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First up this week is Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann. He obviously knows a thing or two about writing since his novel, Let The Great World Spin is an award winning book.

I am open to all advice about writing that I can possibly read. Never turn down help or advice on writing. I am eager to dig into this one and glean something helpful or thought provoking.

Here’s what you need to know:

Intriguing and inspirational, this book is a call to look outward rather than inward. McCann asks his readers to constantly push the boundaries of experience, to see empathy and wonder in the stories we craft and hear.

A paean to the power of language, both by argument and by example, Letters to a Young Writer is fierce and honest in its testament to the bruises delivered by writing as both a profession and a calling. It charges aspiring writers to learn the rules and even break them.

I hear its a fabulous story from beginning to end whether you are a writer or not.

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Points for a super cool cover design! White Fur by Jardine Libaire captured my attention right away with this one line description:

A stunning star-crossed love story set against the glitz and grit of 1980s New York City

1980’s + New York City = a book I will want to read.

Synopsis: 

When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in a housing project without a father and didn’t graduate from high school; Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.
 
The unlikely couple moves to Manhattan in hopes of forging an adult life together, but Jamey’s family intervenes in desperation, and the consequences of staying together are suddenly severe. And when a night out with old friends takes a shocking turn, Jamey and Elise find themselves fighting not just for their love, but also for their lives.

 

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I am in the middle of Laura Dave’s new novel, Hello, Sunshine and enjoying it. Laura is really gifted at jumping into the skin of her characters and stirring up emotions. Some writers can do this. Its interesting to me how there are many, many great writers who have their own specific talents that make them unique. I think Laura is fantastic at connecting the reader to the character and from page one I wanted to know more about Sunshine.

Here’s what the story is about and wow, do I love this plot:

Sunshine Mackenzie truly is living the dream. A lifestyle guru for the modern age, Sunshine is beloved by millions of people who tune into her YouTube cooking show, and millions more scour her website for recipes, wisdom, and her enticing suggestions for how to curate a perfect life. She boasts a series of #1 New York Times bestselling cookbooks, a devoted architect husband, and a reputation for sincerity and kindness—Sunshine seems to have it all. But she’s hiding who she really is. And when her secret is revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. What Sunshine does in the ashes of destruction will save her in more ways than she can imagine.

As soon as I can, I’m going to continue reading this book!

Several years ago I read about a book called Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Though it was a young adult novel and not my favored genre, I downloaded it to my kindle and read it while on a cruise through the Panama Canal. I  relate my vacations to the books I read while on them. Mainly because vacations are a great time for me to not worry about cooking and cleaning, but to catch up on reading.

I did not have a great experience in high school so the plot of the story really resonated with me (read more about this here).  If you struggled with depression, teasing, anxiety, not fitting in, feeling awkward,  and did not (or do not) enjoy high school, I feel your pain. Life is hard. It sucks and then it gets better and then it sucks again and then it gets better.

Now I am watching the Netflix series with my daughter which is very well done but I recommend reading the book.  As I am watching, I cannot help but think that the high school kids all look like they are in their 20’s.

Still, its a compelling story and as a mom, my heart breaks as this young girl crumbles before my eyes and her poor parents deal with the emotional fallout of losing a child.

Another awesome teen novel that will appeal to adults is It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini.

This one was also very, very good. I struck up a friendship with the author who sent me an autographed copy of the book. We were friendly for a while but we drifted apart and years later, I was devastated to hear that he committed suicide. I think of Ned now and am heart broken by the loss of this bright young life.  The good news is that his stories live on. Find the book here.