My town’s little library had a children’s section where I devoured books like The Bobbsey Twins and biographies of famous people like Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. Somehow I moved from there to the adult section where I started reading completely inappropriate books I seldom understood. I skipped all the great children’s stories like “The Secret Garden” and “Little Women” until I was an adult reading to children.
A self-made education is a spotty thing.
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She told a story about a flirty, teasing autograph she received from the author of a book. It brought back memories of my favorite autograph. It was from a singer at a jazz concert. She signed her CD cover with “You were great last night.” I thought that was . . .
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Last night I ate a Mozartkugel, a Austrian/German confection I’d never heard of before. Someone brought it to book club for the discussion of “The Afterlife of Stars.” It set me to thinking about favorite candy that I’ve loved. Chocolate has always been the favorite, changing over the years from gooey sweetness like Mounds bars to the darkest of dark chocolates I love now. Now I happily down the 85% cocoa bars that I would have found bitter as a younger person.
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It was 60 years old, that cookbook. You know, the one with the red checkered cover like a tablecloth. The pages were falling out of the binder. Some pages were greasy with use, others were untouched. I found what I wanted in the section on pancakes and waffles. Yes, exactly what I remembered – mama’s pancakes. I pulled a big bowl . . .
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Were the winners in last night’s Emmy awards show your favorites? I was happy about some of the winners but disappointed about others. The most thrilling part of the event to me was when Margaret Atwood walked out onto the stage when “Handmaid’s Tale” won best series. Without a writer’s imagination, television would be nothing but news. What a horrifying prospect.
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“What about him? He’s hot,” Sheryl was hissing in my ear as we watched men walk by in the mall.
“Obviously married,” I said.
“Oh, look at the biceps on that one!”
“Nope. You know he’s taking drugs for that look. No sex drive.”
“Don’t you see anyone you like?”
“I kind of dig that guy looking at a copy of ‘War and Peace’ inside the bookstore. I think I’ll go talk to him.”
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To me, a good book is one I don’t want to stop reading. It engages. I’ve read a lot of literary high brow books in my life, but I don’t especially enjoy it. I’ve read a lot of nonfiction on social justice topics, but I don’t especially enjoy it. What I really enjoy is a good mystery, something that drags me along with well-defined characters and a fascinating plot.
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It was an ordinary day in the park. I was sitting on a bench in the sunshine, reading “The Museum of Extraordinary Things.” A group of about 20 young people walked down the path, humming “Dance Me to the End of Love.” They set up in an open space, formed a semi-circle and began to sing in earnest. I put my book down and listened for almost an hour. They sang nothing but Leonard Cohen songs. When I got home I learned he died. I felt like I’d been in the park of extraordinary things.
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Isn’t it kind of strange that we read books on electronic devices that tell us exactly how much of the book we’ve read? You can say to someone, “I’ve only read 67%, so don’t tell me the ending.” So precise. None of this looking at the bookmark sticking out of the pages and saying, “Oh, I’m about 2/3 of the way through.” No, none of that.
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“What’s on?” People want to know what’s on your iPod, your TV, your stereo, your X Box, your bedside table, your car radio. They think it says something about you. It probably does. So you should know that I watched “Marcella” all weekend, I listened to Natalie Merchant and Al Jarreau in my car, keep my radio tuned to NPR and I finished reading “The Marriage of Opposites” this weekend. Now you know all my secrets.
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