Saturday, October 11, 2014


John Green, The Fault In Our Stars (Dutton Books, 2012). 

Also available in paperback and for Kindle and Nook. There is a movie version of the book (starring Shailene Woodley, , ) as well as a one minute, 33 second video of the author at


Recommended by Kevin A. Penrod, Jr.

This book is the best and most honest story of love and loss that I have ever read. It centers around a girl, Hazel Grace, who suffers from terminal cancer in her lungs. She is somewhat of a cynic that is until she runs into Augustus Waters at a cancer kid support group. And with that John Green takes us on a ride that, I believe, will last through the generations. Even with the inevitable conclusion that we are gonna come to the death of someone too young, I found myself unable to put this book down due to the amazing love story unfolding. I also found that this book teaches you to enjoy this life we have and the little moments of joy in it. A quote from this book that will always stick with me is "some infinities are bigger than others."

I highly recommend this book to all fans of love stories, young and old. I can't say this enough: The Fault in Our Stars is one of my favorite books and maybe the top love story I have ever read.

Monday, September 22, 2014

AN INVISIBLE THREAD by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski

Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski, An Invisible Thread: The True story of an 11-year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and an unlikely meeting with destiny (New York: Howard Books; division of Simon and Schuster, 2011).

Also available for Kindle and Nook and as an audiobook.


Recommended by Wilda Morris

In May, 2014, I attended a Road Scholar workshop entitled, “Exploring the Writer in You” at Green Lake Conference Center in Wisconsin. The focus for the 2014 event was “The Road Taken.” We were encouraged to write memoir, which could take the form of creative non-fiction, poetry, or even—if we wanted to stray over the line into fiction—short story.

The following Sunday, Pastor Linda Tossey quoted a short section of An Invisible Thread in her sermon. After the worship service, I asked her how to spell the author’s name. She offered to loan me the book. I said, “Not now. I really don’t have time to read it.” She assured me that she wouldn’t need it back soon, so I went ahead and borrowed it, thinking it would sit on a pile for a while.

I made the “mistake” of opening the book to read a few pages while my husband drove us home from church. Before I got out of the car, I was hooked. I squeezed in a few minutes of reading time here and there, went to bed late a couple of nights because I didn’t want to put it down, and soon finished the book.

One day in the 1980s, Laura Schroff walked past a panhandler who was asking for change on a Brooklyn corner. Panhandlers were just part of the background in Metropolitan New York so it was easy for a successful advertising executive to walk on by and not even see or hear a homeless man asking for money. Out of the corner of her eye, though, Laura had noticed that this panhandler was young. She stopped in the middle of the intersection, turned around and went back. He stretched out his hand again, saying, “Excuse me, lady, do you have any spare change? I’m hungry.” Acting on an impulse that surprised both of them, she told the boy she would take him to McDonald’s and buy him lunch. She said he could have whatever he wanted to eat there and asked him if it was okay if she ate with him. He agreed. Thus began a long-time relationship

Maurice was growing up in a violent, drug- and alcohol-infested world. His mother was addicted to heroin. Virtually all his neighbors and relatives were addicted to something. It was a scary and unpredictable world. Maurice could come and go as he pleased; no one asked where he was going or why. When his mother wasn’t in jail, she sold drugs to put food on the table. His grandmother tried to provide some modicum of stability for him and for his sisters, but the family kept having to move from one derelict apartment to another. Sometimes there was more safety and stability for Maurice on the streets than at home.

Laura grew up with an alcoholic father who abused his wife and children, especially Laura’s brother Frank. When he was sober, he was a wonderful father, but most of the time he was drunk. Laura’s mother tried to protect her children, but the one time she took her children and went back to her parents’ home, her mother told her she had to go back. This background, and the fact that she had struggled for a time in school gave her empathy with Maurice.

I won’t give away the arc of the story, the ups and downs of the relationship, the interweaving of Laura’s memories with Maurice’s story, or the many ways in which their friendship profoundly impacted both Laura and Maurice.

The book is highly readable. It hooked me within a few pages and kept me reading. I strongly recommend it!

A portion of the royalties for this book are donated to No Kid Hungry. Check out the website connected to this book (, and click on the link to see Laura Schroff on the Today Show.