Spring is trying to get through all the cold, rain and snow in Connecticut. One day it's in the 50's and then the temperature drops to the 30's the next day. We were suppose to get a little more snow this weekend, but as I am writing this, we haven't seen any more (thank goodness/hopefully not!). But as the days start to get longer and the weather starts to improve, (and I can actually see the sun) I start to feel that itch for Spring reading and new book releases. Yes, there are new book releases every month, but after the dreary winter, there just seems to be something special & fresh about books coming out in the spring. And I've got so many on my TBR list it is bursting! But today, let's look at 3 women writer's who have gotten a lot of attention recently. I read an interesting piece somewhere this week that put these women on a short, sort of emerging talent list. These women are getting a lot of press for their writing and their books coming out. Will they live up to their press?
Here are the 3 women and their books...
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney... From Kirkus Reviews: Dysfunctional siblings in New York wig out when the eldest blows their shared inheritance.
In an arresting prologue to this generous, absorbing novel, Leo Plumb leaves his cousin’s wedding early, drunk and high, with one of the waitresses and has a car accident whose exact consequences are withheld for quite some time. To make his troubles go away, Leo pillages a $2 million account known as “The Nest,” left by his father for the four children to share after the youngest of them turns 40, though in a sweet running joke, everyone keeps forgetting exactly when that is. Leo’s siblings have been counting heavily on this money to resolve their financial troubles and are horrified to learn that their mother has let Leo burn almost all of it. A meeting is called at Grand Central Oyster Bar—one of many sharply observed New York settings—to discuss Leo’s plans to pay them back. Will Leo even show? Three days out of rehab, he barely makes it through Central Park. But he does appear and promises to make good, and despite his history of unreliability, the others remain enough under the spell of their charismatic brother to fall for it. The rest of the book is a wise, affectionate study of how expectations play out in our lives—not just financial ones, but those that control our closest relationships. Sweeney’s endearing characters are quirky New Yorkers all: Bea Plumb is a widowed writer who tanked after three stories that made her briefly one of “New York’s Newest Voices: Who You Should Be Reading.” Jack Plumb, known as “Leo Lite” in high school to his vast irritation, is a gay antiques dealer married to a lawyer; truly desperate for cash, he becomes involved in a shady deal involving a work of art stolen from the ruins of the World Trade Center. Melody, the youngest, lives in the suburbs in a house she’s about to lose and is obsessed with tracking her teenage twins using an app called Stalkerville. The insouciance with which they thwart her is another metaphor for the theme of this lively novel.
What I Think... This has gotten a lot of buzz and a starred review from Kirkus. I wish I could have read a sample of this, but could not find one sentence anywhere. The story sounds fun, and a nice visit in New York City. I always like reading about places I am familiar with, and I'm looking forward to sampling the writing. On my TBR list!
In 1948, a small stretch of the Woodmont, Connecticut shoreline, affectionately named "Bagel Beach," has long been a summer destination for Jewish families. Here sisters Ada, Vivie, and Bec assemble at their beloved family cottage, with children in tow and weekend-only husbands who arrive each Friday in time for the Sabbath meal. During the weekdays, freedom reigns. Ada, the family beauty, relaxes and grows more playful, unimpeded by her rule-driven, religious husband. Vivie, once terribly wronged by her sister, is now the family diplomat and an increasingly inventive chef. Unmarried Bec finds herself forced to choose between the family-centric life she's always known and a passion-filled life with the married man with whom she's had a secret years-long affair.
But when a terrible accident occurs on the sisters' watch, a summer of hope and self-discovery transforms into a lifetime of atonement and loss for members of this close-knit clan. Seen through the eyes of Molly, who was twelve years old when she witnessed the accident, this is the story of a tragedy and its aftermath, of expanding lives painfully collapsed. Can Molly, decades after the event, draw from her aunt Bec's hard-won wisdom and free herself from the burden that destroyed so many others?
My Take on this... This is not a debut novel, but you might think of it as her debut. Elizabeth has published one other book, really a 233 pages novella called Mutual and Life Casualty in 2010, and a slim book of poetry called What You Know in Your Hands, along with having her poems published in various places. As Close To Us As Breathing is the culmination of her hard work, and is foretold to be a summer hit. After reading a long sample, I liked the writing, but I wasn't blown away by it. And I wondered if all the references to Shabbos, minyan's and the like will confuse rather than enamor the non-Jewish reader. (Being Jewish and actually having some relatives like this made me smile). I'm putting this on the "Borrow" list for now.
Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.
My Thoughts... Though it doesn't say it, it sounds like the Manson Family, and sure enough upon further reading about the book, The Girls by Emma Cline is suppose to be loosely based on them. But it's the 60's right, and this novel is suppose to paint a portrait of the time and the common-of-age of the women who grew up from this era. Sounds like an interesting read, although I really don't need to read any more about the Manson family. But if Emma Cline can throw me back to the 60's and let me relive the craziness, it might be worth it. Though, the central core of the story is suppose to be the friendship of 2 girls.
I couldn't find a sample of the writing here, either, so I'm hoping that it's as good as predicted. There were 12 publishing houses bidding on the rights to this book with Random House finally winning out with the promise of 2 more books from Cline (for a total of a $2million contract!). Whew, that sure is a gamble if the writing doesn't resonate with a whole lot of readers, so I'm betting it's good. On my TBR list.
And just for fun, here's an interesting article from Vulture.com about Emma Cline entitled, 13 Facts About Emma Cline and Her $2 Million Dollar Manson-Family Novel.
This past week, I downloaded a wonderful historical fiction book called, The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris and am totally absorbed! The writing is so incredible that you feel as though you are in the story surrounded by the sights and sounds of New York City in the 1920's. At least that's where I am now. I've been to Alcatraz and to Dublin and then took a trip on a passenger ship to NYC, where the words of a little girl seeing the statue of liberty for the first time, left me in awe. The people, the neighborhoods, the feel of the times, even the food are so well painted. I am only about 1/3 of the way through, but have no problem recommending this book if you are a historical fiction fan.
Here's a blurb about it from BookPage: McMorris has made a name for herself with beautifully written World War II fiction. Kristina McMorris evokes such a strong sense of place in her writing that to open her books feels less like reading and more like traveling. Her absorbing new novel, The Edge of Lost, opens on Alcatraz Island in 1937, where on a foggy night the warden’s 10-year-old daughter has gone missing. An inmate working in the warden’s greenhouse is hiding information about where she is. We are quickly zipped back to 1919 Dublin, meeting Shanley Keagan, a 12-year-old orphan whose vicious Uncle Will forces him to perform in pubs for spare change. Shan grabs an opportunity to get on a ship to America, scrabbling to forge a future in New York. How those two storylines intersect is at the heart of this epic, deeply felt tale of struggle and second chances, where Shan goes from a boy with dreams of Broadway to an inmate who “waited for the steel bars to slam” while he served 15 to 25 years.
The best part right now is, The Edge of Lost is only $2.99 for the Kindle Book! I put a link on the book title if you're interested. The paperback is under $9 too. Just such a good book and I'm really enjoying it!
This week I checked out two new books from the library! First book was Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson, a charmer about a recluse author who lost all her money from a ponzi scheme like Bernie Madoff and has to write a new book in order to eat, and what is not yours is not your by Helen Oyeyemi, a collection of short stories all around the idea of keys. I've read the first few chapters of Be Frank with Me and am definitely charmed. One liners, old Hollywood glamour and Alice, a 24 year old assistant sent to make sure the recluse author actually writes the novel make it a fun read, and I look forward to reading it in the coming week.
- Memoir Monday highlighted The Art of the Memoir by Mary Karr
- I posted about & joined the Take Control of Your TBR Pile hosted by Kim at The Caffeinated Reader. (of course my library books cannot be included in this challenge! Oh well)
- I took the Goodreads Leap Day Challenge of reading an extra book this year! Check out what I read by following the link.
- I joined in on Mailbox Monday and talked about what great books came my way last week.
- On Tuesday was the Release Blitz for America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. Take a peek at what the book is all about AND enter the giveaway!
- First Line Fridays gave us a peek at The Case of Lisandra P. by Helene Gremillon.
Around the World... or at least the internet
Okay, I am off to help celebrate my mom's birthday(shhh... she's turning 81!) with cake and books! She's a voracious reader ( I guess that's where I got it from) so, I bought her books! I can't say what I got her here (she reads my blog), but it's a whole bunch of murder mystery/psychological thrillers that I'm sure she'll enjoy!
Hope you found some great reading here today! Share what books YOU found this week! I'd love to here about them!
Happy reading... Suzanne