It’s one thing to have a friend recommend a book to you. It’s another thing to have a friend recommend a book to you and then have that friend and another friend discuss that book for several minutes, each sharing his or her love of the work. Over the loud din of karaoke.

When that happens, a wise woman adds that to the To Read list and bumps it up to top. And since I have smart friends with good taste (thank you, TC and Lynn), I too have been converted into a new Armistead Maupin fan.

I think Maupin already had my interest when I was told that Tales of the City was originally a column in a San Francisco newspaper. I LOVE serials. I think serials are pretty much one of the coolest things a writer can possibly do. And given that they are in such woefully short supply (blogs really are some of the closest comparisons one can readily make these days), I envy those who were able to enjoy and agonize over the anticipation of the newest installment.

Maupin’s style is heartfelt and witty, playful and serious. Just as it should be, considering that he’s following the lives of city dwellers who are, at the youngest, in their mid-twenties. There are six books in this series. I’m through with one of them. I can’t wait to read the other five.