A new book review, AWP prep, and 5 Days of Beginnings
1. Lots of thoughts on a book I loved
MHB is my favorite living writer (and her previous novel, Parakeet, is one of my all-time favorite novels), so I wasn’t surprised that I loved the book. I’ve been happy to see it getting lots of attention (my review is just one of many raves). If you like stories about sensitive weirdos, mother/daughter relationships, deep friendships, mortality, and/or Philadelphia that have just a touch of magic/surrealism, this one may be for you.
It can be hard to write a review about a book you love, and there’s so much I left out of mine because ~no spoilers~ and also because there are parts of the book that, even after reading it twice, I’m still thinking through. It’s not an easy answers book. If anyone has read Beautyland already, I’d love to talk about it.
2. I’m going to AWP — are you?!
AWP is a couple of weeks away, and I haven’t even looked at the lineup yet but I do know that I have an Airbnb with my friend Rachel and a plane ticket to Kansas City and a volunteer shift on Saturday at the Vermont Studio Center table, so ready or not, here we go.
My AWP motto is always I’m here to make friends. So if you are going and want to meet up, let me know! If you see me wandering around the book fair looking ecstatically dazed, say hi! If you want to sit together at a session, let’s do it!
3. 5 Days of Beginnings
Speaking of my friend Rachel, she’s doing a thing over at Pub Cheerleaders called 5 Days of Beginnings. The idea is to write five beginnings in five days, from January 27 through January 31. For each of the days, she’s going to send out a little note with some thoughts on beginnings from another writer (I’m one of them 🤗) and a roll of her metaphor dice as an optional prompt. I’m going to do it to generate some new essay beginnings. If you are also in a beginnings sort of place (or want to be), join us.
This week in reading
I loved Sarah Minor’s latest essay, On Waiting, in the Kenyon Review. Almost finished with Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H Mart. Read Michael Wheaton’s delightful Home Movies in a day. Making my way slowly through Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals.
Not reading but reading-adjacent: I went to TWO book launches this week, the first to celebrate Beautyland and the second to celebrate Temim Fruchter’s City of Laughter. I got my copy of the latter this week, so that’s next up.
This week in writing
I wrote my notes on beginning for Rachel, and then I started tinkering with an essay that doesn’t know what it wants to be yet. This is the fun part.