Thursday, October 20, 2005


A couple weekends ago, I went to the Great Read In The Park event at Bryant Park. More than 150 authors were doing panel discussions, signings and talks to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of The New York Times Best Sellers List. The event also featured a temporary branch of Barnes & Noble, an appraisals table by Bauman Rare Books and a Used Book Sale. I've been looking for a particular book for the past year, and so I decided to stop by and check out the Used Book Sale here. The book is called Familes: A Memoir and is by Wyatt Cooper, Anderson Cooper's father. I read an interview with Anderson Cooper where he talked about his father's book. It's about his father's upbringing in rural Mississippi and then his subsequent marriage to Gloria Vanderbilt and raising of Anderson and his brother. In his interview with Oprah, Anderson said he really cherished this book because it's like a letter to him from his dad. It's a reminder to him of what his dad was like before he died when Anderson was 10 years old.

I was really touched by this and have been wanting to read this book. I wish I had something like that that would make me feel close to my parents because I'm not close with them at all. My parents were very typical asian parents and made competition an aspect of every part of my life. And although I appreciate what my parents did for me, I still resent to this day the single-minded competitive childhood that my parents instilled in me. There was actually an interesting article in the NY Times about two Korean women who wrote a book advocating this method of raising children that definitely raised my eyebrow, mostly because I don't agree with preaching this child-raising doctrine.

At any rate, I think it would be really great to have something like this to remind you of someone important in your life. Anything written like emails, letters, even text messages often serves that purpose. A simple three word text message can mean so much because it's permanent and pre-meditated and thus is always there to make you feel better if you want to smile.

So I went to the Bryant Park Book Fair hoping to find this book. I've looked everywhere--Strand, used bookstores around the city, online, etc. But I can only find first editions that cost $200+ dollars, and I don't want the book that much. Alas, I couldn't even look for it. The book sale was retarded--you had to buy a tote bag for $25 before being allowed to enter the book sale.

Oh well. I'll keep searching.


tammy said...

wtf, Gloria Vanderbilt is Anderson Cooper's mother?!

EM said...

my grandmother saved letters between herself and her publisher (she was a novelist and a poet) from the 1950's. she gave them to me shortly before she died, and they're incredible. it was such a gift. we were very close, but there are so many things we never talked about that she discusses in the letters, and it gave me such an appreciation for who she was (as well as gave me plenty of good laughs at anecdotes about my father when he was in his early teens). i've decided i need a penpal (she was pretty much the only person who i exchanged letters with regularly) so i have a reason to write stuff down for someone else to read someday.