Tuesday, March 09, 2021


Rita Hayworth feeling bookish
WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To
participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here.  
1. What are you currently reading? The Way It Was: My Life with Frank Sinatra by Eliot Weisman and Jennifer Valoppi. Weisman was Sinatra's manager during his final years, and then he acted as executor of Sinatra's will. Frank was 82 when he died. I view this time of life differently now than I did when he died in 1998. Performers I enjoy are now approaching that age: Streisand is 79, Paul McCartney turns 79 in June, Diana Ross is looking at 77, Springsteen will be 72. I wonder what life and career are like for really talented people as, to borrow from Sinatra, they "face the final curtain." They obviously understand that their voices aren't as powerful as in days gone by. What keeps them going? What keeps me coming back?

So far, this book is carrying me along on the strength of the Sinatra persona. It's a memoir not a biography, and I can't say I like our storyteller. Weisman liberally shares his own story and during his pre-Sinatra years it's filled with moral ambiguity. He also seems set on settling scores with snarky little asides (Tina Sinatra, Liza Minnelli). It's his book and his right. He's just not someone whose company I'm enjoying.
2. What did you recently finish reading? My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing. Oh, this book is such wicked fun! It's a book about husband-wife serial killers, and it's a real thriller. The pacing is part of the fascination. Millicent and her husband's conversations boomerang between the mundane (do we attend our daughter's soccer match or son's golf tournament?) and the macabre (who should we abduct and murder next?). It'll change the way you look at the perfect couple next door.

There are plot holes big enough to drive through. They're impossible not to notice, but don't let them distract you. This is an original story told with real talent. This couple racks up quite a body count, but there's really very little gore. I appreciate this. (Part of why I abandoned Patricia Cornwell is that her books are just too graphic for me.)

3. What will read next?  I have my eye on a vintage detective story.