Book Recommendations for You

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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:

game of love and death

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.

The Reason Anya Is Called Annie

The Reason Anya Is Called Annie

You might find this surprising, but the series that most inspired me when I was writing the Anya Balanchine books was Anne of Green Gables.

This article by Sarah Mesle captures so much of what the Anne books meant and mean to me.

I love the quote Mesle uses at the end:

“Dear old world,” Anne murmurs, in what is to me her most important moment, “You are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” ― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web (Taken with Instagram)

The lie, of course, is more interesting.

John Irving (via theparisreview)

Saturday Wisdom #3: a rich interview with John Irving. I liked this part:

Titles are important; I have them before I have books that belong to them. I have last chapters in my mind before I see first chapters, too. I usually begin with endings, with a sense of aftermath, of dust settling, of epilogue. I love plot, and how can you plot a novel if you don’t know the ending first? How do you know how to introduce a character if you don’t know how he ends up? You might say I back into a novel.

Saturday Wisdom #2:

You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.

Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum 

More writing advice that is not, strictly speaking, writing advice from the best student in section, and a very delightful tattoo — also not, strictly speaking, writing advice, but take it that way if you wish — from one of the most entertaining ladies on tumblr: 

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Will get a better photo later sans shadow. By Ryan at Sanctuary Tattoo, Portland, Maine. Very happy with it, arm hurts. Also, just got carded buying WATER at a tobacco store that I thought was a convenience store. You have to be 18 just to be in the store!

Monday Nostalgia: Books used to be prettier. 

book-aesthete:

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
C.S. Lewis. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1950.

First American edition, Custom designer leather binding. A fine copy.

Stated “First Printing” of the First American edition of this classic story for children. A custom designed binding, finely bound in full leather by Green Dragon Bindery. With marbled endpapers and portions of the original dust jacket bound in. Pages bright and clean with edges gold gilded. Titles to spine gilt. A beautiful production, with custom illustration engraved in cognac-brown leather, intended to evoke the image of the wardrobe in an early wood cabinet motif – with the witch and lion on the doors. Design plate included.

Saturday Wisdom: My favorite writing quote is by Samuel Beckett though it is not technically a quote about writing.The quote is from a prose piece called Worstward Ho: Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Rarely a day goes by when I have not thought of that quote upon sitting down at my desk to write.