Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly-ish blog post featuring five things that caught my attention. Happy Friday the 13th- look our for black cats and don't walk under any ladders.
1) I received an invitation to my niece's baby shower, and included in the invitation is this adorable card "Books for Baby". Like many baby showers, guests are asked to bring a book for the baby. What is really great is that we are asked to bring a book that has special meaning for us, something we loved as a child, or something that will remind the baby of us. We are asked to sign the book to the baby as well. I squealed with joy when I read this card, it is the best idea I have seen in a long time.
2) Our neighborhood Italian grocery store, Agata & Valentina just opened a Gluten-Free and Organics smaller grocery store across the street from their main store. I ,haven't been in it yet, but I think that is a terrific concept that will work well in our bustling neighborhood.
3) I watched two author book events on Zoom. The first was hosted by Books In Common NW with author Claire Lombardo interviewing Bonnie Garmus about Bonnie's debut novel, Lessons in Chemistry. Everyone I know has been raving about the book. Set in the 1960s, it tells the story of a female research chemist who finds herself the host of a popular cooking show on TV. The interview was terrific, Claire had insightful questions, and Bonnie's description of how she came to write the book was one many women can relate to- she was in a meeting at work and spoke up about an idea she had. She got no response from the group, but when a man immediately repeated her idea as his own, the team loved it. She called him out on it, but he denied it. She went back to her office and began to write the first chapter. I'm excited for this one, one of my Book of the Month selections. It was a fascinating discussion.Marrying the Ketchups, about a family who owns a restaurant. Jennifer was in conversation with author Lauren Fox at Boswell Book Company about the book, which I chose because my husband and I owned two fast-food restaurants in another life and it sounds perfect for me. I enjoy a good family story, and listening to Jennifer talk about the multiple narrators and the storyline had me moving this one up to the top of my TBR list.
4) We watched the last season of Neflix's Ozark. Oh, I had a pit in my stomach the entire time. There was so much tension wondering how they were going to wind up the story of the Byrde family, trying desperately to get out from under the control of the Navarro drug cartel, no matter what the cost. Do they succeed? You have to watch. The addition of Richard Thomas as Wendy Byrde's father was brilliant casting. He's come a long way from his John-Boy Walton days.
5) I read two amazing books this week. Kirsten Miller's The Change, a Good Morning America Reads pick for May, has great timing. It's a novel about three middle-aged women who find they each are called to avenge the deaths of young women in their wealthy Long Island community. Nessa is a widow now experiencing empty nest syndrome when her twin daughters go to college. Nessa hears the voices of dead people, who lead her to where their bodies are. It is a "gift" she inherits from her grandmother. Jo owns a women-only gym in town, and her trip through menopause leaves her with an incredible physical strength. Harriet "retired" from her career as an advertising director when she is unfairly passed over for a well-deserved promotion, given instead to an unqualified man. The townspeople believe Harriet is a witch because she has turned her previously well-attended landscaping into a wild grown jungle. The women band together to discover who killed the three young women who called out to Nessa. These women use their righteous anger to right wrongs. It's a mystery-thriller-revenge fantasy that is so well-written, and the main characters are fascinating I highly recommend it.
The other book I read is Barbara Kingsolver's upcoming October release, Demon Copperhead. The story takes its inspiration from Charles Dicken's David Copperfield, with young Damon living in poverty with his young single mother in Appalachian coal country. Damon has to struggle his entire life through bad foster care situations, homelessness, enforced child labor, and eventually finding a talent for football. The voice of Damon is unforgettable as he narrates the ups and many downs of his life, through loss and love and the scourge of rampant pill drug abuse foisted on the people in his rural community by a powerful pharmaceutical company. It's a big book, over 500 pages, and an important book, destined to be as classic as Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, one of my all-time favorite novels. Make sure to put Demon Copperhead on your radar this fall. I will be talking this one up all summer long.
Have a great week, stay safe and healthy.
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