Friday Folio: June 2, 2023

The Boston Globe looks at one physician assistant’s work to “digitally revive” vintage romance novels about nurses.

Also from The Boston Globe: when the right book at the right time becomes a lifeline.

Here are the 2023 Golden Voice winners (that’s the awards for voice actors who work in audiobooks).

Speaking of, audiobook sales are up, per Publisher’s Weekly.

Want to live in Beverly Cleary’s old house? That’ll be $1.8 million, per Literary Hub.

I may not have been the biggest fan of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow but that’s clearly not the case with everyone, as the New York Times reports. Which is fine! I hated Gone Girl so much I didn’t even finish it! C’est la vie!

The L.A. Times has an interesting piece about novels and geographic locations in the U.S.

More on the movement to ban book bans.

The Washington Post also had a piece on the a student-teacher revolt against book banning in a very red Florida town.

The American Library Association and ACLU are among groups suing Arkansas over a law that would criminalize librarians for doing their jobs.

How queer-owned bookstores are celebrating pride month, via Book Riot.

Everyone’s got a preview […]

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Book 27 of 52: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty opens with an interesting premise: Alice Love falls off her spin bike, hits her head, and forgets the previous 10 years of her life. A lot has happened in that time. At 29, she was newly pregnant and madly in love with her husband. At 39, she was a stressed out mother, and on her way to divorce.

It’s fun for a little while. I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago, and what would she say/act/do if she could inhabit my body right now? But this book is so focused on the idea that women are best when both a mother and a wife that I almost stopped reading it. I’ve known for a long time that I don’t want children, and I don’t see marriage as something to strive for just for the sake of being partnered up. I usually don’t mind reading books about motherhood and marriage (as my love of Little Fires Everywhere shows), but What Alice Forgot hones in on women needing these things to be happy to such a level that I soured on the book by the (unfulfilling) conclusion.

What Alice Forgot was published in […]

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Book 26 of 52: ¡Hola Papi! How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer

John Paul Brammer got his start the way a lot of us freelancer writers do: we need to make a living, and we can write. So we do what we can to pay the bills until we figure out what it is we really want to do.

And then sometimes, the thing you do while you think you’re waiting for your big break becomes it. For Brammer, that was writing an advice column for Grindr. It became so popular that it lead to ¡Hola Papi! How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons.

I recognize a small subset of the beats of this story when it comes to his career: becoming a freelance writer, trying to figure out how to find good clients and stable work and sometimes slogging through assignments you’re just doing for the money (I didn’t write recaps of gay porn but I did write things that I’m relieved do not live in the internet). But everything else was a look into a world I don’t know. I’m not a gay Mexican-American man from rural Oklahoma. I didn’t have any of the same experiences he did as a kid then young man an […]

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Friday Folio: May 26, 2023

Let’s start with some good news: Independent book stores are growing!

New Jersey is getting it’s act together to ban book bans.

That’s good because *11* people are behind most of these horrid book bans, according to the Washington Post. The Post also covered the ridiculousness/scariness of a person getting Amanda Gorman’s book booted from a school in Florida. Rolling Stone dug into the background of the person behind this particular book getting tossed, and she’s worse that you might expect.

Speaking of book bans, LeVar Burton had some things to say about them at the LA. Times Book Club this week.

I forgot that the U.S. Book Show (which kinda sorta took over the annual spot of Book Expo America?) is this week, until Facebook reminded me that I was at BEA years ago signing copies of my second Jersey Shore book. Publisher’s Weekly has updates from this year’s event.

What’s the appeal of dystopian fiction? Book Riot looked into it.

Have you ever had a CT scan? Apparently, 16th century books need them too, via The New York Times.

Also via the Times: giving older books new life.

Since it’s the unofficial start of […]

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Book 25 of 52: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

I’ve had a copy of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin on my bookshelf for a while, and kept passing on it. Too many people whose literary tastes I trust posted that they were WRECKED or DESTROYED by this book — in a positive way. I have no problem with those kinds of reads but didn’t know if I could handle one right now.

Turns out I didn’t need to worry. I liked this book very much but it didn’t quite reach deep enough into my chest to pull my heart out.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is about three friends, primarily Sadie and Sam, who meet when Sam is in the hospital and Sadie’s sister is too. They bond by playing a video game. Why Sam’s in the hospital is the first slight mystery of the book, and the narrative moves along while dropping hints about foreboding events in the future or in the past as the story moves ahead. What happened to Sam’s foot? Why does he live with his grandparents? Did Sadie’s sister survive? What was the big event that changed everything for the gaming company they eventually form? And where does the third friend, Marx, […]

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Book 21 of 52: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

While working on my book proposal, I cast around for something to read that would be deeper than a romance novel, but also not non-fiction...
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Friday Folio: April 28, 2023

Tomorrow is Independent Bookstore day. Go forth and be (book) merry! Publishing queen Nora Roberts made a very large gift to the EveryLibrary Institute to...
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Book 20 of 52: Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy

Another romance! Her Night With the Duke by Diana Quincy is like a lot of historical romances I've reviewed on this blog. Man meets woman,...
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Friday Folio: April 21, 2023

Another day I'm in a mood. Which leads me into my first news item: Nearly 1,500 book bans in the year already, thanks I...
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Book 19 of 52: A House in the Mountains: The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism by Caroline Moorehead

Yes, folks, I am still at it, trying to read every book about Italy in the English language before my trip in November. But not...
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Book 18 of 52: Under a Sardinian Sky by Sara Alexander

After I finished The Seamstress of Sardinia, which was Book 9 of this year's series, I went online and searched for other books about this...
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