By way of introduction, I'm Brenda Janowitz, a former lawyer-turned-writer. I'm the author of Scot on the Rocks and Jack with a Twist. My work has also appeared in the New York Post and Publisher's Weekly.
Nice to meet you! And thank you for coming to read me here. Double thanks if you're coming here from my personal blog (the oh-so-cleverly titled 'Brenda's Blog.' My creativity had clearly run out that day....).
So, I suppose since we’ve renamed ourselves, there’s only one thing to do here: discuss books! This summer, I’ve read some wonderful ones so far.
I started the summer with Emily Giffin’s Heart of the Matter. It’s about two women: single mother Valerie, whose son gets injured in an accident at a sleepover party (thus ensuring that my son will never ever ever be allowed out of the house—ever), and married stay-at-home mom Tessa, whose husband is the doctor called in to help Valerie’s son. Fair warning: there is quite a lot of detail about Valerie’s son’s injury, much of which I found hard to read, but Emily does relationships so well that by the time you get into this novel, you’ll be glad you pushed through all of that.
As is the usual in an Emily Giffin novel, complications ensue and relationships begin to change, challenging what the characters think about their current lots in life; what’s wrong and what’s right.
What I love about Emily’s novels is how they always make you think. After I finished the novel, my cousin and I had a long discussion about Tessa and Valerie’s choices, about what we would have done if we’d been in their shoes, and about the nature of marriage and forgiveness.
Allison Winn Scotch’s latest, The One That I Want, will make you think, but for altogether different reasons.
As with Allison’s last novel, Time of My Life, this novel has a time-travel element to it, which I adore. But you needn’t be a sci-fi lover to pick up this book—it’s women’s fiction at its best. When protagonist Tilly Farmer bumps into an old friend-turned-psychic, she is given the power to see the future. The only problem is that Tilly thought she had the perfect life, and these glimpses into the future are not at all what she expects.
Allison’s books are always total page-turners for me. I can never put them down—I’m always completely absorbed by her characters and the situations they find themselves in. The stories are great, but as with Emily Giffin’s novels, they always leave me thinking. Would I want to see the future? What if I saw something I didn’t like? Does anyone truly have the perfect life?
But it wasn’t all brand new hardcover books on my nightstand this summer. I also picked up Katie Crouch’s Girls in Trucks, which had been on my bookshelf for months.
I loved it. Pure and simple, I thought it was great. I didn’t think it was a novel; it felt more like a collection of short stories that were tied together, a la Melissa Bank’s The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing, but that was part of its charm.
In Girls in Trucks, we follow Southern debutante Sarah Walters from her childhood cotillion classes straight through to her life as a thirty-something single woman living in New York City. It was equal parts sad and funny, but always compelling and beautifully written. In fact, if you are a writer yourself, I’d say that this book is a must read.
And as for the books that will be closing out the summer for me? Ayelet Waldman’s Red Hook Road (she’s made us wait for a new book for so long—I can hardly wait to crack this one open!) and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad. I heard Egan read from this book on Wednesday night, and she was fabulous.
What are you all reading this summer?