I like to read.  But I have no self-control – once I start a book, unless it is truly hard to get into or 900 pages long, I have to finish it.  So sometimes I’m hesitant to begin reading at all.  I can remember flunking exams in college, not because I was out playing beer pong the night before, but because I’d gotten sucked in to some book — and the book needn’t have a nod for Book of the Year — any characters that are well drawn will take me by the hand and not let me go until I’ve reached the last page.  And then sometimes I’ll cry, not because the book is sad, but because my time in that world has ended, and oh, I have to know what happens to these people after the book ends …  I would probably make a terrible editor.  I just like to read, period.

My friend Betsy lent me Girls in Trucks and last night, after I’d eaten my salad and sweet potato drizzled with Glacier County Honey, I curled up in front of the fire and began to read.  At first I was somewhat dismayed — the main character droned on and on about the Camellias, an exclusive Charleston ladies society that she had grown up in, at the behest of her mother, and it seemed to me that the author used all of the cliches about Southern women.  We “catch” and marry men we don’t love for financial security and then teach our daughters to do the very same thing, all the while getting the vapors about the importance of  impeccable social graces such as learning to Lindy, eating with our left hands in our laps, and bringing cheesy casseroles by the dozens when a death strikes a fellow Belle’s family.  But, like I say, I’ll finish any book if I’m entertained, and the main character intrigued me, mostly because I didn’t like her, which I thought somewhat unusual in a main character.  About a hundred pages into the book and the author had moved on from chicken fried Dixie-isms and had begun to weave a beautifully written tale about what happens to a good woman when she takes cocktail hour, flirtations, and experimental drug use a little too far, in a place far away from her home.  Author Katie Crouch’s style sparkles like champagne, even when her characters’ lives have all the bubbles of a flat beer.  I recommend:

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