AN INSANITY OF LAUNCHES & BOOK GOODNESS!

Dear Readers,

An insanity of excellent novels are being launched in the Boston area this week–by their authors! If you’re local, check out the launches. If you’re not, here’s your summer reading list!

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TUESDAY, MAY 5
* Sarah McCoy‘s new novel THE MAPMAKER’S CHILDREN launches in Providence, RI. For more information/ to attend, please click here.

* Erika Robuck reads from her new novel THE HOUSE OF HAWTHORNE at Newtonville Books, Newtonville, MA, 7 PM. For more information/ to attend, please click here.

 WEDNESDAY, MAY 6
* Sarah McCoy & Jenna Blum (ahem) at Domaine BRING ON BLING Books & Bling event at Domaine, Providence, RI, 1-2 PM. For more information/ to attend, please click here.

*SPECIAL EDITION* #FridayReads on Saturday: Kate Southwood’s FALLING TO EARTH

Dear Readers,

In the wake of the deadly tornado in Illinois this past week, I’m offering a special edition #FridayReads on Saturday: Kate Southwood’s novel FALLING TO EARTH, a must-read for anyone interested in weather–and  fine fiction.

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 10.30.11 AMKate’s novel is set in fictional Marah, IL but is based upon the real town of Murphysboro, IL, which was destroyed in the Tri-State Tornado of 1925. In Murphysboro alone, 234 people died.

Mile-wide monster tornadoes are nothing new in America, although they are becoming more frequent as our climate shifts. One big difference between the Murphysboro, IL and the towns stricken by Thursday’s twisters: this time, thanks to advanced warning systems, two people died instead of 234.

#FridayReads: 2 Tales of 2 Marriages

Dear Readers & Book Club members: Today’s #FridayReads comes courtesy of The Book Club Cookbook, book club website extraorindaire!, who invited me to do a novel pairing–like pairing wine & food, but with novels.

Reader-chefs, today for your palette I have prepared for you 2 Tales of 2 Marriages: Courtney Maum’s I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN HERE WITHOUT YOU, newly out in paperback, and Richard Yates’ REVOLUTIONARY ROAD.

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You may remember me mentioning both novels as favorites–delectable in their own right. Put them together for your book club & you’ve got a whole new compare-and-contrast taste treat!

* Please come back next week for another #FridayReads. *

#FridayReads: DINNER WITH JACKSON POLLOCK: Recipes, Art & Nature, by Robin Lea

This week’s #FridayReads hasn’t been read yet, but it has been pre-ordered! DINNER WITH JACKSON POLLOCK: Recipes, Art & Nature.

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I bet he threw a lot of spaghetti sauce at the wall to see if it’d stick!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Ha?

Sauce jokes aside, I am a big Pollock fan and fascinated with the idea that the famously misanthropic and alcoholic Pollock could also be a superb host and, apparently, had a penchant for baking.Talk about character nuance!

And the photography in this book looks luscious as well.

#WriterWednesday: Inside The Writer’s Studio

Last night I had the great pleasure of my first book club via Facebook chat! and at the end, the host played Inside The Actor’s Studio with me–except it was Inside The Writer’s Studio. The questions were so much fun, I thought I’d share them with you!

What is your favorite word?
That’s a good question. My most recent favorite word is “crenelation,” about the snow castles here in Boston. My first favorite word: “inchitate,” as in “Don’t inchoate me” (I meant irritate. I was 2 years old).

What is your least favorite word?
Congrats. If you want to wholeheartedly congratulate somebody, for goodness’ sake, take the time to spell the damned thing out!

#FridayReads: THE 500 HATS OF BARTHOLOMEW CUBBINS, by Dr. Seuss

In honor of Dr. Seuss’s turning, this past week, 111 (a number I somehow think he would have liked), today’s #FridayReads features my favorite Seuss book. You might think it’d be DR. SEUSS’S SLEEP BOOK:

Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book

….which contains the first passage I ever read by myself, at age 4–about a creature named the Chippendale Mupp, whose tail is so long he bites it before going to bed and 8 hours later, the pain wakes him–a kind of posterior alarm clock.

His tail is so long, he won’t feel any pain,
‘Til the nip makes the trip and gets up to his brain.
In exactly eight hours, The Chippendale Ump
Will, at last, feel the bite and yell, “Ouch!” and wake up.

#FridayReads: REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates

Richard Yates’ REVOLUTIONARY ROAD is one of my top ten favorite novels, and it’s not just because Mr. Yates used to drink (copiously) down the street from me in Boston, at a bar called The Crossroads (where I also used to drink–copiously–in grad school).

Revolutionary Road

Some of you may have seen the excellent movie version (starring with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) of a mid-20th-century marriage in screaming dissolution and thought, Who are these people, and what the hell makes them act that way toward each other? But that’s part of Yates’s genius, because so many of us squirm in uneasy recognition and think: Oh. That’s me.

#FridayReads: STATION ELEVEN, by Emily St. John Mandel

I’m a big geek when it comes to dystopian fiction. One of my top three favorite books of all time is Stephen King’s THE STAND, which I read when I was a teenager (and re-read every couple of years), and it inspired a lifelong appetite for any book about the fall of Life As We Know It and attempts to rebuild in the aftermath. Why? Partly prurient voyeurism (how DO we almost all die?). Partly because I’m fascinated with survival, and dystopian fiction gives me the chance to put myself in the characters’ shoes like a virtual reality game and think, How would I do?

How Long Should It Take To Write A Novel?

How long should it take to write a novel?

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Dear Jenna: After another listen to “The Author at Work“, I have a question for you. You said you spent three years on Those Who Save Us. Could you break that down for me (i.e. how much time on 1st draft, revision, pollinating, etc)? I have been worrying that I am taking forever w/ my novel (15 mos in so far), but perhaps I am not doing so badly after all. ~ Mr. M