Summer Reading List

Writing historical fiction is just as much about reading as it is writing (and re-writing).  My current reading list:

1. Slaves, Peasants and Rebels: Reconsidering Brazilian Slavery by Stuart B. Schwarz

2.  Greenwich Village And How It Got That Way by Terry Miller

3.  Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked The Gay Revolution by David Carter

4. Children of God’s Fire: A documentary History of Black Slavery in Brazil (when it arrives from Amazon)

5. And, on the recommendation of my friend Elizabeth, I am also reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions On Writing And Life by Anne Lamott

The books are proving to be immensely helpful, and I am kicking myself for not buying the books earlier.  I tried to be frugal and borrow books from the library, but ultimately, I ended up paying more in late fees than I did for all these books combined.  Moreover, I was having the most difficult time finding books that I needed in the libraries.

Now, what I wish I was reading:Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris.  Its the first book in the series that was adapted into the series True Blood.  I’m addicted to the show.  But, when I am done reading these other books, I will treat myself to a Sookie Stackhouse novel.

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I’m sorry I wasn’t there…

Just hours after I wrote my last post, my mother called to tell me that my grandmother had died.  It was a shock.  In fact, for me, it was unfathomable.  I couldn’t cry.  I couldn’t believe that she was gone, even though we had to leave immediately for San Francisco to be with my aunts and help with the preparations.

My grandmother was by no means young.  But at 81 years old, she wasn’t frail either – or so I thought.  Every time the doctor diagnosed her with some form of ailment, she took charge of her health, cutting out salt,  turning her back on sugar, losing weight, even exercising.  She was meticulous about her health, writing every direction and every prescription down, and calling my aunt, who is a nurse, every time she had a question.  And she never complained.  Maybe that is why I had no idea that her kidneys had been failing, or that fluid was building up in her legs.  Maybe that is why I didn’t know she had a heart condition that ultimately led to the heart attack that killed her.

Or maybe I didn’t know because I hadn’t called her.  Or maybe it was because I missed her birthday this year.  Admittedly, I took my grandmother for granted.  I honestly didn’t expect to see her leave so soon…

I wrote my grandmother’s obituary for the funeral.  It was a very unfortunate time to learn so much about her.  But the one thing that I did learn, was that my grandmother enjoyed writing poetry.

This post is dedicated to my grandmother.  I’m sorry I wasn’t there…

The waves, growling at the bottom of the sea

Came crawling so proudly and bore

Like the waves of a crashing tree,

As she wash the face of the shore.


As the wind goes howling over the sea

She looks like a mountain of snow

And roars like a drove of bees

As she wash the face of the shore.


Now, the sea is calm as a soft breeze

While the little birds come gliding ashore

I still hear the moaning of the sea,

As she wash the face of the shore.

~Ola Mae Hall (Hunter)