Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly blog post about five things that caught my attention this week.
1) After 17 months of being closed, the Book Cellar reopened this week and I'm back to work. I volunteer at the Book Cellar, a used bookstore located in the basement of Webster Library, a branch of the New York Public Library. All of the staff are volunteers, all our books are donated, and our proceeds benefit the branch libraries of the NYPL. Over the past 17 years, we have donated over $1 million to the NYPL. It was so great to be back to work, to see all of the fellow volunteers, and all of our customers have been so happy to see us. If you ever visit NYC, you have to stop by. You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram at BookCellarNYC.
2) One of my favorite things at the Book Cellar, besides getting to talk books with everyone, is creating new book displays. Since we were closed for 17 months, BookTok has become a thing. People on TikTok, many of them teenagers, have become book influencers. They create TikToks about books that they love, with books that make them cry being very popular. They have put many books on the bestseller lists, and publishers now court them. Maybe we should get into BookTok....
3) We were in Florida for a quick weekend trip, and our first stop was at the Publix to pick up a loaf of Cinnamon Bread. We brought the loaf back home because it is the best cinnamon bread we have ever had. We even got our friends hooked on it. Now we have to figure out how to get it delivered to NYC permanently, because making weekend trips to Florida for cinnamon bread could get expensive.
4) While I'm working in the kitchen, I watch TV shows on my Echo Show. I've been watching 30 Rock, the NBC sitcom created by Tina Fey and starring herself, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer and Jane Krakowksi. I forgot how falling down funny this show is. The jokes come fast and furious, and there are many jokes that probably wouldn't be allowed in today's culture. The guest stars are incredible too- Carrie Fisher, Elaine Stritch, Jon Hamm, Rip Torn among many more. You can find it on Hulu.
5) I read lots of great books this week. Speaking of 30 Rock, I read a book about the show, The 30 Rock Book: Inside the Iconic Show, from Blergh to the EGOT by Mike Roe, which publishes in November. I got so much more out the show after reading this fascinating book. Reading about dealing with the intense personalities like Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan, the insanely long hours the writers worked, and sometimes myopic focus on sacrificing everything to the joke was so interesting. Roe tackles some of the tough issues around 30 Rock, and this would make a great Christmas gift for the 30 Rock fan in your life.
I continued my reading trip to the Catskills/Hudson Valley (begun with Jane L. Rosen's Eliza Starts a Rumor and continuing with Elyssa Friedland's Last Summer At The Golden Hotel) with Lea Geller's The Truth and Other Hidden Things. When Bells Walker finds herself pregnant at 43 and her husband denied tenure, her family has to leave NYC and move to the town of Pigkill in the Hudson Valley, where her husband finds a job teaching English literature at Dutchess College. Her two teenage children are unhappy at the move, and mortified by her pregnancy. Bells can't find a job writing for the local paper, so she turns her skills to writing a snarky blog about the moms and displaced Brooklyn millenials in Pigkill. When her blog garners the attention of the media (which Bells likes), she finds that has created trouble for her family. It's a terrific beach read, and I found myself cringing at the things Bells does, all the while feeling empathy for her. Her husband is a little tone-deaf, and Geller nails the Hudson Valley milieu perfectly.
Another great beach read is Beck Dorey-Stein's Rock the Boat. Kate Campbell has a charmed life- she lives in her longtime boyfriend's fabulous family apartment in New York City, works at his family's PR firm, and hopes to be married soon. When her life falls apart in five minutes, she has to move home to her parents' home in the New Jersey seaside tourist town of Sea Point. Devastated, she plots to get her old life back with a fool-proof plan. She reconnects with her childhood friend Ziggy, who lost his father and business partner in the plumbing business. Ziggy's best friend Miles is also coming home to claim the CEO title of his family's business, a hugely successful resort run by his mother. I loved the characters, the storyline (especially the library setting), and this book made me want to head to the fictional town of Sea Point to grab a cocktail at the Jetty bar, dress up for dinner at the Wharf, and hang out at the beach with Kate, Ziggy and Miles. (And yes, you'll have the 70's hit song, Rock the Boat, stuck in your head while reading it. And if you watched Netflix's Derry Girls, you'll have the image of the choregraphed boat dance stuck there too.) I also enjoyed her memoir, From the Corner of the Oval, about her time at the Obama White House as a stenographer.
I finished up the week reading Julia Quinn's The Duke and I, the book that the hit Netflix series, The Bridgertons was based on. The book is a quick read, even at 400 pages, and it's as a delightful as the series is. You will picture Regé Jean-Page's face as you read, even though his description differs slightly in the book. And the commanding Queen Charlotte is missing from the book, but other than that, it's a fun read.
I hope you all had a great week. Stay safe and cool out there.