Tag Archives: vacation

Pre-Vacation Post

I am finally going on vacation this week, which I am really looking forward to. 8 days in Italy, with hopefully enough downtime to read some books.

Here is what I am bringing with me to read.


A few other things to share:

  1. My friend Nicole Bonia of Linus’s Blanket and I have started a podcast for Readerly magazine. Here is the first episode. It’s not on iTunes yet, but I will share the link when it’s up. For now, you can listen at the Readerly site. We talk about what we’re reading, what’s coming out soon, and what you might have missed this summer. Give it a listen! We’re recording another show today.
  2. I went to a reading by Carolyn Parkhurst on Saturday at Politics and Prose, where she talked about Harmony, the book we just read for the EDIWTB online book club. Here is some of what I learned in her Q&A:
    • Parkhurst has a son on the autism spectrum. She made Tilly a girl so that there would be differences between her son and Tilly.
    • Pop culture informs her writing a lot.
    • She told Alexandra’s perspective in the second person so that the reader could be closer to her and understand what is going on in her head She wanted those chapters to feel more intimate, so that the reader would viscerally feel the chaos in her life.
    • Harmony was the most difficult book she has written and took the longest to write, in part because it was the most personal. She worried whether it was OK to be writing about her kids.
    • She is still not sure whether she got Tilly’s voice right. Her son’s mind is incredible, unlike anyone’s she has ever met. She wanted Tilly to be unique too and had to create that voice for her.
    • Scott was the hardest character to write. He says the right things and makes sense on the surface. He is not based on anyone she knows, though she spent a lot of time thinking about cults when she wrote him.
    • She has ideas for her next book but is not writing anything right now.
  3. I also enjoyed this Wall Street Journal post about Parkhurst’s son reading Harmony.

I’ll be offline for the next two weeks or so but hope to have a few reviews to post when I get back! Happy August, everyone.

Vacation Post

I apologize for the lapse in posting – I am on vacation. I have been in NY for Passover this past weekend and today, and tomorrow I leave for Florida for a few days. I am hoping for a few mellow days in the sun, some time with my family, and some time to read!

I would like to finish (finally!) You Couldn't Forget Me If You Tried, Susannah Gora's excellent book about the teen movies of the 80s (I am in the "Some Kind Of Wonderful" chapter). I also brought Penelope Lively's latest novel, Family Album, which I picked up at a used book sale last weekend. I've had my eye on it for a while, and am about a chapter in. So far, so good. Lively is one of those writers I keep wanting to read, and keep buying, but just haven't gotten to yet. I am also hoping to finish my fourth book for Booking Mama's Shelf Discovery Book Challenge (I brought Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself, by Judy Blume). And if I read ALL of those, I ALSO brought Lori Lansens' The Girls, another book that keeps dropping down the TBR list. I loved her writing in The Wife's Tale, so I am really looking forward to this one too.

So that's the reading plan.

A few other things to add:

Check out this article about Lionel Shriver in last Friday's Washington Post. She touches on a lot of the same topics as during her reading at Politics & Prose.


Has anyone read The Ask, by Sam Lipsyte, yet? Is it as good as everyone says?

Vacation Wrap-up

I am back from vacation. It was a relaxing week at the beach, with some (not enough – never enough) time for reading. I finished How To Talk To A Widower by Jonathan Tropper (reviewed here) and At A Loss For Words by Diane Schoemperlen (reviewed here) and am well into Family History by Dani Shapiro, which I am having a hard time putting down. I was up very late last night reading it and am quite enjoying it, though it's quite a difficult story.

One highlight of the trip was my annual visit to the very best bookstore on the planet: Island Bookstore in Corolla, NC. It's not a large store, but its fiction selection is better than any I have ever seen in any other bookstore, chain store or independent. I always find books there I've never heard of before. And I had my annual book gossip session with Meaghan, the Island Bookstore fiction expert, who came from behind the counter to take me through the shelves and point out new fiction to me. Her comfort zone for books is definitely wider than mine, so she pushes me to expand my tendencies beyond my usual "domestic fiction" themes of family and relationships.

Moore I wrote down the titles of a number of books that either Meaghan recommended or that I discovered on my own on Island Bookstore's shelves, and I'll share them here over the next month. Here's the first one – and this is one I actually bought from the store. It's called The Big Girls by Susanna Moore. It's the story of a women's prison, told by four narrators, one of whom is a psychiatrist at the prison. Here are a number of reviews of the book. It is apparently graphic, at times even violent, but it also sounds like a fascinating depiction of the world inside the prison, as well as the often very disturbed worlds inside the inmates' minds. It's now in my impossibly large TBR pile. If you're intrigued, here's the first chapter, reprinted on NYT.com.

Many more Island Bookstore recommendations to come.

Memorial Day Weekend

Thank you to everyone who participated in yesterday's discussion of Matrimony. I thought the discussion was very interesting, and I liked the variety of reactions to the book. I will pass along all of the submitted questions to Josh Henkin and will post his answers in a few weeks.

Yesterday set a traffic record for EDIWTB – very exciting! I've noticed a surge in traffic since being chosen as TypePad's featured blog. Also, the online book club discussions often bring in new readers who have been sent by other book blogs that may have discussed the same book.

As I mentioned earlier this week, I am headed out on vacation tomorrow for a week. I may post once or twice while I am gone, but if I don't, please don't unsubscribe or take me off your reader! I will be back.

(And for those who weighed in - I am bringing Beginner's Greek and Family History with me on vacation, along with How To Talk To A Widower (1/4 done already) and At A Loss For Words (discussed here). Thank you for your input!)