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Writers and Reading QuicknotesRichmond ReadsBook Club Notes(Click on a book title or cover to order that book from and Reading Quicknotes

Great Magazine Reading

I know that's a tall boast, but if the magazine's Summer Southern Music issue is any indication of the overall quality and scope of this periodical, then I stand by my claim.

Published quarterly by John Grisham in Mississippi, the stuff in this magazine is nothing more than just about everything anybody could want to know, read about, or hear that has anything to do with Southern Music. There are compelling interviews with June Carter Cash and Nina Simone. Reflections on Leadbelly, Dusty Springfield, Bob Dylan and Bobby "Blue" Bland. This issue has zydeco, Elvis, bluegrass, Townes Van Zandt, an R. Crumb cartoon strip, Delta Blues, pieces on Ike Turner and John Prine, some excellent book reviews and even Steve Martin's reflections on his banjo obsession.

To open this magazine up at random is to be pulled into an amazing world that continually, relentlessly delights, bewilders and fascinates. And it even comes with a CD. How cool is that? — Mark Stroh

Interested in cooking? Susan Shinn Poe of the Greensboro News & Record recommends the book "Consuming Passions: A Food-Obsessed Life," by Michael Lee West (HarperCollins, $25).
Richmond Reads

Roberta Bocock is reading and enjoying "Tarzan Forever: The Life of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Creator of Tarzan," by John Taliaferro (Simon & Schuster $30). She recommends it. Edward Rice Burroughs she says, was a rascal in many ways, but he had sense enough to incorporate his company so that now his estate gets rights to any use of Tarzan.

Mrs. Bocock asks a question of us: She had always heard that Johnny Weissmuller went to Cuba and was stopped at a roadblock, whereupon he announced that he was Tarzan and gave the signature Tarzan yell. The soldiers were totally stunned and Weissmuller went on his way. If anyone knows whether or not this is true we would love to hear from you. To read a review of "Tarzan Forever," click here.

Debbie Epes tells us that DK Publishing's "Millennium Party Book" by Lauren Floodgate and Lucy Knox ($89.95) is much more than the title makes it out to be. It is the perfect book for people who love to entertain, or for people who would love to entertain if they could ever get organized enough to plan a party, or for people who think their parties are boring and want to put some pizzaz in them. If the party is on Dec. 31, 1999, that's great, but any time will do.

The editors of this book tell you what your invitations should look like, what costumes will further your theme, how to decorate your house, and even possible games to play or prizes to give your guests.

And what would a party be without refreshments? The editors give suggestions (and recipes) for food and drink. It doesn't matter whether you're partying inside or out, want to be formal or informal, invite all your friends and acquaintances or just your significant other, there are ideas to help you.

This is not a book to read cover to cover. This book should be put on the shelf with your favorite cookbooks and it will surely become your No.1 party reference guide.

Peggy Seiler has read the second novel written by U.Va. law professor Daniel J. Meador (Pelican Books, $25). This novel, "Unforgotten," she says, starts slowly with a Southern boyhood but builds to a successful war story. Especially impressive is the description of the hero's experiences in the Korean War (in which Meador served). The book deftly raises both legal and moral issues.

Book Club Notes

The Library of Virginia has a number of ongoing book clubs which are open to the public. Right now during the summer, there is only such club, the Virginia History Club. It meets once a month at noon. People bring their lunch to the Library and discuss the assigned book during lunch hour. In the fall a second club will resume meeting. This one is discussing Virginia women writers. To find out how to join the groups call Deborah Hocutt at (804)692 3722.

Barnes&Noble Book Groups for August are:The Noble Critics -- Thursday, Aug. 5 at 11 a.m.: "Keeper of the House," by Rebecca GodwinMystery Lovers -- Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 7:30 p.m.: "Ritual Bath," by Faye KellermanAfrican-American Authors --Tuesday, Aug.17, at 7 p.m.: "Invisible Life," by E. Lynn HarrisIn-The-Know -- Wednesday, Aug.18 at 10:30 a.m.: "On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon," by Kaye GibbonsNight Readers -- Wednesday, Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m.: "Peyton Place," by Grace Metalious

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