Sunday, September 23, 2007

Jannet's Book Club...

...(or at least books I wish I hadn't ALREADY read and could still look forward to...)

I've never really been much of an avid reader... there always seems to be SO much else to do...

But in 1963 I DID read "Charlotte's Web." And in 1967, "The Little Princess." Both of them much more riveting than I think Disneyland could ever be. And then, believe it or not, in 1969 I read "Gone With The Wind" and was so moved by it that I actually sat down one day and began to scribe it out longhand, just to retain the beauty of the writing in my mind somehow. But after two weeks or so, having only made it to page 10 or so out of 689, my fingers finally just gave out and gave up.

And then my good friend, Thom, just reminded me of a book that I pretty much wore the cover off back in my college days... Sheila Levine Is Dead... And Living In New York by Gail Parent. And I loved rereading it! Some of the most quick-witted lines ever written on a page!

"The Stand" in 1979 was pretty good as well as were several of Stephen King books which came shortly before and after... and I had some time to read them between matinee and evening performances on Wednesday's and Saturdays in my little loft in Shubert Alley. But then... I ended up having kids and it was a long, long, LONG time after that before I ever read a book again!

Until, I read "The Bridges of Madison County" in 1992... which I totally related to!... and which probably ended up being the catalyst that changed my life as I knew it. But looking back, I'm absolutely sure it was for the best. Still, I guess you have to be very selective in what you choose to read at times. The mind can be a powerful trap, ya know?

Anyway, until this year, I think that was my last fling... with the novel. And then suddenly it just flared up again in full force, probably having something to do with discovering the fact that reading is the ultimate free means of entertainment and an escape from any and all of life's other addictions. And it's relaxing and pleasurable as well!... without being too terribly sinful or blatantly slothful... of course, provided you've attended to all of your other responsibilities first. So basically, reading works for me on a guilt level with which I'm fairly comfortable.

Here's my list of favorites reads and trust me, I've read a ton. Not sure what made me choose one book over another except that to make my list a book probably had to have accomplished at least 6 of following 8 requirements:

  • Kept me rivited from the first to the last and final page
  • Made me think really hard about things
  • Made me cry a little
  • Kept me up all night
  • Made me feel really thankful and fortunate that I was only reading it
  • Made me succumb to the tempatation of sneaking in multiple peeks at work
  • Scared the h*ll out of me
  • Or just moved or touched me in some way beyond my ability to express it...
So here they are... in no particular order. I realize the common thread is a fairly dark premise... but they are each so very, very hopeful in their own way... at the same time.

Kind of like me...

Click on the book title for further details and editorial comments and then decide for yourself if you think it might be of interest to you. But like I said... wish I could just take each and every one of them back back to bed with me and start all over again.

Diary of A Young Girl (Uncensored and Unabridged) by Anne Frank

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Black Wave by John & Jean Silverwood

Somewhere In Heaven by Christopher Andersen

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

Tweak... Growing Up On Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff

Beautiful Boy by David Sheff

Hope's Boy by Andrew Bridge

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Long Walk by Stephen King

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Messiah of Morris Avenue by Tony Hendra

Derailed by James Siegel

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

Cell by Stephen King

False Memory by Dean Koontz

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hoesseini

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Loverboy by Victoria Redel

Hope you enjoy them at least half as much as I did! And please feel free to include your recommendations in the comments section. Got a couple of leisurly vacations coming up...

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Parent's Story (...or at least the CliffsNotes version.)

Most children don't get an opportunity to answer the question… “What do you remember about your parents engagement/marriage?” But for some reason, it’s a question I’ve recently been asked… so I’m just gonna take up the challenge and run with it.

To the casual observer walking the street (or more likely the mall), grandma and grandpa would appear to be a couple who have been married forever! Or more than forever! You know how people start to look like one another after they’ve spent so many countless moments and years of their lives together?

They claim to have been married for 50 some odd years!.. but then they like to toss in that little joke of theirs… “Just not to each other!” Come to think of it, they actually don’t really look like each other but perhaps I just see it that way. Because, in my mind, they have always seemed to be two halves of the same whole. I mean, I can never imagine one… without imagining the other.

But back to the original question… To be honest, I don’t have a CLUE where I was or what I was doing at the time of their engagement. I couldn’t tell you for a fact upon which day they were married. I was still caught up in that allotted time and space where nothing else could possibly be any more important than… self-importance. But I DO have some memories, ones which occurred briefly before those other momentous occasions occurred, which belong to me and me alone. And well, probably to grandma and grandpa as well.

I was in New York City at the time… acting out the role of the black sheep and infamous prodigal, which I was always so very good at back in those days… when I received news that my mother would (after all) be traveling across the country on a two-week long Church History tour. Her previous tour had been cancelled and I guess it was just on a fluke that this new one had materialized and she had somehow nabbed a seat.

(By way of trivia and interest… I also understand that a certain
David E. Salisbury had to be forcibly hoisted onto the bus by his children, as he had not wanted to go... at all.)

Here’s a picture of my mom and me rendezvousing in the lobby of the Milford Plaza Hotel in New York City in July of 1974.

Now, the hotel is smack dab in the middle of what used to be known as “Hell’s Kitchen”… but we won’t tell her that. But she’ll probably end up reading this anyway... At any rate, as brazen and bold as I believed I was at that young age, I still somewhat feared for my life in coming to meet her…

My memories of those few days are pretty cloudy and fairly disjointed. Mainly because, at the time, I didn’t realize I would be called upon in some far off and distant moment of my life to have to re-conjure them. I didn’t realize they’d be significant.

So I’m only going to focus on those few instances that are somehow, after all this time, still perfectly, crystal clear.

Later that evening, we took a stroll down 34th St. to the Empire State Building. Mom had brought along a newfound “friend.” Being a “seasoned” New Yorker and having learned to pretty much walk everywhere in order to get around with any efficiency I guess I led the pack… swiftly. I believe it was closed though and so we never got to go up. But years later mom would tell me that David had said to her… “I’ve never seen ANYONE walk as fast as she does!”

The next day, I joined her on the bus for parts north. There’s a lot of church history in that neck of the woods! The tradition on the bus was to rotate one row back on the left and one row up on the right… each day. That way, the travelers would have a better chance of being able to get to know each other. I don’t remember if she told me then, or much later, that she counted each and every day until she’d have the chance to sit across the aisle from David.

In route to the Hill Cumorah Pageant we made a brief stop at the historical Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Mass. This particular stop on the map gets particular attention, because to me it was a moment of extraordinary enlightenment…

We were walking the grounds, ambling somewhere between the candlemaker and the blacksmith, when suddenly we spied David and his friend (who we’ll call Dallas for now) enjoying the beautiful day from the deck of the local eatery.

If nothing else had smacked me in upside the head prior to this encounter… this one did for sure.

Have you ever seen your own mother behave like a raging, hormonal 16 year old? It is a thing surreal… and a thing that I hope nobody else ever has to witness in their lifetime. Just because it’s plain weird! At any rate… all I remember was trying to keep my eyes averted and trying to focus on something like…that discarded platter of french fries, the latest addition to the refuse bin that stood nearby, still smothering in ketchup and being swarmed by bees.

The next morning… the one after the pageant… I headed back home to New York City via Greyhound.


So there you have it… however, here is also where I begin to slightly distrust my memory..

Because I’m quite certain that it was in 1974 when they first met, during that July bus excursion… simply because I just checked my ancient little Hallmark calendar and it’s definitely right there... engraved in indelible ink.

And I’m pretty sure they were sealed for Time and All Eternity in the Los Angles Temple in February of 1983… because I have pictures… and I was with child then. And I’m pretty sure I was never with child prior to 1983...

So what was going on there… during all that time in between?

All I can come up with is… just as in that long walk to the Empire State Building during that summer evening in July of 1974… Grandma and Grandpa just really like to take their own sweet time...

Anyway… that’s my little contribution to our family history… and I’m stickin’ to it.

They don’t really look like one another... do they?

**Factual data just in!**
Grandma and Grandpa were married on Febuary 10th 1977.
...and sealed six years later to the day on February 10th 1983.

Submitted as an entry to our parent's 30th Anniversary scrapbook collection... to be presented to them by their family during our Hawaiian Island cruise of January 2008.

Friday, September 07, 2007

He's Not That Innocent...

So anyway, it happened exactly like this...

Out of the blue.. The Broads' people called up MY people and asked them if they thought I might be interested in putting together a little sumpin' for one of their Main Pages.

My people responded back with a "She would be happy to, but with one stipulation"... that they would shuffle through all of their files and come up with one or two of the most amazing and broadliest Broads they could find to assist me with it.

And you know what? They did!

He's Not That Innocent... (Part 1)

He's Not That Innocent... (Part 2)

OMG... I've ALWAYS wanted to be a Broad!!!

Wait! I already... was.

*Unfortunado... LBFCA is now defunct. :( As are all of the photos. Sad times.