Lists, Book Covers and Dayton

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So much to tell you: lists to share and thoughts about book covers and even a story about Dayton, the band not the city. I’ll get to that.

First, two good lists. As a loyal reader of The New Yorker, I was interested in reading the profile of Janet Groth, the author of The Receptionist about her work at the magazine during the 1950s and 1960s. Of course, I’ll read the book because the opening pages are about Groth’s interview with E.B. White. Case closed – push the confirm button on the Nook. Along with the article was a list of other memoirs by New Yorker writers. Here’s the link to the list.

The other list I enjoyed is in the July issue of O magazine (Oprah). “29 Best Beach Reads” announces the cover. Not that I needed any more titles to add to my list, but still….can’t take a chance on missing something. I won’t reprint the whole list here, but here are my responses to a few of the books on the O list:

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker – Every day I see ads telling me that this is “the” summer read. Maybe so, but I don’t know. The premise of Walker’s novel is that a family wakes up one day to find out the rotation of the Earth has begun to slow down. I already go to sleep worrying about global warming and the fires out west and what’s happening in the Euro Zone. I have no doubt that if I read Walker’s novel, I would walk around feeling like the Earth is moving more slowly. I would literally “feel” everything winding down. Can’t do it – unless readers I know and love convince me otherwise.

When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood – I didn’t know about this book, but after spending 15 years working at the John F. Kennedy Library, the title jumped out at me. This is a memoir by a woman who grew up in Mainewhose father died of a heart attack in 1963. After President Kennedy’s assassination, Wood and her mother feel a connection with Jackie and Caroline Kennedy.  I may need to check this out.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – Very excited to see this one included – just used a gift card to buy it after reading so many good reviews. The reviewer in Oprah magazine calls it “an irresistible romp through Italy in the Technicolor era.”  I’m going  to Italy in a few weeks so this seemed a necessary purchase.

Beautiful Ruins also has a beautiful book cover which brings me to topic #2…

I was interested to read the front page story in Thursday’s New York Times about book covers. Title of the article says it all: “To Lure Twilight Teenagers, Classic Books Get Bold Looks.” The picture (in the newspaper version) is of a book with a red and black cover. Just the other day in Barnes and Noble, I was looking at this “wall” of red and black which is the young adult section. I get the Twilight thing, but oh my gosh. A bright blue cover (like Beautiful Ruins) would certainly stand out. Publishers and designers of YA books know the old adage that says “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but they also know that many of their readers are doing exactly that. But how do teenagers differentiate between the books? It seems like if the books look too much alike, you might wonder which books you already own.

Here’s a link to the article:

Finally, a Dayton-based anecdote. I heard about this band called Miles to Dayton and, based only on the name, went to YouTube and listened to everything I could, figuring that with a name like Miles to Dayton, that I would love them. I did. Kind of folky and kind of funky with great harmonies. Next, I went to their website to figure out the Dayton connection. They are from Long Island, but surely, I thought…one of the band members must be from Dayton. No mention of my Midwestern home on the website, but there was an email address….

I wrote them yesterday and one of the band members wrote back today – impressive. It turns out thatDaytonwas the name of one of the band member’s grandfather, and the band name is a tribute to him. “We titled the band “Miles toDayton” to represent the journey that one takes to see or meet up with their loved ones again, or maybe just a representation of the road to life.” So, the name of the band refers to a person rather than the city. Totally cool. When you think about it, the band name can refer to either a person or a place – I love the idea of traveling miles to connect with different parts of our lives. My memories of my grandparents all take place in Dayton. My father and sisters are there now. And a piece of my heart, regardless of the miles, is always there.

Here’s a link to the band’s website:


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