Moving through the stacks of “must read prior to relocating” …

  • Old Songs in a New Cafe, Robert James Waller
    This is going on the “keepers” shelf, right next to Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, and Henry Thoreau. I adore every single thing about it.
  • Get Happy: The Life and Times of Judy Garland, Gerald Clarke
    A heartbreaking story of a divine talent, although the telling dragged as the details became harsher and more calculated at the end. I understand how she would have been “tiresome” and “difficult” to cope with as a personal contact, though the view from the audience (and for casual acquaintances/fairweather friends) must have been awe-some. It doesn’t require a second reading, so in the “out” pile it goes.
  • I Never Came to You in White, Judith Farr
    I don’t care how many letters this woman has after her name, or how exceptional an acedemic mind she is, the critically minded should stay away from fictitious writing about real, historical people if they haven’t the creativity to do so honestly, and without personal agenda. Aside from the fact that the exuberant, ecstatic reveling in puritanical stricture is horrifying to anyone who has actually studied Dickinson as a Romantic, it isn’t possible to sell an audience on the idea that having spent 9 months away from home at a school where she was unhappy and escaped into literature, letters, and dreams had more influence on her life and loves than 60 years of exuberant, ecstatic life lived in the home and with the people she adored—not without far more talent than Ms. Farr demonstrates. I refuse to inflict this on anyone else; it’s headed for the paper recycling mill.