Tag Archives: A Girl Named Zippy

5 Novels I Can’t Live Without


When I realized I wrote in a similar manner to Janet Evanovich, I began to study her books to see how she does what she does. And, of course, I’m forever in her debt for introducing me to Ranger.

We read “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” in our book club. It touched every emotion I had. Well done, Rachel Joyce.

When our kids were young, we took a long road trip and listened to the audio version of Jennifer Donnelly’s “A Northern Light” in the car. It captivated all five of us, often making us sit in a parking lot at our destination to hear the end of the chapter. When we got home I read it to see how she did what she did. Still not entirely sure.

I have four copies of Zippy. I lend them all the time, but never want to be without one myself. I love Zippy and Haven Kimmel like petunias love sunshine. It’s one of the very few books I’ve lifted to “You Betcha, I’ll Read It Again” status. It does three things to me simultaneously … laugh hysterically, break my heart thus turning me into a little puddle of sobbing Becky, and curse the day the writing bug bit me because I’ll never be Haven Kimmel.

Garrison Keillor and I go way back. When I was a young’un, my dad would dial up his “Prairie Home Companion” show on the car radio and we’d load into the car for a drive while we listened. If we were lucky, we’d watch a thunderstorm roll toward us, engulf us, then release us while we caught up on the news from the Sidetrack Tap, the Chatterbox Cafe, Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery and Bertha’s Kitty Boutique.

To this day radio static always makes me smile.

What are the five novels you can’t live without?

My New Favorite Book


Hmm. Second favorite. I’ve blogged before of my love for Haven Kimmel’s A GIRL NAMED ZIPPY.

Velva Jean is very reminiscent of Zippy. A backwoods Zippy, maybe. Or maybe Zip is a suburban Velva Jean. Such a Sophie’s choice to choose favorites, though. Thank goodness I can have them both!

VELVA JEAN LEARNS TO DRIVE is a coming-of-age story about finding your dreams that will make you laugh out loud and then shatter your heart. Again and again and again.

Velva Jean’s dying mother tells her to live her life in the great big world instead of in the moonshining hollers of Appalachia, something ten-year-old Velva Jean doesn’t understand. At 16 she marries Harley Bright, a hell-fire tent preacher, and it seems she’ll escape like mama wanted. But Harley’s world closes in on them, and threatens to suffocate Velva Jean and her dreams. Then she meets a bright yellow truck.

Favorite line(s) …

“And I always chose a new book to take home with me, something Sweet Fern would approve of because she wanted to know the name of any book I brought into the house. I love Little Women and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which was so beautiful and sad that I wanted to throw it at the wall.”

I loved everything about this book, right down to the character names … Sweet Fern, Ruby Poole, Aunt Bird, Uncle Turk, Aunt Zona, Beachard, Johnny Clay Hart, Swill Tenor, Harley Bright, Root Caldwell, Clover, Celia Faye, Lucinda Sink. And of course, Velva Jean.

How could you not want to hang out with them for 400 pages??

Living Will

The next time I go to the hospital I’m taking this Living Will with me. In triplicate.

I, State Your Name, being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means.

Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of pinhead politicians who couldn’t pass ninth grade biology if their lives depended on it, or greedy lawyers and doctors interested in running up the bills.

If a reasonable amount of time passes, say, ten minutes or so, and I fail to ask for at least one of the following …

Chinese food
Cold Beer
Fried chicken
Chinese food
My favorite book, A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
Chocolate cake
Bacon cheeseburger with fries
Any of my iTunes music, but especially Bugler’s Holiday
Ice cream

… it should be presumed I’ll never get better. At least I won’t be any fun anymore and that’s just as bad. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my appointed person and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes, let the fat lady sing, and call it a day!

You’re all witnesses to my final wishes. And, if you can read between the lines, some of my current ones.

What would be on your list?