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Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Reading Relative Shares

Deborah and Sarah, I.

I’ve known her for her entire life and most of my own. My parents are the only people on earth who have known her longer, and not by much. When I was two months shy of three years old, Deborah came home from the hospital in our mother’s arms, and I was told to sit in the big living room chair (the daddy chair), a pillow from our parents’ bed laid across my lap. The new baby was placed on the pillow so I could “hold” her. Years later, when that same sister brought her firstborn home from the hospital and I looked down at that boy’s little face, I flashed back to the arrival of my sister into my life.

Deborah and Sarah, II.
My sister came up for a visit this past week. It’s April, and we had warm weather in march, so she thought she would be helping me prepare the garden bed and clearing the yard of winter-fallen branches and in my ongoing popple removal efforts. Instead of rake and pruners, she found herself wielding a snow shovel. Snow, snow, and more snow! Also taking her spoiled furry niece for lots of extra walks. Relieved of yard work, we got Sarah to the groomer on Monday and spent Tuesday wandering back roads, enjoying the scenery

Not exactly wading weather!
I’ve said more than once in this forum that we are a family of readers, so it should be no surprise that my sister and I, besides spending time in my bookstore, also visited the local library and sat around the house reading quite a bit, too. (We also cooked together.) So this morning, as I was taking a break from working on the next review for Books in Northport, it occurred to me that interviewing my sister for the blog might be a nice change of pace for all of us. 

Here it is! I'm the black font, and Deborah is the blue.


What is that book you just opened?

Dick Francis. Under Orders. Love Dick Francis! Horses! You know, he was a jockey.

What else have you been reading this week while visiting Leelanau County?

Let’s see. Remember, the Walter Mosley book that I’m almost done with at your house. Cookbooks! I’ve been reading cookbooks, and I have all kinds of plans now to go home and try new appetizers and side dishes and main courses and desserts. I also bought that Jim Harrison book. I’ve already read Even in Darkness [book by Barbara Stark-Nemon that was recently named Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal winner for European Fiction] but loaned it to a friend, and I wish she would give it back so I could read it again.

Didn’t you also read a mystery involving food?

Oh, exactly! The author’s last name is Fluke. She writes mystery stories and includes recipes in the books.

Have you ever made any of the recipes?

Oh, yes! I make her recipes. The book I just finished was Plum Pudding Murder. They’re very light, very easy reading.

I’ve never read Walter Mosley before, and I really like him.

Who’s the main character in the one you’re reading?

It’s actually a volume containing three different books. Gone Fishin’ is one of them....

[Later clarification: Deborah was reading two different books. Upstairs, her bedtime reading was Mosley's Gone Fishin' and downstairs, when we were reading together at the table, she was making her way delightfully through Three Short Novels by Wendell Berry. We cleared that up when we got home.]

Oh, I love that one! But Walter Mosley is very different from Joanne Fluke, right?

Oh, absolutely! Yes! I would say I have eclectic reading tastes, though I’m pretty much a fiction reader. I always think I’m not as intellectual as you and Bettie, and Matt [her older son, the one who looked so much like her when he was a baby] is more like you, I think.

But I can read some frothy stuff, too. Jane Austen knock-offs, for example.

Oh, of course. Yes. But I think when you read that kind of stuff, it’s because you have a bookstore, and you have to read it.

Not really. I enjoy light reading like anyone else.

-- Oh, and I’ve been re-reading parts of Prairie Evers and The Education of Ivy Blake [by Ellen Airgood]. I love those books! I just think they’re marvelous.

Do you know what Matt’s reading these days?

No, I don’t. I wish I did.

We’ll have to ask him....

I’ll send Bob [her partner] a text and find out what he’s reading these days. He’s in a book club, of course....

And what kind of books do they read? Serious stuff, right?

They do. ...Right now they’re reading Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams.

They must have good discussions.

They really do. Two of them are M.D.s, one is a Ph.D. Two are very serious Christians, the other two don’t go to church any more.


And then I lost her. She was back in her book but looked up with a laugh and a smile to say,

Oven Cleaner! That’s a good name for a racehorse!

Deborah and Sarah, III.

Note: We have a third sister and look forward to another visit -- in warmer weather -- to include Bettie and our mother. As you may recall, they are readers, too.


Gerry said...

Sisters are a big help when it comes to dealing with, well, you know, life. They understand you, for one thing, or if they don't understand, they give you the benefit of a doubt. They don't give up on you even when you feel like giving up on yourself.

They carry all your best stories with them all the time, keeping them in a safe place so they will never be lost. They help you make new ones, too.

No wonder your dogs love them. Have a really good visit.

P. J. Grath said...

Gerry, you are right on all counts. Sister time is great! I'm almost glad we had snow, since it gave us the excuse to do other things (like drive down to Good Harbor), but I know we would have had just as good a time working out in the yard together, too. Next time!

Barbara Stark-Nemon said...

Sisters are the best memory keepers! I'm so honored to have made the reading list for such a VIP!

P. J. Grath said...

And a big fan of yours, too, Barbara!