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This book is on my “To Be Read” pile, it looks like a fun mid-life crisis kind of style and if it’s funny or quirky then I know I’m going to love it. Who Is Rich by Matthew Klam centers around a married, middle-aged cartoonist at a weeklong arts conference who falls for a married woman.

Here’s the synopsis:

Every summer, a once-sort-of-famous middle-aged cartoonist named Rich Fischer leaves his wife and two kids behind to teach a class at a weeklong arts conference in a charming New England beachside town. It’s a place where, every year, students—nature poets and driftwood sculptors, widowed seniors, teenagers away from home for the first time—show up to study with an esteemed faculty made up of prizewinning playwrights, actors, and historians; drunkards and perverts; members of the cultural elite; unknown nobodies, midlist somebodies, and legitimate stars—a place where drum circles happen on the beach at midnight, clothing optional. One of the attendees is a forty-one-year-old painting student named Amy O’Donnell. Amy is a mother of three, unhappily married to a brutish Wall Street titan who runs a multibillion-dollar investment fund and commutes to work via helicopter. Rich and Amy met at the conference a year ago, shared a moment of passion, then spent the winter exchanging inappropriate texts and emails and counting the days until they could see each other again. Now they’re back.
     
Once more, Rich finds himself, in this seaside paradise, worrying about his family’s nights without him and trying not to think about his book, now out of print, or his existence as an illustrator at a glossy magazine about to go under, or his back taxes, or the shameless shenanigans of his colleagues at this summer make-out festival, or his own very real desire for love and human contact. He can’t decide whether Amy is going to rescue or destroy him.

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I am a huge fan of Jane Green and was so excited to see that she has a new book coming out called The Sunshine Sisters. I do enjoy a good book about mothers, daughters, and dysfunctional family dynamics… this one has it all!

Here’s the synopsis:

Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.
 
As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother’s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London—and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.
 
But now the Sunshine Sisters are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy have never been close, their mother’s illness draws them together to confront the old jealousies and secret fears that have threatened to tear these sisters apart. As they face the loss of their mother, they will discover if blood might be thicker than water after all…

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This book comes out at the end of the month and if you are a David Sedaris fan, you won’t want to miss it. Theft by Finding is David’s diaries from 1977-2002. That’s a lot of journaling.

This is the first-person account of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.

Most diaries — even the diaries of great writers — are impossibly dull, because they generally write about their emotions, or their dreams, or their interior life. Sedaris’s diaries are unique because they face outward. He doesn’t tell us his feelings about the world, he shows us the world instead, and in so doing he shows us something deeper about himself.

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I am a big fan of J. Courtney Sullivan and loved her novel, Maine, so much. I was very excited about a sneak peek into her new book Saints for All Occasions. I get ridiculously excited when I see a book I want to read and then get to read it early!

Take two Irish sisters, add in the 1950’s plus a little scandalous activity, stir with a dash of Catholic saints and there you have the very basic premise for this excellent novel.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Nora and Theresa Flynn are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America.

Nora is the responsible sister; she’s shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn’t sure that she loves. Theresa is gregarious; she is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls on Dudley Street. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan—a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand.

Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a big Catholic family with four grown children: John, a successful, if opportunistic, political consultant; Bridget, privately preparing to have a baby with her girlfriend; Brian, at loose ends after a failed baseball career; and Patrick, Nora’s favorite, the beautiful boy who gives her no end of heartache. Estranged from her sister and cut off from the world, Theresa is a cloistered nun, living in an abbey in rural Vermont. Until, after decades of silence, a sudden death forces Nora and Theresa to confront the choices they made so long ago.  

Last but not least, if you are a writer or want to be a writer, this is a great place to start- The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass. Sometimes good writers can craft an intriguing story but miss creating good characters, some can make a character compelling and interesting but the story will fall flat without adding in emotion which is there this book comes in.

While writers might disagree over showing versus telling or plotting versus pantsing, none would argue this: If you want to write strong fiction, you must make your readers feel. The reader’s experience must be an emotional journey of its own, one as involving as your characters’ struggles, discoveries, and triumphs are for you.

That’s where The Emotional Craft of Fiction comes in. Veteran literary agent and expert fiction instructor Donald Maass shows you how to use story to provoke a visceral and emotional experience in readers.

Excellent advice from one of the best in the business!