In my new life, I am a book author and a book reviewer. I will be writing a twice-monthly column called The Write Stuff in Tempo, the arts and entertainment section of The Taos News.
For those just catching up, my last day as The Taos News’ managing editor was May 5. After nearly an eight-year run in that position, I felt it was time for a change. Now I will concentrate on writing fiction, promoting it — such as my newly published novel Peace, Love, and You Know What now on Kindle — and doing freelance gigs, including this column.
I presume most of the books I review will be ones that arrive at Tempo Editor Rick Romancito’s desk. From the pile he’s already given me, I envision books, non-fiction and fiction, published by university and museum presses. There will be books by writers lucky enough to get a contract with a publishing house and those who have taken that on themselves. Many will be local writers, which given Taos’ creative energy won’t surprise me.
I’ve already sent Rick the first column with reviews of two books. I reviewed an album of black and white photos taken during the early ’80s. A newcomer to New Mexico, the photographer turned his camera’s lens on a few of the state’s Hispanic communities.
An academic wrote the second book about author Jean Toomer and his unfinished play about Taos. Toomer, part of the Harlem Renaissance, came to Taos in the ’20s at the invitation of Mabel Dodge Luhan, the grand dame of the arts.
I have always been a big reader. As a kid, I was holed up in my bedroom with a pile of books from the library. My favorites are the ones that make me forget that I am reading. My bookcases at home are filled with them.
I don’t anticipate every book Rick hands me will have the same effect. But my goal is to read them through to the end before I give a thoughtful but fair review. If the book has faults, I will point them out. I won’t gush.
Of course, reviews are subjective. Someone might love what I don’t and visa versa.
I’ve already read the next two books. I’ve taken notes and used pieces of paper to mark the pages that contain something significant I might want to note or quote.
Writing about writing: I like the idea.
This is a link to my farewell column in The Taos News: http://www.taosnews.com/news/article_b94efa7c-1245-11e6-a0c2-fbf2f6e1f94e.html
And here is the link to Peace, Love, and You Know What (soon to be out on paperback) on Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Peace-Love-You-Know-What-ebook/dp/B01E03WMQC
PHOTO ABOVE: This is the first year since I planted our lilac bushes eight years ago that they’ve bloomed. (Maybe there is something symbolic.) Each spring I would cheer on the buds but then a cold snap would take them. This year we had cold but also snow, which might have insulated the buds. The bushes are outside the door we use the most. I plan to clip a few buds to bring inside because they smell so damn sweet.