, 2015 by
The story that emerged from the Everest base camp on May 21, 2013, was remarkable even in its bare essentials. A British climber had marked the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of the world’s highest peak by climbing not just Everest, but the two huge mountains next to it, all in one go. It was an astonishing feat of endurance. Kenton Cool and his Sherpa partner, Dorje Gylgen, had gained and lost ten vertical kilometers in the 120 hours it took them to climb Nuptse, Everest, and Lhotse. They had barely slept or eaten. They’d burnt so many calories that Cool staggered back from Lhotse two stone lighter than when he had set out on the 15th. It was the first time anyone had done the whole enormous Everest horseshoe in a single push. Kenton Cool’s first venture into serious rock climbing was, fittingly, a “very severe” one on the South Coast near Swanage that had Cool battling for his life, exhausted and exhilarated. That summer he went straight out to the Alps, and stormed up mountains that many climbers will spend lifetimes dreaming of but never quite attempting. From then on, the mountains have been his life. From bivouacking under a rock for nights on end high above the Chamonix valley to getting the great adventurer Ranulph Fiennes, who is by his own admission scared of heights, to the top of Everest in 2009 and climbing the three peaks in 2013, Cool is recognized as the finest British climber of his generation. Cool has been lucky—or unlucky, depending on your view. Back from the Alps, one June afternoon in 1996, he was on a route called Major Headstress in a Welsh slate quarry when a handhold broke and he fell 15 feet onto his heels. He broke them both. His heel pain is permanent. His standard gait is a hobble. When forced to stand still he sways to relieve the aching, and at the end of a hard day in the mountains he can sometimes be found getting around on his hands and knees. Kenton Cool has a delightful wife and two beautiful children, yet every time he leaves for an expedition he may not return. “Why do you do it?” people ask him. This book tells why.
What are you reading this week?