In books like Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral and Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn, Radish, 58, makes clear her belief that women need to recognize what they want and follow their dreams. That's what she did. Radish, a former journalist from Wisconsin, moved to Florida two years ago to write fiction full time and to open Wine Madonna in the Plaza Tower Courtyard in St. Petersburg with Madonna Metcalf, a certified sommelier. "We're seeing more and more book clubs pay visits. Women from around the state come in, talk about the books and sip wine,'' she said. Radish, whose latest novel is Tuesday Night Miracles, will be a featured author at the Times Festival of Reading on Oct. 20.
What's on your nightstand?
I read five or six books at a time. I've got Prairie Fever by Peter Pagnamenta. I'm also reading Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers. Dovekeepers is different from other books she has written. It takes place way in the past, ancient times. I have to be honest. A lot of her books I haven't been crazy about, but this is beautifully written. Some of the passages are almost lyrical and gorgeous. Her writing made me think that she has wanted to write this book for a long time.
I've also got As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, edited by Joan Reardon, Tana French's Broken Harbor and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, one of the best books I've read lately. I was mesmerized by it. I usually read a book as an author, and it's rare that I get lost in the story like I did in this one.
How did Flynn do it?
It's a mystery. She throws in these twists, not just one, but she has several peak moments. She develops the characters so strongly that you felt compassion for each one. It has great character development. I haven't read a book like this one for quite a while.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer