One of my great, if indulged in all to seldom, obsessions is reading. Ask me to describe my perfect day and it will with out a doubt include at least three uninterrupted hours with a book and a good bottle of wine. Actually any acceptable form of hooch will do, it’s a Hemmingway thing I guess.
Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t necessarily a high brow pass time. I’ll admit I’m not getting lost in Dostoyevsky. But you won’t catch me reading Howard Stern’s latest foray into delusional self aggrandizement either (much to my husband’s chagrin). I’d love to consider myself more avant-garde than your average house frau but having read all seven Harry Potter books more times than I care to admit, sort of takes me out of the running. That said though I think I have a nose for a good read and know a good writer when I read them. I’m proud to say that I was reading Ian McEwan well before “Atonement” . I recognize that Frank McCourt is among our greatest American writers having never seen the screen adaptation of “Angela’s Ashes”. Read “Tis” and you’ll understand why in my mind I can compare him to Fitzgerald with conviction.
I am no snooty literati by any stretch. I don’t hold any degree in literature. But I know what I like. I’m convinced that I’ve read one of the best writers of my generation and I want you to love her as much as I do! If you can find a photo of your parents looking like something from the Sonny and Cher show. Or if you ever attended a birthday party featuring carob cake and gifts that all came from “mother earth”. Can you NOT recall a number of rock concerts you have been told you attended in your “wild“ days? Do you follow politics, bristle at injustice, watch Indy flicks, consider yourself a citizen of the world and a rebel but still feel faint when faced with a cute pair of shoes on sale? Then I’ve found your book(s) and your new favorite writer.
Susan Jane Gillman.. I feel like her name should be in sparkly bold font. Lord it’s hokey but this woman speaks to me. Her writing is vivid, honest, witty, smart and funny as hell!! I’ll let her words speak for themselves… This is from the book that hooked me “Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress”.
“When I was little, I was so girlie and ambitious. I was practically a drag queen. I wanted to be everything at once: a prima ballerina, an actress, a model, a famous artist, a nurse, an Ice Capades dancer, and Batgirl.”
I devoured this book in one day. I am not a fast reader. It’s hard to be when your only reading takes place in either the last 20 minutes of the day before you pass out. Or with one of your four kids standing over your shoulder saying “What ya reading’?…What’s it about?…What page are you on?…When are you going to be finished with that book MOM!?” Argh… go away people, don’t you have a cat to torture or an outlet to play with? Leave me alone I’m reading, damit! I loved that book so much I ran out and bought her book “Kiss My Tiara: How to rule the world as a smart mouthed Goddess”. Loved it, needless to say.
And now I’m searching for a sitter so I can escape with her new book due out in March “Undress me in the temple of Heaven”… um doesn’t the title alone get ya?! If not here is a great teaser:
“In 1986, fresh out of college, Susan Jane Gilman and her friend Chloe dreamed of hitting the road as modern-day female Kerouacs. Inspired by a placemat at the International House of Pancakes, they mapped out a trip circling the globe, then headed west–to China. At that point in time, the People’s Republic had been open to backpackers for barely ten minutes. But Susan and Chloe relished the challenge. Having been told throughout their Ivy League schooling that they were “the future leaders of America,” they were eager to boldly take on the world. Unfortunately, the world had other ideas.
Armed only with the collected works of Nietzsche, an astrology book, and more chutzpah than sense, the two quickly found themselves on an epic misadventure. As they trekked off the map into the dusty, alien streets of Communist China, they were quickly stripped of everything familiar. At turns funny, erotic, and harrowing, their journey became a string of poignant encounters with Chinese and Westerners alike. But it soon grew sinister. The two young women found themselves trapped in their own peculiar Heart of Darkness in the middle of rural China, and what began as a giddy expedition became a real-life international thriller that transformed their lives forever”
Now that I’ve set the scene here can you imagine me at 6:30 this morning when I opened my email and found a message from SUSAN JANE GILLMAN herself? I now have some idea why my 9 year old was speechless and virtually immobile when she was a VIP in the front row just inches away from Avril Lavigne at her concert . (pause for giddy girl-like laughter) Okay now that I’ve composed myself I’ll get to the part that you might be interested in.
In honor of my big email (yes I’ll be printing it, grabbing my 40% off coupon, running to Michael’s and getting a frame for it) I’m going to give away a copy of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress. Want in on the action? Here is what you do.. Tell me a funny story about you. Did you want to be an Astronaut-ballerina-fashion designer? Have any juicy tale about your “wild” days? Maybe a brush with greatness or a fall out funny public moment? Do tell and don’t worry I wont! I’ll pick a winner, and feature their story on Saturday the 24th.
Girls I’m telling you this writer is Candice Bushnell with brains and a smart mouth. I know that some day we’ll be congregating at our local movie house (a flask stashed in the handbag) seeing her stories come to life. And we can sit back, basking in our know-it-all-ism and say we “knew” her when.
Contest ends Thursday because I’ll have a guest blogger on Friday AND a contest to go along with the fun.