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Have you ever wanted to live in a different era? You know, like in Midnight in Paris*, where (spoiler alert!) a twentieth century man believed he was born too late, that he should have lived during the 1920s when Picasso, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway were in their prominence. He loves the idea mostly because he is a writer (struggling) and they are his heroes. Then he steps back in time and meets “Adriana,”a tres magnifique character who really is from the 1920s but would rather have lived during the 1800s “…the sensibilities, the street lamps, the kiosks, the horse and carriages….”

I wonder about this for two reasons. One, not too long ago my daughter told me I should have been a hippy. I mean, I dig the idea of peace, love, and happiness, which also happens to be my never-changing Christmas wish. And I know the music of the time, “For everything (turn, turn, turn, turn.) There is a season (turn, turn, turn….”) You know, back when you could understand the lyrics Bob Dylan sang.

But if I, like Gil Pender, had a preference, I would choose the Jazz Age. And I think I would have fit in rather nicely. I adore the fashion. The shoes were fantastic. I love the dancing (nothing beats the Charleston). And a younger version of me would have smoked a cigarette using a fabulous ebony holder. And I may have been brave enough to sneak into a speakeasy too. There were no worries. Life was to be lived and everything was about being carefree and having fun. I could see myself as a writer trying to get my first break. I might have gotten some wonderful advice from Gertrude Stein or Dorothy Parker. And if all was ideal, I would have been invited to every one of Robert Redford’s…uh, Jay Gatsby’s marvelous parties. Oh, the romance of it all.

What I’ve Learned:  

Luckily, wishes don’t always come true. Sure times were fun but there was a lot of hardship to follow. Best to leave wishing alone and make the best of it.

And now a few famous quotes:

“The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant–and let the air out of the tires.” -Dorothy Parker

“A serious writer is not to be confused with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.”

-Ernest Hemingway

Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you. Langston Hughes

I am thankful for laughter, except when  milk comes out of my nose.” Woody Allen


*Midnight in Paris is not a novel. It is a screenplay written and directed by Woody Allen.

Reading & Writing About Reading


Dear Readers,

It’s hard writing a blog. I have a blog but I haven’t written anything on it for a while. It’s a blog about my life as a mom, wife, dog owner, friend, stuff I’ve learned…but I haven’t written anything about books. That’s kinda tough for me.

I have had a reading comprehension issue since I was a child. None of my classmates knew I had a problem because I was great at reading aloud. I was always first to volunteer. I could read fast and use accents, and make anything I read seem exceedingly interesting. I love reading for the children at Storytimes. 

Remember the speed reading tests we took in the second grade? I had no trouble reading down the lines on the screen. I just didn’t know what I’d read. My teachers could have caught this problem and written it on my report card but I’m not sure of it. In any case, nothing was done.

As a result, I’m an underliner. (Is that a word?) The problem with underlining is you never really know if you’re marking the right information, what the teacher wants you to learn from the text. I also write in the margins. So, I basically deface every book I read. My father-in-law borrowed a book from me. He returned it the next day.

I can’t read this book. You’ve written all over it, he said.

I guess I should have warned him. I don’t loan my books to people anymore.

So I hope to figure out how to write about books. It’ll be a slow process…a continuing slow process. I appreciate your patience in advance.

Some of you, many of you may be asking yourself,

Why on earth did she buy a bookstore if she doesn’t read as much? Is she nuts?

Well, yeah, I guess you could say that. But in the grand bowl of nuts I’m rather normal. And I do love books. More importantly, I love people. But that story is for another day.

Until then,

The Quail Queen

‘Twas the Night Before Haircuts

More than ten years ago our three daughters: Chelsea, Craven, and Caroline, decided to do something charitable, a selfless act that would give joy to sick children. And all they had to do was grow their hair for a year, then cut it. I mean really cut it. Caroline was in elementary school, Craven in middle school, and Chelsea in high school. Now they are 19, 23 and 27…practically grown-ups. I still think it’s one of the coolest things they’ve ever done.

That same Christmas I wrote a poem in the style of Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas.”  I hope you enjoy it.

The Night Before Haircuts


   The night before haircuts and all through the house, the Poole girls were singing and flitting about. They were not snuggled all down in their beds. Instead, they were nervously washing their heads. Mom wrapping presents and dad working late, were filled with unease, the “dos” might look…not great.

   So, the next morning the alarm clock sang Briiinngg! The two jumped from bed and quickly took wing up to the girl’s rooms, “Good Mornings” to sing. When what to their wondering eyes would appear but three princesses dozing…one showing her rear. Dad kissed and mom cooed speaking low in their ears, “Today’s the big day for our little dears. You will sit in the chair, a last look at your locks, then with Sue’s magic scissors, Ta Da! It’s all chopped.”

     More rapid than eagles the children they came. Dad hooted, hollered, and called them by name. Now Chelsea, Craven, and Caroline too, sit up to the table for waffles…now chew! They slid to their chairs. Dad blew a loud whistle. Each sucked the food down like a new upright Bissell. They finished their breakfasts and tore to their rooms, each brushing her braces, dad’s truck to leave soon.

Away at Saint David’s with backpacks in tow, they sat in their classrooms; the clocks ever so slow. They spoke not a word when the school bell rang Briiinngg! but climbed to their seats in mom’s Chevrolet king. They sped through the town. They could not be late. What a big day, a life altering date! They waited a year, without hesitation, to grow their hair lengthy beyond expectation.

One by one in the chair each looking most coy, they had their hair sheared for a girl or a boy. Alas, Cancer, you see, has left children without any curls to admire, no hair to comb out. And so on that day, a day like any other, our girls gave their locks for a sister or brother. Three gifts of shear love and unselfish delight;

Merry Christmas dear children,
May you each win your fight!       


-Lisa Poole
Head Quail

Welcome to QRB!

Dear Readers,

My name is Lisa Poole and I’m the owner of Quail Ridge Books.

I bought it from Jim and Nancy Olson, who opened their tiny bookshop at Quail Corners Shopping Center over thirty years ago. I’ve heard the walls and floor were stacked with as many books as possible, and there Nancy met and nurtured relationships with Raleighites, as well as new and established authors.

After several years Nancy needed to stretch so they packed up and moved the bookshop to Ridgewood Shopping Center. They renamed it Quail Ridge Books and Music and it flourished there for many many years. The store was known for it’s impressive array of local and southern publications, classics, poetry, and fine literary works.

*“And there was music….” Yes, they attracted lots of music enthusiasts with classical and folk, tapes and Cds. The music section was kept up-to-date and gladly took orders when necessary.

Certainly, let’s not forget Wonderland, the magical children’s book section, tucked deep in the left corner of the store with it’s bright yellow walls, where illustrator’s characters hung in frames for all to see.

Through the years Nancy became an iconic figure in the book world. Through her advocacy she was able to get author’s books published and into the hands of readers. And in return, authors travelled from all around to share their stories with Nancy’s loyal customers.

I’ve heard she would ask customers what they were reading and if she didn’t like the answer she would tell them so. Then she’d take a book off a shelf and put it in their hands. This is better, she might say. She was plucky like that.

There are lots of Nancy Olson stories; just ask any longtime customer or a member of our top-notch staff. And when you’re in the new Quail Ridge Bookstore at North Hills, you’ll find a table with just some of Nancy’s favorite books displayed. Above it is a portrait of Nancy with a sparkle in her eye and a knowing smile.

My name is Lisa Poole and I’m the owner of Quail Ridge Books.

But that story is for another day.

Until then,


Lisa Poole