Words, images combine in archivist Caroline Preston’s ‘War Bride’s Scrapbook’ and on her nightstand

What's Caroline Preston reading?
What's Caroline Preston reading?
Published January 4 2018


Caroline Preston

Preston is the author of three novels, Jackie by Josie, Lucy Crocker 2.0 and Gatsbyís Girl. She is also the author of two scrapbook novels, The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt and her newest, The War Brideís Scrapbook. For the latter two, Preston cut and pasted photos, articles and other memorabilia onto each page before transferring it to the computer and to the publisher.

Preston, who has worked as an archivist at the Peabody Essex Museum and Harvard University, stressed that although scrapbooking has changed a bit, the activity is far from being a thing of the past. "We are still scrapbooking now, but it is just done differently," she said. "One could certainly argue that Facebook and Instagram is a way we preserve our activities in life. There is still that impulse to record your life. Scrapbooking is just in a new form."

Whatís on your nightstand?

One of the books is Sargentís Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas by Donna Lucey. It is the story of four paintings, and it is an amazing story. She did a fantastic amount of research. I enjoy reading the story behind the visual of a work of art. I am also in the middle of Code Girls by Liza Mundy. This is the story of women from Smith College who were code breakers during the war. The work was completely classified. They helped decipher some of the most important codes. Liza was able to contact an amazing number of sources. Itís an amazing book of research. I also (plan on reading) Best American Short Stories 2017. The editor is Meg Wolitzer. She is one of my favorites.

And then I have one more, Joan Rivers Confidential. This is her scrapbook. It just came out. This is a fun book. She had kept scrapbooks her whole life. They had three storerooms of her papers. As she grew up, she kept every little record of becoming a comedian. Thereís things about all the clubs she played and everything she did to scramble to the top. Itís a really wonderful view on how a woman pioneered in a male profession and her persistence.

Is it suitable for a younger reader who is aiming to go into theater and comedy?

Honestly, I donít think itís very shocking. It shows her early career, and I think it is interesting on how women achieve early success.

Contact Piper Castillo at pcastillo@tampabay.com. Follow @Florida_PBJC.