Since my hearing issues I read more than ever, grateful my eyes haven’t betrayed me, sometimes polishing off three books a week.
Lincoln’s Boys, by Joshua Zeitz (2014), about his relationship with his two young secretaries…John Hay and George John Nicolay, is a slam dunk for any Lincolnite or Civil War lover.
Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy, by Jane Leavy (2010), a must read for all baseball fans. My friend Ed and I devoured it simultaneously having already read her last book, The Last Boy, on Mickey Mantle (2011), another exceptional bio.
Party of the Century, by Deborah Davis (2007), the story of Truman Capote’s famous Black and White Ball was one I couldn’t put down. Talk about being a fly on the wall. It was so visual it felt as if I were there, mingling, with the social elite of the 60s.
One of the nice things about my old fashioned library is getting to roam around in the stacks. I found myself in the travel section deciding, since I can’t afford to go anywhere, I can at least dream amid the pages of the well written traveler.
C’est la Vie, a memoir by Suzy Gershman (2004), has me by the short hair. You might know her as the author of Frommer’s Born to Shop series. She’s a funny, engaging writer with enough sass and warmth to make you wish you could meet her for lunch.
Her memoir recaps her move from Connecticut to Paris after her husband dies of cancer, so it’s poignant as well as informative. She tells you everything: how to find an apartment, the best neighborhoods, what you should look for in terms of convenience and naturally, where to shop. But laced in-between the Parisian practicalities are her feelings about widowhood, living on her own without the man she loved for so many years and a deep desire to start over in a city she always dreamed of living in.
I always knew that one day I would live in France….I used to tear up when I heard Judy Collins sing plaintively the refrain that went, “My father always promised us that we would live in France…” When I heard Billy Joel sing, “Vienna waits for you,” I knew what he meant. I knew that Paris was my Vienna, it was waiting for me.
Makes you want to don a beret, grab a brioche and head to the airport, doesn’t it?
Her candor is particularly provocative when she begins an affair with a married man, her first time up at bat after being married for 25 years.
She’s also sweetly irreverent, though in obvious mourning, sharing her ups and downs with humor rather than gloom. She confirms living one day at a time…right foot, left foot…bestowing courage and hope onto her readers.
I’m still in the midst of it rarely recommending a book before finishing, but I can safely say…