Friday, June 3, 2011


The Reader
by Judy Westergard
oil on canvas
Among my top 10 favorite books of all time: "One Hundred Names for Love" by Diane Ackerman. This is a funny, poignant, insightful, well researched memoir of her life with her author-husband following his massive stroke that left him aphasic. Despite his doctors' predictions that he'd never be able to speak nor understand again, Diane, along with a charming, funny day-nurse, worked non-stop to immerse Paul with language: puns, memories, questions, tormentingly slow conversations in which they would patiently give Paul all the time he needed to respond...sometimes as long as seven minutes. The result (and I'm not giving anything away here; she lets you know from the get-go that he eventually publishes again) is an almost-fluent post-stroke aphasic. This one's a must-read on so many levels: being a care giver, how we acquire language, strokes, overcoming adversity, and just plain elegant writing.

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