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The Book Beat - January 10, 2020

Happy the winter of my discontent, book friends! The holidays are over, the new year is upon us, and in my neck of the woods, it’s cold, snowy, and did I say cold? I hope you have a warm blanket, a strong cup of coffee or tea, and a good book to keep you company.

We’re a few weeks into a new decade and inquiring minds want to know, “How many books have you read so far?” I’m done two, working on three (print) and four (audio). I’m also doing well with my A Short Story a Day challenge. I won’t lie. Most are read around 10/10:30 at night and for two of them I ended up getting my Insta post up the next day. That said, I'm really enjoying all of the stories—either new-to-me reads or classics I’m reacquainting myself with. I’m like an English major rolling around in pages and pages of stories and I AM LOVING IT.

Before we get to the book news of the week, I want to talk about my brush with author greatness that happened last night. Thanks to my local bookshop (@wellingtonsquarebookshop) and library (@chescolibraries), Liz Moore, author of Heft and The Unseen World, read and signed copies of her latest, the much-buzzed-about Long Bright River. It was featured in O Magazine, is GMA’s January book club pick, is one of The New York Times’ 20 Books of 2020, etc. I’m not reading it just yet (it’s my book club’s pick for February), but I am very excited to.

A quick summary. It’s the story of two sisters who live in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. The younger sister, Kacey is addicted to opiods and ends up going missing. Her sister, Mickey, who’s a police officer, deals with trying to find her sister, solving a string of murders in the area, and juggling her job of being a single mom to her 4-year-old son. Part family drama and part thriller, it sounds really good. I can’t wait to dig in.

One more note. Liz couldn’t have been more gracious or kind. She’s a writing professor as well as an author and has taught several writing workshops in my area. I love when local authors break out and hit the big time. Much-deserved!

Female Authors Talk Little Women

The New York Times talked to several female authors and asked them what the book Little Women meant to them and what they thought about the new movie. Virginia Kantra, who's featured, has written a romance novel that brings LW into modern times. It's called Meg and Jo, with the sequel Beth and Amy coming next year. I am FINALLY going to see the movie next week. I'll let you know what I think!

All Hail, InterLibrary Loan

Nick Ripatrazone gives us a nice history of the service and details all the good that it does. My fave observation: "It is comforting to delude ourselves that everything is available online, but there’s a wealth of significant material that remains only in print."

I loved this service when I was a student. Shocking to no one, I was such a book geek that when I got a book from it, I enjoyed making sure to notice where and from how far away it had come. In the olden days :) it was neat to think about a book traveling throughout the country to get to you.

Nine Perfect Strangers Adds One Perfect Cast Member

Melissa McCarthy has signed on to play Francis to Nicole Kidman's Masha in the Hulu limited series based on this book. What an inspiring (and perfect!) choice. David E. Kelley (he wrote the scripts for HBO's adaptation of Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies) is writing this one, too. Sounds like all the stars are aligning for this one to be as good as Season 1 of BLL. My book club buds and I really enjoyed this book!

A Short Story a Day Update

I know I'm partial to books/reading, but I haven't read a short story this year so far that I didn't like. List and ratings (1 not good, 10 being fabulous) below.

"A Good Man Is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor - 8

"A New England Nun" by Mary Eleanor Wilkins - 7

"The Beauties" by Anton Chekov - 6

"In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried" by Amy Hempel - 9

"Where are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates - 8

"Incarnations of Burned Children" by David Foster Wallace - 6

"People Like That are the Only People Here" by Lorrie Moore - 10

"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson - 9

"The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin - 9

Cover of the Week: Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

This cover is just adorable. I mean, how can you resist the cute, yellow house and even cuter cartoon lobster? It's bright, inviting, colorful, and loaded with charm. At first glance, you'd think it's set in Maine (correct) and it must be a fun, happy romance, right? It IS funny and romantic, but there's also a surprisingly effective emotional core underneath. I loved this book. It was one of my faves from 2019. Written by Linda Holmes, the host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, it's a charming story about Evvie, a sad, hurting woman who gets her groove back after dealing with some pretty emotional life changes. Along the way she meets Dean, a former MLB pitcher who has a Kevin Coster-in-Bull-Durham vibe that I really liked. :) Definitely check it out if you haven't already!

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