Book 28 of 52: The Long Run by James Acker

The one bit thing that surprised me about The Long Run by James Acker is that I hadn’t heard about it before. It’s a book about running, set in South Jersey — only about 12 miles from where I live. Given how much I love running, and how much I love South Jersey, I’m annoyed I didn’t buy this as soon as it came out (I found out about it via the Book ‘Em, Zach-O newsletter – thanks pal!)

The Long Run is about Sebastian Villeda and Sandro Miceli, seniors at Moorestown High School. They both do track and field, with Sebastian is captain of track; and Sandro captain of field. This is a YA romance, so of course they fall in love.

It could have just been a boy meets boy (or boy realizes he is in love with boy) story, but it goes deeper than that. Acker does a wonderful job giving us a rounded picture of these two young men. Miceli has always known he’s gay, and has plotted out when he can live his true, authentic self, something he doesn’t think he can do living in a multi-generational, Italian-American household, where he’s often an […]

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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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Interview: James Lilliefors, author of Boardwalks: From Coney Island to California

Click on over to my "Down the Shore with Jen" blog for an interview with James Lilliefors, author of America's Boardwalks: From Coney Island to...
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Review: Oh the Humanity! by Jason Roeder

My review of Jason Roeder's Oh the Humanity!, which was book 11 of 15, ran in Sunday's St. Petersburg Times. Check it out here. A...
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Book 14 of 52: Helping Me Help Myself by Beth Lisick

As I've mentioned, I'm writing a newspaper article about what I'm calling, for now, "chatty" self help books -- those "girlfriend's guide to..." type things...
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What Does a Reviewer Look Like?

As I rifled through my backpack trying to figure out what would be my first book to read on this Arizona trip, I realized that...
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Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Tomorrow I'm leaving for a short work trip. Since flights to and from Phoenix both involve layovers, I'll be spending more than a few hours...
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Book 13 of 52: Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors by Steve Weber

As I mentioned in my last post, I got the idea to add the "Subscribe!" box to this blog (and my other blog) from Steve...
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