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Book Review: The Treasury of Joy and Inspiration, Edited by the Editors of Reader’s Digest

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Readers of the 90-year-old Reader’s Digest magazine know of the real-life stories and essays that have long been the cornerstone of the brand. The articles included each month are generally moving, inspirational and often provide insight into the writer’s mind for that moment.

Over the years, the magazine has published submissions from well-known writers such as Billy Crystal, Christopher Reeve, James A. Michener, Helen Keller and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Others include Alex Haley, Neil Simon, Bill Bradley and Robert Fulgum. Many of the essays from these writers have been submitted to the magazine while others have been excerpted from other magazines and books.

This new book, The Treasury of Joy and Inspiration, is filled with some of the most inspiring and “move us to tears” essays. Helen Keller writes of what she thinks she would do if her sight were restored for just three days. Christopher Reeve relays  what it felt like to awaken from a coma and realize he was paralyzed from the neck down.

And, Billy Crystal writes of hearing about his dad’s passing from a heart attack. While, according to the rd.com website, the family edition of the magazine appeals to a median age of 47.7 years old, this book has something in it for all ages.

It is also a book that is much needed these days with all of the turmoil and tragedies of the past few years happening in neighborhoods across the country and even in elementary schools.

The essays are listed in categories for joy, miracles, gratitude, giving, holidays, healing and heroes. There are stories about animals, love, death, life, strength, happiness and sadness.

Helen Keller’s “Three Days to See” was one of the most powerful and moving in the book. She wrote, “At times my heart cries out with longing to see all these things. If I can get so much pleasure from mere touch, how much more beauty must be revealed by sight. And I have imagined what I should most like to see if I were given the use of my eyes, say, for just three days.”

It’s a wonderful book filled with an afternoon of great reading. Nine decades of writings that are all as relevant today as they were when first written and published.

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