Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Things I Love, Things I Hate, Things In Between: Volume 6

It's about time that I step back onto my soapbox....

Thing I Love: The Girls from Corona del Mar
This first novel by the extremely talented Rufi Thorpe performs the admirable and surprisingly rare-ish feat of writing a literary novel about women's friendship. Seriously, think about it. Take out the "chick lit" and try to list five novels that do justice to this topic. The story here is of two girls, Mia and Lorrie Ann, best friends growing up and into adulthood. Mia is the narrator and recognizable certainly to my world--smart, career minded, more admired than adored. Lorrie Ann is the beautiful, loved cheerleader type. This book allows each girl to be full characters and friends but also gets to the bigger point: how well can we actually know even our best friends? I like this book because it captures the way I feel about my women friends, from the love I feel for them to the conflicted feelings and hurts and occasional frustrations. Also, just announced, The Girls from Corona del Mar was named to the longlist for the Dylan Thomas Prize, an international competition that's pretty lucrative and prestigious.

Thing I Hate: Fireworks
Really? I get why people wait until midnight on New Year's Eve. That sort of makes sense. It makes no sense at all to wait until midnight on the Fourth of July. As a jumpy person, I become twitchy on the firework-related holidays. I am the human version of your spastic dog hiding in the bathtub.

Thing I Hate  Thing in Between: Receptions
Normally I'd rather attempt self-immolation than host a cocktail party, let alone two in one week. Occasionally, though, it's part of my work. This last week I hosted bookseller/book industry meet-and-greet gatherings for a new novelist, Merritt Tierce. Merritt has written a novel about a broken woman working in the restaurant business, and while it's superbly written and a realistic portrayal of the service industry, teen pregnancy, and the repercussions of broken dreams, it's not a book you necessarily recommend to your granny. I really like Love Me Back for its honesty and admire it for being unapologetic. So that's the book, and then there were a bunch of booksellers and publishing people and an author I'd never met. I was a bit anxious. Then the author's car service reservation...didn't exist and she didn't have a ride to the bar where we were gathering. She grabbed a cab and I received this text:

How I know I will get along with someone? Profanity flying before we've officially met. Merritt Tierce is a bad ass and I hope Love Me Back shakes up the literary world when it goes on sale in September.

Thing I Love: Veronica Mars
I admit it: this television series is one of my favorites and I loved the movie that premiered earlier this year. Veronica is my Nancy Drew. Did you know that there's a Veronica Mars book, Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, that's a sequel to the movie and series, and that it's written by series creator Rob Thomas and coauthor Jennifer Graham? Did you know that it's every bit as pleasing as the series? If you like Veronica, you will like the book. Oh, and if you're an audiobook fan, Kristen Bell reads the book. Oh, yeah, and there's another book coming, too: Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell, going on sale in October.

I don't ever want to see
your feet. This is the beach
equivalent of foodie pics
on Facebook. Ugh.
Thing I Hate: The Idea of Beach Reading
Of course I'm in favor of the concept of taking a break and reading a book. Feel free to do it in sandy environments. Terrific. Somehow, though, it seems that we are all supposed to go to the beach and sit in the sun and read fluffy books. It strikes me as a New England-y, East Coast, elitist trope, and it leads to way too many pictures of people's feet on my Facebook feed. Got it, you're on the beach. I do not need to see your bare feet for verification. Your toes gross me out. What's so great about beach reading anyway? Why don't we have mountain reading during the summer? At least the mountains are cooler and there's less of a chance of itchy undies. Also, people don't wear thongs in the mountains. I'd love to know how anyone can focus on a novel when a banana slinger strolls by.

Thing I Love: Gearing Up for the Fall
In my mind it's October already. Never mind that it's so hot that my iPod (loaded with audiobooks and living in my car) is too hot to work every afternoon, and I race to strip out of clothing when I walk through my door. (I love to text Gianna and tell her about my clothing choices. She loves it too. A lot. SOOO much. It's the best part of her life. "Lose my number" is code for "Do tell me more.") I'm spending my work days selling books to stores so that they can sell them to customers in the upcoming months. When the extraneous stuff is removed (expense reports, conference calls, airport security lines), I get to help connect readers to books and that can be fun. The new Ian McEwan novel The Children Act, which will spark conversation in particular now that the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case has brought in religious and legal ambiguities, is coming. A polar exploration nonfiction adventure, In the Kingdom of Ice, hits my maritime history sweet spot. THE NAVIGATOR HAD SYPHILIS. YOU HAD ME AT SYPHILIS. There's a new novel from Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, that bring humanity to the darkness of a Japanese POW camp building the Burmese railroad during World War II. Station Eleven: the book that my colleagues and I can't quit talking about. Fall is fun. Fall is crazy and frenzied and chaotic, but it's also when we get to talk about books and know that we made a bunch of people happy for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/whatever.

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