Friday, June 20th, 2008

I know I’m early to announce the July book club book, but it’s because I want to give away a copy of the book so one of you doesn’t have to buy it. The book is All About Lulu by Jonathan Evison, a book I’ve been looking forward to for months. Evison is a co-blogger on The Nervous Breakdown with me (and was featured there on Tuesday with an interview by Brad Listi) and I’ve been a huge fan of his work. Anyway, I was going to pick his book for our August book club since it wasn’t scheduled to come out until July 21, BUT I went to pre-order my copy a few days ago and saw that it’s already been released. Part of why I chose this book is because Evison is a new writer (this is his debut novel) and I know how hard it can be to get the word out about a book, but I also chose it because he’s a really, really good (and funny) writer. Plus, how can you not love that cover?

OK then, here’s a bit about the book from Publisher’s Weekly:

Evison’s debut—of love and loss, growing up, throwing up and moving on—is a stunner. William Miller Jr. is a scrawny loner whose mother dies of cancer when he is seven years old,leaving him an awkward vegetarian with an ominously macho father and idiot twin brothers in mid-1970s Santa Monica. William’s father, Big Bill, remarries a grief counselor named Willow, and Will spends the following decades in love with Louisa (Lulu, as she prefers to be called), his new stepsister. They are close throughout adolescence, but after a summer at cheerleading camp, Lulu returns home distant and hostile, leaving Will to pine for her in solitary desperation. Will finally appears to be on the path to normalcy in the early 1990s when he lucks into a radio talk-show hosting gig, but the stroke of good fortune is short-lived, as he discovers things about Lulu he’d rather not know. Evison provides readers a viciously funny and deeply felt portrayal of a blended family and one man’s thwarted longing.

Don’t forget to read this month’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which we will be discussing on June 30. And please leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of Evison’s All About Lulu. I’ll be choosing a winner on June 25, so be sure to leave a comment before then. Also, check out Jonathan Evison’s Web site for his tour dates (he may be coming to Sacramento!).


I just finished The Richest Season by Maryann McFadden. It was a review copy I received Monday from LibraryThing. The book was released June 10, but had been sold previously as a self-published novel by the author.

At first I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it, but I have to say I really loved this book. At first I thought it was going to be a typical chick lit midlife crisis type book, but it really surprised me. The character development in the book was wonderful and left me feeling more optimistic than a lot of books I’ve read recently have made me feel.

The Richest Season is about a middle-aged corporate wife, Joanna, who runs away from her seemingly perfect life after she realizes her husband has been promoted again, meaning another move to a new community and even less time together. She goes to a small beach town she discovered years ago and takes a job caring for a dying elderly woman. We watch as Joanna becomes more independent and her relationship with Grace, the elderly woman, grows. And we see her enter into her first new relationship in 25 years. What a strange thing to think about.

In the meantime, her husband loses his high-powered job due to a merger and ends up doing a little soul searching of his own. Although I know I was supposed to really feel for Joanna, I found myself looking more forward to the passages about her husband, Paul. I loved watching him change and realize that Joanna had been right about his job consuming their lives. In the beginning he was so unlikeable, but by the end I was really rooting for him.

Also, there was a whole side part about Joanna taking part in sea turtle conservation as part of trying to keep busy in her new surroundings. I couldn’t help but get all nostalgic about my own sea turtle volunteer experience when I was reading those sections. I loved how it was interwoven into the story and it really made my heart smile when she saw the momma turtle laying eggs one night.

Anyway, it’s not a perfect book, but I’m really glad I read it. It definitely made me feel better after all of the other books I’ve been reading lately.

This book has also been reviewed by:
Jill at Breaking the Spine

I’ve had about a dozen freak-outs about going back to school in the last week. No, I’m not freaking out that it’s a bad decision, I’m freaking out because my school is so unorganized! The red-tape at a state college is unbelievable. I have to call them or go in to have everything verified because I just can’t trust what they say.

First freak-out was when I wasn’t eligible to register on June 10 like they said I would be. I waited about a week and still had not registration privileges. So I had to call them and within minutes they had my account ready for registering for classes. Seriously, why did I need to call them about this? Wasn’t the whole point of moving all of these services online to make it less complicated?

Then today I received an invoice telling me I need to pay $2,281 by July 11 or all those lovely classes I just signed up for would disappear from my schedule. This, despite having received a letter from the financial aid office in April telling me I won’t have to pay any fees until Sept. 12 when my financial aid check arrives. I seriously think my heart stopped beating for a few seconds when I thought I was going to have to come up with major moola in the next few weeks (in addition to needing my first month’s rent for my new apartment!). So first I had to call financial aid to double check that I hadn’t hallucinated the deferment letter I received. Nope, didn’t hallucinate it. Then I had to call the cashier’s office to double check with them and they assured me my money wasn’t due until financial aid is sent out. So they said I can just ignore the invoice. But how do I know for sure I can just ignore the invoice. If it’s not deleted from my account I’m going to be staring at it for the next three weeks praying my classes don’t get deleted the day after July 11. Yeah, freak out central over here.

I don’t remember being this worried about stuff when I was an undergrad. And this makes me wonder: Am I going to be one of those old people in classes? Please God tell me I won’t be. I don’t think I’ll be able to live with myself if I turn out to be one of those old people. And don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. You know full well who those old people are (sorry if you’re one of them).