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How Can You NOT Want to Know The Pulpwood Queens ?

abstract:

...when their recipe for a stress-busting cocktail calls for 1 carton of Blue Bell Cookies, 1 carton of Blue Bell Ice Cream which you add 1 bottle of W.L. Weller Special Reserve, blend with a hand held mixer, and drink with a straw!

article:

September 14, 2003
— Kathy Patrick, founder and monarch of The Pulpwood Queens runs a combination beauty shop and book shop in East Texas. Not to be confused with The Sweet Potato Queens, The Pulpwood Queens do wear rhinestone crowns at their meetings "[B]ut there are differences in style.  Some wear large tiaras and leopard print blouses...a few are modest and discreet, almost hidden within the hair," writes author Mark Lee in his essay "Riding with the Pulpwood Queens".

 

Lee was one of the authors whose book was featured by Kathy and went on tour visiting the various branch chapters of TPWQ's. With ten chapters in Louisiana and Texas totaling now 250+ members her concept is catching on. Her latest Chapter signed up in Los Angeles and she tells me there is even one abroad!

 

Part of the uniqueness of TPWQs is the strong author-reader connection Kathy fosters, featuring authors (over 115 to date) in her store and organizing book group field trips. What she does bears out Lee's statement, "Writers and readers are inseparable. We just have to connect to each other."

 

Kathy Patrick was featured on Good Morning America when she helped kick off their Book Group segment, and the phone has not stopped ringing—and her life has not stopped whirring. To learn more about Kathy and The Pulpwood Queens, visit their website, Beauty and the Book. (A word of warning: Before you log on be sure your dog is nowhere near.  Each time I went to the site, the jungle sound track drove my black lab "Cub" berserk.)

 

The site reflect TPWQ to a tee: hot pink, animal prints, and rhinestones! It features everything seasoned book group members known and love—with a southern belle twist. There's even a recipe section: Coconut Cumin Chicken Shish Kabobs (with an ad for heart burn medication on the side). Doesn't everyone know that the center of all book groups is the food and beverages!

 

TPWQ's calendar shows them on the road, stopping at a book store in Jackson, Mississippi followed by a tour of William Faulkner's home with full breakfast, lunch, and dinner itineraries planned on October 15. The next day, they travel to Memphis, Tennessee where, after a stop at the local book store, its on to Pigget, Arkansas to visit an Ernest Hemingway home. Sounds like a great excuse for a road trip.

 

A sampling of the list of featured authors on Beauty and the Book reveals plenty of the Texan authors we know and love. But Kathy prides herself in discovering new writers and bringing thier books to the forefront. And she has a great record at it too!

 

Here are three Pulpwood Queens favorites:

Pat Conroy

My Losing Season: " 'Loss is a fiercer, more uncompromising teacher, coldhearted but clear-eyed in its understanding that life is more dilemma than game, and more trial than free pass,' writes bestselling author Conroy in his first work of nonfiction since The Water Is Wide (1972)". [from Publisher's Weekly]

The Prince of Tides: "His fourth novel is a seductive narrative, told with bravado flourishes, portentous foreshadowing, sardonic humor and eloquent turns of phrase. Like The Great Santini, it is the story of a destructive family relationship..." [from Publisher's Weekly

The Great Santini: Step into the powerhouse life of Bull Meecham. He's all Marine—fighter pilot, king of the clouds, and absolute ruler of his family.

 

Larry McMurtry

Comanche Moon: What's amazing about McMurtry's West is that he sees beyond the romance. Neither his Indians, his cowboys, his gunslingers, nor his women act the way they did in either Zane Grey novels or John Wayne movies. Incredible beauty and lightning-quick violence are the bookends of his West, but it is the in-between moments of suffering and boredom where McMurtry shines.

Lonesome Dove: Cowboys herding cattle on a great trail-drive, seems like the very stuff of that cliched myth, but McMurtry bravely tackles the task of creating meaningful literature out of it. He won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction of this title.

The Last Picture Show: In The Last Picture Show Larry McMurtry introduced characters who would show up again in his later novels, Texasville and Duane's Depressed.

 

L. B. Cobb

Splendor Bay: L.B. Cobb's writing style takes full advantage of verisimilitude in a similar way many of W. Somerset Maugham's stories evoke a sense of confidence in the reader. She also uses those little twists and turns that keep you questioning and her chapter endings plunge you into the next page with a sense of undeniable curiosity.

Promises Town: A splendid follow-up to Cobb's debut novel. Her characters are chiseled out of the Texas landscape.

By Paula Shackleton

 

 

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