Of Tom Hanks, Publishing, and Your Summer Must List

In a recent issue of a Entertainment Weekly, celebrities were asked to name MY SUMMER MUST LIST.  Bravo for Tom, in listing BOOKS, BOOKs, BOOKS as one of his.

  Here’s what he wrote:  “I still carry a bag of books around all summer, as I am not enamored with the tactile experience of reading books on Kindles or iPads.  (Magazines, scripts, and newspapers, sure, but my policy on books is: Buy, Read, Keep.)  Waiting for a plane?  Book it.  Kids frolicking safely in the surf?  Check on them as you turn the page.  Fried clams taking forever to hit the table?  Finish a chapter.”

I have lovely memories of my son receiving gifts of books as a child.  What’s the first thing he’d do?  Crack it open, press his nose into the middle and inhale deeply.   The euphoria on his face said it all.

I love the smell of books too.  So does my dog.  At least the ones that come from used bookstores and the library, where many hands have touched them. 

Upon coming home, books in my arms, I’ll call to her. “Zoie!  I’ve got library books!”  She’ll zoom from her bed and bound over to the stack I’ve placed on the floor, like I’ve presented her a T-bone steak. 

Our favorite activity?  While I read these very books, after she thoroughly checks them out with her good sniffs, Zoie will curl up in my lap for a snooze.  

And what about the touch of the book itself?  The feel of the crisp paper, the joy of completion upon reading page after page.  The weight of the book in your hands; running your hands over the cover to feel its texture. Does it feel smooth?  Are the letters of the title raised? 

I will agree that for some huge weighty books, like the book recently released containing Mark Twain’s wonderful words and wit,  an electronic device would have been more convenient than setting it upon a pillow.  But then it would have deprived me of bragging rights.  Oh, poor me . . . (cue violin music) . . . holding up that huge book . . .

But I agree with Tom.  The actual book itself is an experience to be enjoyed.

My Summer Must List: 

1. Books: 

Besides reading a pile of books for research on a current project I’m writing, I’d love to take a break and read Betty White’s book, If You Ask Me:  (And of Course You Won’t) because I’ve always admired her work with animals and her work as a comedic actress.

Countdown, by Deborah Wiles, is about the 1960s Cold War era, and everything by this incredible author is terrific so I can’t wait to read this one.   This probably will be my first reward after I get some of my research done.

Modoc, The True Story of the Greatest Elephant that Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer.  A biography set at the turn of the century, I’ve heard wonderful things about this story and can’t wait to read it. 

2.  Movies

My goal is to see more old movies, because the scripts are delightful.  As I watch them, I pay attention to the story and character development just as I do when I read a book.

Movies I need to re-watch . . . Born Yesterday, Bringing up Baby, It Happened One Night,  Strangers on a Train,  oh my gosh. I shouldn’t get started.

I suppose I should actually go OUT to see a movie too.  Locally, we have a marvelous old theater with a huge screen that we adore.  A couple of weekends ago we saw Midnight in Paris, a must for anyone who loves literature and/or art.  If you can get past Owen Wilson always acting like Owen Wilson, it’s a terrific lose-yourself-in-the-film time.  I especially enjoyed Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein.

3.  Spend time in nature.  In WARM nature. 

I love the warm weather, and I’m hoping our Northern California’s cold rainy May and early June will soon change.  But even if it doesn’t, long walks and communing with our natural parks and trails is on my must-do this summer. 

4.  Visit historical sites.  Local history in small towns is everywhere and it’s fascinating.    Talking with locals who have lived in one place forever are not only entertaining but the anecdotes and details may flavor one’s writing in the future.

___________________________

Check out this great blog about writing and publishing:

 The Passive Voice.  http://www.thepassivevoice.com/

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2 Responses to “Of Tom Hanks, Publishing, and Your Summer Must List”

  1. Susan Taylor Brown Says:

    I absolutely bawled at Modoc but it was terrific.

    I recommend for the sheer joy that is his writing and his characterization, Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt.

  2. lizbooks Says:

    Thanks for the book suggestion, Susan. Gary Schmidt is the best, isn’t he? Since I haven’t read OKAY FOR NOW, I’ll put it on my list too!

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