B likes to read. She reads a lot of books. Many of them would be classified as "chick lit." Stories about women who find romance. About women who renovate their house. About women who discover their new inner strength. Stories about women told in recipes. And memoirs, lots of memoirs.
The God of Driving by Amy Fine Collins. The author is a spoiled, jetting-setting New York socialite, dressed in Geoffrey Beene t-shirts, black boots from Manolo Blahnik, and little white-gold and diamond Mish flowered earrings, who writes about fashion for Vanity Fair magazine.
The book is a memoir about learning how to drive as an adult, and developing a relationship with her Turkish driving instructor. He arrives at her door with a dual-brake Acura. They graduate to a Cadillac CTS, then a Mercedes CL 55 AMG (a two-door, 335-horsepower four-seater, prices start at $100,000).
She tools around Manhattan meeting celebrities and other chic, trendy people at various parties and functions. She jets to California for the Vanity Fair Oscar party, and she attends New York Fashion Week -- when she feels like it, that is. They dine at the Four Seasons where she places her Prada bag on a cherry wood Directoire armchair.
Why do women like these books? Is it the fantasy? The glamor? The escape?
Truth be told, those are the reasons I read mysteries. I am Jack Reacher. I am Elvis Cole. I am Harry Bosch. And, for the record, I am a tried-and-true feminist when it comes to mysteries. I identify just as easily with Kinsey Millhone, Stephanie Plum, Joanna Brady, Alexandra Cooper.
The author is Joseph Finder. I've read a couple of his books, and I like them. The new one is Suspicion, and it was recommended to me by my friend who lives in a ranch house down by the highway, who says he's retired but he's really just unemployed and he drives a ten-year-old Toyota with a big scratch on the passenger side door that he's never gotten fixed because ... "They wanted 700 bucks which is ridiculous, and besides I get in on the driver's side so I never see the scratch anyway."
I thought about ducking over to the Barnes & Noble cafe for a $4.50 cup of cappuccino. But then I decided instead to stop off at Dunkin' Donuts on the way home. DD offers a senior special: you buy a medium size coffee and get a free donut. And, dammit, I like good ole middle-class Dunkin' Donuts more than the overpriced, overcaffeinated, too bitter brew you get at Barnes & Noble or Starbucks, or whatever the latest, even more trendy coffee emporium the hipster set is frequenting these days.
And you never know. Just maybe I'll run into a celebrity scoring a Senior Citizen special at Dunkin' Donuts out on Route 202, located between Burger King and the Shell station that offers 5 cents off a gallon of gasoline on Tuesdays for anyone over age 55.