Summer Reading, pt.5
“View from the Waiting Room” author Julie Sneider
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-prize winning story about social justice and racial prejudice in the American South during the Jim Crow-era. Murphy’s book and accompanying documentary explores Mockingbird’s lasting influence and power in American culture and its growing popularity and influence in Europe. A series of celebrations across the country this summer will mark Mockingbird’s anniversary, including July 11 at Books and Company in Oconomowoc.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
American historian and prolific author Schlesinger, who died in 2007, was best known for his association with President John F. Kennedy and his administration. Through this collection of Schlesinger’s letters and journals, the book offers a unique inside look at some of the most important historical events of the last half of the 20th Century.
This author’s debut novel is set in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi during the early 1960s, and chronicles the intertwined lives of three women – one white and two African-American – in the segregated South.
Contributor Jennifer Kaufman
Long-time rock journalist Jancee Dunn comes from a warm and close family where every decision is made by committee — and by committee, she means her parents and her two sisters. Ms. Dunn covers this topic with both candor and humor in her book of essays Why is My Mother Getting a Tattoo? To Dunn and her sisters, their mother seems like the last person to get inked. She’s a grandmother, lives in the suburbs and belongs to the local gardening club.
Does Dunn ever figure it out? Perhaps, but she also learns the value of family closeness and family input even when it comes to the very life-altering decision of having a child of her own.
This story follows Edward Zanni and his friends set against the backdrop of 1980s suburban New Jersey. A total theater geek, Edward has one dream and that’s to get into New York’s famed Juilliard School. However, his stern father refuses to pay for something as sissy as drama school. Undeterred, Edward employs his friends in getting the money from his father, which requires some rather unethical behavior including embezzlement, forgery and blackmail. But then again, one must go to great lengths to make a dream come true.
Not only does Edward have to come up with money for school, he also has to come to terms with his homosexuality. He tries to stay true to his high school girlfriend, Kelly, but finds himself drawn to the very attractive (and very straight) Doug.
Attack of the Theater People
In this sequel to How I Paid for College, Edward and his friends are two years older, but not exactly wiser. Edward has just been kicked out of the famed Juilliard for being “too jazz hands for Juilliard.” Desperate to make money and also to fuel his flair for performing, Edward gets a job as a “party motivator,” entertaining guests at bar mitzvahs and corporate events. Before long he meets Chad Severson, a rich and handsome stockbroker who gets him into insider trading. Way too smitten, Edward has no idea he’s involved in illegal activities. Fortunately, he has his high school friends to help him get out of another bind.
Both of Acito’s tales are great summer reads for theater geeks, children of the 1980s or any fan of the absurdly funny.