reading

Building a Story — The Roles of Authors and Illustrators

Posted on 04/29/2013 by | Washington D.C. | Comments

VolunteeringEvery story has a beginning, middle and end.  And in the details of that telling, we can be transported to times and places that fill us with a range of emotions — from wonder, hope and, mirth — to fear, sadness and dread.  And the best stories usually have a blend of both! My Experience Corps kids are currently engaged in “author studies.”  What you and I — if you’re a Gen Xer, boomer or older — used to call storytime!  …

Now Read This!: Carol Burnett & Debbie Reynolds Look Homeward

Posted on 04/25/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentWhen I heard that Carol Burnett and Debbie Reynolds have new memoirs out this month, I imagined writing about their mutual love of fashion designer Bob Mackie. Why’s that? Because if every sequin and bugle bead from the Mackie gowns they own were laid end to end, they’d stretch from Burnett’s hometown of San Antonio to Reynold’s of El Paso. Turns out there’s more grit than glitter in Burnett’s Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story. Part of the tale …

Now Read This: Life, Loss, and What We Read

Posted on 04/17/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentIn 1995 Ilene Beckerman wrote and illustrated a charming memoir called Love, Loss, and What I Wore. It captured her life according to outfits worn at key moments, from the Brownie Scout uniform Beckerman was sporting when she went off to camp at age 7 to the dress-up clothes her granddaughter favored decades later. In 2008 Nora and Delia Ephron turned this “time capsule of a woman’s life through clothes” into a successful play of the same name. I thought …

Now Read This: Don Draper’s Very Hot Beach Book

Posted on 04/3/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentIn Season 3 of AMC’s Mad Men, Betty Draper’s father, Gene Hofstadt, moves in with the family. He and his granddaughter — the 9-year-old Sally Draper — soon bond over Edward Gibbons’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. “You just watch,” Gene reassures Sally when the first chapter they read together proves slow at first. “All hell’s gonna break loose.” Foreshadowing, anyone? By Episode 4 of that season, Gene had made a pass at his daughter (!) and …

Now Read This!: March Memoir Madness

Posted on 03/12/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentMemoirs are tricky. The best of them, like Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle, are brutally honest stories that have you laughing at a feckless father’s shenanigans in one moment and crying over a callous mother’s dismissal of her daughter in the next. The worst are what I call “stunt memoirs” — gimmicky accounts of quixotic adventures the author never would have undertaken without a publisher’s advance in hand. You can tell you’ve come across a stunt memoir by examining its …

Now Read This! Culture vs. Commerce— and a Quiz

Posted on 02/26/2013 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

EntertainmentIs it fair to separate “commercial” novels from “literary” ones? If anyone can answer that question it’s 10-book author Meredith Maran, whose new anthology Why We Write features essays by everyone from Sue Grafton and David Baldacci to Ann Patchett and Walter Mosley. “I chose the authors to include as if they were wines being paired,” Maran told me. “If you like Jennifer Egan [A Visit from the Goon Squad], for example, you might also like to read Jodi Picoult.” Maran’s …