I LOVE to read, but I admit I have some quirks (although they seem normal to me). My favorite topics are biographies and history, but I'll make an exception for fiction that's historical or biographically "inspired". Nothing unusual there. And it has to be a good, old-fashioned, hardcover book. Unless it's just not available and then I'll "settle" for a paperback. (The thought of reading an e-book has never seriously crossed my mind.) Now, let's move on to the reading process … each page must be turned while keeping it absolutely pristine, so much so that when I finish a book, the spine's still perfect and you'd think that no one even opened the book, let alone read it. (I even did this with textbooks in college!) Why am I like this? No clue, but I am what I am.

Anyway, before I had children (when my "job" was being a corporate wife to an executive who lived around the world), I read a LOT of books, as in hundreds over the years. But once I had children, that number dropped dramatically to the point where I was lucky if I could find the time to read half a dozen books – not counting children's books. And after my sister and I began Red & Black, I've probably averaged a book a year. (Although I read and re-read the manuscript for our book countless times before going to press.)

So here I sit at my computer, writing this. I look up at my workroom bookshelves and see plenty of books that I've collected over the last years as a reminder that one day I'll get back to my beloved books. For now, I always have plenty of newspapers (they tend to accumulate over the week), magazines, and online articles to keep me busy as "brain breaks" during the workday or for the few minutes I can still keep my eyes open when I go to bed at night.

And I can't help but think about how different my sister, Black, is from me in so many ways – Including reading. For me, it's something that I love to do as it provides enjoyment and an escape, whereas she does it, in true Black fashion, to research and learn more about any given topic. (I can only imagine the business and non-fiction books on her bookshelves, although her contemporary décor has them hidden behind doors.)

So, what inspired me to even think about this in the first place? Last Friday morning she sent me an "empty email" – there was nothing but an attachment. And when I opened it, I laughed. Because, well, it just said it all. While also reminding me of my love of reading. And this takes us back full circle, not only to the image of this post but to the beginning of this post.

Rendering by porcorex on iStock


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Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.


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Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.


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I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

It started when Black sent Red a LinkedIn post about Louis Armstrong, asking her to "connect the dots" (one of Black's favorite things to do). Red knew that he was one of the most distinctive and talented jazz musicians in American history, but it was a complete surprise to learn that he had such a strong connection to a Jewish couple that immigrated from Lithuania and that he wore a Star of David for most of his life to honor them. That alone made it a "truth is stranger than fiction" story. The fact it's also a touching story about kindness and love makes this, at least for Red, even better than fiction.

Black, who prefers the pragmatic aspects of Armstrong's unusual journey – from being an impoverished black boy to an extraordinary career as a musician, singer, and composer – and sees it as a story of overcoming barriers, realizing your potential, and finding freedom (and she discloses an interesting connection between Armstrong and Independence Day).

Our July column, "RED & BLACK … The Sound Of Freedom," connects all those dots and is about so much more than surprising facts about Louis Armstrong. It's also about the power of music, inspiration, and hope, not to mention a very different way of looking at freedom.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Everyone laughs and wants to hear the story when I mention that I was recently "ghosted" by someone I had dated. What I find interesting is that ghosting has become so prevalent in today's society (and is not restricted to dating) that there is a term to describe the sudden "disappearance" of someone who wants to avoid all future contact with you.

Going back decades, I know there have been first dates that, at the time, I thought went well. But, after getting the "I'll call you" line … I never did. As a teenager, I can remember anxiously waiting for the phone (a landline tethered to the wall – and yes, I am that old) to ring, not wanting to go out and possibly miss the call. And, being very disappointed by the silence. Now, I cannot even remember who they were.

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