Sure, we all like to think of ourselves as the literary type, toting a smart new book around town like a peacock showing off his plumage. The fact of the matter is, though, nothing says summer like a steamy romance read on the sand.
Harlequin romance scribe Barbara Gale has not only lived in Park Slope for “most of her adult life,” but has also set several of her novels, including the racy interracial romance “Picking Up the Pieces,” in and around the borough. Gale’s most-recent book, “Finding His Way Home,” came out in February, but the inexhaustible romantic has another tome, “The Farmer Takes a Wife,” coming out in September.
Despite all of the time she devotes to her bodice-rippers, Gale still manages to be reading five books simultaneously. GO Brooklyn’s Jessica Grose quizzed the inveterate book lover on her summer reading picks, her love of libraries and the most romantic spots in Kings County.
GO Brooklyn: What are the best beach reads for the summer of 2007?
Barbara Gale: I don’t really differentiate between beach books and regular books, but right now reading “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd, “The Shipping News” by E. Annie Proulx, “The Naming of the Dead” by Ian Rankin, “The Tenth Circle” by Jodi Picoult and “Rise and Shine” by Anna Quindlen.
GO: Since you’re an expert on matters of the heart, what are the most romantic summer spots in Brooklyn?
BG: It doesn’t get more romantic than Prospect Park, but there are also a lot of great beaches. There’s the smallest gem in Manhattan Beach and I also love Gravesend where the boats are. You can’t miss with long walks at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, especially the Shakespeare Garden, which has every flower mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays. I’m also a foodie; so if you’re looking for a romantic meal, search out Red Rose on Smith Street.
GO: What is your favorite place to read?
BG: I have a house in [upstate] Delaware County, and I love to read in my hammock.
GO: How do you find time to read so much?
BG: I’m up at 5 am to write, so I don’t read during the day, but by 7 or 8 pm, I’m ready to do some reading and go to sleep. I must have 300 books by my side. I am a library aficionado and I’m always giving away books as gifts. Even though I read so much, if you don’t get me by page 50, I’m going to put a book down. There are too many books in the world and I have to read them all.