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Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould
Feb18

Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould

I tried to write a quick post about this book, but instead I went down a rabbit hole. What I had intended to say was something along the lines of this: I spent two nights staying up way too late reading this book, in the end it was not justified. I was not moved by the character or her plight—or more specifically, by the way her plight was expressed. Instead I decided that, before writing my post, I would read some reviews of the book and see if anyone else agreed with me. But first I read the back cover of the book (always a mistake to read it first and, as usual, it gave away much of the plot). And then I focused on the 3 blurbs that were on the front and back cover, glowing reviews from well-known writers. On the cover was a quote from Stephanie Danler, the author of Sweetbitter, a book I quite liked. That is what probably originally motivated me to read the book, that and the fact that it’s (supposed to be) set in the music world (warm memories of reading and greatly enjoying Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – a much better book, read that one instead). I dunno – maybe these writers are friends of the author’s – the book I read doesn’t deserve the raves these writers gave it – sorry. But I was taken by something Danler said about the author – she called her “one of the most essential writers of the internet generation.” What exactly does that mean? I wondered. What is/who is the internet generation and why is Emily Gould essential to it, according to Stephanie Danler? So I decided to Google the author and learn more about her. And thus: rabbit hole. Emily Gould has a lot of cool things in her bio. She co-runs a publishing imprint called Emily Books. She is married to the author Keith Gessen. I read his novel A Terrible Country, about a Russian man who returns to Moscow after many years in the US and what his experience there kind of caught between two cultures is like. I taught the novel in my Hot Off the Press class and we had a great discussion about it. But Emily Gould is perhaps best known for an incident that happened when she was interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel who was, at that time, guest-hosting the Larry King show. Gould was then working for Gawker media, and oversaw something called the Gawker Stalker, in which people could post celebrity sightings. Kimmel and his guests excoriated her for running...

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Recent Reading: Lydia Millet & Ethan Hawke
Feb14

Recent Reading: Lydia Millet & Ethan Hawke

For my Hot Off the Press class, last week we discussed A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet, chosen because this session we are reading prize winners or nominees, and this book was on a lot of “best of 2020” and award lists. I liked it very much and was surprised how many of the class participants did not enjoy the book. What I liked… The writing is excellent (we all agreed on that). The story is told from the point of view of a teenager and I think she did a great job with the voice; it was very convincing. (Although I can’t say I’m the best judge of authentic teenager speak these days!) The frame of the story is that a group of families rent a big old mansion (said to have been built and owned by “robber barons”) near a lake and the ocean somewhere in New England to spend the summer with their families. The parents are old college friends and haven’t all been together for a long time. They are artsy professionals. The kids all sleep upstairs in the attic and totally disdain their parents – in fact they won’t even admit to each other which ones of those embarrassing adults are in fact their particular parents. All goes wrong when a storm hits and, since this is climate change fiction, the storm changes the world. It’s actually many ongoing storms that devastate the eastern seaboard. The kids escape to a farm, leaving their parents behind. The book is a parable. It’s a devastating critique of people ignoring climate change. As the author said in a separate interview, she can’t understand why more people aren’t freaking out about the issue, and this is her call to arms. She herself has a master’s degree in environmental policy and works at the Center for Biological Diversity. Readers felt the parents were presented as too “extreme,” i.e. all bad – a bunch of uncaring, oblivious slugs. I guess my response to that is: unreliable narrator. The bible referred to in the title is a children’s bible that one of the young characters, the narrator’s younger brother Jack, is given by one of the parents and begins to read, well, religiously. His own take on the bible has to do with science and nature, and his interpretation of the book leads him to do things like collect the animals and bring them to safety before the flood. I enjoyed finding the many other biblical parallels in the story. Another Book I also just read Ethan Hawke’s new novel A Bright Ray of Darkness. The multi-talented Hawke tells the story...

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Hot Off the Press Winter/Spring 2021
Dec25

Hot Off the Press Winter/Spring 2021

Our Hot Off the Press book discussion class is celebrating its tenth year! Join the new 2021 session, launching January 13th! If you love a book conversation that’s lively and engaging, where we talk about the book thoroughly and thoughtfully, then this class is for you. Led by long-time teacher and publishing professional Lynn Rosen, this class tackles brand new literary fiction. Class conversations include analysis of the book as well as background information provided by Lynn about the author and the book’s path to publication. We talk serious book talk, but have a lot of laughs too! The 2021 session of HOTP includes five class meetings in which we will be reading some recent award winning new books. CLASS DATES/TIME: Class meets virtually via Zoom on Wednesday evenings from 7pm EST to 8:30pm EST on:January 13February 10March 10April 7May 5 CLASS COST & LOGISTICS: LOCATION: via Zoom; link to be provided to participants. COST: $165Books are not included in the cost. Email lynn@lynnrosen.com to register. Payment can be made by check or Venmo. Special Offer: If you’re new to the program and want to try out a class or two, contact lynn@lynnrosen.com and we’ll arrange that for you. CLASS READING SCHEDULE:  January 13Shugie Bain by Douglas StuartWINNER OF THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZEShuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher’s policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city’s notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. A heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality, and love,  February 10A Children’s Bible by Lydia MilletFinalist for the 2020 National Book Award for FictionOne of the New York Times‘ Ten Best Books of the YearPulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet’s new novel follows a group of twelve eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their families at a sprawling lakeside mansion. When a destructive storm descends on the summer estate, the group’s ringleaders—including Eve, who narrates the story—decide to run away, leading the younger ones on a dangerous foray into the apocalyptic chaos outside. March 10Hamnet by Maggie O’FarrellOne of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the YearA bold feat of imagination and empathy, this novel gives flesh and feeling to a historical mystery: how the death of Shakespeare’s 11-year-old son, Hamnet, in 1596, may have shaped his play “Hamlet,” written a few years later. A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was...

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Get Lit with Lynn
Dec17

Get Lit with Lynn

A virtual conversation about books and publishing from @lynnreadsabook Free! (Registration required.) Meets monthly on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 8:00pm ESTNew session begins Tuesday, June 22, 2021 Summer 2021 Dates – all are on Tuesdays at 8pmJune 22July 27August 24 Talking about books makes people happy! Join bookseller and publishing industry professional Lynn Rosen for Get Lit with Lynn. On the 4th Tuesday of each month at 8pm EST, Lynn will lead a conversation about literary and publishing news. Tuesday is the day that publishers release new titles, and Lynn will highlight notable new books. She’ll share publishing and bookselling news and trends, and engage attendees in discussions about their recent reading and literary likes and dislikes. Lynn is the store manager at Barnes & Noble in Wilmington, Delaware. Throughout her publishing career, she has been an editor, a literary agent, a professor of publishing, and an author. For a complete bio, click HERE. You can also read Lynn’s book blog on this website, follow her on Instagram and Facebook @lynnreadsabook, and watch Lynn’s video book reviews on her Lynn Reads a Book YouTube channel. Watch and subscribe HERE. How to Join Get Lit with Lynn Attendance is free; preregistration is required. Each meeting will last 30-40 minutes and take place via Zoom. Regular attendance is not required – join us when your schedule permits. And bring friends! Want to join? Email lynn@lynnrosen.com to sign up and get the Zoom...

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You Again by Debra Jo Immergut
Sep24

You Again by Debra Jo Immergut

I just finished reading You Again by Debra Jo Immergut and I enjoyed it very much. It was the kind of book that I couldn’t wait to get back to, that I stayed up way too late reading, and was late getting back from my lunch break because of, and then, after finishing it in a few days (eating it up, as it were), I felt sad to no longer be immersed in it. I can’t remember why I chose this book out of the huge pile of advance reader copies I had to winnow down when we moved out of our house. The colors of the cover caught my eye. And I thought maybe I remembered hearing that this author was the friend of another author I know, but now I can’t remember whom that might have been. But something about the plot description on the back of the book grabbed me (even though I really do try not to read back cover copy because it often gives too much away). All this factors made me hold on to the book and once I started to read it, within the first few pages, I was hooked. The book is mostly in a journal format written by Abby, the main character. It’s 2015 in NYC (it was time for a good NYC book!), and Abby and her husband Dennis have given up their promising art careers for workaday jobs to support the two teenage sons with whom they live in a Brooklyn brownstone in a not-quite gentrifying neighborhood. (Speaking of which, this book has a lot of characters driving places and parking in garages or, at the very least, easily finding parking spots, which is not something I ever experienced in NY!) The action is kicked off when Abby spies a girl on the street who looks exactly like herself 24 years ago, when she was a freewheeling NYC party girl and before the occurrence of some as yet undisclosed hazily recalled traumatic event. Back when she was still aspiring to be the promising and highly regarded artist she would become, and before she gave that part of herself up. Is this girl on the street the younger Abby? Is she even real? Are we experiencing some sort of rupture of the space-time continuum? All of those are the questions the book asks, and I do love a good time travel book! Debra Jo Immergut is a graduate of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop and she has been the recipient of fellowships at respected places like the MacDowell Colony. This is her second novel and third book, the other...

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