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Jenny OfFILL’s WEATHER IS SEARINGLY BRIGHT, yet gloomy, and might resonate with the current climate, plus a writing prompt

By Leslie Lindsay  Strange, but insightful little book told in fragmented realities, almost like a memoir, but let’s call it experimental literary fiction. ~WEDNESDAY WRITING & READING|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER  From the beloved author of the nationwide best seller Dept. of Speculation—one of the New York Times Book Review‘s Ten Best Books of the Year—a “darkly funny and urgent” (NPR) tour de force about a family, and a nation, in crisis WEATHER is my first Jenny Offill book, but it probably won’t be my last. In fact, I have her national bestseller DEPT. OF SPECULATION on my TBR pile. WEATHER (Knopf, February 2020) is such a book for our times. I mean, I read this and thought there was a precision to Offill’s words and perception.Obviously the book was written long before this ominous year of 2020, but the insights are searingly sharp and bright. “Brilliant… Offill’s writing is brisk and comic, and her book’s format underlines her gifts. “Weather” is her most soulful book…  [Her] humor is saving humor; it’s as if she’s splashing vinegar …

Kendra Atleework talks about personal loss & shared loss, homesickness, what it means to leave a place & return, loving her high desert home, and so much more in her memoir MIRACLE COUNTRY

By Leslie Lindsay  A rare and powerful memoir combing aspects of travel, history, environmental writing with autobiography and told in luminous prose. ~MEMOIR MONDAY| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ On the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevadas, a tiny town known as Swall Meadows resides. A bit farther south, a larger (but still small) town of Bishop lies cradled in the hands of Owens Valley California. This is the primary setting of MIRACLE COUNTRY (Algonquin Books, July 14) by debut author Kendra Atleework. I was initially drawn to MIRACLE COUNTRY because I have a ‘thing’ with land and geography, how it shapes one’s worldview, art, and essence.Having recently visited a high desert myself, I was intrigued and enthralled with this grittier, rustic side of life–from raging wildfires to blizzards and gale-force winds, this area witnesses it all. MIRACLE COUNTRY blends autobiography with environmental writing along with history. Here, we learn about the origins of L.A. (Owens Valley being just a few hours away), and how the Los Angeles Aqueduct was developed to usher water to the sprawling metropolis, rich with …

Bobi Conn talks about IN THE SHADOW OF THE VALLEY about growing up in a Kentucky holler, southern storytelling, glorious details in the mundane, the palpable sense of an empty home, more

By Leslie Lindsay  ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ When Bobi Conn thinks back on her childhood in 1980s Appalachia she remembers feeling free—running with her younger brother through the remote Kentucky holler where her family lived, wading through creeks, knocking down wasp nests, and eating the sweet blackberries growing along the road to her granny’s. But she also remembers the darkness threatening to swallow the vast forest paradise around her—substance abuse, alcoholism, her alcoholic father who continuously terrorized his wife and children. Very quickly Conn learned that speaking up for herself would get her nowhere; Conn writes. “I hid myself deep so that on the surface, people would see quiet and good girl.” IN THE SHADOW OF THE VALLEY: A Memoir (Little A: May 1, 2020) is about surviving in a community that, regardless of its beauty, it’s marginalized, desperate, and ignored by the rest of the country. Bobi manages to perform well academically and leaves the holler for college. At school she is able to learn, ask questions, and express her opinions. Motherhood, a …

A powerful and harrowing story of homeless youth, a dysfunctional family of origin, mental illness, & success of physician Sheryl Recinos in HINDSIGHT, plus a timely and topical reading list, activism, more

By Leslie Lindsay  A powerful and almost unbelievably true account of one woman’s dysfunctional family, her experiences in detention, foster care, the streets of Hollywood, and how she made it through. ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ HINDSIGHT (2018) by Sheryl Recinos, is one of those stories that will absolutely stay with you. Sheryl is a your typical eight-year old when her mother has a psychotic break. Along with her next-closest-in-age brother, she takes them to a trailer home to stay warm, leaving them with nothing but uncooked pasta and raisins. And then she vanishes, but returns. The family struggles. Eventually, the parents divorce, but the father receives custody. When Sheryl is eleven, he remarries a woman who wants nothing to do with kids, who struggles with her own mental health issues. To summarize this harrowing story in a succinct manner almost discredits the author’s pain and struggles. Here, we delve into a deeply dysfunctional family of origin, involving children sent away to foster care, the ones that remain, and the frank abuse that follows. HINDSIGHT …

When Lacy Crawford was sexually assaulted at an elite boarding school, she kept quiet for fear of being ‘robbed’ of even more. Notes on a Silencing helps to dispel the myth of the elite having all the power; #metoo & #BLM

By Leslie Lindsay  Compelling and haunting memoir of epic proportions of one young woman’s sexual assault, the lies, the cover-ups and fall-outs. ~MEMOIR MONDAY| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Recommended by:  PEOPLE MAGAZINE VANITY FAIR When the elite boarding school, St. Paul’s, in New Hampshire was recently under investigation following extensive reports of sexual misconduct/abuse on campus, Lacy Crawford thought her past there was behind her. Detectives asked for victims to come forward, and though it had been decades, Lacy threw her hat into the ring. NOTES ON SILENCING (Little, Brown: July 7 2020) is exactly that–a plea to have one’s tender, vulnerable voice heard. Lacy’s criminal case is reopened. She sees, for the first time in decades, evidence that corroborates her memories. That horrific experience involving two senior athletes and 15-year old Lacy in the boy’s dorm after-hours wasn’t just a figment of her imagination. It happened, it was cruel, and every attempt to cover-up or ‘sweep it under the rug’ was made. Lacy wasn’t a ‘legacy’ at St. Paul’s. Her parents were wealthy, but they hadn’t attended boarding …

10-year old environmental activist, creative girl, and bookworm pens diary-style book of vintage clothing during a rainy ‘boring’ summer in LEGENDS FROM MOM’S CLOSET featuring inspiration from fashion icons

By Leslie Lindsay  10-Year-Old Girl Uses Imagination and Vintage Fashion to Emulate Female Icons A lesson in using creativity and learning at home.  ~BOOKS ON MONDAY| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ My 15-year old daughter, Kate, regularly states she wishes we lived in a large, Victorian home with an attic filled to the rafters with vintage clothing. Girl after my own heart. I think she’d get along great with Sasha, the 10-year-old author of LEGENDS FROM MOM’S CLOSET (BCH, May 19, 2020). When this book came across my desk, I knew I had to share it. Here’s the quick take: Sasha Olsen was forced to spend a summer indoors because of rainy weather, but she refused to spend all her time in front of a screen. Instead, she read through a stack of books detailing the lives of famous women throughout history. From Frida Kahlo and Audrey Hepburn to Billie Holiday and Joan Jett, Sasha’s imagination began to run wild as she learned about these accomplished and creative women who had become legends. Soon, Sasha was in …

Beloved UK Author Ruth Hogan delights with her newest release QUEENIE MALONE’S PARADISE HOTEL with vibrant characters, tackling issues such as estrangement, mental illness, and chosen families

By Leslie Lindsay  An uplifting novel of mothers and daughters, secrets and the astonishing power of friendship, from the wildly popular bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things. ~FICTION FRIDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WINNER OF THE ROMANTIC NOVELISTS’ ASSOCIATION AWARD 2020 SELECTED FOR WORLD BOOK NIGHT 2020 A PRIMA BOOK OF THE YEAR Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone’s magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits. But Tilly’s childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she’d ever loved to boarding school with little explanation and no warning. Now an adult, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. But when her mother dies, Tilda returns to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unravelling the mystery …

Barbara Linn Probst dives into the stunning world of Georgia O’Keefee with her debut, QUEEN OF THE OWLS, featuring art work from her little-known Hawaii paintings, craft, isolation, consent, plus familial roles, a life well-experienced, more

By Leslie Lindsay  A powerful take on one woman’s relationship to her body, her art, her creativity…and also her mind, inspired by the life of Georgia O’Keeffe. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITER|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ QUEEN OF THE OWLS has been selected as one of the most anticipated books of 2020 by “Working Mother” QUEEN OF THE OWLS will also be the May 2020 selection of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club. Coming to nearly 800 book clubs across the country! QUEEN OF THE OWLS (SWP, April 7 2020), by debut author Barbara Linn Probst is told with elegance and precision, and empathy about what it truly means to be seen, as academic Elizabeth Crawford navigates her role as wife, mother, PhD student, and more. Until she met Richard, a professional photographer at her Tai Chi classes, her relationship with Georgia O’Keeffe’s little-known Hawaii paintings were purely academic. As an art historian, she is looking at how O’Keeffe’s work in Hawaii was seen as a ‘transition’ to her other works; she’s comparing and contrasting lush landscapes to that of the desert, to …

Twisty courtroom drama about special needs, medical exploration, lies, secrets, immigration, and so much more in Angie Kim’s fabulous debut–now in paperback–MIRACLE CREEK

By Leslie Lindsay  A literary courtroom thriller about an immigrant family, a fascinating medical exploration, secrets, lies, and more. *NATIONAL BESTSELLER* NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK! ~Pub Day Spotlight | ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ May IndieNext Pick ♦ April LibraryReads Selection ♦ April Book of the Month Club Pick ♦ Amazon Editors’ Pick ♦ Apple Books 2019 Top Ten Debuts ♦ Time Magazine 11 Best Fiction Books of 2019 So Far ♦ Washington Post Summer Reads ♦ Good Morning America Hot Summer Read ♦Entertainment Weekly April Jewels ♦ ELLE April Reading List ♦ Real Simple The Short List ♦ Southern Living Best Spring Books ♦ July Junior Library Guild Adult Crossover Selection (Grades 11 & Up) PLUS, named a Most Anticipated 2019 Book by BuzzFeed, Nylon, The Millions, Electric Lit, BookRiot, CrimeReads / LitHub, GoodReads, Vulture and more ~NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK~   MIRACLE CREEK (April 2019) is such a powerhouse of a novel from Angie Kim, I was seriously questioning whether it was truly a debut, it’s that good. In rural Miracle Creek, Virginia, Young and her husband, Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment, hyperbaric chamber known as ‘the miracle submarine.’ It’s a pressurized oxygen chamber patients enter for therapeutic reasons–the ‘dives’ could potentially cure anything from autism to …

The best, most darling children’s picture book I’ve seen in a long time–LEAVE IT TO ABIGAIL is a class-act, plus it’s about founding mothers, finding one’s passion, and so much more–Q&A with author and illustrator

By Leslie Lindsay  Darling picture book for young readers–and their caregivers–about the feisty and enterprising first lady, Abigail Adams. ~Books on Monday~ I loved LEAVE IT TO ABIGAIL: The Revolutionary Life of Abigail Adams (Feb 4, 2020 Little, Brown)! In this inspiring tribute, award-winning author Barb Rosenstock and NYT bestselling illustrator, Elizabeth Baddeley bring to life the amazing and colorful Abigail Adams, one of America’s greatest founding mothers. Everyone knew Abigail was different–in fact, they didn’t expect she’d live after childbirth–but she did. She blurted out questions and she ignored her mother’s chores, she bossed her siblings around, and fell into her father’s books (and taught herself to read)…she eventually tamed herself and became proficient at the many tasks it takes to run a farm, plus baking and sewing, carding, and more. When she was 14 she was ‘promised’ to marry a minister from town, but fell in love with John Adams. He thought she was too headstrong and obnoxious at the time, but five years later, when she was 19 and he 24, they married. I …