Monday, May 4

Proms and good books and shiny and swirly


        Have you read any good books lately? I read Holly Jacobs’ Carry Her Heart the day it came out. I loved every word of it. Every one. Yesterday I read the first three chapters of Kristina Knight’s work-in-progress and loved every word. I get peeks at Nan’s Women of Willow Bay and Margie's WIP...oh, my gosh, I love—yeah, every word. One day last week, I was looking at a story of my own, one I’d been sitting on for a while because I’m not sure what to do with it. I started somewhere in the last half and kept right on reading. I don’t always do that with my own stuff. Sometimes when I’ve removed myself from it, I flinch when I go back because it’s just not all that good. This time, I didn’t flinch. It’s been a good reading couple of weeks.

          I’m sitting in a hotel dining room writing this morning, and the area is half-full of high-school kids. Girls in dresses and boys in shirts and ties. I don’t know who they are or what they’re doing, though I assume it’s church-related. They make me ache with how beautiful they are and how fast they will grow up. I hope they’re happy. I hope they grow up responsible and productive and smart, too, but mostly...God, I hope they’re happy.

          Sometimes, it seems I go months without reading something that resonates with me. There’s nothing wrong with the books that keep stacking up on my Kindle, but they don’t latch onto a piece of my heart and refuse to let go. I don’t carry the Kindle into the bathroom with me, read it in the kitchen while I’m waiting for cookies to come out of the oven, or ignore my own work to finish just one more chapter. I don’t know what causes these dry spells, but I wish they’d go away.


         Proms are all over the place this weekend. I hemmed a few dresses, laughed at my grandsons’ pictures of them cavorting around in tuxedos and thought how tall they are. How beautiful they are and how fast it all goes. Don’t be maudlin, Nana, I tell myself. And I’m not. I’m not.

          But when there is a good book, one that makes me stop everything else so I can live in the pages as long as they last, it’s such a gift, such a thing of beauty. And always over too soon. This is why, unlike many people I know, I reread my favorites. It still goes too fast, but when I do this, I feel again the way I felt when I read the book the first time. I am back at my own prom. Our dating days are numbered by prom time and it really isn’t that much fun, but for that night we’re both beautiful.

          Sitting in a crowd at the long table, they lapse into near-silence, scrolling on their phones or gazing sleepily into their own thoughts. I feel lucky this morning, seeing them all together. As if on cue they start laughing and talking again, their voices rising and ebbing. I think of my grandboys in their tuxes, of all the girls in their shiny, swirly dresses and it’s...oh, I don’t know what it’s like.

          Yes, I do. It’s like reading a good book. It’s all joy and perception and shiny, swirly prose. Oh, it makes me grateful. For books and teenagers and hotel dining rooms.


          How about you? Read any good books lately?

18 comments:

  1. Liz, Thank you so much for your kind words about Carry Her Heart! And I do know what you mean! I think all writers feel doubts about their writing. It's so hard to see a story in your head and do it justice on the page. I love the images in your blurbs!

    Holly

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  3. I haven't read CHH yet, but it's on my Kindle...I just have to get through this next deadline which is - gasp - sneaking up on me again!

    A week or so ago I read Joanne Rock's Nights Under the Tennessee Stars and..gah. I could blather on for a thousand words but I'll sum up: the characters captured me and their situation made me laugh and cry...it was everything I want from a book. If you haven't picked it up, go get it!

    Thanks for the kind words, Liz. I'm at that point with the WIP that I'm too close to see the holes...but I do love it. :D PS: i shared with you...now it's your turn! :D :D :D

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    1. I'll get the Joanne Rock book. I've heard great things about her, but haven't read any of hers yet. Her sister-in-law Karen Rock is a Heartwarming author--I enjoy her work (and her; she's nice!) too.

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  4. Just finished RELUCTANTLY CHARMED by Ellie O'Neal. Loved it! Kind of an Irish paranormal version of Bridget Jones' Diary. And it has fairies! Sort of.

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  5. I'm reading the first Harry Potter book right now--you convinced me, okay? I'm actually reading the print copy, which I bought at Half Price Books and I'm really enjoying the book as well as turning the paper pages. It's been a while since I've done that. ;-) I love seeing the prom pictures that folks are posting. Prom has changed a lot since I went too many years ago.

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    1. I think HP books are best read in print. I'm glad you like him.

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  6. Liz, One of the books I love to re-read is your book "One More Summer." I love traveling through Grace and Dillon's story and every time I read it I cry at the same parts, even though I know what is coming. Will we ever get Steven's story? A new book and author I found (this is not romance) is "Angel Killer" by Andrew Mayne. The main character is from a family of magicians but she left the family business behind to become an FBI agent. Thanks to everyone for the recommendations on new books and authors to read!

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    1. Thank you, Carolyn! Steven's story is done--just searching for a home. I hope it finds it soon. :-( I love the premise of the book you're reading!

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  7. I can so relate to your thoughts today! I'm celebrating a request from a Harlequin editor based on my first chapter and synopsis entered in a contest. For the contest, I had written a couple of new starts but I didn't like them (typical of me). I found a beginning I had abandoned and decided it wasn't too bad. (This never happens to me!) Guess the editor agreed. I'm loving the incentive to finish it.
    Have you read a Harlequin Heartwarming book I enjoyed recently? "A Fine Year for Love" by Catherine Lanigan has an Indiana winery setting. Indiana is my home state, the book's cover is pretty, the writing evokes beautiful images and the language flows well. The "Sideways" movie made wine a favorite romantic topic for me. lol The next in the series is out this month and anticipating a book can be a lovely thing!

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    1. Good luck on the Harlequin book, Cathy!

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    2. Oh, Cathy, good luck! I'm so proud of you!

      I'm at the midway point in Catherine's book (I read way too many at one time anymore--sometimes I have to backtrack when I go back to a book), and I'm with you on the setting--I like it, too. Catherine is a nice person right along with it.

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  8. I really enjoyed this post. Good books and proms--a fun combination.

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    1. Thanks, Judith. As is usual, the post wasn't at all what I intended to write. I do entire books that way, too. :-)

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  9. I'm getting pumped for the new Jurassic World by rereading Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Plus, I'm also reading Lani Diane Rich's Wish You Were Here.

    I have Carry Her Heart on my Kindle, so I'll probably start that one after I'm done. Plus, that Reluctantly Charmed that Mary suggested sounds awesome. Wish list it.

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    1. I love your eclecticity! Did I just coin a new word?

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