Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Author Carla Kelly

Prairie Lite is not a romance novel. Carla Kelly is an award winning historical romance writer but her true talent emerges with this compilation of her best newspaper columns. As a former columnist myself, I appreciate her ability to use the few words allowed by newspapers to enlighten and entertain.

Do you ever long for the feel of a hot dusty breeze in the summer or a face paralyzing wind in the winter? Me neither, but I do have some great Midwest prairie memories and Carla Kelly has captured them in print with humor and affection.

Kelly lived in North Dakota and wrote, “North Dakotans must be the most optimistic people in America. I think it’s contagious. Who else would go outside when it was clear and nine below and say, “What a beautiful day!” Anyone from a warmer state (pick any 47 or so) overhearing that Northern Plains euphoria would probably start backing away slowly, speaking in soothing tones and avoiding eye contact.”

Her July 16, 2007 column titled, “Got Zucchini?” made me realize that we all suffer from a crazy mandate to eat everything that our garden produces – even a summer squash that multiplies while we sleep. We can’t just throw it away!

Kelly wrote, “For all I know, the Scenic Byway is lined with roving, feral zucchini, tossed out of car windows by desperate gardeners numb with the idea of thinking up one more way to disguise zucchini so folks will eat it.”

This is one of those books you give to friends, or select for your book club. Each column discusses a different topic ranging from vacation memories in the back of a station wagon to a favorite Christmas story about the candy bomber Gail Halvorsen.  Kelly shares those things we have in common as well as highlighting those odd, quirky things unique to every climate zone. I enjoyed a little lite reading from one of my favorite authors.

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