Monday, November 15, 2010

Steve and Bev...not to be confused with Steve and Edie

Last week, I got a surprise phone call from a customer who I am happy to call a friend. Her name is Fran, and she called to tell us that she turns 91 this week. Good for her.
When Fran first walked into our Washington Street location fourteen or so years ago, there was no doubt this was a special person. I remember thinking she could be the secret offspring of a Kathryn Hepburn and Ernest Hemingway liaison. Her tiny frame was all decked out in fishing attire - vest, man's fishing hat, boots flopping as she walked. Then she spoke. A lovely, smoky sound asked for poetry, and that started it all.

For the past few years, Fran has not been able to get to us, but she calls frequently, and three or four times a year, she sends a nice picture of what she sees from her windows on Sandy Bay Road. She told us about her husband, and we heard the tears in her voice as she shared details of his illness. We have gotten to know Fran's son, a holistic doctor, and her good friend, Kathy, who runs errands...including picking up books for Fran.
My first employees were fortunate to know and enjoy Fran, and current employees read her letters. I think one or two have been lucky enough to answer the phone and find Fran at the other end.
I hope that each and every one of you has a Fran in your life. Thanks Fran, for all the warmth and smiles you have brought to us over the years.
*****And...thanks to Steve for being such a loyal guest blogger and swell friend!

Have you ever caught the last 30 minutes of a movie and wished you had seen the entire film? That was my reaction upon completing The Ignorance of Blood by Robert Wilson. I knew from the book jacket this was the last in a four book series set in Seville, Spain with Inspector Javier Falcon as the protagonist. In the final installment, Falcon is following up on his pledge to find the persons responsible for the June 6th Seville bombings while investigating the graphic accidental death of a Russian mafia figure operating in Spain. He is also caught between Spanish, English, and American intelligence services as the liaison for an undercover operative in a Muslim radical group who will only deal with Falcon. And then there is his girlfriend and her kidnapped youngest son, probably taken because of something Falcon has done.

Amid all this action are descriptions and background of Seville and Andalusia, the state or province at the southern most part of Spain. The area sounds like a paradise in spite of vicious politics, crime, and corruption. A full cast of supporting characters are at work for the good guys, policemen, judges, crime scene technicians, intelligence officers, and elected officials. The bad guys are composed of two feuding factions attempting to control drugs, prostitution, construction trades, and more in the region.

As the title suggestion, there is an underlying element of family relationship in this book. The things family members will do to protect and defend children and relatives. Falcon faces his own willingness to sacrifice principles while discovering the complexity of a twisted family tree.

This book is primarily an action based novel although the characters are well developed and believable. I fully expect the three earlier books, The Blind Man of Seville, The Vanishing Hands, and The Hidden Assassins, would have provided even more texture and background to the climax of this quartet. I look forward to making time to see the rest of this film.

As mentioned in the previous review, I did witness a 'movement piece' presented by a university-based student group of Dante's "The Inferno". Many films have attempted to depict the circles of hell with varying success, "What Dreams May Come" with Robin Williams among them. Watching 12 actors helped by lighting, props, incredible make-up, and choreography make the descent into the 9 circles of Hell was stunning and exhausting. Since this was an original work by a senior drama student it will probably not come to a theater near you. Which is why we must always pay attention to the arts offerings around us, not letting rare opportunities pass by from our own neglect. Support the performing arts. Please.
My apologies to Keith Richards for bashing his book, Life, prematurely. I actually learned a lot about post-war life in England. Of course, that was between all the debauchery!
*****Keep an eye on our events blog for info on our Dec. 16 book signing with Amy Hanten. If you're up early, you can watch her cooking her heart out on WLUK-TV.
So, it's Thanksgiving week. And, in the spirit of the holiday, let me say thanks for your friendship and support over the years. LaDeDa should have been a statistic by year three, but you didn't let that happen. Our store is healthy and strong (but the owner is a disheveled mess!) thanks to you. The best thing about the book-biz (at least our take on it) is that people know they can stop by for some chatter without any expectations. I am the luckiest!
Lakeshore Holiday Parade on Wednesday. Macy's thanksgiving Day Parade on Wednesday...with all those great cuts from B'way show. And turkey. Life is good.

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