You're Obsessed with Hallmark Movies

Love a good gossip or want to read a book like Educated

Hi friends,

I hope you had a relaxing Thanksgiving, even if it was different than in previous years. The one thing that was the same for me as it was in other years was the sheer amount of reading I did. It was fantastic.

As we gear up for the holiday shopping season, let me know if I can help you pick out a book for a loved one (or a present for yourself). Feel free to reply to this email or leave a comment describing what you’re looking for.

If you purchased a book through an independent bookstore between Wednesday and the end of today, you can get a free audiobook from Libro.fm, an audiobook service that supports indie bookstores. I purchased Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth (expect to see it in a future newsletter) from my favorite bookstore East City Bookshop this weekend, and recieved a free copy of Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land from Libro.fm.

Any time I can support a local bookstore and get a free audiobook, it’s a good day. 

And now, what to read if…

You’re Mainlining Hallmark Movies

Mistletoe and Mr. Right by Sarah Morgenthaler

If you, like me, spent a significant part of your holiday weekend watching holiday romances on Netflix, I have two words for you: Santa Moose. In Mistletoe and Mr. Right, the heroine, Lana Montgomery, a billionaire property developer, volunteers to track down the Santa Moose destroying Christmas decoration displays in the tiny town of Moose Springs, Alaska. Lana takes on the task as part of her effort to win over the Moose Springs locals, who oppose her plans to build condos for the uber-wealthy. 

In between hunting the moose and managing her family’s billion-dollar business, Lana begins a relationship with Rick Harding, the local pool hall owner. This book is just one dopamine hit after another. I could not stop smiling while reading it. In addition to an adorable love story, it features gorgeous scenery, a blind dog wearing holiday pajamas and a hedgehog donning mittens. 

Mistletoe and Mr. Right is the sequel to The Tourist AttractionYou can read on its own, but there are a few references to the first book woven in. 

Bonus Rec: If you want an R-rated holiday romance, try Jenny Holiday’s A Princess for ChristmasThis delightful book follows Leo, a Brooklyn cab driver raising his 11-year-old sister, Gabby, and Marie, the princess of Eldovia (which Gabby says sounds like “one of those fake Hallmark Channel countries”). Holiday both lovingly mocks and embraces the holiday movie tropes we love so much. I read it in a single sitting with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. 

You Love a Good Kiki

Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of the View by Ramin Setoodeh

One of the small things I miss about my pre-quarantine life is the simple joy of a good gossip session. Since none of us are doing much — even celebrities — there’s nothing to dish about. Ladies Who Punch by Ramin Setoodeh is the perfect antidote for our gossip-deprived times, chronicling the rise of The View and all the on and off-stage drama it’s brought in its more than 20 years on the air. 

Things I learned from this book: Barbara Walters and Judge Judy take cruises together, Star Jones used the show to get freebies for her wedding and Mariah Carey refused to sing live on the show, insisting on lipsyncing instead.

Bonus Rec: I don’t usually read celebrity memoirs, but 2020 is a year for breaking the rules. I loved Me by Elton John, which includes such nuggets as Bob Dylan’s ineptitude at charades. John also details his relationship with Princess Diana, if that sounds interesting after binging The Crown.

You Enjoyed Tara Westover’s Educated 

The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr

Educated, Tara Westover’s memoir of growing up in a survivalist Mormon family, spent more than two years on the New York Times’ bestseller list. If you’re one of the thousands of readers who devoured Westover’s story of survival, consider The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr.

 Karr’s memoir of growing up in southeast Texas opens with her sister asking her mom about a bullet hole in the kitchen wall. 

“Mother, isn’t that where you shot at daddy,” Karr’s sister asks. Her mother responds, “No. That’s where I shot at Larry. Over there’s where I shot your daddy.” 

That sets the tone for the remainder of the book, which is equal parts funny and moving. Karr is a beautiful writer, and it’s an all-consuming read, as she documents her troubled childhood and her relationship with her father. 

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