tag: everything is going to be greatrachel shukertsummer reading

June 2010

recommended summer reads: the blessings of the animals

Sometimes I read our books months and months before they come out, and sometimes I’m catching up just a few weeks before on-sale. Though the former is undoubtedly better for my job, the only bad thing about it is that then I’m often bursting with anticipation, telling anyone who will listen about a book that they can’t read for months!

That’s the case with Katrina Kittle’s The Blessings of the Animals. It goes on sale in early August, but I read it in early January, partly because I enjoyed meeting Katrina so much in December that I NEEDED to know if her writing was as fun as she was. If I had hated the book, I’m pretty sure it would have broken my heart.

Luckily, I loved it. The Blessings of the Animals is the story of Cami, a veterinarian coming to terms with her divorce with the help of everyone around her: her daughter, her parents, her gay brother, her friends, her cat, her dog, her goat, and her horse. Of course, as an animal lover, that last part appealed to me very much. Here’s Katrina talking a bit more about animals:

Stay tuned for more about Katrina and about Blessings!

recommended summer reads: the truth about delilah blue + a chance to win!

Hey, guess what? I’ve decided it’s recommended summer reading this week on the olive reader! Each day this week I’ll post about a different book I’d take to the beach this summer, if I hadn’t already read them all. Yesterday I talked about Katrina Kittle’s The Blessings of the Animals. One reason that book was a slam dunk for me was the “animals” part—I love them (and don’t even talk to me about animals with jobs, because I’ll start to cry.) Today I’m covering another genre that’s often a guaranteed hit for me—coming of age novels.

Today’s book is The Truth About Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen.

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(love that cover.)

Delilah is just out of high school, living with her dad in LA, wishing he would let her go to art school. To try and absorb some artistic instruction, she starts working as a nude model at some local art classes, even though she’s not exactly thrilled to take her clothes off. Still, things are going relatively well in her life . . . until her dad starts losing his mind, and her long-lost mom shows up with a terrible secret about him that Delilah can’t decide whether or not to believe.

It’s a novel that makes you want to take sides between Delilah’s parents, but to me the best thing about it was the realization that both of them screwed up, and screwed her up, more than they ever intended. She has to learn to grow up in spite of them, not with their help.

I loved this novel, and I hope you will too! That’s why I’m giving away five copies. Just comment and tell me the best or worst thing your parents did or are doing to help you grow up and fend for yourself in the world.

recommended summer reads: everything is going to be great

Long before I worked in the Harper Perennial marketing department (back when my job involved writing back cover copy for mass market romances), I read Rachel Shukert’s first memoir, Have You No Shame? Recommended to me by my ex-boyfriend’s mother, HYNS is a collection of essays chronicling growing up Jewish in Omaha, Nebraska, and it was so funny that I couldn’t believe all the people drooling over Sloane Crosley (a perfectly worthy endeavor) weren’t drooling over it too.

So when I found out that we were publishing Rachel’s next book, I was beside myself with excitement. Everything Is Going to Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour is just as funny as HYNS but perhaps even more widely appealing. Who wouldn’t love the chance to bum around Europe? To have accidental threesomes while in search of cheap dental surgery? To cry at the Anne Frank House (and not about Anne Frank)? To finally (sorta) grow up?

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I’d also like to point out that Rachel is the only author I’ve almost seen Precious: Based on the Book Push by Sapphire with, a months-long endeavor of illness, hangovers, and mismatched schedules that ended when I watched it on a plane to Tokyo, wishing a) that I could actually hear anything through the crappy airplane headphones and b) that Rachel were there beside me. That is to say, she is one of the authors I most enjoy spending time with, whether with her book or in person, and I think you will too.

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