Holiday Gifts For The Book Lover

A few days ago, I walked into a Blackstone Bookstore in a small town in England – which shall remain nameless for now – since I am here doing research for another story – and I have to say, I was caught completely off guard by the amount of foot traffic the store receives. At first I thought it was because of the rain outside and/or the cafe upstairs, but when I stayed about an hour to observe and appreciate the volume of books categorized so perfectly throughout the store, I realized, people were actually there buying paperbacks or hardbacks.  It is definitely due to the holiday shopping, you might say, but after speaking to the clerks behind the check out counter, I was told  the store was busy most of the time and very busy over the weekends.  Oh what joy I felt.

Also, here’s a list of my next reads

and just in case you have a book-warm or a book-lover or an avid reader in your life – here’s a great link to some interesting gift ideas

Recommended Reads If You Are Planning a Vacation Right About Now

I usually pack one paperback novel with me for my trip abroad, which, by the way, always happens every year during the fall season. And while there, I visit an English bookstore and buy 8-10 books to bring back with me to last me the year. And then I do it again.

This fall I am staying put, and doing mostly weekend trips to, somewhere driveable, so that I can take my dog with me, so this list of books to read from Conde Nast Traveler couldn’t come at a better time:


The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Dreamy and strange and darkly funny. Kept me enthralled for hours. —Andrea Whittle

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
Honestly, I’m not sure I would have finished it if not for being strapped into a seat for 12 hours. —Alex Postman

Too Fat, Too Loud, Too Slutty by Anne Helen Petersen
It’s the high-brow, feminist alternative to picking up a tabloid for your flight. —Meredith Carey

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
The woman can do no wrong in my eyes. —Lale Arikoglu

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
It’s perfect for when your life is paused at 30,000 feet. —Louis Cheslaw

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
I know, I’m the last one to read it. —Laura Dannen Redman

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Sunglasses hide the tears. —Caitlin Morton

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
It made me want to go back and re-listen to Darkness on the Edge of Town (plus, it’s the basis for his Broadway debut!?!). —Laura Dannen Redman

Dark Money by Jane Mayer
Sure, it’s a little heavy for sun and waves, but it sucks you right in and boggles your brain. —Betsy Blumenthal

Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan
Super light and silly and exactly what you want on the beach. —Rebecca Misner
I wanted to read it before it hits theaters next year. —Alex Postman

When in French: Love in a Second Language by Lauren Collins
A hilarious and surprisingly informative memoir by a New Yorker staff writer. —Andrea Whittle

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Not sure if you can class a spy novel about the Vietnam war as a ‘beach read,’ but I can’t stop thinking about it. —Lale Arikoglu

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
I love her writing—this is a follow up to My Name Is Lucy Barton. —Rebecca Misner
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Strout’s portraits of small town America. —Katherine LaGrav

Heartburn by Nora Ephron
All-time favorite. Best read in one sitting. —Andrea Whittle

Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
A beautiful story about family and secrets that can shape it, for better and worse. —Alex Postman

LaRose by Louise Erdrich
Justice, atonement, Native American history, grief, love—this book has it all. —Katherine LaGrave

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Better and easier than Netflix. —Caitlin Morton

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson
His passing in May was a tragedy; I had to pay a few tribute hours. —Louis Cheslaw

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
I don’t even know what book I’m on anymore. Five? Six? —Laura Dannen Redman

Paris Can Wait…and Books To Read

Although for me Paris CAN NEVER Wait, I love the title of this new film – Paris Can Wait, being released in the US on 12-May.  The story as always is about a woman with an inattentive husband and possibly in a questionable marriage. She  goes on a trip to the South of France with her husband, only to find herself on the verge of being abandoned by him. The reason: He needs to go back to his work in Los Angeles. Naturally, his French business partner volunteers to drive the wife (Anne) to Paris,  and along the way you can imagine what could happen…the story tapping into all of the middle-aged women’s fantasies of course?

However, there is no novel to refer to for the film Paris Can Wait. So, in case you are experiencing withdrawals like I am right about now about Paris, here are a few suggestions for novels which I have read about the subject matter at hand.




Research Leads to Inspiration to Write

As a writer I find myself often questioning my way of thinking about whatever it is I detail within the chapters of my stories.  This keeps me up at nights, and then I jump out of bed and in the middle of the night jot down new ideas and better plots and then I do more research. Obsession much?

Love stories, whether great ones or not, have always been the most intriguing for me. And if I want to write about it, I have learned that it  needs to be exciting and perhaps even unusual or a struggle beyond all imaginable.

So you can imagine my curiosity when I stumbled upon this wonderful blog detailing love stories upon love stories to consider:




Rules of Writing

After a week of ups and downs, challenges pushing all my buttons, I figured I’d share something fun with all of you. Especially if you’re aiming to be a good writer 🙂

rules of writing for blog

Have a good weekend and do me a favor, laugh a little.