Sunday, June 11, 2000

‘You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You’

Book cover: "You've Got to Dance with Them What Brung You" by Molly Ivins
One of the most moving passages I've ever read was in a column by Molly Ivins a few months ago. "Get the damn mammogram!" I could almost hear her growling, after telling her readers she had breast cancer.

Think about having the power to save a person's life like that. Who knows how many women thought about their own health after reading Ms. Ivins' words?

The influence Ms. Ivins wields has always been benign. She tells it like it is, warts 'n' all (and in the Texas Lege, it appears, there are more than a few warts). I admire her greatly, and count her as a role model.

Read Molly Ivins' books. She is biting, sarcastic, downright rude at times. She is also insightful and compassionate. To say the least, she is one of my favorite "arthurs."

Posted June 11, 2000 to

Saturday, June 10, 2000

Writing book reviews

I’ve decided to write some more reviews and have submitted one of Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow and one of Adair Lara’s collected newspaper columns. Writing, in whatever medium, is good experience for me.

Book review: The Best of Adair Lara

My favorite part of the paper has always been the op-ed page, followed closely by the lifestyles pages, where I will quickly turn to read the latest offerings by my favorite columnists.

I have fantasies of being a syndicated columnist like my heroes of the op-ed page, and so when I discover a book like this, with the collected works of someone who writes for a living and does it well, I am quick to buy it.

I am not a subscriber to the San Francisco Chronicle, and so this book is my first exposure to Adair Lara's work. I am delighted to make her acquaintance.

Lara's work offers a very intimate glimpse into one woman's life, as she writes about things that nearly everyone can relate to.

" 'Write about your life,' " she says she was told by a hard-of-hearing editor who didn't seem to sure about what to do with a female columnist, and that is what she did.

She tells us her first column, about getting a newspaper job, was personal. "The next thousand or so columns were also personal."

Reading this anthology is like leafing through a scrap book of memories. At times touching, humorous, and always intimate, I can highly recommend this collection on two levels - as an aspiring writer looking for examples of the craft done well, and as a woman whose everyday experiences, while small in scope, are validated by seeing another woman's personal life in print.

Posted June 10, 2000 to