1. Do you read much?
I read three or four books a month and I read them in one or two days. I just finished reading All Too Human: The Love Story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy by Edward Klein which was quite an eye-opener and gave me a very different attitude about both of them. There goes Camelot.
This year I’ve been looking for novels and books set in New York. Having lived there for five years and exploring Manhattan and Brooklyn thoroughly (walking 30 miles a week), I have a reference for buildings and streets now. On my shelf of recent reading is Union Square by Albert Halper published in 1933. It was fascinating to read from the narrator’s point of view – what he saw from the window of his apartment and on his walks and know that those buildings, that school is still there. The characters in the story were very real with their loves, longings and betrayals. It truly captured New York City during that era. I’m going to find Meredith Tax’s Union Square and read that too. I’ve recently read Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, Firehouse by David Halberstam and East River by Sholem Asch.
I have also started a collection of books about China. I’ve read Frank White’s History of Hong Kong and The Opium Wars by W. Travis Hanes and Frank Sanello. Next I’ll read Moment in Peking by Lin Yutang.
Friends recommend books to me, and I go to the Studio City Library book sale on the last Saturday of every month. It’s like a recommended reading list.
I open the books in the middle and start reading. If the book is well written, it will grab me and I’ll buy it. I also buy books for their beauty – the illustrations. I bought a copy of a children book on science projects – it shows how to build a computer to track a satellite. It was printed in 1964 when few people were aware of computers.
2. Do you prefer ebooks or traditional printed books?
I always read hard copies. I like the feel of the book, the smell and pinching the page between my fingers when I turn it. Lots of Encyclopedias are being put in the dump. It occurred to me to grab a few and cut them up into bookmark size and laminate the pages. So I have piles of paper in plastic bags waiting to be laminated.
I just love books.
HOW YOU LEAVE TEXAS is a volume of four unique stories about four young women who leave Midland, Austin, Fort Worth and Mayville, Texas for New York, California, Jakarta, and in one instance, jail. These young women seek escape from boredom and sorrow and find it. Told with humor and pathos, here are the synopses:
DAM BROKE – after high school graduation, two quirky best friends reveal big secrets.
“In sixth grade, I abandoned the reading glasses for a blond wig and a fake mole above my top lip. Mickey started wearing sunglasses indoors and carrying business cards.”
CAMILLE’S NET WORTH – on her 40th birthday, Camille’s life falls apart in uncontrolled demolition. Life improves when she gets a job creating art paper and returns to painting. But the plot twists and she ends up in jail, laughing.
“I’m not going to spend much time repeating myself,” Camille said, “I want you to remove whatever you want to keep from this house. You can store your stuff in a rental truck if you need to until you find a new home, but you will be gone from here by midnight and never return.”
“You can’t do that!”
“If you are not gone by midnight, I will set fire to the house.”
KRYSTAL’S WEDDING – Heading for New York, Krystal leaves behind her shoddy family in Midland, Texas. Ill-prepared for the culture shock and expense, she takes a few slippery steps before she finds true independence.
“Krystal’s family wasn’t an American success story. Mom felt like life had cheated her since Daddy never made any real money and spent most nights getting drunk at the Welcome Inn. Erin never finished beauty school and worked at a donut shop. Bethany worked as a bar-back at the Rusty Nail and was turning out like Daddy. Alcoholic, back-slapping, charming. Eddie Garthwaite, owner of Garthwaite Used Cars located on Interstate 20 between Midland and Odessa. Eddie Garthwaite who currently had his driver’s license suspended because of a DUI.”
FRYING YOUR BURGER – Nicky and her friends spend mornings slinging repartee in a coffee shop. While paying a traffic fine, she meets a director and soon finds herself a pawn for two directors trying to ruin each others careers.
“I went into the room marked Cashier and got into a long line. And there he was. Grinning that grin. He should have had a license for it. It was that bright. I stood next to him in my white t-shirt and white pants looking like someone straight out of the ‘hospital orderly fashion catalogue.’ It was all I had clean that day.”
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Genre – Women’s Fiction
Rating – PG13
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