It’s the fourth month of our Legends Book Club here on Beyond the Gray. If you’re new here, the Legends Book Club is a virtual book club designed to explore the lives of “legends” (from athletes and artists, to businesspeople, politicians, scientists and more). Our goal is to understand how these extraordinary people reached their dreams (and overcame all of the challenges, fears and roadblocks they faced along the way) so we can learn from their experiences as we follow our own dreams.
We just finished Barbara Walters’ memoir, Audition, and today I’m excited to announce April’s book:
Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist
by Michael J. Fox
Target reading pace: ~10 pages per day
There are many words to describe Michael J. Fox: Actor. Husband. Father. Activist. But readers of Always Looking Up will soon add another to the list: Optimist. Michael writes about the hard-won perspective that helped him see challenges as opportunities. Instead of building walls around himself, he developed a personal policy of engagement and discovery: an emotional, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual outlook that has served him throughout his struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Michael’s exit from a very demanding, very public arena offered him the time–and the inspiration–to open up new doors leading to unexpected places. One door even led him to the center of his own family, the greatest destination of all.
The last ten years, which is really the stuff of this book, began with such a loss: my retirement from Spin City. I found myself struggling with a strange new dynamic: the shifting of public and private personas. I had been Mike the actor, then Mike the actor with PD. Now was I just Mike with PD? Parkinson’s had consumed my career and, in a sense, had become my career. But where did all of this leave Me? I had to build a new life when I was already pretty happy with the old one.
Always Looking Up is a memoir of this last decade, told through the critical themes of Michael’s life: work, politics, faith, and family. The book is a journey of self-discovery and reinvention, and a testament to the consolations that protect him from the ravages of Parkinson’s.
With the humor and wit that captivated fans of his first book, Lucky Man, Michael describes how he became a happier, more satisfied person by recognizing the gifts of everyday life.
Haven’t participated in our book club before? Here’s how it works: At the beginning of each month I’ll announce the book we’ll be reading and the target pace. You can read along with me or simply tune in for the discussions. Throughout the month, I’ll be posting questions and topics for everyone to discuss. You can join in the conversation by posting your remarks in the comments section.
Got a reading suggestion for the Legends Book club? Feel free to e-mail it to me at Erika (dot) Liodice (at sign) hotmail (dot) com.