Open Book with Erin Carlson

Three of my favorite people: Nora Ephron, Meryl Streep and Erin Carlson- what do they all have in common aside from Meryl starring in a few of Nora’s films?  They both are the subject of Erin’s two AH-mazing books- I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy and Queen Meryl: The Iconic Roles, Heroic Deeds, and Legendary Life of Meryl Streep  , two perfect literary escapes during this unknown and scary time.  I have said it once and I will say it again, books are the best remedy while surviving this pandemic and Erin has chosen two women who not only provide fabulous content for her books, but are the cherry on the sundae for cinematic relief.  I promise you any film choice from these two icons will be life changing and picking up these two books, well you can thank me later.  Thanks Erin, for taking the time to be my latest Open Book and answering the questions us Nora and Meryl fans need to know ❤

I’ll Have What She’s Having ~ How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy via Amazon

A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.

In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Rob Reiner, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Billy Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron’s New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron–who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it–ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members.

Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron’s fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separatel balked at playing Mail’s Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless‘ Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing … in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of a one of America’s most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I’ll Have What She’s Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.

Queen Meryl ~ The Iconic Roles, Heroic Deeds and legendary life of Meryl Streep via Amazon

A captivating and inspiring portrait of legendary actress Meryl Streep and her work, Queen Meryl explores the fearless icon’s trailblazing roles in film, her feminist activism, and the indelible mark she’s left on pop culture.
Meryl Streep is the most celebrated actress of our time. She’s a chameleon who disappears fully into each character she plays. She never tackles the same role twice. Instead, she leverages her rarified platform to channel a range of dynamic, complicated women–Joanna Kramer, Karen Silkwood, Julia Child, Margaret Thatcher, Katharine Graham–rather than limit herself to marginal roles for which other actresses must settle: Supportive Wife. Supportive Mother. Supportive Yet Utterly Disposable Love Interest. Streep will have none of that.
The once-awkward, frizzy-haired suburban teen blossomed into a rising ingénue on the stage at Vassar College and the Yale School of Drama. She came of age during the women’s movement of the ’60s and ’70s, and has worn her activism on her sleeve even when it was unfashionable. When she reached 40, the age when many leading ladies fade away, Streep plunged forward, taking her pick of parts that interested her and winning a pile of awards along the way. Meanwhile, she remained an unlikely box-office draw, her clout even managing to grow with age: The Devil Wears Prada, starring Streep as the Anna Wintour avatar Miranda Priestly, scored $326 million worldwide.
Journalist and author Erin Carlson documents all of Streep’s Oscars, accents, causes, memes, friendships, and feuds; also exploring the “off-brand” forays into action-adventure (The River Wild) and musicals (Mamma Mia!), and how Streep managed to sneak her feminism into each character. In the spirit of nontraditional bestsellers like Notorious RBG and The Tao of Bill Murray, Queen Meryl is illustrated by artist Justin Teodoro and filled with fascinating lists and sidebars, delivering joy in homage to its unique and brilliant subject.

ROMANTIC_courtesy_WEB

 

  1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

Nora Ephron and Meryl Streep, of course! Plus, Oprah — for her good humor and great taste in books that make people think and feel all the feels. 

 

  1. Current binge series?

My husband and I are watching old episodes of “30 Rock,” the critically acclaimed NBC comedy starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. Dave has never seen the show, so I love seeing him belly-laugh at witty lines such as, “Never go with a hippie to a second location.”

 

  1. Last favorite book?

I loved The Herd by Andrea Bartz!

 

  1. What 3 things are a must for your purse?  What type of bag do you carry?

I love my tan Phillip Lim 3.1 bucket bag, circa 2017. I never leave home without Fresh tinted lip balm, my iPhone and a hair tie, in case I want to do a ponytail!

 

  1. Must read magazine or newspaper column?

I love New York Magazine — the best ever.

 

  1. Last movie you saw?

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker

 

  1. Favorite or film you read/watched while researching Meryl and Nora?

Nora’s You’ve Got Mail is my ultimate, but I’ll always adore The Bridges of Madison County — an enduring love story that never fails to leave me in tears. Who doesn’t love a good cry every once in a while?

 

  1. Funnest fact you found out about Nora Ephron?

When researching the making of You’ve Got Mail, I learned from my interview with Greg Kinnear that director Nora and star Meg Ryan would crack each other up on the set, so deep was their mutual affection for one another. Meg was always dissolving into giggle fits while filming. Nora kept the mood on her movies as lighthearted and fun as her classic romantic comedies. 

 

  1. Top 3 favorite blogs?

I love Cup of Jo, Jezebel and sometimes I still check up on EV Grieve, the blog chronicling life in the East Village, my former neighborhood in New York City. The latter is so esoteric that it will be really confusing to those who haven’t lived there, but I love it! 

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

The desk in my office is fairly clean and uncluttered. I’m very easily distracted, and a minimalistic space helps me focus on writing.

 

  1. White, Red, Rose or no way?

Rose, all the way!

 

  1. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I love Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill. Perhaps I should rethink my definition of “gift.” The book is dark, but it’s a masterpiece told in Ronan’s engrossing self-deprecating narrative style. 10/10, would recommend.

 

  1. Current book that you wished they would make a movie out of in which Meryl would star and which character would she be?

I would love Meryl to play antihero and historical figure Thomas Cromwell in Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror & The Light. Come on, she can do anything! Play any character! And she loves a challenge.

 

  1. Top 5 favorite Meryl movies? Number 1 favorite Nora movie?

My No. 1 Nora movie is You’ve Got Mail, hands down. As for Meryl, here are my top five: The Devil Wear Prada, The Bridges of Madison County, Julie & Julia, Doubt and Silkwood.

 

  1. Current must have beauty product?

I love Goop’s Enriching Face Oil. It smells like a summer meadow in Tuscany, and leaves your skin soft and glowing.

 

  1. Royals- yes or no?  If so, who is your favorite?

YES. I’m partial to Queen Elizabeth, but I love Meghan Markle, too.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram influencer?

Laura Brown, the editor of InStyle, is a great follow on Instagram. She’s funny, charming and doesn’t take herself too seriously.

 

  1. If you could name just one lipstick after a Meryl Streep movie, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

Using “The Devil Wears Prada” as inspiration, I would name a lipstick after Miranda Priestly’s withering insult, “Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.” The lipstick color would be rose pink.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

Rebecca Serle’s “In Five Years,” Andre Aciman’s “Find Me” and Delia Owens’ “Where the Crawdads Sing.” (I know, I know. I’m the last person to read this book!)

 

  1. Best advice for aspiring writers?

Keep writing! The most important thing is persistence; if you’re working on a novel, carve aside time each day to write. It can be 500 words a day, or 200! Every little bit counts. If you write every day, in a year or less, you’ll have a manuscript. And that’s something to look forward to as you’re following an outline or making it up as you go along. If you need help with plotting, there’s no better guide than Save the Cat! Writes a Novel, which has proved invaluable as I write my debut novel, a romantic comedy.

 

 

Bonus trio:

  1. Favorite Nora Ephron book? 

Heartburn is a classic. Delicious and vicious!

  1. Favorite Meryl Streep red carpet moment?

Meryl looked luminous in a vintage-style Chris March gown at the 2010 Oscars, proving that starlets come and go, but she will always be the true queen of the red carpet.

  1. Tell us about your “WHY” for both of these icons to be the center of your books?

Nora and Meryl are legends who prove women can have it all: an adoring husband and family, and a fantastic career. I wanted to learn the secret to their success, and offer fans of both a manual for how to achieve it. 

 

Follow Erin:

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Open Book with Fiona Davis

First of all, THIS. COVER.  Second, Fiona Davis is a queen of chic historical fiction and Chelsea Girls is no exception.  The stunning Chelsea Hotel and two fierce females looking for stardom during a scary time is all you need to know that Davis can craft a novel like the best of them.  This has hit multiple “Best of Summer” lists and I am thrilled Fiona joined us for Open Book.  When an author lists Nora Ephron for any answers in the Q&A, I know we will hit it off!

Chelsea Girls

via Amazon ~

The bright lights of the theater district, the glamour and danger of 1950s New York, and the wild scene at the iconic Chelsea Hotel come together in a dazzling new novel about a twenty-year friendship that will irrevocably change two women’s lives—from the national bestselling author of The Dollhouse and The Address.

From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City’s creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home—a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for Communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine’s Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.

Spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s, The Chelsea Girls deftly pulls back the curtain on the desperate political pressures of McCarthyism, the complicated bonds of female friendship, and the siren call of the uninhibited Chelsea Hotel

FionaDavis_Credit Deborah Feingold

  1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

Nora Ephron, Alva Vanderbilt, and Jon Stewart.

 

  1. Current binge series?

 Euphoria. I can’t look away, it’s so haunting.

 

  1. Last favorite book?

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. Fun, frothy, but with an emotional punch.

 

  1. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

Off to a mountain resort to read and hike. I’d include a novel, a swishy dress for a fancy dinner, and a moleskin notebook.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Sunday NYT, with the crossword puzzle.

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

Cynthia – one of my best friends – as we’re coordinating a girls’ weekend in the country.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Longbourn by Jo Baker

 

  1. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

My AP English teacher in high school taught me to love literature and read books with a critical eye.

 

  1. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

No – pure silence, other than the street noises of New York City.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

It’s a room in my apartment with a sideways view of the Hudson River. When I’m stuck, I stare out at the water until inspiration strikes.

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

Coffee in the morning (two cups) and tea at four (my parents are English, and that stuck).

 

  1. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

A favorite book that I was given as a gift and like to buy for others is How Green Was My Valley, about Wales. It’s gorgeous.

 

  1. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

 

  1. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

Dancing Barefoot by Patti Smith. There’s such a sense of freedom in the music and the lyrics.

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

Lillian Hellman, who fought against the blacklist and the House U-American Activities committee during the McCarthy era, and won.

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Yes – for one show, RHONY. Can’t look away.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

Accidental Icon – she’s a woman with flair who’s unafraid.

 

  1. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

I’d create Daisy Nude from Daisy Jones & the Six.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

 The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t worry too much about striving for perfection – good enough is good enough.

 

Follow Fiona:

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Open Book with Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

 

A royal wedding, Cote d’Azur and Grace Kelly, the most glam of vintage Hollywood are the backdrop to Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb’s latest, Meet Me in Monaco.  It doesn’t get much more beach glam than this book!  I am thrilled H & H are my latest Open Book!

MeetMeInMonacoFINAL

via Amazon ~

“A fragrant French bonbon of a book: love, glamour, perfume, and paparazzi all circling around the wedding of the century…”–Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK and THE HUNTRESS.

Named one of InStyle‘s best books to put in your totebag for the summer!

Named one of Popsugar’s best books to put in your beachbag this summer and one of the best books of July!

Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and unforgettable wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate and second chances…

Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique to fend off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.

James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

Heather Webb author photo

Hazel Gaynor author photo

 

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

Hazel: Thor, Iron Man, and Captain Marvel.

Heather: Robert Deniro, Meryl Streep, and Emma Stone

2. Current binge series?

Hazel: I really don’t have one, although I am waiting for Season 3 of The Crown.

Heather: Jane the Virgin! It’s hilarious. I, too, am waiting for Season 3 of The Crown, and the Downton Abbey movie!

3. Last favorite book?

Hazel: Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts.

Heather: The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms

4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

Hazel: Gloves. Hat. Walking boots. We are going to stay in the Ice Hotel in Sweden and then to see the Northern Lights.

Heather: Lonely Planet guide book, comfy shoes, sunglasses. We’re going all over Italy, baby! It’s a place I’ve never been and I’m dying to get there.

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Hazel: Twitter!

Heather: Digital subscription to NYT! 

6. Last person you sent a text message to?

Hazel: I rarely send text messages now. I use WhatsApp. The last message I sent was to my sister in England.

Heather: Texts are free in the U.S. so I text away. My mom is the latest person.

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Hazel: Practically every book I read I wish I’d written! Most recently, I read The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis – in which the three Bronte sisters are amateur detectives. It’s wonderful and I wish I’d written it!

Heather: Ooo, Hazel’s suggestion sounds good! I wish I’d written The Light We Lost by Jill Santopalo.

8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

Hazel: She didn’t encourage me to be a writer (I didn’t even know ordinary people like me could become writers!), but I had an amazing English Literature teacher who definitely encouraged my love of literature and the written word.

Heather:  My high school English teacher, Mrs. Terris, helped me enter a couple of state and national essay contests when I was a junior and senior. I won three of them to my utter shock and excitement! But she never really pushed me to write books. That came much later.

9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

Hazel: No. I listen to the sound of the neighbour’s dog yapping!

Heather: Sometimes and if so, it tends to be instrumental mostly so it doesn’t distract me. Cafe del Mar style ambient stuff or I love classical music, opera, movie soundtracks are a particular fav.

10. Describe your writing space?

Hazel: I write in a lovely bright attic conversion, which is also used as the kids playroom, guest bedroom, and storage room. It’s a bit cluttered and chaotic, but I love it, and am very grateful to have it (I wrote my first two books at the kitchen table!) I commute upstairs every morning and write while the boys are at school!

Heather: I have a large bedroom (and live in a tiny little place) so I have a desk in my room, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. And yes, the draw to the bed is strong! 

11. Coffee or tea?

Hazel: Barry’s Irish tea first thing in the morning. Coffee mid morning. Espresso martini after hours!

Heather:  Both! I tend to like coffee first thing and tea in the afternoons or evenings. 

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

Hazel: A new favourite book to gift is Miss Marley by Becca Mascull. It’s a gorgeous companion novel to A Christmas Carol.

Heather: Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic for children, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert for my creative and writerly friends, and whatever my latest obsession is for adults.

13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

Hazel: Meet Me in Monaco!

Heather: Meet Me in Monaco! And also Last Christmas in Paris would be perfect for an amazing BBC series! 

 

14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

Hazel: This is an impossible question to answer, but it would probably be Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, from Monty Python’s The Life of Brian!

 

Heather: How about a musician instead? I’m going to say Lindsey Stirling because she’s a classical violin player who combines innovative pieces to dubstep and other electronic beats. A sort of old world meets new, with lots of fun. That’s how I like to think of myself and my life.

15. What/Who inspires you?

Hazel: My friends, other writers, and my 99 year old grandma!

Heather:  Artists of all kinds. I’m a bit of an art hound. I wish I had the money to be an amateur collector and act as someone’s patron. Also brilliant authors, my friends. My husband!

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

Hazel: Probably not!

Heather: Nope. (In my 20s, a little, but never much a TV head)

 

17. Favorite Instagram account?

Hazel: I have a few! My friend and crime writer, @CathRyanHoward, @bloomandwild (letterbox flowers), and @hellosunshine for wonderful bookish positivity!

Heather: Comedian @celestebarber, incredible seamstress and costume designer @virtuouscourtesan, and French pastry chef @cedricgrolet!

 

18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

Hazel: ‘Last Christmas in Paris’. It would be Santa-suit red, and packaged in a gorgeous rose gold case. Ooh la la!

Heather: I mean, I have nothing more to say after that answer. I’d buy up a whole case of Last Christmas in Paris!

 

19. Current #TBR pile?

Hazel: I’ll take the top three! The Tattooist of Auchswitz (Heather Morris), The Last Year of the War (Susan Meissner), The Moon in the Palace (Weina dai Randal).

Heather: Dracul by Dacre Stoker and JD Barker, The White Rose by Kip Wilson, and Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen

20. Best advice you’ve ever received?

Hazel: Always have a bottle of champagne in the fridge. I can’t remember who said it, but it’s excellent advice!

Heather: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!

 

Follow Hazel:

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Follow Heather:

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Double Feature ~ Hannah Orenstein

Another summer DOUBLE feature this time with Hannah Orenstein!  Her latest Love at First Like is out now and the perfect summer rom com read!  I love a gal who loves lipstick, Bravo and Reese!  Read below for her fun, fabulous responses ❤

Love at First Like Cover

via Amazon ~

Named a Best Book of Summer by Glamour, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, and many more!

From the author of Playing with Matches, the rollicking tale of a young jewelry shop owner who accidentally leads her Instagram followers to believe that she’s engaged—and then decides to keep up the ruse.

Eliza Roth and her sister Sophie co-own a jewelry shop in Brooklyn. One night, after learning of an ex’s engagement, Eliza accidentally posts a photo of herself wearing a diamond ring on that finger to her Instagram account beloved by 100,000 followers. Sales skyrocket, press rolls in, and Eliza learns that her personal life is good for business. So she has a choice: continue the ruse or clear up the misunderstanding. With mounting financial pressure, Eliza sets off to find a fake fiancé.

Fellow entrepreneur Blake seems like the perfect match on paper. And in real life he shows promise, too. He would be perfect, if only Eliza didn’t feel also drawn to someone else. But Blake doesn’t know Eliza is “engaged”; Sophie asks Eliza for an impossible sum of money; and Eliza’s lies start to spiral out of control. She can either stay engaged online or fall in love in real life.

Written with singular charm and style, Love at First Like is for anyone growing up and settling down in the digital age.

Hannah Orenstein Author Photo by Elyssa Maxx Goodman

 

What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~

What is your bag of choice?- purse/tote/backpack and brand that you have?

Currently, I’m carrying a bright turquoise, quilted leather bag that I bought while on vacation with two of my best friends in Venice. It always reminds me of that trip and I love that it matches the cover of Love at First Like!

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

I’m obsessed with Bite lipstick. The color is so saturated and the formula never dries out your skin. Sour Cherry is a really fun, punchy red, and Sweet Cream is my go-to for a neutral with pink undertones. 

What do you always carry in your bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?  

Chapstick and two tubes of Bite lipstick!

What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines)

The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry, out in 2020. The narrator has more voice and personality than the last 30 people I’ve spoken to combined. I love Roxy. 

And any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you 🙂

I try to travel super light (who likes to lug around a million things?). But I always have sentimental jewelry on me: the diamond pendant I bought myself to celebrate my first book, a ruby ring that belonged to my great-grandmother, a silver ring that my sister and I both wear daily, and a bracelet I made earlier this summer at Brooklyn Charm — it has a charm in the shape of Maine, which is where I spend time with my family. Clearly, my love of jewelry inspired Eliza’s profession in Love at First Like

Open Book ~

What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a book club with?

Reese Witherspoon, Jasmine Guillory, and Dana Schwartz!

Current binge series?

I’m finally catching up on Suits in a Meghan Markle-inspired binge.  

 Last favorite book?

I had to put down Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston every few pages to internally fangirl over the flirty banter between the son of the first female president and the prince of England. Such a charming, swoonworthy, uplifting story with so many memorable characters!

What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

I’d head to Greece to sunbathe on the beach, explore ancient sites, and of course, eat well! I’d want a stack of books, a leopard-print bikini, and WiFi… so my cat-sitter can send me photos of my cat, Eloise. 

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

One of my favorite weekend routines is catching up on the New York Times‘ Real Estate section on Saturdays and Styles section on Sundays.  

Last person you sent a text message to?

I sent my boyfriend two photos of an adorable baby cow I spotted on Twitter — the cow is lounging in a bathtub in one and wrapped in a fluffy towel in the other. We’ll see if I can convince him to let us get one. 

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

I’d want to time-travel back to 1973 and write Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying 

Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

Yes! Thank you to Rob Flaggert at Needham High School, who encouraged me to pursue journalism.  

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

Music with lyrics trips me up, so I tend to go for ambient electronic playlists or really intense classical symphonies, depending on the scene. 

Describe your writing space?

 My kitchen table or couch, surrounded by 100 cups of coffee. I have to hide my phone to avoid distractions. 

Coffee or tea?

 Coffee! 

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

 No, but that sounds like a lovely idea! The last book I gave as a gift was Educated by Tara Westover. 

Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

 Andrea Dunlop’s She Regrets Nothing and We Came Here To Forget would be ridiculously excellent movies. 

If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

I’ve always listened to KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See” from The Devil Wears Prada during major moments in my career as a writer and editor. It still gives me butterflies. 

What/Who inspires you?

I’ve met so many wonderful people through the book world — authors, readers, and more — and I find their energy inspiring. It’s hard to leave a book signing or author support group (they exist!) and not want to scribble down another idea. 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

 Let me say this as a girl who has eaten goat cheese balls in the alley behind SUR: Yes.

Favorite Instagram account?

@moomoi makes the most gorgeous art that combines fashion illustration and actual flowers. Definitely a fave!

If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be?

Sex and the City would be fun, right? I’m picturing it as a soft pink — perfect to pair with a naked dress and Manolos. 

Current #TBR pile?

Next up: Breathe In, Cash Out by Madeleine Henry. 

Best advice you’ve ever received?

From my first boss, E. Jean Carroll: “Fortune favors the bold.” It inspires me to take risks. 

 

Follow Hannah:

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Open Book with Laurie Gelman

Attention all Mom’s!  You know school is just around that corner and that means lunches, homework, school politics!  Laurie Gelman is back again with You’ve Been Volunteered, another chapter for her heroine Jen Dixon!  Jen is the girl we all want to be “Mom” besties with and this book is the perfect anecdote to the back to school blues.  I am psyched Laurie took the time to be my latest Open Book!  When you see her Celeb Book Club picks, you will understand that really no explanation is necessary ❤

9781250301857_FC (2)

via Amazon ~

In the eagerly anticipated follow-up to Laurie Gelman’s “irreverent and hilarious” (The New York Post) hit Class Mom, brash, lovable Jen Dixon is back with a new class and her work cut out for her

If you’ve ever been a room parent or school volunteer, Jen Dixon is your hero. She says what every class mom is really thinking, whether in her notoriously frank emails or standup-worthy interactions with the micromanaging PTA President and the gamut of difficult parents. Luckily, she has the charm and wit to get away with it―most of the time. Jen is sassier than ever but dealing with a whole new set of challenges, in the world of parental politics and at home.

She’s been roped into room-parenting yet again, for her son Max’s third grade class, but as her husband buries himself in work, her older daughters navigate adulthood, and Jen’s own aging parents start to need some parenting themselves, Jen gets pulled in more directions than any one mom, or superhero, can handle.

Refreshingly down-to-earth and brimming with warmth, Dixon’s next chapter will keep you turning the pages to find out what’s really going on under the veneer of polite parent interactions, and have you laughing along with her the whole way.

 

Gelman author photo (2)

1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with? Tina Fey, Norah Ephron and Phyllis Diller. I don’t believe an explanation is necessary.

 

2. Current binge series? Broadchurch!! Three seasons in five days.

 

3. Last favorite book? The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

 

4. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

 My Kindle, my favorite sun hat and sunscreen so I can enjoy my vacation on a remote, beautiful beach where it’s always sunny but never too hot. If you know of a place like that, please tell me!

5. Sunday NYT or US Weekly? After the week I’ve had? US Weekly Baby.

 

6. Last person you sent a text message to? My daughter confirming I will pick her up in front of the movie theatre. My other job is Uber driver.

 

7. Book you read that you wished you wrote? The Nightingale By Kristin Hannah

 

8. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Yes, my high school journalism teacher, Jane Rowe not only encouraged me to write, but she also gave me my first writing job at her family’s local golf magazine. My fiction writing came much later and absolutely no one encouraged me to do that!

 

9. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? I generally don’t listen to music, but if I do I just ask Pandora to play classical music. Listening to lyrics messes  me up.

 

10. Describe your writing space? It changes. In the summer I find writing on a quiet beach very inspiring. But I also like to write in shared workspace places like Spacious because I feel less alone. Writing can be a lonely business.

 

11. Coffee or tea? Tea. English Breakfast in the morning and iced green tea from Starbucks in the afternoon.

 

12. Do you have a favorite book that you gift? I love to give Time and Again by Jack Finney and The House On The Strand by Daphne DuMaurier. They are my two favorite time travel books.

 

13. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of? I spend most of my time wishing they wouldn’t turn books into films…except mine of course. If anyone wants to do that, I’m all for it!

 

14. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

Feeling Good by Nina Simone. Its slow, soulful beat and jazzy trumpets make me feel like a total badass in some sort of action movie. And, the title is a nice thing to always aspire to.

15. What/Who inspires you? Any woman of a certain age who is brave enough to try something new. They give me courage every day to do the same.

 

16. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

No! The only Bravo show I watch is “What What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.” He’s my spirit animal.

17. Favorite Instagram account?

@AnimalsDoingThings. It makes me laugh every time.

18. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

I would make a lipstick duo called Pride and Prejudice. Pride would be a light pinky beige shade and prejudice a darker purple.

19. Current #TBR pile?

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Disclaimers, The Year Of Needy Girls

 

20. Best advice you’ve ever received? Keep your eye on the prize, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying the journey.

 

Lit Ladies Double Feature: Open Book with Elyssa Friedland and Liz and Lisa

Three of my favorite ladies had book birthdays yesterday and I am thrilled they are on the blog today to celebrate!  Both books are perfect summer reads and their back catalogs are musts as well.  Elyssa Friedland’s latest, The Floating Feldmans is a family comedy/drama on the high seas and is a top pick of summer in multiple outlets.   The fab duo of Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, their latest, The Two Lila Bennetts is a summer thriller with Sliding Door vibes and a top pick as well.  The amount of fun in all of their Open Book responses is too much and these three are the ones that you want to grab a drink with have as your next BFF ❤

Floating Feldmans

via Amazon ~

A family vacation dredges up a boatload of trouble in the next witty, insightful novel from the acclaimed author of The Intermission.

“An irresistible drama filled with humor and heart-tugging emotion about family and what it means to belong. I absolutely adore Friedland’s warm, witty writing!”—Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted

Sink or swim. Or at least that’s what Annette Feldman tells herself when she books a cruise for her entire family. It’s been over a decade since the Feldman clan has spent more than twenty-four hours under the same roof, but Annette is determined to celebrate her seventieth birthday the right way. Just this once, they are going to behave like an actual family.

Too bad her kids didn’t get the memo.

Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, Annette’s birthday vacation is looking more and more like the perfect storm. Adrift together on the open seas, the Feldmans will each face the truths they’ve been ignoring—and learn that the people they once thought most likely to sink them are actually the ones who help them stay afloat.

Elyssa.Friedland.Headshot credit Lucia Engstrom

What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

-Ernest Hemingway

-Oprah

-Meryl Streep

 

Current binge series?

Wentworth (fictional series on Netflix about a women’s prison in Australia. SOOOOOOOO good!)

 

Last favorite book?

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

 

What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

-Bikini

-Many pairs of sunglasses because I always lose them

-Kindle

 

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

Sunday NYT

 

Last person you sent a text message to?

Ali Winter, one of my best friends.

 

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

 

Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

Mr. Baker! I had him twice. Seventh grade and ninth grade. He really pushed my writing.

 

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

-No. I don’t need total quiet and I often have my children around while I write, but for some reason I find music distracting.

 

Describe your writing space?

It’s anywhere my laptop is. That can mean my bed, my desk, a coffee shop, the library, the chaise lounge by my pool. I’m very flexible.

 

Coffee or tea?

Coffee. A ton of it. With almond milk.

 

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

I like to give cookbooks and photography books. I think taste in novels is so personal and specific I don’t love to give them out as gifts.

 

Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

Cutting for Stone.

 

If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

Just Another Manic Monday. I’m always overcommitted and frantic and can be disorganized.

 

What/Who inspires you?

Any female CEO. I’m not entrepreneurial and I truly admire that quality

 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

No. It just feels too fake to me.

 

Favorite Instagram account?

I love Gary Janetti, who makes fun of the royal family.

 

If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

Fifty Shades of Pink. It’s my favorite color and I really want to move on from the Fifty Shades of Grey obsession. Those books just didn’t do it for me.

 

Current #TBR pile?A NOVEL

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

 

Best advice you’ve ever received?

You can’t dance at every wedding. My mom told me that and she’s right. I have to say no to some opportunities. I really struggle with that. I want to do everything and be everywhere.

 

Follow Elyssa:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

 

The Two Lila Bennetts

via Amazon ~

“One fateful decision. Two unexpected endings. A perfect summer read!” —Wendy Walker, bestselling author of The Night Before

Lila Bennett’s bad choices have finally caught up with her. And one of those decisions has split her life in two. Literally.

In one life, she’s taken hostage by someone who appears to be a stranger but knows too much. As she’s trapped in a concrete cell, her kidnapper forces her to face what she’s done or be killed. In an alternate life, she eludes her captor but is hunted by someone who is dismantling her happiness, exposing one secret at a time.

Lila’s decorated career as a criminal defense attorney, her marriage, and her life are on the line. She must make a list of those she’s wronged—both in and out of the courtroom—to determine who is out to get her before it’s too late. But even if she can pinpoint her assailant, will she survive? And if she does, which parts of her life are worth saving, and which parts must die? Because one thing’s for certain—life as Lila Bennett knew it is over.

L&L final headshot

What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

 Judy Blume

Elizabeth Gilbert

Cheryl Strayed

Current binge series?

 Liz: I’m re-watching The Office

Lisa: Million Dollar Listing New York

Last favorite book?

 Liz: Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle

Lisa: Recursion by Blake Crouch

What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

 Liz: I’m going to Paris! In my bag will be a wonder cloth to keep my face soft and clean, Alastin tinted moisturizer and Violets face serum!

Lisa: My next dream vacation would be to China! In my bag, I will pack at least three books, Sun Bum sunscreen and my new favorite derby hat.

 

Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

 Liz: US Weekly

 Lisa: US Weekly

Last person you sent a text message to?

  To each other! (of course!)

 

Book you read that you wished you wrote?

 Liz: Everything I Never Told you by Celeste Ng

Lisa: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

  Liz: In 7th grade—Mrs. Adams!

Lisa: Not that I can remember! But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. J

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

  Liz: Always! I love moody music! Sia is my favorite.

  Lisa: Yes. I mix it up. Everyone from Kenny Chesney to Lionel Richie

Describe your writing space?

  Liz: My office is light and airy with soft tones. I have a light fixture adorned with glass stars. I love it!

   Lisa: My office has a port hole style window where the light flows in. I have a midcentury modern desk and a white soft chair with gold accents. I am surrounded by books of course, including all of the ones we’ve written. This is a reminder of what we’ve accomplished and how far we want to go.

Coffee or tea?

    Both of us are COFFEE!!!

 

Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

          Liz: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

          Lisa: Eat Pray Love by Liz Gilbert

 

Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

          Liz: I recently finished The Seven Days of Us and think it would make a great movie!

          Lisa: The Two Lila Bennetts!  (Too self-promotional?)

 

If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

          Liz: Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. I’m generally optimistic and believe the best in people. I don’t ever want to change!

          Lisa: Shake It Off by Taylor Swift. You can’t worry about what people think! You can’t let bad things get you down. Just keep moving forward! Don’t sweat the small stuff. All advice I do my best to live by!

 

What/Who inspires you?

          We inspire each other in so many ways. Being lifelong friends and business partners gives us so many opportunities to be motivated by one another.

 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

     Um, YES!

 

Favorite Instagram account?

     There are so many good ones! We love Busy Phillips’ and Reese Witherspoon’s!

 

If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

 Red, White & Royal Blue—and it would be a combo of all three colors!

Current #TBR pile?A NOVEL

          Liz: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, The Library book by Susan Orlean, Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison and The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin.

          Lisa: Whisper Network by Chandler Baker, Evvie Drake Starts over by Linda Holmes, Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky, Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory, Normal People by Sally Rooney, The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess, Happily Ever After by Tif Marcelo and Pretty Guilty Women by Gina Lamanna.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

          Keep writing. No matter what!

 

Follow Liz and Lisa:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Open Book with David Bell

Summer thrillers are always a yes for me and we have a BB&B favorite and thriller master on the blog today!  David Bell’s latest, Layover, is intense, gripping and not something that should be read during a heatwave 🙂 unless you are holed up in air conditioning- it’s that pulse pounding.  He is my latest Open Book which I am thrilled about because he is the first MALE author to participate- history in the making people!

Layover

via Amazon ~

In this high concept psychological suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter, a chance meeting with a woman in an airport sends a man on a pulse-pounding quest for the truth.

Joshua Fields takes the same flights every week for work, his life a series of departures and arrivals, hotels and airports. During yet another layover, he meets Morgan, a beautiful stranger with whom he feels an immediate connection. When it’s time for their respective flights, Morgan kisses Joshua passionately, lamenting that they’ll never see each other again.

As soon as Morgan disappears in the crowd, Joshua is shocked to see her face on a nearby TV. The reason: Morgan is a missing person.

What follows is a whirlwind, fast-paced journey filled with lies, deceit, and secrets as Joshua tries to discover why Morgan has vanished from her own life. Every time he thinks one mystery is solved, another rears its head—and his worst enemy might be his own assumptions about those around him.

DavidBell2017

 

 

What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?  

–Abraham Lincoln, Sarah Silverman, and John Lennon

 

 

Current binge series? 

 

–“Black Mirror” and “The Handmaid’s Tale”

 

 

Last favorite book? 

 

Soldier, Sailor, Frogman, Spy by Giles Milton. A brilliant history of D-Day.

 

What 3 things do you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?

–A good book, a bathing suit, and another book

 

Where is it? 

–Someplace with a view of the water

 

 

Sunday NYT or US Weekly? 

 

–Sunday NYT

 

 

Last person you sent a text message to? 

 

–I pretty much only text my wife.

 

 

Book you read that you wished you wrote? 

 

The Three Musketeers. Think of the royalties after 180 years!

 

 

Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? 

 

–Several…but I’ll never forget my high school teachers Mr. Hendrick and Mr. Hussong.

 

 

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? 

 

–I do…I usually listen to music from the 70s and 80s. As far as music goes, I’m stuck in the past.

 

Describe your writing space? 

–I have a giant former dining room table that looks out a huge window at our front yard and street. I can watch the rabbits play and the joggers go by when I’m supposed to be writing.

 

 

Coffee or tea? 

 

–Definitely tea

 

Do you have a favorite book that you gift? 

–If I know someone wants to write I give them a copy of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

 

 

If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? 

 

–I like to imagine that the “Star Wars” theme plays whenever I sit down to write. It makes sitting at a computer all day seem much more dramatic than it really is.

 

What/Who inspires you? 

–More than anything I just enjoy the day-to-day process of writing. It begins and ends there. If I didn’t enjoy writing then it wouldn’t be worth doing all the other things associated with a writing career. So I try to remind myself to enjoy the daily work of writing.

 

 

Bravo reality TV- yes or no? 

 

I love “Project Runway,” which started on Bravo. Would I like to see a reality show made of my life? It would be pretty dull…

 

Favorite Instagram account? 

–I love following all the people who post about books and reading on IG. It’s great to see such a vibrant book community online.

 

 

If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

 

–I’m a little out of my depth, but how about The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire? Try fitting that on the top of a lipstick tube!

 

 

Current #TBR pile?.

 

–It consists of about five thousand books…but I hope to get to Red Metal by Mark Greaney and Ripley Rawlings, Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle, The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, and Lock Every Door by Riley Sager.

 

Best advice you’ve ever received? 

–My dad once told me, “If you want to be a writer, get out of bed and write.” That about sums it up.

 

Follow David:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

 

Open Book with Karen Dukess

Another book, another beach day!  Currently dripping in a heatwave over here in Boston and when then happens you escape to a Cape- Cape Cod or Cape Ann so what better than a Cape Cod beach read.  Karen Dukess’ latest release, The Last Book Party is everything you want in a summer read.  Nostalgia, great escapes at the beach and romance.  I am so happy she is on the blog today talking all things Open Book!  Get this book into your beach bag and I promise you won’t be sorry ❤

Last Book Party jacket

via Amazon ~

*A July 2019 Indie Next List Great Read*
*One of Parade’s Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2019*
*An O Magazine Best Beach Read of 2019*
*A New York Post Best Beach Read of 2019*

The Last Book Party is a delight. Reading this story of a young woman trying to find herself while surrounded by the bohemian literary scene during a summer on the Cape in the late ’80s, I found myself nodding along in so many moments and dreading the last page. Karen Dukess has rendered a wonderful world to spend time in.”
―Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six

A propulsive tale of ambition and romance, set in the publishing world of 1980’s New York and the timeless beaches of Cape Cod.

In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job, unable to shake the shadow of growing up with her brilliant brother. With her professional ambitions floundering, Eve jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie.

Dazzled by the guests and her burgeoning crush on the hosts’ artistic son, Eve lands a new job as Henry Grey’s research assistant and an invitation to Henry and Tillie’s exclusive and famed “Book Party”― where attendees dress as literary characters. But by the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.

A page-turning, coming-of-age story, written with a lyrical sense of place and a profound appreciation for the sustaining power of books, Karen Dukess’s The Last Book Party shows what happens when youth and experience collide and what it takes to find your own voice.

 

Dukess author photo c. Nina Subin

 

1.What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

 

Anthony Horowitz, Anita Loos and Jane Austen. With these three in the same room, I probably wouldn’t get a word in, but the conversation would be very lively and would make me laugh a lot.

 

  1. Current binge series?

 

Younger. The parodies of book publishing are brilliant.

 

  1. Last favorite book?

 

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin. 

 

  1. What 3 things do you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

 

A big novel that sweeps me away and takes days and days to read, my bicycle, and a comfortable bathing suit that looks fabulous. I’d go to Cape Cod, of course, to Truro – where The Last Book Party is set.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

 

Sunday NYT, starting in this order: the magazine (for puzzles), book review, week in review.

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

 

My sister Linda.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

 

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

 

  1. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

 

The leader of my writing group, the novelist and teacher Steve Lewis, helped me believe that if I kept writing even when I felt lost, I’d discover my story and complete a novel. 

 

  1. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

 

Nope. Silence works best for me.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

 

I wrote the first draft of The Last Book Party at a lovely café, Patisserie R, in New Rochelle, New York, about a mile from my house. It’s a magical place – it’s tiny, but I always find a table and they don’t care how long I sit there. If I’m not there, I write at home, either in my very cluttered office or at the kitchen table. When I’m in Cape Cod, I write in my mother’s studio, at a desk that looks out on rolling hills and the harbor and bay in the distance.

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

 

Both. Skim latte in the morning and tea anytime thereafter.

 

  1. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

 

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. 

 

  1. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

 

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth.

 

  1. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

 

Have a Little Faith in Me by John Hiatt, because it applies to everything – marriage, friendships, your own doubts and wishes.

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

 

My husband, for his creativity and can-do attitude. 

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

 

No. I have no patience for the way reality shows are edited – too manipulative.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

 

@thewoodenwhaleco, the account of a Cape Cod artist who hand carves incredible wooden whale sculptures. The videos of him at work are mesmerizing.

 

  1. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

 

Marjorie Morningstar – a classic, true red.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

 

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett; American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins; The Guest House by Sarah Blake: The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons from Russian Literature by Viv Groskop.

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

 

“Let the story reveal itself.” It was advice about writing, but it’s good life advice too.

 

Follow Karen:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

Open Book with Bethany Chase

One of my favorite authors, Bethany Chase, has a fabulous new book out and I am adding it to my list of beach read MUSTS!  One Night at the Lake is part drama, part love story told from alternate perspectives.  Chase, since her debut novel, The One that Got Away, has a special way with words and storytelling that makes her books unputdownable.  This is no exception.  I am thrilled she is my latest Open Book and am obsessed with the fact that she picked Amy Sherman-Palladino in her dream book club!  Gilmore and Maisel for life ❤

9781524796341

via Amazon ~

A tragedy on a hot summer night at a lake house forever alters the lives of two best friends—and the man they both love. But the truth isn’t as simple as it appears in this intricate novel of love, friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness.

Leah has been waiting for this moment a long time: Her boyfriend, Ollie, is taking her to his family’s home on Seneca Lake for a week of lazy summer bliss, boating, and barbeque. The couple have been together four years, and Leah is convinced that Ollie is finally going to pop the question. Leah can’t wait to share the joyous news with her best friend, June, who is joining them on their getaway, and whose presence will make everything feel more real.

Seven years later, the moment June has been dreading has finally arrived: Her fiancé, Ollie, is taking her to his family’s lake house. But this is not an ordinary visit to an ordinary place; it is a house haunted by June’s long-buried memories of her lost friend Leah—and the connection that appears to remain between Leah and the man for whom June’s love is as deep as her grief.

Alternating between the two women’s vibrant voices, One Night at the Lake is an emotional novel that explores a complex tangle of friendship, loyalty, and betrayal, all driving toward one question: Can love overcome what happened on that hot summer night?

Advance praise for One Night at the Lake

“Captivating and compelling . . . This is the perfect book to slip into your weekend bag for your own trip to the lake this summer.”—Jill Santopolo, New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost

“With gripping prose and a setting that is as sentient as the characters who inhabit it, Bethany Chase draws a tale that is immediate and real, the kind of story you’ll feel to your gut.”—Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment

“Chase has crafted the perfect blend of fully realized characters and a burning question I couldn’t wait to have the answer to. You won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough.”—Tracey Garvis Graves, New York Times bestselling author of On the Island and The Girl He Used to Know

 

Bethany Chase (c) A. Pachence

 

  1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a book club with?

Neil de Grasse Tyson, Amy Sherman-Palladino, and John Cleese.

 

  1. Current binge series?

Nothing right at the moment, but I can’t wait for the new season of Stranger Things, and I’m beside myself over how good His Dark Materials looks.

 

  1. Last favorite book?

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley. She’s an incredible writer.

 

  1. What 3 things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  Where is it?

My guidebook, my rain jacket and my hiking boots–we are going to Scotland!

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly?

New York Times!

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to?

My five best girlfriends. We have a running text thread of encouragement and jokes.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote?

Anything by Deb Caletti; she’s the author I read with a pencil in hand so I can underline passages of her gorgeous and thoughtful prose.

 

  1. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?

At the school I went to from 7th-12th grades, I had two periods of English a day, not just one. Plus Latin and French. It definitely cultivated my underlying tendency to be highly verbal!

 

  1. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?

I’ve been mainlining Maggie Rogers for most of my current work-in-progress.

 

  1. Describe your writing space?

My office is in the attic bedroom of our house in New Jersey, tucked under the eaves next to a dormer window. So basically the kind of place I always dreamed about as a kid.

 

  1. Coffee or tea?

Coffee, please.

 

  1. Do you have a favorite book that you gift?

To any pregnant friends, Expecting Better by Emily Oster. She breaks down the studies and data behind the never-ending list of do’s and don’ts in pregnancy in a very rational and reassuring way.

 

  1. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay. He writes beautiful, fascinating historical fantasy and I am pining for someone to bring his work to the screen.

 

  1. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?

“Happy” by Pharrell. Gratitude and joy are what sustain me and motivate me.

 

  1. What/Who inspires you?

Visually creative people. Aside from writing, my other career has been in interior design, which of course is adjacent to art, textile design, furniture making, architecture, print-making; I love being surrounded by craft and makers and I find it constantly fascinating and inspiring.

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no?

I haven’t had cable since 2010. 🙂

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account?

I have gradually accumulated a feed full of floral designers and flower growers, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. It truly brings me so much joy. I particularly love the seasonality as everyone’s posts move from hellebores and ranunculus to daffodils and tulips to peonies to roses to hydrangea and annuals and then the long glory days of dahlias.

 

  1. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? 

The Language of Flowers, and it would be a clear, beautiful light pink.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile?

Truly too long to list!

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received?

I had always been hesitant about having children because I was very aware of the enormous demands that they can place on parents’ personal space/time, identity, career, and even mental health, and I was afraid I would find it unbearably draining. My buddy Erika told me “You don’t have to feel 100% sure about it. If you feel even 10% like you want to do it, then just do it.” My husband and I decided that we were much more likely to regret not having had children than we were to regret letting go of our childfree life… and now the thought of a life that didn’t include our son is horrifying.

 

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Open Book with Amy Mason Doan

Happy Summer Bliss readers!  Beach reading season is officially here and there is so much to share!  I am kicking off my first post of official summer with Amy Mason Doan’s latest sunny gem!  I mean her books have “Summer” in the title, they were made to be read in the sand with an umbrella drink 🙂  We are talking all things “Open Book” and celebrating her latest release, Summer Hours.  She enjoys a good Bravo show (me too!), has a gorgeous literary lipstick shade and picked REO Speedwagon as a theme song for her life- I mean could we love her even more? ❤

SUMMER HOURS final

 via Amazon ~

Commencement meets The Graduate in this sparkling novel about a secret affair, the summer it all unravels, and the reunion a decade later that will be one woman’s happy ending or her biggest mistake.

Becc was the good girl. A dedicated student. Aspiring reporter. Always where she was supposed to be. Until a secret affair with the charming Cal one summer in college cost her everything she held dear: her journalism dreams; her relationship with her best friend, Eric; and her carefully imagined future.

Now, Becc’s past is back front and center as she travels up the scenic California coast to a wedding—with a man she hasn’t seen in a decade. As each mile flies by, Becc can’t help but feel the thrilling push and pull of memories, from infinite nights at beach bonfires and lavish boat parties to secret movie sessions. But the man beside her is not so eager to re-create history. And as the events of that heartbreaking summer come into view, Becc must decide if those dazzling hours they once shared are worth fighting for or if they’re lost forever.

Set in the mid ’90s and 2008, Amy Mason Doan’s Summer Hours is a warmly told novel about the idealism of youth, the seductive power of nostalgia and what happens when you realize you haven’t become the person you’d always promised to be.

“Engaging and nostalgic. Doan’s writing sweeps you away to the high-speed, sun-soaked backdrop of nineties California.” —Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient

“A beautifully crafted story of love, ambition, and friendship.” —Jamie Brenner, bestselling author of The Forever Summer and Drawing Home

 

Amy Doan_.jpg

  1. What three celebrities/authors/figures- living or dead, would you want to have a bookclub with?

Dorothy Parker, Michelle Obama, and Lindy West

 

  1. Current binge series? Catastrophe. It’s hysterical.

 

  1. Last favorite book? Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

 

  1. What 3 things do you pack in your bag for your dream vacation?  My Kindle, a massive floppy hat, and a personal Slurpee machine.

 

Where is it? A remote hut on the island of Rarotonga.  I stopped there for a couple of nights on my way back to California from New Zealand 20 years ago and I’ve always wanted to return.

 

  1. Sunday NYT or US Weekly? NYT

 

  1. Last person you sent a text message to? My daughter. It was a Deadline article about her favorite singer, Alec Benjamin. We just saw him live.

 

  1. Book you read that you wished you wrote? The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

 

  1. Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer? Nope, but my honors English teacher in high school was quite a character. She terrified us. She called herself “a brain farmer” and had us write papers comparing the Bob Geldolf character in Pink Floyd’s The Wall with Pip in Great Expectations. Once she yelled at me in front of the whole class for whispering back to a friend and I was mortified. (I was a pretty shy, well-behaved kid.) So maybe I secretly wanted to prove something to her. Thank you, Mrs. X!

 

  1. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who? I can’t listen to anything with lyrics but I play a sound machine. For THE SUMMER LIST I used “Lapping Lake” and for SUMMER HOURS it was “Pounding Surf.”

 

  1. Describe your writing space? In warm weather I write in a hammock in the backyard. In winter, or when I’m desperate to tune everything out, I write in my daughter’s walk-in closet. I drag a beanbag chair in there, turn out the light, and shut the door.

 

  1. Coffee or tea? Coffee in the morning. Iced tea on warm afternoons.

 

  1. Do you have a favorite book that you gift? Two. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote and Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell.

 

  1. Book that you wished they would make a movie out of? Well, one of mine would be lovely! Also –Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.

 

  1. If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why? Roll With the Changes by REO Speedwagon. It’s sound advice. I’m generally more into soulful acoustic/folk music, but I saw REO Speedwagon live with Styx and Boston once and they shredded.

 

  1. What/Who inspires you? Journalists who risk their lives to get the truth out.

 

  1. Bravo reality TV- yes or no? Yep. I’m obsessed with Below Deck. It’s Upstairs/Downstairs on water. I also watch RHONY (though I miss Carole) and Southern Charm.

 

  1. Favorite Instagram account? @dailyoverview . It shows gorgeous shots of earth from great altitudes. The idea is to give us the sensation of astronauts looking down on earth from space so we think about how beautiful and fragile the planet is.

 

  1. If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be? “Catalina Island Crimson.” It’d be the bright red that my SUMMER HOURS main character Becc’s cheeks flush when she has sex for the first time.

 

  1. Current #TBR pile? The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld, The Huntress by Kate Quinn, The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox, You, Me, and The Sea by Meg Donohue, The Castle on Sunset by Shawn Levy, City of Girlsby Elizabeth Gilbert

 

  1. Best advice you’ve ever received? Worry less about what people think of you and more about what you want. I’m working on it!

 

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