First off, Summer reading has to include the compelling new book from Leslie Johansen Nack, The Blue Butterfly: A Novel of Marion Davies. What could be better beachside or poolside reading than the story of this bright, beautiful, talented and scrappy woman, and her relationship with the (at the time) richest and most powerful man in America? The author has captured her voice to the point where you absolutely believe that Marion is speaking to you, telling her "glad rags" to riches story.
Another winner for summer is Sunshine Chief by Eric Peterson, which just took home the Silver Medal in Popular Fiction at the 2022 Ben Franklin Awards, sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association. The second in the Horace Button Series, which began with The Dining Car, Peterson's second is a whole new genre (mystery), but still just as much fun, with Horace's requisite (lavish) amounts of great food, strong drink, and top-notch living in private train cars.
Speaking of genre-bending, check out Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki, which is a finalist for the 2022 Hugo Awards for Science Fiction. This book bends genres, genders, space and time. You won't know what hit you, but you won't want to put it down either. It is as hard a book to define as I have come across in my 25 years of writing book/story pitches, because it truly it is not quite like anything else out there. Suffice to say, it's got space travel, classical music, and donuts.
Enough about books, let's talk writing: I am going to take on, for the second year, the exciting and fun challenge of #1000wordsofsummer, the brainchild of author Jami Attenberg, whose new memoir, I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home is right at the top of my "to read" list, in fact it is next on my list. Find out more about the two week challenge, which starts June 4, supports great charities, and could get you two weeks into your newest writing project.
I love the accountability of having said "I am going to do this," and I love knowing a whole community of other writers are signing on, too. I really like a challenge, and I like being part of a (virtual) gathering of writers. But whether you do or don't pledge to yourself to write 1000 words a day for the first two weeks of summer, I hope you will decide to take on some new writing project this summer, or will recommit yourself to your current writing project. Why? Because it is what writers do. We write.
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