Monday, November 3, 2008

Laurel Corona

Laurel Corona is the author of more than a dozen middle school books and is a professor of English and Humanities at San Diego City College.

Her new book is The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice.

Late last month I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
I have to admit I’m putting down a fair number of books “for later” these days, not because I don’t find them interesting or well written, but because I’ve got the attention span of a fruit fly in the lead-up to the release of my debut novel, The Four Seasons. Top of the list of books to read is Sweetsmoke by David Fuller, once I have finished Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen. Sweetsmoke is set during the Civil War on the eponymously-named plantation, and involves the investigation by one slave of the murder of another. A quick leaf-through shows the protagonist, Cassius Howard, to be an intelligent, self-educated, and principled character, which should make for a nuanced plot.

The book I finished most recently is The Only Son by Stephane Audeguy, about an older brother Jean-Jacques Rousseau mentions only once in his Confessions. The book gives a fascinating look at Paris in the period of the French Revolution and Reign of Terror. I also picked up Tess Gerritsen’s tense historical murder mystery The Bone Garden in an airport recently, and didn’t put it down until I had finished. This summer, my pool reads were Lauren Willig’s fun and lighthearted The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, and Lauren Groff’s quirky The Monsters of Templeton. I highly recommend this one to lovers of early American literature and/or baseball, since it is set in a fictionalized version of Cooperstown NY, and weaves in real characters from the eras of both Abner Doubleday and James Fenimore Cooper.

I am currently reading a book called Thanks, by Robert A. Emmons. It’s part of the “positive psychology” movement, focusing on the important emotional and health benefits of what Emmons calls “practicing gratitude.” It makes complete sense to me that one of the key markers of mental health turns out to be the habit of pausing during our days to identify who and what helps us along our way, and being both outwardly and inwardly thankful. I think I am pretty well practiced at what he is talking about, having, as always, an extraordinary number of things about which to feel grateful. Including my job (I’m a professor of Humanities at San Diego City College), and right now, as unsexy as it sounds, what I really have to go read is that stack of midterms on my desk.
Visit Laurel Corona's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue