Yesterday on the plane I read The Nanny Diaries [by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus]. It was written about a woman who works with a child in New York City and her hair-raising adventures with this very self-centered, egocentric New York mother. I thought it was amusing and poignant. For me it's always a danger to write about children because you can so easily slide over into the syrupy. These two women did a masterful job. Before that I read the Joan Didion book The Year of Masterful Thinking. That's her account of [her husband] John Gregory Dunne's death, and her daughter's death is touched on briefly. I think she lost them both within a year of one another. She talks through the process of that experience in a most amazing way. She's a fabulous writer. It was, oddly, not sentimental.
... Listening to?
I tend not to be into music. I occasionally will listen to talk radio while driving around town. I listen to The Dave Ramsey Show. He gives financial advice. It's a call-in show - he's so compassionate and so smart and so encouraging. He has a book called "The Total Money Makeover" in which he shows you how to get control of your income and debt. He does what he calls "on air plastictomies" in which you tear up your credit cards. He lets you shoot them or put them in a blender. It's a wonderful message in this day and age when we're encouraged to ... buy stuff we can't afford.
[My husband and I] tend to watch a lot of DVDs. We tend to have our favorites [The Shawshank Redemption, When Harry Met Sally]. We watch Love Actually over and over. It has a very positive view of human nature. I hate to sound like Little Mary Sunshine, but I think we need a little dose of good cheer, and "Love Actually" has the sweetest stories woven together. I swear I've seen it 15 times.
• Sue Grafton's latest mystery, "S is For Silence," is published by Putnam.