Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Kris Radish

Covers of Kris Radish’s books, published by Random House, Inc.

A lot of women seem to gravitate to the chick-lit stuff. I think of it as “reading lite.” Most chick-lit centers a little too much on issues like losing weight, getting a man and shopping for my tastes. Good for a quick read, but not very satisfying. Kris Radish writes books that, on their face, could get mistaken for chick-lit fare. There’s really a lot more to them, without being so challenging that they fail to offer the escape a lot of people look for in a good book. Her work is populated with women who are at different stages in life and have varying backgrounds and interests. Real women. Women who are straight, gay, mourning, celebrating, learning to value female friendships and most interestingly - women who are making decisions and living their lives without a man being the deciding factor in their future. Her characters don’t lose 50 pounds and get a makeover or spend all their time thinking about finding a mate. It’s a nice change of pace.

I picked up her second book, Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn when I was about to move to a new town. I was doing the whole, “oh-crap-am-I-doing-the-right-thing” routine and the book put me in the mood to take a leap. It also got me to reevaluate the importance of women in my life. I had few female friendships, did not see myself as “girly” (shoe fetish notwithstanding) and described myself as “making friends with men more easily.” Funny thing. I’ve met a lot of women who describe themselves that way. It seems like somewhere along the way to equality, we started to look at each other as competition instead of allies. I think the best thing about Kris Radish’s books is that, no matter what theme they follow on the whole, they remind the reader how important it is to have ties to other women.

I’m mad about Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn because I read it first. Her other books, An Elegant Gathering of White Snows (named after a tea, which I thought was great) and Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral were also very good. It might be best to start at the beginning, although the novels are unrelated, because An Elegant Gathering covers a lot of ground and has something for everyone. If you’re younger than some of her protagonists, (a lot of her characters are 40 or 50-ish), don’t let that keep you from picking up the book! Every book has characters that are older and younger than that and covers ground any woman can understand. Check out krisradish.com and you can read a synopsis of each book HERE.

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