Originally Published: September 22, 2007 9:43 p.m.
I am a chain-reading readaholic. You could say that I am somewhat of a bibliophile. The minute I put one book down I immediately pick up another. It keeps my mind sharp and increases my vocabulary. Also as a writer it gives me new insights from other author's perspectives.
As a reader though books allow me to go to the wizarding world of Hogwarts (J.K. Rowling) or out to sea with Dirk Pitt (Clive Cussler) or investigate crimes with Alex Delaware (Jonathan Kellerman). Books allow me the pleasure of escaping everyday stress and enjoy a relaxed hour in my hammock or recliner.
On occasion I get to meet an author. By a strange series of events I recently had the great pleasure of meeting with Saira Rao in a small New York City coffee shop. She recently penned her first novel "Chambermaid" which I discovered after reading a yahoo article that she had written.
She's a lovely woman who graciously gave me an hour of her time along with agreeing to read three chapters of my own unfinished novel.
Saira creates wonderfully memorable characters trying to do an impossible job for a lunatic judge who I truly hope does not actually exist in our justice system. Shelia Raj, or is it Sheeba? Sheera? Has just graduated from Columbia law school and is clerking for the Honorable Federal Judge, Helga (rilly, rilly busy) Friedman in Philadelphia. Sheila and her office mates are often called into the "Torture Chamber" to have their inadequacies skewered and barbequed for Judge Friedman's enjoyment. Intertwined in the chaotic work schedule Shelia's personal life takes a nose dive but recovery happens in the form of an ending that was exactly what I was looking for.
Saira's characters are fun to read, the interactions are witty, sarcastic and often plain outrageous. She paints a picture of the American Judicial System that only insiders get to see, and for good reason.
"Chambermaid" is a wonderful read that will leave you wanting a sequel. I know I want to see what happens next...