Hairdresser Runs Book Club, Texas-Style

Patrons of an East Texas shop called Beauty and the Book like to say that the higher the hair, the closer to God.

It is hard to dispute that there are is something close to a miracle going on at Beauty and the Book, a combination book store/beauty salon.

Customers drive up to five hours to get to her unique shop. They come from as far away as Houston, Dallas and Shreveport, La., said owner and stylist Kathy Patrick. The former book-publishing representative started the business in a 20-by-20 foot space adjacent to her own home, just outside of the town of Jefferson.

Ninety percent of the customers come for hair appointments, but most leave with a few books under their arms, too. Two years ago, Patrick started a book club that has grown from six members to 125 members from all over the state, and even some from adjacent states.

The club is called "Pulpwood Queens," so named because of the importance of the paper industry in Jefferson, where an International Paper plant is located.

Patrick said she tries to tap into what the club readers like, but she sometimes pushes them to read more edgy stuff.

"Our probably all-time favorite was Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, because it's about a bunch of women who like to drive Cadillacs and drink mixed drinks and haul the kids in the back seat," Patrick said. "That's what we like to do."

The house rules: Book club members wear tiaras, leopard prints and leave their diets at the door. Guest authors are treated to the "goddess treatment," with some getting manicures and pedicures as they sign books and give readings. Some 60 authors have visited the shop, bringing a cultural treat more common in big cities to a small town.

The club just finished Pretty Is As Pretty Does and they've moved onto The Absence of Nectar.

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