Let's face it: anything outside the bargain section didn't have a chance. I was already spending $18.95 on an impulse buy for a book I "had to have" but could never say I actually need. If I wanted to add a new bit of fiction to my purchase, it was never going to be a full-priced tome. That narrowed down my choices by rather a lot. But still, the choices were many.
You're being given a rare glimpse into the Highly Sophisticated Selection Process that led to my acquisition of The Secret Sisters by Joni Rodgers. The Secret Sisters is one of the four books in my lap, fighting for my attention, each winning in turns, until I move to the next, then the cycle loops once more.
The next criteria employed for helping me to choose my new piece of fiction? I had to love the cover. Yes. I'm highly-discerning that way. You'll pretty much have to give me a copy and insist that I read your favorite book if it has an ugly cover. Lame and superficial? You betcha. So I love this cover. The photo's colors, its textures, its chairs that remind me of the ones in Bigmama and Granddaddy's south Alabama back yard when I was a little girl, which were ultimately riddled with rusty pockmarks, then likely replaced by something more modern. I also loved the cover's rich brown of the boards that could adorn any deck you've ever walked on. It's that simple: I loved the cover. Which warranted a peek at the back.
There I read a compelling-enough synopsis, but it might not have led me to open the book. However this did: "Joni Rodgers is the author of the memoir Bald in the Land of Big Hair." I don't know anything about Joni Rodgers - though I will in a few minutes - and I don't know why her memoir would reference being bald, nor why it would reference "big hair" though I naturally have my suspicions, same as you do. But I do know I thought that was a damn good title. And good titles are as important as good covers. (Yea, I get that the book that was auditioning for me was not the one whose title really caught my eye, but that's okay. Really. Don't let that bog you down.)
So I opened the book, and read from the first page:
"I'm not a handsome man," he told Pia when they were first dating, "but I am blessed with moments of amazing dexterity."
Which made me chuckle. Plus my sister used to work with an exceedingly lovely woman named Pia, which is the only other person I've ever met who had the name. Hard not to like a character who's had such a fabulous forerunner. But you don't buy a book because one of the main characters has a name you like. Well, you might, but I didn't. Instead, I flipped over to another page, on which was written:
Lily is one of those New Agey people who says "spirituality" instead of "religion" and thinks spirituality comes from books in the Spirituatity section in the independent bookstore in the groovy neighborhood near the artsy import shops and the funky furniture place and the Healthmasters School of Massage, where Lily was a student before she went to prison.
And so I bought this book, too. So far I'm quite enjoying it. And now that I've read what Publisher's Weekly has to say about the book, on its page at Amazon, I'm even more glad that I picked it up.
Although it could be a while before I finish it. What with all the other books jostling for their place in my attention. Never mind when. I know I'll finish it. I'm already hooked.