The Book Beat - April 24, 2020
Happy weekend, book friends! Another week, more working from home, helping with schooling, front-porch reading, and trying to stay positive. I hope you are all hanging in there as well.
A bright spot...I "won" this book on the left! Krista Vernoff, EP of Grey's Anatomy was giving away 30 copies of her three most recent favorite books. She bought through bookshop.org so she could help an independent bookstore. I was able to send my info quickly and I won. Finally! I never win anything, so this was a treat. I will let you know how it is.
I don't have too much news this week, but I did want to highlight a few bookish and pop-culturish things that caught my eye. I haven't had nearly enough time to binge-watch TV, but one I did catch was the Hulu adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere. I loved the book and really enjoyed the TV version (is there anything our Patron Saint of Books Reese Witherspoon can't do?). Did anyone else watch it? If so, what did you think?
I've also become hooked on Ray Bradbury after reading some of his stories for my A Short Story a Day challenge. Why haven't I read much by this sci-fi genius (and scarily accurate predictor of the future) before? I do tend to gravitate toward female authors, so I'm going to make an effort to rectify that. And, in typical Diana fashion, I've started reading as much as I can about him. The below article stuck out, particularly since I'm enthralled by how much he did foresee, especially in regards to technology and its effect on people. Check this out (and read Fahrenheit 451, "Sound of Thunder," "The Pedestrian," and "The Veldt") if you haven't already. Below this article, I'll share some more news.
Are You There Devoted Fans?
It's Judy Blume Enjoying a Renaissance
Need some inspo to finally finish your novel? Judy Blume, the Grand Dame of young adult novels, shares what her life was like at 28 when she started writing (Bustle does a really neat series where they interview successful women about what their lives were like at 28). It's a great article. It's also exciting because Ms. Blume has finally allowed some of her books (including Margaret!) to be brought to TV/movie screens. YAY! I'm there. The Bustle article and an article by Vogue about the "Blume-aissance" are below.
John Cho: "New" Sulu, Korean-American & Dreamboat in "Selfie"
First, a note: The TV show Selfie, which premiered and was canceled pretty quickly back in September 2014 is one of the few TV shows that I consider "gone before its time." The first episode was not great and I checked out. But thanks to Hulu streaming it a couple years ago I got to watch the entire one-and-only season. It was wonderful. Funny, zany, heartfelt, and romantic. Karen Gillam and John Cho starred as the heroine and hero of a storyline that was loosely based on My Fair Lady. If it's ever back on Hulu, check it out.
I've adored John Cho since American Pie, and this op-ed written by him speaking to the discrimination Asian-American communities in the United States have experienced since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic is smart, emotional, and profound. Read what he has to say. (P.S. Firewall trick. Copy link and put it in Google Chrome browser and you can usually read it. Or, splurge if you're able and support local/national papers. With the internet and now a global pandemic, many are floundering just to stay alive).
If, like many during this unprecedented time, you're having trouble reading or concentrating, maybe try a Ted Talk? One of my favorite book sites, Bookriot.com offers some bookish Ted Talks you can listen to.
Mini Book Review: Florida by Lauren Groff
This amazing book features a collection of stories about (not always in) the southern state. Groff uses her considerable talents with metaphors and atmosphere building to place various characters in a hot, dense, volatile, storm-ridden state that either swallows them up or show them how powerful they can be in the face or natural and man-made terrors. I loved it! Riveting from start to finish.
And finally, Happy #NationalLibraryWeek! I hope you all are taking advantage of the online resources your local library offers to get books, audiobooks, etc. while we're staying at home. My local library moved to a new location a few years ago and I love it. It's small in size but expansive in opportunities, knowledge, books, and joy (for me!). I'm so sad the Spring Book Sale was canceled. It's one of my absolute favorite events. Don't forget: Overdrive, Libby, Hoopla and more are all great sites for book borrowing that you only need a library card to access. And, because I'm feeling nostalgic, here is one of my favorite pics of my daughter. She was four when she got her first library card. I'm hoping she'll grow up and read more than she does now (she's 11). It's a struggle and even more difficult with iPads, YouTube, PS4, etc. competing for her attention.
Cover of the Week:
The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward
Even though it's an illustration, who wouldn't want to dive into this book cover's image right about now? Sun, beach, relaxation? Sign me up! This book's description sounds just as provocative. A family matriarch wins a trip and takes her family along for the ride. As these "jetsetters" spend time together on an over-the-top cruise ship traveling through Athens, Rome, and Barcelona, old family secrets are revealed, while this family learns how they can relate to one another again. I can't wait to read it!