Highly Admired Writers

The Dark Month

I bought a copy of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women for my daughter a couple years ago. Because if you’re a literary mother, it’s the kind of thing that you do. Before I gave it to her, I read over the first chapter, and I was kind of surprised at how not-very-engaging it is. Basically, the four March sisters are hanging around the house, whining about Christmas and how crummy it’s going to be.

Tell me, again, how did this book get to be a classic of American girlhood? How does anyone even make it to Chapter Two?

I mean, clearly I loved it enough that I made sure to pass it down to my daughter. She tells me she’s even read it. And I know I’ve read it more times than I can count. It’s one of those cultural literacy things, I think. In Jean Webster’s book, Daddy-Long-Legs, Judy shows up at college with no knowledge of Little Women, and is forced to read it in her spare time so that she knows what her friends are talking about when they mention pickled limes.

You know what, I don’t think we own a copy of Daddy-Long-Legs. Must fix that, and soon.

I don’t know, maybe hanging around the house and whining during the dark month of December is so central to the human condition that we can all relate to it. I know that’s where I am myself right now. I don’t feel like cooking dinner at night.  I don’t feel like being cheerful. Neither did the March sisters, and believe me, I get it.

Unfortunately for me, I’m no longer a teenage girl who gets to hang around whining and refusing to knit stockings. At my time of life, I’m supposed to be Marmee, whose brisk and cheery presence pulls the girls out of the abyss of bitching and moaning about how awful their lives are.

Man, I don’t know. Marmee sets the bar kind of high, you know? Do I have that in me? The ability to pull myself together and be an adult and not whine when the weather is dark and the days are short?

Well, I’ll tell you what, that’s going to involve some teeth-gritting on my part. But you know what might actually help? I think my family should go out and get our Christmas tree this Saturday. Having a tree with lights on it in the house always cheers me up.

All right, Marmee. Even though you are a fictional character, I accept your challenge.

Dark December, get out of the way. We’re getting our Christmas tree.

Also, how do you pronounce Marmee?

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy


Book People

So I’m exploring all these new-to-me authors who fall under the category of “literary fiction,” according to the Adult Reading Round Table. I have this handy list from a fellow librarian, and my, am I having fun with it. For some of the authors, it’s clear to me that reading one book is more than enough. However, I’m amazed and energized by the number of authors whose work inspires the reaction, “Where have you been all my life?”

Chris Bohjalian, where have you been all my life?

Marisa de los Santos, where have you been all my life?

See? See what fun I’m having?

I’m even doing the second-chance thing with some authors. For instance, my book club read Geraldine Brooks’ novel March a couple of years ago. Except that I didn’t. I don’t know if I’ve read Little Women too many times or what, but I just could not get going with March. And then, lo and behold, Geraldine Brooks  came up on my handy book list, and I wanted to get her checked off my list, so I tried again with People of the Book.

And my gosh, am I glad that I did.

Geraldine Brooks, where have you been all my life? And why, oh why, didn’t I appreciate you before?

People of the Book is a fantastic read. Ms. Brooks has a gift for moving her settings back-and-forth between contemporary culture and centuries past. And each story from the past has a link to the eponymous book in the title.  It’s sheer craftsmanship, I’m telling you.

And I love that the contemporary setting is in Sarajevo. I never knew much about Sarajevo, except from the news stories back in the 1990’s, about the violence and the ethnic cleansing and the other unhappy events that were newsworthy. I’m grateful for a more thoughtful, literary view of an Eastern European city, particularly this one.

Well, I’ll tell you what. I’m going back to try again with March.

Except I’ll have a terrible time getting through this author list, if I keep falling in love with the authors and passionately pursuing and reading every book they’ve ever written.

And that, my darlings, is a beautiful problem to have.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy


Three New Books

Last week, our public library’s hold shelf held the mother lode for me… a whole bunch of new books that I had reserved and been anticipating for weeks. I’ve read three of them, and here is what I think.

The first one I read, Lucky Us by Amy Bloom, is the one I was most excited about. I’d read a couple of reviews and was very much looking forward to it.

Lucky Us wasn’t quite what I was hoping it would be. Maybe those glowing reviews raised my hopes up to unrealistic heights. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very interesting story. It’s not just another book set during the Depression and World War II. The tales of Iris, the adventurous aspiring actress, are original and fresh. The physical details of some (not all) of the settings are lush and add a lot to the narrative.

I think where this book falls flat, though, is in the first-person voice of the sidekick sister, Eva. Even though I would expect to know her best of all because she is the narrator in alternating chapters, there is a definite distance there. She just seems to drift along, an outsider in her own story. She’s surrounded by these charismatic characters and interesting plot lines, but none of them ever seems to reach her at a deep level. It kind of makes me wonder if the stories in this novel would function better as short stories, eliminating the flat narration of the character who is outside looking in, and is literally left with the baby as other characters pursue their ambitions.

Also, I didn’t like the ending at all. The pacing was forced, and I could not believe in the relationships that came together at the end of the book. Flipping back and experiencing the energy of the earlier scenes in the novel, it makes me sad that that energy wasn’t sustained until the end for me.  You should still read it. It’s different from any other book I’ve read that’s set in this era, and that’s an important distinction.

After this mild disappointment, I was set to dive into The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton. And, oh, what a luscious dive it was. Complicated characters, fascinating setting, ambiguous plot line… yes, I loved the story of young Nella arriving from her small village in Delft, poised to experience the bustling, international flavor of Amsterdam. Yes, I could see the major complication in her marriage coming from about five miles away, but watching the drama unfold seemed to make up for that. It’s interesting to watch an author create a setting in historical fiction that deals with social issues that would not have been spoken about at the time. If ambiguity bothers you, this book will truly drive you crazy. I loved trying and failing to figure out what on earth was going on in this book. I am definitely going to read it again, and you should read it too.

I wasn’t so sure I knew where I wanted to go from here, so I chose the book I thought I should return to the library sooner rather than later because it had a long reserve list. This book is The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion. This is a book I never would have chosen for myself, but I applied for a job at a library that was holding a book discussion based on this novel, and I thought if I made the interview it would look really good that I had read it. At this point, I’m doubting I made the cut for the job interview, but I’m certainly glad I read this book.

This book has been described as a romantic comedy, and I guess the story fits that description. But it’s so much more than that. The narrator, Don Tillman, could be described as someone who is on the autism/Asperger’s spectrum, but he never quite is, even though there are some hints. When I realized where the hints were leading, I groaned inside.  I hated Al Capone Does My Shirts. I hated The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. When this story was being set up as yet another plot line with an autistic protagonist, I prepared myself to hate it too. Not that I have a problem with an autistic protagonist. I don’t. I have a problem with unsuccessful attempts to work with this kind of character in fiction, and in my view neither of the other books were successful. They were stilted, stumbling, and stereotypical.

However, this author succeeds where the other ones failed me. Don misses social cues, fixates on details, and is rigid in his routines, all of which we’ve seen in other characters in other books. I’m trying to figure out why this story is different. I think it’s because Don has figured out how to successfully navigate the world around him. He’s not being protected from it by other characters. His actual problems, job satisfaction and his love life, are universal to the human condition. I love it that the lobster vendor is waiting for him every Tuesday and that he’s earned special privileges as an airplane passenger. Also, Don is able to let go of his rigid plans when it is most important to do so. This book is funny and a real roller-coaster ride. The other characters are strong, amusing, and well-drawn. I think that whoever the librarian is who chose this for a book discussion is very, very good at her job. It’s a feel-good book that also feels like something wholly new. You should read this one, too, and suggest it to your book club if you’re in one.

I’ve still got some books in my new stack. Can’t wait to get to them.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy

Mansfield Park: Jane Austen’s Upside-Down Town

It’s time for my second Jane Austen-related post! Because 2014 is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mansfield Park, which I (and probably many others) consider to be Jane Austen’s “problem novel.”

I’ve been thinking about Mansfield Park quite a lot recently, in part because of another blog I follow, called sarahemsley.com.  I’m grateful to Sarah for posting thought-provoking essays in celebration of Mansfield Park this year.

Fanny Price is the Jane Austen heroine whose character and actions inspire the most debate, in my opinion. If you’ll allow me to over-simplify (and you will, because this is my blog), the debate tends to fall sharply into two camps, consisting of “Fanny’s a wimp!” versus “No, she’s not!”

I, as a quiet, soft-spoken person, fall into the latter camp. No surprise there.

I think that Jane Austen felt that she had already done the spirited, witty, extroverted heroine with Lizzy Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. I am sure that she made a deliberate decision, in Mansfield Park, to try an entirely different kind of heroine. Moreover, I think she also decided to try an inversion of the hero/heroine relationship she had created in her previous novel.

Fanny Price is unlike Lizzy Bennet in many ways, not the least of which is her “quiet, passive manner.” However, Fanny is unlike Lizzy in another, more significant way. Fanny is an observer. She can see what is happening right in front of her, and succeeds in drawing accurate and meaningful conclusions about people and relationships around her. Consider how different this is from Lizzy, who upbraids herself for being “wretchedly blind” when she realizes the value of Mr. Darcy’s affection for her. In contrast, Fanny says to her cousin Edmund, “I was quiet, but I was not blind.” At the conclusion of the novel, we see that Fanny is invariably spot on in her observations of other people. She was right to refuse a marriage proposal from the unprincipled Henry Crawford, and she was right when she saw that Mary Crawford was no matrimonial catch for her cousin Edmund.

However, there is a blind person in Mansfield Park, and that is the hero, Fanny’s cousin Edmund Bertram. He believes himself to be in love with Mary Crawford, when in reality he is infatuated with her charming manners and witty conversation. He dismisses Fanny’s observations about the Crawfords. And most of all, he is blind to the merit of his cousin, Fanny Price, who has been in love with him since childhood.

Just like Lizzy (“wretchedly blind”) and later, Emma Woodhouse (“I seem to have been doomed to blindness”), Edmund isn’t punished for his earlier failure to see and value what was right in front of his nose. He is rewarded with the love of and marriage to his cousin.

So, we see that in Mansfield Park, Jane Austen turns the hero/heroine relationship upside-down. Her heroine, Fanny, is the astute observer, just as are Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley; and the hero, Edmund, is the blind one. I am grateful that Jane Austen achieved something completely different in Mansfield Park, giving us a heroine who is as morally uncompromising and keenly observant as the gentlemen who wield much more power both in the novels and the society they depict.

I just don’t know why we can’t forgive Fanny for being observant and morally righteous, when we are happy to accept that in Darcy and Mr. Knightley. I don’t know why we can’t forgive Edmund for being blind to what’s happening around him, when we are happy to have Lizzy and Emma rewarded for the same fault. Maybe, 200 years later, we’re still uncomfortable with flipping gender roles in this way.

And that, my dears, shows the extraordinary power of Jane Austen.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy

It’s All About the Books

Well, here we all are, back from a holiday weekend. I use the term “back” loosely, though, because I traveled in my favorite way: through books.

Yes, I read at least one book a day this weekend. I did not go to a county fair. I did not go to an airshow. I did not go to an all-day barbecue.

I read. And read. And read. I also did laundry and went to church, but I suspect nobody cares about that. Except possibly my husband and children, who will wear clean clothes this week.

I finished The Light in the Ruins, by Chris Bohjalian, who is now a New Favorite Author of mine. I read Fin & Lady, by Cathleen Schine, and I am definitely finding more of her books the next time I go to the library. I read We Are All Welcome Here, by Elizabeth Berg, and I am probably finding more of her books the next time I go to the library. I read a romance novel, Too Good to Be True, by Kristan Higgins. And you know what?  I think I just may enjoy romance novels more than I thought I did, as long as there is an element of humor and the plot is treated lightly. I read The Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline. I enjoyed it. I liked the way the plot elements came together and it was certainly a page-turner. However, sometimes the voice was off. A character in a prairie town in the 1920’s would not have described children in a schoolhouse as having “hit puberty.”  This, and other errors like it that probably nobody notices except me, prevents me from offering unqualified approval. Niggling imperfections are hard to let go of.

I think that’s all. I read really fast, and I don’t get out much. Both of these are, I imagine, glaringly obvious.

But I still feel that I’m back from the holiday weekend. Because when you think about it, I went a lot of different places.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy

Current Fiction

How many books in a brain?

That is, how many books have you read? How many books have you read that you remember well? Do you know a lot about books and authors you haven’t read?

I’ve been plunging into the topic of readers’ advisory in public libraries, in the hope of someday having a better library job than I have now. And let me tell you, this is a moment in which I am glad that this blog is pseudonymous (and if that isn’t a word, it should be. Oh, good. Merriam-Webster online says it is. Digression over.).

Because sometimes I’m not sure what I think about readers’ advisory practices in libraries. There is this emphasis on keeping current, on genre fiction, and most difficult of all, a dismissive attitude toward knowing about more classic works of literature.

I, for one, would hate to sit there at a reference desk, in a library chock full of books, and admit that I don’t know who wrote Middlemarch. Or that I don’t know which Dickens novel has Philip Pirrip as the protagonist. Or that I don’t know who is the author of the Hercule Poirot mystery stories. There’s a basic level of cultural literacy in the world of books, and knowing something about the classics seems to me to be a basic necessity for achieving that level.

To my mind, classic books have become classics because they have remained popular (okay, popular enough) for decades and centuries. So this designation of “popular fiction” really irritates me. It seems that a lot of public libraries emphasize current popular fiction, sadly at the expense of classic popular fiction. If you’ll allow me the term “classic popular fiction.” And you will, because this is my blog.

Why is thisCan one human brain have a competent knowledge of English literature AND memorize the names and genres of a whole bunch of New York Times bestsellers? How much about books do you really have to know? Do you have to know about books you hate? Well, yes, I suppose you do. But how much can a human brain hold?

Furthermore, lists of bestsellers change all the time. But it will always be true that Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express and that Sherlock Holmes meets John Watson for the first time in Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet.

The idea that providing readers’ advisory services means a constant process of learning and forgetting what’s popular during any given week sounds really exhausting to me.

Maybe I’m being an overachiever and taking all this way too seriously. I do have a tendency to do that.

What do you think? Should “classic popular fiction” be a thing?

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy

The True Queen

I was the very first person to get our public library’s brand new copy of The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen. This is because, even though I usually listen to our local fine arts radio station, one day on the drive to my son’s soccer camp, I tuned in to public radio and hit the last half of a book discussion panel. I requested three books from the library as a result of my small foray into public radio, and I’ve only read one of them. I will probably tune in to public radio again when I’ve finished all three books.

On to The Queen of the Tearling. I admit that a fantasy novel with a strong female protagonist is an easy sell for me. When I think of all those decades and decades of manly, manly fantasy novels, the female protagonist in this genre still feels like a departure from the norm, you know? It was easy for me to remember the title when I heard it, and I was very excited to get it from the library.

The Queen of the Tearling falls neatly into the category of the coming-of-age novel, as well. The leaving behind of the setting of one’s childhood,  the self-doubt, and the self-discovery: they are all there. We know from the beginning that Kelsea, the protagonist and the Queen, has a journey to make and a destiny to fulfill. The details of the characters and the setting of the world through which Kelsea travels are what makes Kelsea’s journey and destiny of particular interest to the reader.

In fact, I would say that the setting, the world Johansen creates for her characters to move through, is what really makes this novel for me. Do you ever wonder what would happen if all of our technology just vanished and we all had to start over, re-learning survival and subsistence skills that had been mastered by previous generations and forgotten by ours? I do sometimes wonder about this, and the setting of this novel shows that Johansen has thought about this too.

Kelsea, brought up in isolation on a farm, has an outsider’s view of this world. She gradually learns about it, but of course it doesn’t end there. Kelsea is the Queen, some say the True Queen, and she not only has to discover the world around her but make decisions about it as well. Far-reaching decisions, the kind that will affect the whole nation of the Tearling.

I think that this is why the fantasy genre has such appeal. The decisions made in a fantasy setting are all just so momentous. Here in twenty-first century America, we are dragging through our existence, coping with petty annoyances and small decisions that don’t feel like they have a very far reach beyond our little lives. Kelsea, on the other hand, has the fate of her nation at the tip of her sword.

I don’t know that I really want my decisions to be all that big and all-encompassing. But it’s nice to escape into a world where you can follow a woman whose decisions move the course of nations.

Thank you, Ms. Johansen, for letting me escape. Can’t wait for the next two books in the trilogy.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie deHoy

31 Best Fictional Characters

Here is my list of 31 Best Fictional Characters.

Parameters include: a character must be the protagonist in the book (no minor characters), a character must be human (no robots from Hitchhiker’s Guide or rabbits from Watership Down), and no characters from children’s books. Also, I’m choosing from novels and short stories, not plays. The toughest parameter, I’m finding, is defining the criteria that qualify each character for “best.” Does “best” mean most likable, most interesting, or most memorable? The safest criterion is “most memorable,” I think, since I’m not going to allow myself to go and look any characters up. If I can’t remember their names, they don’t make the list. I’m already fretting about Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. What was the narrator’s name? What? What? How can I possibly leave her out? Maybe it’ll come to me. The characters are listed in no particular order, except you’ll find my two favorites at the top.

Without further ado, here’s the list:

1) Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen)

2) Dorothea Brooke (Middlemarch, George Eliot)

3) Lucy Honeychurch (A Room with a View, E.M. Forster)

4) Flora Poste (Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbon)

5) Francie Nolan (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith)

6) Bridget Fitzmaurice (Rise and Shine, Anna Quindlen)

7) Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte)

Not much danger of forgetting this character’s name, is there?

8) Margaret Schlegel (Howards End, E.M. Forster)

9) Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens)

10) Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen)

11) Elaine (Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood)

No, I can’t for the life of me remember Elaine’s last name. I’m putting her in. I’m allowed to break my own rules, at least once.

12) Hester Prynne (The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne)

13) Huckleberry Finn (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain)

14) Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell)

15) Jean Louise (Scout) Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee)

16) Iris Chase (The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood)

17) Phillip (Pip) Pirrip (Great Expectations, Charles Dickens)

18) Lesley Frewen (The Flowering Thorn, Margery Sharp)

19) Emma Woodhouse (Emma, Jane Austen)

Look how I’m being so subtle, scattering my Jane Austen characters throughout the list instead of lumping them all together. Subtle!

20) Lord Peter Wimsey (Strong Poison, Dorothy Sayers)

21) Sherlock Holmes (A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle)

22) Clovis Sangrail (Short Stories, Saki)

23) Sandra Foster (Bellwether, Connie Willis)

24) Ned Henry (To Say Nothing of the Dog, Connie Willis)

25) Bertie Wooster (Joy in the Morning, P.G. Wodehouse)

26) Cluny Brown (Cluny Brown, Margery Sharp)

27) Antonia Fremont (The Robber Bride, Margaret Atwood)

28) Anne Elliot (Persuasion, Jane Austen)

29) Becky Sharp (Vanity Fair, William Thackeray)

30) Fanny Price (Mansfield Park, Jane Austen)

Or not so subtle.

31) Undine Spragg (The Custom of the Country, Edith Wharton)

Well, you know, I think that’s it. Of course, I can’t remember the name of the gentleman who was in love with his cousin in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence or the name of the red-haired reporter in Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger. And I *still* can’t remember the name of the narrator in I Capture the Castle. I can remember her dog’s name, for heaven’s sake. It’s Heloise. Why can’t I remember her name???

For some reason, I thought this list would be longer. But it’s another prime number! I love those.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy


Another List!

Today on That Certain Social Media Site I found another list that inspires me to make my own. Because I’m a blogger, and I can.

The Jane Austen Society of North America posted a link to a list of 100 (Oh, look! A nice round number!) Best Fictional Characters. The full title of the list includes “From Sherlock Holmes to Jane Eyre,” which is kind of funny because neither of those characters actually made the list. Dr. Watson got a nod, but Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester are both conspicuous by their absence. Grace Poole, well, you probably wouldn’t expect her anyway.

I was very pleased to find Flora Poste and Margaret Schlegel on the list. And I was disproportionately pleased that someone chose Bigwig from Watership Down (even though I like Blackberry better). I mean, Bigwig is a rabbit in a book where most of the characters are rabbits, for heaven’s sake, but nobody who has read Watership Down will ever forget him. Also, I’ve been worrying a little of late that Watership Down is fading into obscurity. It’s nice to get a shoutout for one of my favorite books when I worry that nobody’s reading it anymore.

You know, I think a better title for their list would have been “Favorite Fictional Characters of 100 Literary People” because that’s really what it is. They don’t define the term “best” at all. Are the best characters the most likable, the ones with which we identify the most, or the most memorable?

Why is it that people who publish lists so rarely define their parameters? Probably because they can get away with being lazy because nobody cares. At least it certainly appears that nobody cares, given the way these lists propagate themselves over the social media. Still, I feel it’s important to maintain standards, even on a silly little Internet blog. So I will thoughtfully consider my parameters before I publish my list of best characters.

As with my previous list, there will be as many characters as I say there are. Lists with round numbers are so last year. Or the year before. In any case, I am so cutting-edge I don’t need round numbers.

Well, you know what’s coming now. I wanted to give you all notice so you can look forward to it.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy

Not Needed

Ah, summer. Social media are just blooming with vacation pictures and advice about Great Beach Reads.

Right, uh-huh. I am currently reading Balzac’s The Country Doctor and I have Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Were next in line. I like reading classics over the summer. I like reading them all year round, really, but I’ve never understood why summer is universally regarded as the time to turn off your brain and read trash. Is it some weird hangover from having summer vacation when we were children?

Anyway, my favorite beach book is George Eliot’s Middlemarch. I often bring Middlemarch on vacation with me, because it’s a book I love and that I can’t finish during my vacation. There’s nothing worse, for me, than finishing my book halfway through my vacation and having nothing to read. Of  course, what always happens is that I have to buy another book to finish out the vacation, but then I have two books to haul around in my luggage and I’m a compulsively light packer. So my copy of Middlemarch is well-traveled indeed. William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair  is another good vacation book, but I contend that Middlemarch is the greater novel. In Vanity Fair, the bad characters stay bad and the good characters stay good and there’s no development. You never know what anybody’s going to do next in Middlemarch, besides which I love Dorothea.

So quit bugging me about Beach Reads. I’m not going to the beach, anyway, this summer.

Because the social media experience often makes me feel bitter and angry, here’s my list of Things I Wish Were Not on the social media. I don’t know how many there will be on this list. There could be quite a lot, I suspect, except I do try to control myself. Here goes:

1) Lists of Great Beach Reads

2) More than one vacation picture from any one vacation. Seriously, we know you’re in the South of France or whatever. We don’t need every detail.

3) Couple double selfies. Or should that be Double couple selfies? Well, you know what I mean. The annoying close-ups of the happy couple just glowing with joy at being framed in an iPhone shot together. Too precious for words, especially for my married peers celebrating double-digit wedding anniversaries. Get a room, guys.

4) Shared posts that try to guilt you into sharing, too, by hinting that anyone who doesn’t go ahead and click that share button is somehow callous or uncaring. Gosh, it’s just sharing some dumb online postcard quotation. No obligation there.

5) Disgusting posts that want to tell about what Mommy found on the floor at 4 am when her child had the stomach flu or what is going on with a two-year-old’s learning curve when she is learning what most two-year-olds learn and what most parents of two-year-olds can’t shut up about. I simply can’t fathom why people reply to posts like this. I mean, ew.

Hey, look! I’ve decided on a nice short list of five things. Believe me, it could go on, as do so many things in the social media. My mother, for example, just forwarded me this immensely long, seemingly-endless nostalgia email of photos depicting pop culture items from the 40s and 50s. And she wants me to share them with my daughter. I, a gen-xer, couldn’t make myself get even halfway through. No way is my millennial daughter spending any serious time scrolling through all that. No way on earth.

So go read a classic novel this summer. Whether you’re on the beach or not.

Love you & leave you,

Hobbie DeHoy