Change is Hard

Goodbye, Vitamin book cover

I no longer remember how I learned about Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong. It’s the story of a young woman who moves back home to her parents’ home to help her mom take care of her dad who is dealing with a worsening case of Alzheimer’s disease. I’m interested in stories about how people deal with hard times, so I recently picked this one off my “to read” pile.

The format of the book is unique. The main character moves back into the home she grew up in just after Christmas with the promise to stay a year to help her mom with her dad. Each chapter is a month in that year. The writing is from the perspective of the daughter and is almost like a diary. There are date entries that are further divided into sort sections, some of which are only a sentence long.

The result of this unusual format is a very intimate look at how a young woman deals with the dynamics in her family caused by her dad’s condition. Just before moving back home, she was left by a fiance so she is dealing with change in her own life as well. She doesn’t always handle things well (who would?) and struggles not only to understand what is happening to her father but to herself.  Overall this is an excellent piece of literature exploring the challenges we will all face with end of life care for those we love.

Connecting Through Books

The Reading List book cover

Recently I’ve been interested in books about books, bookstores, libraries, writing, stories, etc. One of these is a debut novel by Sara Nishi Adams called The Reading List originally published in August of last year. A list of books gets passed around in the Wembley section of London. One of the recipients of this list is Aleisha, a seventeen-year-old reluctantly working at the local library for the summer. An older gentleman named Mukesh come into the library looking for advice on what to read. Thus begins the primary relationship of the book.

The story is as much about the neighborhood and its Indian residents as it is about the people and the books. My one complaint about the story is that it refers to a lot of Indian words, foods, and experiences that are not well-defined or explained in the text. I would like to have better understood what these were. That said, anyone familiar with Indian cuisine and Hindu living will feel right at home.

The story follows the two main characters at they read and discuss the list of books. This may not sound very interesting, but both people learn lessons from each book that they can use in their lives. It is a book about relating to others through the shared experience of reading, and it is beautiful! I highly encourage everyone to read it.


In case you were wondering, here is the reading list itself. How many of these have you read? It won’t matter if you have read them or not when you read this book. The author does a marvelous job of sharing what one learns from reading these books without spoiling any of them. And if you have read them, you will get even more out of the story.

  • The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Rebecca
  • The Kite Runner
  • Life of Pi
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Little Women
  • Beloved
  • A Suitable Boy