What should you read this weekend? USA TODAY’s picks for book lovers include a moving new memoir by a young mother battling breast cancer.
The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs; Simon & Schuster, 320 pp.; non-fiction
How do you know when you start to become a sick person?
That question and the difficult quest for an answer hang over Nina Riggs’ beautiful and haunting new book.
At age 38, Riggs, a poet and direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, discovers that treatments for her breast cancer are no longer working and that the disease has become metastatic and incurable.
The devoted wife and mother of two young boys begins her story by attempting to put her new reality in perspective.
We’re with the author as she relives the mastectomy and chemotherapy, which result in an “obliterated sense of femininity,” as well as her attempts to explain what is happening to her sons.
Buried within this agonizing tale are moments of levity and flashes of poetry.
As the disease progresses, we learn more about the people closest to her, including her mother, Janet, who is dying of multiple myeloma, and her husband, John, who emerges a loving and steadying presence. While other couples are dreaming of growing old together, she and John must tend to funeral arrangements and estate planning.
USA TODAY says **** out of four stars. “A thoughtful and heartbreaking exploration of what makes life meaningful in a person’s remaining days… a book every doctor and patient should read.”
Camino Island by John Grisham; Doubleday, 290 pp.; fiction
Grisham’s thriller begins with a shocking heist at Princeton University’s Firestone Library, as a crew of crooks pulls off a literary crime for the ages, absconding with the original manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels. The Great Gatsby, gone!