Book Review: Readings

Meet the Pulpwood Queens and Kathy L. Patrick, Texas' answer to Oprah and perhaps just as important a name in the word biz


The Pulpwood Queens' Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life

by Kathy L. Patrick
Grand Central Publishing, 334 pp., $13.99 (paper)

So you've written a novel. That's the hard part, right? Well, next comes finding a publisher to throw gobs of cash at it. You're set! Uh, there's that sticky issue of readers. You see, your friendly neighborhood bookstore has lots of books. Lots and lots of books. Oodles and caboodles of books, books, books. Yours will be on the shelf. Over there in the corner. Way over there. Good luck, my writerly friend. Fantasize that your book is being tub-thumped by Oprah Winfrey. Better yet, imagine Kathy Patrick finds your scribblings and introduces you to her tiara-wearing friends. They'll be dressed in pink.

Meet the Pulpwood Queens and Patrick, Texas' answer to Oprah and perhaps just as important a name in the word biz. For the uninitiated, Patrick is a Kansas native who moved to East Texas and opened Beauty and the Book, a combo hair salon/bookstore that has taken on legendary status. Winfrey herself has even taken notice. A hairdresser-turned-publisher's-rep who was laid off when the number of independent bookstores started tumbling in the onslaught of and the corporate bookstore chain, Patrick had the odd notion of melding two careers and then, for good measure, added the Pulpwood Queens, fun-filled book clubs spreading across the country and around the globe.

Patrick loves books, and now she's written one. It's not a masterpiece, but it's enough to make her fellow authors applaud. It tells of a shy girl from a dysfunctional family who learned to believe in herself and her dreams. A teacher introduced this shuddering waif to books, and she saw the light. Books and beauty parlors. Both are about community, Patrick tells us. Ring up Beauty and the Book (I did), and she'll explain all. You'll be convinced you've found the nicest, most vibrant person on the planet. The same earnest happiness glows from the pages of this memoir. Patrick wants you to turn off the television and read a good book. And she gives you lists to guide the way. That and recipes, both for sticky, icky, gooey treats and for how to start up your own chapter of this book club on a mission. It may change your life, if not your hairstyle.

Kathy L. Patrick will appear at BookPeople (603 N. Lamar) on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 7pm.

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The Pulpwood Queens, Kathy L. Patrick

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