Woman_at_the_washington_zoo If you’re looking for a last-minute Christmas gift, or you just want to read something that will make you appreciate every moment you have on earth, even the bad ones, may we suggest “The Woman at the Washington Zoo.”

Dale Russakoff, a Washington Post reporter who lives in Montclair, sent us a note a while ago, asking us to promote the book of WaPo colleague Marjorie Williams, who died Jan. 16, 2005. Williams’ book, “The Woman at the Washington Zoo,” is a posthumously published collection of her columns, essays and a short memoir of her battle with liver cancer. The diagnosis came when Williams’ children were 5 and 8, and she was only expected to live three to four months. She wound up surviving three years.

For me, time is the only currency that truly counts any more. I have weathered days of wretchedness and pain without a whimper, only to come unglued when some little glitch suddenly turns up to meddle with the way I had planned to use some unit of time: that this half-hour, and the contents I had planned to pour into it, are now lost to me forever seems an insupportable unfairness. Because, of course, any old unit of time can suddenly morph into a bloated metaphor for the rest of your time on earth, for how little you may have and how little you may control it.

Here’s a lovely review from the New York Times. We picked up our copy other day, took it home, brought it straight to bed and read for hours. Watchung Booksellers has plenty in stock.

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