What to read when: you want to get swept away
To Memphis, we go!
Do you all use “Libby”? It’s a reading application that allows you to get e-books from your library delivered straight to your respective reading device(s). I love it because it doesn’t put any more money in Amazon’s hands beyond what I already spent on my Kindle, but still gets backlist titles circulating for authors. Libby’s selection can be eclectic and popular titles have long waitlists, so Libby also encourages me to read outside the genres that I gravitate toward by habit (literary fiction, memoir) to those that I don’t always reach for (mystery, thriller). I just read Lisa Jewell’s “Invisible Girl” on Libby, for example. Which was fun to puzzle-solve—or about as much fun as you can have reading about incels.
This week’s reading recommendation was also a book that I was lucky enough to nab on Libby—it’s hard to get in demand titles there, but I got lucky last week.
The book: “Memphis” by Tara Stringfellow (April 2022, Dial Press)
The why: You know the feeling when you read a book that totally sweeps you away from whatever needs doing in your life, primarily because when you are forced to come back to that life, it’s a mess from your neglect. But those dirty dishes and unsent school forms were all worth it. Thank you, Tara M. Stringfellow for pulling me from the gory entrails of my gmail to the Memphis, Tennessee of the lionhearted North women who share how the city has housed (and hurt) their family for over 70 years. To me, this sensual, rollicking, heart-hurting book is filled with joy and the realism of people who are trying their dang best to forgive, but not forget the trespasses against them. There is some tough material here, including the sexual abuse of a small child and a slew of racist, hateful acts. How Stringfellow manages to write about these topics with tenderness and optimism is one of the feats that makes this novel so appealing. Highly recommend, if you haven’t read it yet! I’m eagerly awaiting whatever Stringfellow does next.
TODAY (Wednesday) at 2pm ET I’m doing a free webinar for book coach Allison Lane’s Creative Community. We’ll be covering a wide range of topics including a heap of nonfiction writing tips, so please do join if you can. Sign up is free. Click the “sign me up” button here to register.
Fellow #horsegirls (and horse lovers), follow me to Bedford, NY on September 28th at 7pm for a talk to benefit Endeavor Therapeutic Riding and the Bedford Riding Lanes Association! There will be wine, and cheese, and hayyyy. You can purchase tickets with the book, or without, and the location will be disclosed to you post-purchase. More info here.
This Friday, I’m doing a special post on query strategy. Upgrade to paid to get my take on strategies that can help writers succeed in this competitive-ass market.
Yes please, beam me up.
My nonprofit artists retreat, The Cabins, is about to open up to applications on October 1st for a DIY Group Residency in the Catskills from Feb 3. - 11th, 2023. You can learn a little about this retreat here, keep watching this space, or follow The Cabins on IG @thecabinsretreat for all the info you need.
It’s the one year anniversary of when I met the abused ex-racehorse that I rescued, Abuelita! I met her this week last year, though it would take me two more months to find a safe and legal way to re-home her. If you haven’t met her yet (I post a lot of Abuelita content on my IG stories), I wrote about her in an essay for The Guardian.
Otherwise, I have new pages in with my agent and I know what’s coming because it’s come my way so many times before: “I love the world building and voice here, but there isn’t any plot.” So if you have a hefty revision ahead of you, I will be there with you. Let’s root for one another other. Writing’s really hard!
Thank you, as ever, for being here.