They call it “sly” and “exhilarating,” which are two adjectives I really like. Also, Young Jane Young is in stores now.
They call it “sly” and “exhilarating,” which are two adjectives I really like. Also, Young Jane Young is in stores now.
Young Jane Young, my new book, comes out next week. It’s an Indie Next pick and a Library Reads title—thank you booksellers and librarians!—and there have already been a few great reviews.
“The five main characters are among my favorite of any recent novel I’ve read. Each is resilient, brave, intelligent, witty and flawed — human, in other words. It’s the sort of book that invites us to examine our long-held beliefs and perceptions. It asks us to imagine, for a moment, another perspective and delivers us the storyline to do so. It hands us characters who are at odds with one another and peels back their layers to reveal the thing they have in common. It has a heart. And a spine. It’s exactly, I would argue, what we need more of right now.”
—Heidi Stevens, Chicago Tribune
“I’d like to think that we also have a countervailing appetite for thoughtful stories about female persistence and success, which is why I’m excited about Gabrielle Zevin’s Young Jane Young. No matter what your definition of “is” is, this is a redemptive novel inspired by the ordeal of Monica Lewinsky. . . . Maybe with enough determination and love and support, women can choose their own adventures. They can start, like Aviva, by choosing not to be ashamed. In this life-affirming novel, Zevin doesn’t make that look easy, but she makes it look possible.”
—Ron Charles, Washington Post
Also, check out Ron Charles’s funny video about the book, which you’ll find with the book review.
You can also listen to an interview with me about the book on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday with Lulu Garcia-Navarro. We had a good discussion about women, shaming, and politics.
Finally, why not come talk about these things with me yourself? I’ll be on the road for a good part of September and October.
Excelsior, MN – Excelsior Bay Books (off-site) – September 6, 2017
Stillwater, MN – Valley Bookseller (off-site) – September 7, 2017
Naperville, IL – Anderson’s Bookshop – September 8, 2017
Houston, TX – Blue Willow Bookshop – September 9, 2017
St Louis, MO – St. Louis County Library – September 11, 2017
Denver, CO – Tattered Cover Book Store – September 12, 2017
Kansas City, MO – Rainy Day Books (off-site) – September 13, 2017
Atlanta, GA – Margaret Mitchell House – September 14, 2017
Wichita, KS – Watermark Books – September 15, 2017
Washington D.C. – East City Bookshop – September 17, 2017
Coral Gables, FL – Books and Books – September 18, 2017
Davie, FL – Diane & Barry Willen Jewish Book Festival @ David Posnack JCC – September 19, 2017
Raleigh, NC – Quail Ridge Books – September 20, 2017
Corte Madera, CA – Book Passage – September 26, 2017
Danville, CA – Rakestraw Books – September 27, 2017
Seattle, WA – University Book Store – September 28, 2017
Santa Monica, CA – Diesel, A Bookstore in Brentwood – October 3, 2017
Pasadena, CA – Vroman’s Bookstore – October 4, 2017
Orange, CA – Book Carnival – October 5, 2017
La Jolla, CA – Warwick’s – October 10, 2017
Los Angeles, CA – Skylight Books (WNBA Panel) – October 11, 2017
Scarsdale, NY – Barnes & Noble Eastchester – October 16, 2017
Madison, CT – RJ Julia Booksellers – October 17, 2017
Portland, ME – Print Bookstore – October 18, 2017
Brookline, MA – Brookline Booksmith – October 19, 2017
I try not to post reviews too often because it seems immodest, or like asking for bad luck, or weirdly unfair and propagandistic, because who puts up the bad ones? But this one’s the nicest one I’ve ever gotten from Kirkus, so up it goes.
If you’re in Los Angeles this Wednesday night, come out to the PEN Center USA Book Club. I’m hosting, and the selection is Dietland by Sarai Walker. I’ve been rereading the book in preparation for the club and I’m finding it just as timely and provocative as the first time I read it, back when I blurbed it in 2014. I believe Sarai will be there, too — she’s in town working on the television adaptation of the book.
“It felt good to say the word fat.”
Hosted by Gabrielle Zevin and co-sponsored by Women Who Submit.
Specialty cocktails will be offered all night. Happy hour prices available for those who come early.
“Fight Club meets Margaret Atwood”—Bustle
“Dietland resonated with the part of me that wants, just once, to deck a street harasser…Which is to say, sometimes I forget I am angry, but I am. Dietland is a complicated, thoughtful and powerful expression of that same anger.”—Annalisa Quinn, NPR
*Members of The Edison Book Club receive a 15% discount when purchasing the current book club title at Skylight Books.
For more information, email rachelle-at-penusa.org
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
6 PM – 8 PM
Happy Hour & Book Discussion
108 W 2nd St, #101
Los Angeles, CA 90121
The cover has been revealed over at Entertainment Weekly.
The phrase “cover reveal” amuses me. It makes me think of someone in bed, dropping a sheet for their lover. It can only have passed into parlance in the last ten years, because as far as I know covers were not revealed until then. Covers just showed up –unsexily– in stores when the books did.
So you voted for Trump. I know we haven’t spoken in a while, but I’ve been thinking a lot about you. In the last two weeks, for instance, I have read all of the think pieces about you. I listened to all the podcasts. All of them! Oh, you’re right… I didn’t listen to ALL of them. But A LOT. Thanks for keeping me honest, buddy. Some of you were the working class, but some of you were college educated people. Some of you were women! Maybe you thought it was time for a change — two terms of any party typically results in a turnover to a different party. The surrogates say, you took him “seriously but not literally.” Great line, by the way. I feel I should point out that “literally” is one of the most misused words in the English language. And in common parlance, literally has evolved to mean the opposite of literally. I digress, but this used to be the kind of thing that you and I would get a kick out of before we started talking (not to each other, I might add) exclusively about politics.
So I was surprised, to put it mildly, that you had such strong feelings for him. I knew you liked him, but I didn’t think you liked him liked him. I didn’t think you were going to marry him. But let’s move past that, if we can. I will admit that it is hard for me to move past it, but I’m trying. I’m not sure it will ever become normal for me to see you with him; I’m not sure I want it to become normal. For the moment, we can agree to disagree about your decision. You and I will both get to reassess our decisions in four years, which seems long, but is sooner than you think. We are blessed that we live in a democracy, with a constitution that specifies regularly scheduled elections. Sometimes, I really love this country.
The reason I’m writing you today is because I know some of you are my readers. I know this because I’ve met you on the road. Gosh, I went everywhere with The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I was in many of the states that Trump won, and you were all lovely to me. My point is, statistically speaking, some of you were Trump voters. But we shared values—I know we did!—we believed in bookstores, in reading and the value of empathy, in the importance of early childhood education, in the importance of adoption, in the need for communities to protect their most vulnerable members and to look out for one another. We discussed how we all believed in those things. We had some great discussions, you and I.
Sometimes, you were surprised when you figured out A.J. Fikry was a mixed race character, and you asked me questions about that. Sometimes, you were even surprised when you met me! Because I don’t look like a white person. To put a political spin on it, I look somewhere between Barack Obama and Melania Trump. For the record, I am the daughter of an immigrant from Korea. I am the daughter of a Jewish man whose mother was a school teacher and whose father worked at the Stanley Works factory. I have been mistaken for EVERY race. My joke is that everywhere I go, no one ever knows where I’m from, but they’re sure I’m not from there. I guarantee that my passport is studied longer than yours when I travel. LOL. (But it isn’t really funny!) (But no one uses LOL for things that are actually funny, so it’s fine.) My whole life, people have said, “Hey, are you from America?” and “Do you speak English?” And yes, I was born here and I speak English (and even write it) arguably well. But again, that’s a story for a different day. We’re talking about You.
So you voted for Trump. I guess the reason I’m writing you today is because I want to remind you that you don’t have to agree with everything he says and everything he does. I wanted to remind you that the fact of your vote doesn’t exclude you from participating in protest against Trump when you find areas in which you disagree. Maybe you don’t like his appointments, for instance. Oy. Or maybe you want to participate in the Women’s March on Washington—because you want to remind the president-elect that women’s rights are STILL important to you and that women’s rights are not an issue unique to one party or even one ethos. Or maybe you are troubled by the idea of registering citizens based on religion. Or maybe you want to know more about the conflicts in the President-elect’s business dealings. Also, I wanted to point out to you that although I twice voted for President Barack Obama, I have not agreed with him in every decision he has made in office either. I don’t think President Obama would even expect me to always agree with him. As citizens, we are meant to question our elected officials and to let them know when we disagree. Our county is tough. It can withstand and be improved by our dissent. But you already know this.
Now, I know it’s just a pundit’s line—how you took him “seriously, but not literally.” But it’s a good line, a sticky line, and it has been troubling me. I think once a person has been elected president, it’s only good manners to take them both literally and seriously. The President-Elect has seriously and literally nominated and allied himself with bigots, climate change deniers, and hate-mongers. I know you. And I can’t believe you would approve of that.
Let’s keep in touch,
My friend Jenn has a book out today, and we texted about it.
1) There is a Ton-Ton on the Jordanian version of Sesame Street (and not the Japanese one). He is the mustard colored one below.
2) Also, this is my bitmoji:
A.J. Fikry does refer to blurbs as the “blood diamonds of publishing,” but nonetheless, here are a few books I’ve enjoyed (and blurbed!) over the past several months.
My blurb: “The first rule of Dietland is you should definitely talk about Dietland. And I suspect you’ll want to. Gather your book clubs, gather all the Jennifers you know! At first you’ll think you’re reading a familiar story: a woman who works at a women’s magazine tries to lose weight. And then POW! Dietland lithely moves in ways and to places you won’t expect. Sarai Walker has a wonderfully curious mind, and this is an impressive, ambitious first novel.”
My blurb: “The Travels of Daniel Ascher is about the power of stories, particularly the ones we tell about ourselves. Within its svelte form, the novel packs in a love story (several actually), a family story, a war story, a mystery, a travelogue, and even a convincingly imagined children’s adventure series. All these strands weave together beautifully in this deftly plotted and deeply moving novel.”
Readers who enjoyed A.J. Fikry will very much respond to this one.
My blurb: “SAINT MAZIE is a novel with as much style and moxie as its titular character. I missed Mazie Gordon-Phillips and her family when I was finished reading, but I missed New York, too. By telling this one woman’s story, Jami Attenberg has managed to write an ode to New Yorkers of every generation. She is a true poet of the city.”
I loved Jami Attenberg’s The Middlesteins, too.
For Young Adults:
“THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH is a unique love story, and yet, it is also the love story of all humans through time. Martha Brockenbrough is a compassionate observer of many worlds—airfields, jazz clubs, baseball diamonds, newspapers, and Hoovervilles to name a few—and the beautiful, doomed human types that dwell in them. This is an exceptional novel.”
This book is indicated for young adults, but I’m confident adults will enjoy it.
I received an amusing reader letter speculating about the connection between Proust’s madeleine and mandelbrodt.
Dear Ms. Zevin: I am enjoying A.J. Fikry enormously. Your mention of Proust raised this memory, and I thought it would interest you.
I bake mandelbrot, which my old Jewish friends from Siberia and Poland tell me is exactly like what their mothers used to bake. Also a friend XXXX told me they are what her mama in southern Italy made. NPR reported that the madeleines in Proust’s story were really dried rusk type of cookies. Not at all like the madeleines that are sold under that title today. I checked, and learned that Proust’s mother was born Jewish. Mandelbrot, of course! If you would like to have my great recipe for those cookies, let me know.
Google will not confirm this for me, but I like the idea that Proust may have been biting into mandelbrodt. Either way, I have requested that the reader send me her recipe. When one is offered a “great recipe,” it is foolish not to accept.
Also, the paperback version of A.J. Fikry debuted at number nine on the New York Times Best Seller Paperback Trade Fiction list, right between Murakami and E.L. James.