Category Archives: #FridayReads

#FridayReads: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee

True confession: until this past week, I’d never read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Somehow I was never assigned it in school, and although I have vague memories of the movie (Gregory Peck and something about a ham), my main association with the novel, aside from the admiration automatically accorded a classic, was gratitude to Harper Lee: she wrote one book, apparently decided a Pulitzer Prize-winner was enough, and capped her pen. Thereby giving solace to writers like me who don’t put out a new book every year. (“But look, Harper Lee wrote only one novel and she did all right!”)

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#FridayReads: SUMMER SECRETS by Jane Green

As a novelist, one could really dislike prolific & bestselling author Jane Green (17 NOVELS! SO FAR!) if she weren’t also such an utterly lovely human being. And if her books weren’t like cookies hot out of the oven: luscious, delicious, instantly grabbable, mandatorily consumable.

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Here, just in time for your summer vacation, is Jane’s latest novel: SUMMER SECRETS. I had the pleasure of reading a fresh-off-the-sheet galley, and as I do with all of Jane’s books, I a) read it instantly b) didn’t do anything else until I was done reading.

I’ll share with you (SNEAK PREVIEW!) a couple of things:

#FridayReads: IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT by Judy Blume

Like almost everyone else my age, I grew up reading the Judy Blume books, even though I am, alas, not related to her (and although I do have an aunt Judy Blum!) So as soon as I saw Ms. Blume was coming out with a new novel for adults, IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT, I did exactly what a book blogger suggested I might do: “Admit it, you pre-ordered as soon as I said ‘Judy Blume,’ didn’t you?”

In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

Indeed I did. And as soon as the novel arrived, I plunged into it with an alacrity I’ve rarely felt since I was a little girl sitting cross-legged on the floor of the Watching Bookshop in Montclair, NJ, sampling dozens of books as I tried to decide which one I’d spend my precious allowance on that week.

#FridayReads: EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU, by Celeste Ng

Dear Readers,

Happy #FridayReads! I just finished Celeste Ng’s EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU, which I enjoyed a lot. It’s a debut novel by a writer with an affiliation to my beloved Grub Street Writers, about how attitudes in and around a Chinese-American family in 1970s Ohio send emotional ripples from the parents to the children, with heartbreaking consequences.

EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU by Celeste Ng

A great cause-and-effect book of how our presumptions and misunderstandings can affect each other, EVERYTHING reminded me a little of THE MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER with its readability and emphasis on the sadness and destruction of secrets kept. But (& ever though I hate to talk smack about another writer) I thought the writing and premise in EVERYTHING was much better, with less melodrama and more beautiful similes (I always love a good simile!).

*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: 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.

#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.

Top 14 Books of 2014

Dearest ones! It’s that time of year again–to FREAK THE F OUT BECAUSE YOU STILL NEED PRESENTS FOR PEOPLE ON YOUR EVER-LOVIN’ LIST! Never fear, stressed Santas. You may have heard that #BooksMakeGreatGifts, and since you no doubt do not have time to sit down and read a bunch of them right this very second, I will recommend some for you, with Cliff Notes. Also luckily, 2014 was a terrific year for reading! So many astonishingly good books by debut and esteemed authors. Put these in your sack, and if you have time, enjoy before giving (just make sure not to eat chocolate while reading. Those fingerprints will give you away every time).

#FridayReads: THE LAST DAYS OF CALIFORNIA by Mary Miller

Dear Readers:

You know a novel has to be good when it can overcome my traditional aversion to teenaged narrators–Holden Caulfield, Katniss Everdeen, Gabriela from Iris Gomez’s TRY TO REMEMBER, and Karen Thompson Walker’s Julia from THE AGE OF MIRACLES excepted. To that company I’m adding Jess, the heroine of debut novel & Indiebound pick THE LAST DAYS OF CALIFORNIA, who tells this story of a Rapture-bound road trip with her family that starts in a Waffle House en route from Alabama to California (where the world will naturally end).
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