1. Books

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 Jan. 3, 2018


Caroline Preston

Preston is the author of three novels, Jackie by Josie, Lucy Crocker 2.0 and Gatsby's Girl. She is also the author of two scrapbook novels, The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt and her newest, The War Bride's 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."

What's on your nightstand?

One of the books is Sargent's 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. It's 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. There's things about all the clubs she played and everything she did to scramble to the top. It's 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 don't think it's very shocking. It shows her early career, and I think it is interesting on how women achieve early success.

Contact Piper Castillo at Follow @Florida_PBJC.


  1. Susan Goldberg is editor in chief of National Geographic. [National Geographic]
    She wrote the introduction to the new photographic history ‘Women: The National Geographic Image Collection.’
  2. Biographies of Carrie Fisher, Joni Mitchell, Toni Morrison, Janis Joplin and Patti Smith. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    Biographies of Carrie Fisher and Janis Joplin, a collection of Joni Mitchell’s lyrics and watercolors, quotations from Toni Morrison and Patti Smith’s road-trip memoir all shine.
  3. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford, from left, starred in the 1977 film 'Star Wars.' [AP]
    Sheila Weller’s biography of the actor recounts a life of privilege and stardom, as well as mental illness and addiction.
  4. Retired NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan will talk about her memoir "Handprints on Hubble" on Dec. 12 at Bookstore1 Sarasota. [Courtesy of MIT Press]
    Playwright Robert Schenkkan will also give a staged reading of ‘The Investigation’ at Stageworks.
  5. Robert Bryndza [Petr Kozlík]
    The author of ‘Nine Elms’ finds encouragement in Christie’s ‘disorganized genius.’
  6. Sarah M. Broom is the author of the memoir "The Yellow House," winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction. [Adam Shemper]
    Broom’s memoir, winner of a National Book Award, tells the story of her family and their New Orleans home before and after ‘the Water.’
  7. Author Jami Attenberg [Courtesy of Zack Smith Photography]
    ‘All This Could Be Yours’ brings dark humor and insight to the story of the dysfunctional Tuchmans. | Review
  8. USF professor and author Steven Murawski spotted a statue of naturalist Alexander von Humboldt in Havana, Cuba. [CASTILLO  |  courtesy of Steven Murawski]
    The USF professor also recommends Thomas Friedman’s ‘Hot, Flat, and Crowded.’
  9. Novelist Jami Attenberg will be in conversation with fellow author Kristen Arnett on Dec. 2 at Tampa's Oxford Exchange. [Courtesy of Zack Smith Photography]
    John Cinchett will sign ‘Vintage Tampa Signs and Scenes’ in Tampa as well.
  10. The Bookstore at the  Oxford Exchange during its First Friday event on 09/06/13. [TIMES (2013)  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Plus other Instagram-worthy spots around Tampa Bay.