What the Stars Read

Do you ever wonder what the movie and TV stars read?

After too long a break, I traveled once again to a multi-media convention in the Baltimore area as both a panelist and guest, giving me unique opportunities to learn about books, movies, television, actors, and other forms of popular media.

Among the topics discussed were the interactions of cyberpunk (tech-heavy stories) and the modern world, stories that cross genres and copyright laws (Is there anyone Scooby Doo didn’t meet? Why is there a Terminator in Wayne’s World?), trends in speculative fiction (Lunarpunk, anyone?), and more. And those were only the ones I was able to attend.

The best part of such gatherings is meeting the guests of honor. Guests can change at any time due to filming schedules or illness (Robert Duncan McNeill was replaced at the last second by John Billingsley, a phenomenally entertaining actor in person, due to McNeill testing positive for Covid), but there are always a number of interesting people making appearances. This year, among many outstanding actors, the guests included Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Chuck, The Last Ship) and Summer Glau (Firefly, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Sequestered, Arrow), and I was able to speak with both of them.

Summer Glau has put acting on the back burner for the moment as she home-schools her children. She herself was home schooled due to an overriding love of ballet, and thus was able to pursue dance more in depth with the flexibility of home schooling, though she admits there are gaps in her learning. I asked her who her favorite authors were, and what she likes to read. Glau is a fan of Steinbeck, especially East of Eden, as well as the classic Russian novelists like Tolstoy, and of course Jane Austen. She prefers her children have a more classical education, and that includes classical literature. She’s been reading books on farming, with daydreams of someday having a small farm (she is originally from Texas).

Adam Baldwin was a delight (No, he is no relation to Alec Baldwin and brothers). At 23, he appeared in the classic Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket, which is one of my favorites, and we discussed different war films we had each seen. He told me to watch The War Machine with Brad Pitt, I told him to watch 9th Company, an excellent Russian film about their 1980 invasion of Afghanistan. We talked about the WWI epic 1917. Baldwin admits he never made it to college, going into acting by the age of 18. His favorite authors? He likes reading Michael Crichton‘s best sellers such as Congo and Sphere, as well as Tom Clancy, and classic Stephen King, such as The Shining. By his own tale, he informed Stanley Kubrick that his film adaption of the The Shining was not as good as the book, which didn’t put him into Kubrick’s favor (Stephen King has been rather vocal on how much he himself disliked the film, despite it being ranked among the greatest horror films of all time).

In public, actors are always answering questions about their work, things they’ve done or would like to do, or nitpicky trivial questions about a single line of dialogue from decades ago that they can’t remember. Finding out what they like to read is a question they haven’t heard a thousand times, and brings out different aspects of the person behind the tabloid reports. Actors are more than just the roles they play, and finding something in common with them reminds us that off camera, they are people just like us!

Linda reads : Wind Chime Point and Sea Glass Island by Sherryl Woods

Wind Chime Point is book two of the Ocean Breeze Trilogy.  It would be helpful to read the first book, Sand Castle Bay, although the author does a wonderful job of tying in book one’s story.

Hardworking, ambitious, and independent Gabriella Castle is facing personal and professional challenges that prove too daunting for her to handle alone.  She retreats to her grandmother’s home in Sand Castle Bay, NC. and the welcoming arms of her family.

Wade Johnson is a cabinet-maker and wood-carver with a tragic and secret past.  He’s been intrigued by Gabriella whenever she’s visited and is happy when she returns to town.  He’s also a friend of Emily’s finance, Boone.

Gabi is having a lot of trouble deciding what to do about her future.  For the first time in her life, she is plagued with doubts and uncertainty.  She finds a friend in Wade and his easy-going style and good listening skills are both helpful and comforting.  She didn’t expect or plan for her feelings for Wade to blossom into love.  Wade knew he had strong feelings for Gabi, but he is unsure if he’s ready to take the next step.

Although this book focuses mainly on Gabi and Wade, the secondary characters play an important part in the story.  Gabi’s sister Emily is busy planning her wedding and her other sister, Samantha is facing her own crisis about her           career.  Grandmother Cora Jane is still playing matchmaker and the sister’s  father, Sam, has an expanded role in this book.

Sea Glass Island is the third and final book of the trilogy.  Samantha has been living in New York City pursuing her dream of being an actress.  But lately, the parts she auditions for are all going to younger actresses.  She goes home to North Carolina for her sister’s wedding and to reflect on what to do with her life.

Ethan Cole is a doctor at the local clinic in town.  He lost a leg while serving in Afghanistan, and his fiance dumped him shortly thereafter.  He’s having a hard time overcoming the hurt caused by his finance.  He doesn’t know that Samantha has had a crush on him since high school, or that her family is relentless on their determination to get them together.

There are several interesting subplots in this book and plot lines from the previous two books are tied up quite nicely.

These are  captivating, realistic, heartwarming romances.   The setting is a place you want to visit and the characters are people you want to know.  This is a character-driven trilogy with witty dialogue, beautifully descriptive scenes, warm and loving family interactions, and sweet love stories.  This trilogy is Ms. Woods best work yet.