1. What are you currently reading? Being Elvis: A Lonely Life by Ray Connolly. I know that there's probably little new for me to learn about The King. Yet I'm enthusiastic about this book. So far, like his Being John Lennon: A Restless Life, Connolly is presenting a balanced, clear-eyed but still affectionate view of his life. As with the Lennon book, it's the context here as much as the content.
And speaking of John, Being Elvis begins with a charming anecdote. In 1970, Connolly and John Lennon had an interview scheduled. At this time, the Beatles were in the news because of their break-up. All Lennon wanted to talk about was how Connolly had just seen Elvis' comeback in Vegas: Was Scotty with him? Did he do "Let's Play House?" Was he fat? (Cheeky, John!) At about this same time, Connolly was completely unprepared for a spur-of-the-moment phone interview with Bob Dylan. Grasping for something to say, he mentioned seeing Elvis' comeback in Vegas. Dylan became animated, peppering him with questions: Was Scotty with him? Did he sing "Mystery Train?" Dylan offered that Elvis' cover of "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" was his favorite version of any song he'd written, by any artist. Connolly found a cool way to remind us it's impossible to overestimate Elvis' impact on modern music.
2. What did you recently finish reading? The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Shattering. I reread this book for the first time in 25 years and it delivered a gut punch. Anne is so alive in her diary. By turns buoyant and regretful, sad and silly. A teenage girl like any other -- except, of course, for her remarkable gift for storytelling. It is her universality that makes her story unbearable. You know her. You were her. Her fate is unbearable.
What I'm about to say may sound superficial, but it's how I felt upon finishing her last entry: I'm so sorry Anne died a virgin. This girl had such a healthy curiosity about her body, mens' bodies and sex. It makes me sad that she was deprived that basic physical satisfaction. And yes, motherhood and a career. Of course. She had much to offer the world. But I hurt for her that she didn't get to experience the joy of lovemaking.
I'm sorry, Anne, for the horror you faced. And I'm grateful for your diary and all you made me feel.
3. What will you read next? Something light!