Thursday, December 30, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
This year my ornament sender was incredibly creative! My package was addressed to Emily Webster, the heroine of Emily of Deep Valley, who comes to terms with missing out on a traditional college education when she becomes involved in Deep Valley activities as an adult. Among other things, she befriends the Syrian community, which begins when two boys, Kalil and Yusef, offer to sell her frogs' legs. When Emily realizes that these lively outgoing boys are having a hard time with their American-born classmates, she is determined to help them make friends with children their own age. When she visits their family, she is overwhelmed by the lavish hospitality.
My ornament package, which arrived most appropriately on Christmas Eve, actually included four small glass bowls full of the delicacies offered to Emily by the Syrian families: raisins, dates, nuts, and chocolate beans: Under these carefully wrapped glass bowls (which we unwrapped and immediately sampled) were three beautiful nested boxes (both my mother and I love little boxes so I can't wait to use these). My family watched with interest as each layer was revealed - my nieces and I often open our ornaments together but my parents had never participated in this holiday ritual before:
For thos unfamiliar with the Betsy-Tacy books, Emily of Deep Valley is more of standalone title about one of Betsy's younger friends. It is back in print, in a lovely new edition with a forward from Mitali Perkins, a talented author who has been a delightful recruit to the Boston area Betsy-Tacy fans. Even if you haven't read the other Betsy-Tacy books, Emily of Deep Valley will appeal to teen and adult readers who love a good coming of age story.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Paula Deen’s potatoes would simply not mash (my mother said I should have relied on Mark Bittman instead, which is true, especially given that I have met him and supplied the rest of the family with HTCE);
The stuffing tasted good but didn’t hold together;
The sourdough bread was delicious but was frozen in the middle (I blame this on Wholefoods because again I followed the directions);
The salad was wilted (luckily, no one seemed interested in salad);
The items my mother prepared – her special spinach and sour cream apple pie – were delicious.
I made the first fire in my fireplace and it set off the smoke detector – and the home security system! (yes, I should have waited until the chimney man came to look at the flue; now I know it really does need that missing lever);
I swear I used every plate and every pot in the house, which was a problem because
The brand new disposal resented all the potato peelings and sent them back up the other side of the sink - every time I ran it or used the dishwasher;
The rod in the coat closet (a nice wooden one) broke due to the weight of the coats;
There was more, but these are the highlights.
Luckily, my parents are the opposite of critical, and didn't even complain about the frigid house.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I didn't know what this book was about when I started reading, and usually I avoid books about rape but I thought this was quite well done. My only criticism was that Alex seemed far too mature for her age and not as traumatized by her experience as I would have expected (although her efforts to avoid Carter were well described and it showed how little the school paid attention that she was able to skip meals for weeks without any administrators noticing - don't boarding schools watch for eating disorders in this day and age?). I was also a little surprised by Alex's graphic language, which made her seem tougher and more caustic than seemed in character, but this is not a book for younger teens.
I enjoyed the Mockingbirds (which turns out to be book 1 in a series) and the group's vision of justice, but of course I would not want to be on the wrong side of any group of self-righteous teens (as could happen if they got it wrong). I also liked the way Alex began to remember the details of the fateful night and did not conveniently remember a version she would have preferred but faced her demons squarely, both Carter and his cronies as well as her own memory - and finally found a trustworthy adult to confide in, although that was more for her own comfort than because the adult was going to "fix" the situation.
I received a copy of this book at NEIBA, the New England Independent Booksellers' Association.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
In this photo, left to right, front row: Laurie, JA, Elizabeth; left to right, back row: I am blanking on the woman on the left, then I, Linda, and Ilene. Joan signed several books for me including the only hardcover I had with me, below:
Friday, September 3, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
It is a store I have spent a lot of time in, and where I have met many authors, including Philip Pullman. I was there the night it opened on Oct. 20, 1995 (with Karen Patterson, and I think our friend Helen), and I remember I saw one of my worst enemies coming up the escalator and hoped she wouldn't ruin my night (she left quickly, too cheap to buy anything). I found a faced out quantity of some classic book on tractors published by Motorbooks, and complained indignantly that whatever car book I had at that time was woefully underrepresented. That was when I learned that tractors are very popular in New York! I never figured that one out - could they all have been gag gifts?
Friday, August 27, 2010
What is the proper response to someone who asks, "What do you do every day? What do you do with your time?"
This is an unfortunate attempt to start a conversation, as it implies that the person being queried might be useless. Should you not be willing to overlook this, Miss Manners recommends, "I lie on the couch and read trashy novels and eat bonbons."
I love Miss Manners - like Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, she always knows!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I recommend I’d Know You Anywhere, which I read for the TLC Book Tour, but you should also go back to the Baltimore Blues and become acquainted with feisty Tess Monaghan. Here is a fun link to a Washington Post interview that my friend KC Summers did with Laura several years ago, exploring Baltimore. I also liked this link from Laura's website which describes some of Laura’s favorite children’s books (I love Edward Eager too and am glad my college remembers him with an annual creative writing prize). Laura usually mentions a kidlit favorite in her books, and here it is the Oz books.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
What a compelling yet painful story! From the first page Lulu and Merry have distinctive voices, but Lulu has the added burden of knowing she is the sensible sister, and, moreover, at a very young age she knows she is responsible for Merry. Not only does she have to cope with guilt about the death of her mother and injury to Merry but she can never stop worrying about Merry’s well-being. It is no wonder that she copes by focusing on her immediate problems, refusing to visit her father in prison or even acknowledge that at some point in the future he may be released; instead coming up with a plan that will get both her and Merry out of a violent group home to a facsimile of a normal life.
Fans of Jodi Picoult, in particular, will enjoy this talented new author, who has vividly created memorable and complicated sisters who cope with their pain differently but cannot cope alone. You know you care about characters when you start talking to them, and begging them not to make certain mistakes! There were so many interesting, although at times disturbing, elements that I stayed up late two nights in a row to finish. In particular, I liked that the girls squabbled like normal sisters, rather than having some idealized relationship. It was a unique relationship but with its own unwritten rules – for example, that Merry will visit her father and try to talk about him to Lulu and Lulu will pretend he doesn’t exist and refuse to listen. I was also fascinated by the fact that once Lulu wangled a new home for her and Merry she was unable to relax and try to enjoy the situation, although she knew it would have been more comfortable for her, Merry, and the family that had taken them in, were she able to ingratiate herself a little bit, or at least, not antagonize her benefactors. Whether it is worry about her father that she bottles up inside or bitterness at feeling forced to be grateful, Lulu never takes the predictable route. Then, just when I hoped Lulu was taken care of, I had to start worrying about Merry, getting entangled with very inappropriate men, chain smoking! Couldn’t these sisters get a break? And that’s before the not-very-repentant father is released from prison . . . Meyers makes it clear there are no easy happy-ever-afters for survivors of domestic abuse. She does so in a way that is very convincing.
Without giving away any more of the plot, I urge you to find a copy of this book yourself. Prepare to cry when two little girls lose both parents, prepare to worry as Lulu and Merry grow up and deal with the scars of their childhood, and prepare to stay up late until you finish. . .
Friday, July 30, 2010
And what is your favorite Heyer? Mine are Devil's Cub, The Grand Sophy, Frederica, and Venetia. I am so pleased that Sourcebooks is reissuing them with lovely new covers (although there is no room for any more duplicates on my shelves).
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Former Cincinnati Bengals football player and children's book collector Pat McInally will put several rare early editions of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland up for auction. The books, including a copy that once belonged to 10-year-old Alice Liddell herself, are "expected to fetch up to £90,000 (US$147,416)," BBC News reported.
"I think it is the most important children's book ever written... so finding a book given to Alice by Lewis Carroll was really exciting," said McInally, who is parting with his copies to make room for the real focus of his collecting--Winnie-the-Pooh books.
"I'm hoping to use some of the money I get from this sale on more books by A.A. Milne at a sale coming up soon in London," he added.
McInally is also renowned, in certain circles, for having achieved a perfect score on the Wonderlic test, which is given to NFL prospects.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Rosalind Denny is a sorrowful young widow, still in mourning for her husband, Gilbert, formerly Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs with a promising career ahead of him. Eighteen months ago Gilbert committed suicide and Rosalind does not know why but she is certain he was blackmailed. She is unaware that other young men in similar political positions have been disgraced in similar ways, but when Gilbert’s former assistant, Jeremy Ware, is targeted by an unknown enemy Rosalind is forced out of her depression to help him clear his name.Patricia Wentworth is best known for her elderly sleuth, Miss Silver, a retired governess turned private detective, and her standalone mysteries were reprinted less frequently so I had never come across this one. Because Rosalind still depressed from the loss of her husband she is not a fun or lively heroine, which casts a cloud over the novel. As it turns out, the plot is fairly predictable but enjoyable as are all Wentworth's books. In addition, this book is notable because of two recurring characters.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I tried to think of something else to buy and certainly the store was full of lovely books (especially the history and cookbook sections) but as I am hoping to move this summer it did not really make sense to buy a nonessential that I would simply have to pack.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Mr. Tumnus told her about the midnight dances and how the Nymphs who lived in the wells and the Dryads who lived in the trees came out to dance with the Fauns; about long hunting parties after the milk-white stag who could give you wishes if you caught him . . .
Monday, July 5, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
What do you think? If done properly, it might be delightful. . .
Sunday, June 13, 2010
The personalities of the children are what make this book so interesting on many levels. Author Borden Deal makes the children very distinct: Ashley is the oldest, a worrier, bossy, not always able to control her siblings (we oldest know how frustrating this is); Brett is brilliant but unnerving to adults because of his many inconvenient questions; and Shane is self-centered and spoiled. Ashley is portrayed as heavy-set and asthmatic, and she also has a weak foot, but as the oldest and the best at interacting with grownups she is the leader of the group. Oddly, Deal named the children in the book after his own real-life children – presumably with their physical descriptions and failings (even more oddly, it appears he had four children – so why leave one out? Perhaps born later with his second wife?). And I am quite sure I would never forgive my father for describing my weight in a book, if I had been an overweight child (although days of interminable walking and meager rations work as a miracle diet on Ashley, maybe this was annoying to the real life version).
Although I used to think I knew every children’s book ever written, I had never encountered this 1965 novel until my friend Lisa told me it was one of her favorites, inspiring me to buy my own copy from Alice Billheimer's magical trove. It was a great read, very hard to put down, and I recommend it. I do wonder if Voigt (born 1942 in Boston and a Smith alumna, which I did not know) ever read it and how she would compare it to her own work.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Some of the secrets in Millwood are painfully obvious to an adult reader – that Florence’s father is a member of the Klan and that her mother drives around in the darkness warning local black communities on the nights of the raids; that her grandparents recognized Florence’s father was white trash from the beginning but feel they cannot interfere in a marriage, even to protect their daughter and granddaughter (and perhaps they do not realize how serious the danger is); and that something dreadful is going to happen, not just to Medgar Evers but to the innocent newcomer, Zenie’s niece, Eva Greene.
Eva tells a shopkeeper on the black side of town that change is coming: “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but a change going to come. Look at Harmony, over in Leake County. They brought in Medgar Evars and the NAACP and the Justice Department people, and they’re finally starting to get registered.” I am proud that my father, Gordon A. Martin, Jr., was one of those Justice Department lawyers, working for Robert Kennedy and John Doar, assisting courageous men and women in Hattiesburg, Mississippi prepare testimony in pursuit of their right to vote. My father tells their story in Count Them One By One: Black Mississippians Fighting for the Right to Vote (coming next fall from the University Press of Mississippi), the story of the United States v. Theron Lynd, an important civil rights trial in Mississippi which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 - which my father calls the greatest civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction. Like fictional Eva, these real and very brave witnesses risked their lives for a cause they believed in more than personal safety.
One of my greatest fears, as I read Queen of Palmyra late at night, was that no one would step up to protect Florence from her increasingly violent father, although I was unsure whether he would kill her or rape her. One of my favorite parts of the book was when a character I had dismissed as weak and willfully blind mustered her wits to protect Florence. In the novel’s greatest irony, it is Zenie, her grandmother’s maid, who realizes Florence is being physically abused by her father, although Zenie is unable to protect her own niece from that same individual and Florence's own family has ignored her struggles.
Is this a novel of hope or of shame? Is Eva Greene, the catalyst of the violent events of the summer, or would they have occurred anyway? I don’t want to spoil the story for those who haven’t read it so I will leave these questions for the moment, and instead recommend the book highly for those interested in a novel that is painful yet irresistible. I think it is a perfect book group selection as there are so many issues to discuss.
This review is part of the TLC Book Tour. Thank you to HarperCollins (publisher of the beloved Betsy-Tacy books) for providing me with a copy of this book (although I wish it had come with a slice of Florence's mother's lemon cake with divinity icing!). I look forward to more from this author.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Joanna Griscom spent years volunteering at the Cary Memorial Library in Lexington, MA (where my former author Cynthia Johnson is a librarian - I keep meaning to call her) among other activities. The library director was quoted in the article, describing Ms. Griscom as unsung hero for her work on the board of the library foundation.
Another obituary, for Candy Jenkins, a historical preservation professional and Smith alumna, stated that she was "[a] voracious reader. . . [she] had three library cards, for Belmont, a statewide network, and libraries on Cape Cod." Books "came in and out of [her home] in wheelbarrows."
It is comforting that the friends and family whose memories inspired these obituaries recognized how important books were to these women. I hope when it's my turn people can describe my books without mentioning messy piles on the floor (perhaps by then they will be shelved with beautiful Dewey Decimal precision).
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
"Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill."
I have always been a big fan of Barbara Tuchman, who like me, majored in History and Literature at Radcliffe. Now I see she may have cribbed this quote from Henry David Thoreau, which is not proper historian behavior (although it is not unknown historian behavior)! Perhaps the quote was simply wrongly attributed to her.
"Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business." Thoreau
(1817 - 1862)
Seriously, is anyone going to say her Kindle is a carrier of civilization?
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
To the surprise and delight of many book lovers, Betsy has been counting down from 100 to 1 all the books that were voted on and her installments are eagerly anticipated. She has done an amazing job of including background on books and I also love the assortment of cover treatments she has included. Inevitably, her list has caused me to make my own lists: books I forgot to include, books I need to reread, books I never read, one book I never even heard of! Although her countdown is not done, I assembled a list of the books I have not read thus far. It was more extensive than I expected. Some are books that were published relatively recently. My nieces have read several I have not and helpfully lent me a couple they owned. I hope to have all 100 read before Betsy has the energy to ask for our top ten YA favorites (that list, I think will be more heavily skued toward recent pubs).
Here is my unread list (partial) of the Top 100:
97. Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane/DiCamillo #
96. The Witches/Dahl #
91. Sideways Stories from the Wayside School / Sachar #
80. Graveyard Book / Gaiman
77. City of Ember / DuPrau (I never even heard of this book!)
76. Out of the Dust / Hesse
68. Walk Two Moons/Creech #
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher/Coville
64. A Long Way from Chicago / Peck
61. Stargirl / Spinelli
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins / Paterson #
54. The BFG /Dahl #
53. The Wind in the Willows /Grahame
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret /Selznick *
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins / O’Dell #
49. Frindle/Andrew Clements #
47. Bud Not Buddy / Curtis
46. Where the Red Fern Grows/ Rawls
37. Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry #
34. The Watsons Go to Birmingham #
26. Hatchet /Paulsen (other than Arthur Ransome, I don't really like books with too much nature in them)
I really have no interest in The Wind of the Willows and did not like Harriet the Spy (which I sense will rank pretty high), so it may be a challenge to read all 100 but I am motivated. . .
# Indicates a book read by one or more nieces: nice for them to provide reading guidance to me for a change.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
There are nine mentions of fudge in Heaven to Betsy, so you know how important it was to Maud Hart Lovelace, but even before I brought the Betsy-Tacy books home for the whole family to read, my mother always gave up candy for Lent, and it was a tradition that we made fudge on Mardi Gras. To me that was just as important (not to mention religious) a ritual of the Easter season as anything! We always used the recipe from the Mystery Chef, a popular radio cooking host from the 40s to whom my grandmother used to listen - long before the Cooking Channel was envisioned.
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grease an 8 by 8-inch pie plate with butter. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, chocolate, and milk. Over medium heat, stir until sugar is dissolved and chocolate is melted. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 6 minutes, add butter, simmer for another 6 minutes. Begin testing a tiny spoonful in a custard or tea cup of cold water as mixture continues to cook. It may take several times before it forms a soft ball. Remove from heat, cool until it's just barely hot, add vanilla and beat until well-blended and the shiny texture becomes matte. Pour into the prepared pan. Let sit in cool dry area until firm.
Don't put the fudge outside to cool or those Deep Valley boys might swipe it!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
All discussion of football in juvenile fiction must begin with Family Grandstand by Carol Ryrie Brink, which I found in my elementary school library. Set in a midwestern college town, the story delightfully depicts the Ridgeway family's absorption with the fortunes of the team and its star quarterback, Tommy Tokarynski. One of my favorite parts was how George, the only son, tries to make money parking cars in the family driveway during football games as they live just a few blocks from campus. I often thought that my family's involvement with college hockey was a lot like the Ridgeways' fun with football in this book. Also in my school library were many books by Carolyn Haywood,which I read repeatedly until I discovered the other Betsy. I remember in Betsy and the Boys Betsy is told she can't play football with her friends. Betsy fights back, saying girls can do anything but it takes help from the kindly policeman Mr. Kilpatrick - who points out that the person who comes up with a football will be welcomed to the game, and finds a football for Betsy in his attic - which she brings triumphantly to the game. On the new cover, the tagline reads "The best boy on the team . . . is a girl!"
Two authors prominently displayed at the school library were Walter Brooks's books about Freddy the Pig, including Freddy Plays Football (in which Freddy joins a high school football team), and the prolific Matt Christopher who has written a book about every sport imaginable with at least 80 under his belt. The one I remember is Touchdown for Tommy which was about an orphan, another favorite theme. This may have been Christopher's first book.
While I suffered deeply with Tippy Parrish when her boyfriend dies in the Korean War, it was hard to understand why she thought her patient friend Peter Jordon was so dull (portrayed that way by Janet Lambert, I guess). After all, he was a big football star at West Point and could doubtless have dated dozens of girls less tearful than Tippy! For those who never read Janet Lambert, her Parrish and Jordon books, which follow two military families from World War II to (improbably) the 70s, are back in print from Image Cascade. She made West Point sound like such a magical place as her heroines dashed up the Hudson from New York City for football games and dances that I yearned to see it for myself. It was a big thrill in college when our football team traveled to West Point: the team practiced in famous Michie Stadium and we ate in the cadets' mess hall (I saw no hazing, unlike all my favorite stories).
As well as reading all the Janet Lamberts I could find (although it was not until I was an adult that I was able to hunt down and own all 53 of her books), I read the old boys' series books about young men attending West Point and Annapolis. It is not clear to me who the Dick Prescott and Dave Darrin books by H. Irving Hancock ( 1866?-1922) that I found in the attic belonged to. I think they came from my father's childhood home but they were published long before he was born and I doubt he read them. Perhaps they belonged to my great-aunt Lillian's brother Lawrence. In any case, both Dick and his high school friend Dave were gridiron heroes. I also read the slightly more recently published series about Clint Lane, also a West Point cadet and football player, but Clint has such trouble with math that he is forced to quit the team to concentrate on his studies, much to his chagrin. This series was written by Colonel Red Reeder who played football at West Point himself (class of '26) and after WWII became the athletic director at his alma mater.
Ralph Maddox is the football star in Betsy and Joe whose arrival may bring glory to the Deep Valley High school team if he can get over his disinclination to be tackled. Betsy knows little about football but enjoys going to games with the girls as a crowd because all the boys they know except Joe are on the team. I didn't know until many years later that Maud Hart Lovelace knew little about football herself and let her husband write all the sports bits.
In contrast to the romanticized descriptions of football from my childhood is Carl Deuker's Gym Candy, a YA title published in 2007 about a high school freshman who wants to get playing time on the football team so turns to steroids for a competitive edge.
Most recently, I became a huge fan of DJ Schwenk, the heroine of Catherine Gilbert Murdock's trilogy that begins with Dairy Queen. DJ is a quiet teen from a family that barely talks at all. However, the whole family loves football: the cows on their farm are named after famous pros, DJ's older brothers earned football scholarships to Big Ten colleges, and Mr. Schwenk is credited with training his sons so is asked to help the quarterback from the rival high school get ready for preseason. DJ is a talented athlete who had to quit basketball her sophomore year to help on the farm. She realizes that once she has prepared Brian Nelson to be a starting quarterback she has also got herself into prime quarterback condition, and decides she can play football too, even if she is a girl. What she doesn't realize is that this rivalry will destroy a relationship that was just developing between her and Brian.
I'm sure I am forgetting some I've liked - please let me know if you think of others!
Thursday, February 4, 2010
"Please be advised that the Department has determined that the posting for this position will be rescinded. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."
Happily, I had not put my life on hold waiting for an interview so was not inconvenienced, thank you.
Forget about hiring lawyers, I think Massachusetts had better hire some more sophisticated/competent Human Resources personnel. After all, if you are going to wait 14 months to get back to your applicants, wouldn't it be more cost efficient not to waste $.44 on a stamp at this point? By then, they are not expecting to hear from you. Those stamps are coming out of my taxes, and I would rather you spent that money on the Commonwealth's health care plan.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
1-A Little Princess/Burnett (all my favorite genres in one: orphans, historical fiction, school story)
2-Anne of Green Gables/Montgomery (the ultimate orphan)
3-A Traveler in Time/Uttley (time travel, and one of my other favorite things, Elizabethan England)
4-Betsy-Tacy series (if I had to pick just one, I guess Betsy and Joe)
5-Masha/Mara Kay (not very well known but adored by anyone who read it, orphans and school story)
6-Charlotte Sometimes/Farmer (school story and time travel and I think she’s an orphan too)
7-The Wolves of Willoughby Chase/Aiken (orphans almost always a theme with Aiken)
8-Ballet Shoes/Streatfeild (although Skating Shoes a close second) (more orphans)
9-Knight’s Castle/Eager (although it is hard to pick my favorite Eager between this and Seven Day Magic and The Time Garden)
10-Diamond in the Window/Langton (yet more orphans)
Time at the Top/Ormondroyd
The Lark and the Laurel/Willard (first in one of my all time favorite series)
The Prydain series/Alexander
Emily series/Montgomery (Powell’s has these in YA but AOGG in middle grades-as a series I like these better but AOGG beats them out individually)
Emmy Keeps a Promise/Chastain
Autumn Term/Forest (I am tempted to count this but did not read it until grown up)
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Dawn (boldly grabbing the knight's sword), Deva (blowing a kiss), and Constance
Barb, Susann, and Nicole
Carla describes how she tried to purloin (the sadly MIA) KathyB's secret celebrity crush, who even sang for her before autographing Lights Over Broadway!
Jen D-K displays the autograph from Brian Stokes Mitchell while we moan with envy!
Jen D-K and Julie M
Nicole, Susan R, and Deva (who later showed us the cover of her new book!). It was the first time Deva met us so we hope we didn't scare her! Not everyone can handle the truth (I mean, the cult).