Hut's Place
 Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

March 29, 2020

A Note from Hut 
Remember, while the doors of many independent bookstores are temporarily closed, they are still open for business - online and over the phone. Depending on their area's restrictions, they are offering home delivery, curbside pickup, and mailing options for all book orders. They are also updating their websites with information about new titles (yes, books are still being published), recommendations and resources for children and families, and more. In addition, they're selling lots of gift certificates, and when you buy one, you're actually giving two gifts - one to the recipient and one to your grateful bookstore.  
Last week, online sales in indie bookstores increased by more than 400% - I urge you to join the crowd. Support them now so you can still enjoy them later.
Entertaining Rom Com with a Twist, and One Woman's Messy Midlife Crisis Provides Humor and Hope 
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle. At age 28, corporate lawyer Dannie Kohan has her life meticulously planned out, and when she's asked in an important job interview where she expects to be in five years time, she has all the answers. To top it off, after nailing the interview, her boyfriend fulfills one of her five-year goals when he asks her to marry him that evening. She accepts and goes to sleep that night in utterly orderly bliss. But this is not a normal night or a normal sleep - in an extremely realistic dream, Dannie wakes up five years in the future and finds herself living in a very different home...and with a very different man. The experience shakes her regimented life to the core and continues to do so for four and a half years, when she finally meets her dream man in the flesh.   
The book is a March Indie Next pick and received this heartfelt review from bookseller Nick Petrulakis of Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, MA: "Rebecca Serle's In Five Years has so many of the things I want in a terrific novel: a twisty plot that leaves me guessing; radically unexpected developments; settings that I can see, smell, and taste; and probably the thing that Serle does best - an introduction to characters I'll grow to care about and shed tears with. That last one? The tear thing? In Five Years had me weeping for the last part of a coast-to-coast flight, prompting the flight attendant to hand me a drink because, she said, it looked like I needed one. I loved this book and can't wait to offer it to readers."  
Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman. From the author of Animal Husbandry comes a quirky novel about a wife and mother whose life is unraveling and the well-intentioned but increasingly disastrous steps she takes to course-correct her relationships, her career, and her belief in herself. Life hasn't gone according to Judy's plan. Her career as a children's book author offered a glimpse of success before taking an embarrassing nose dive. Teddy, now a teenager, treats her with some combination of mortification and indifference. Her best friend is dying. And her husband, Gary, has become a pot-addled professional "snackologist" whom she can't afford to divorce. On top of it all, she has a painfully ironic job writing articles for a self-help website - a poor fit for someone seemingly incapable of helping herself. And then there's the dog. 
To be fair, Judy never intended to start wearing the family Sheltie. But when she stumbled across Teddy's old baby sling during a halfhearted basement cleaning, something in her snapped. So the dog went into the sling, Judy felt connected to another living being, and she's repeated the process every day since. It's all a bit sad and snarky, but as The Christian Science Monitor noted, "That's Laura Zigman's comic genius, that she can take the stuff of mid-life misery and make it not just relatable but downright funny."  
Terry McMillan Brings the Groove Back in Her New Novel
It's Not All Downhill From Her by Terry McMillan. It's been four years since McMillan's last book, and fans of bestsellers like Waiting To Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back should be pleased with this new novel featuring a group of long-time friends, Black women in their 60s, who persevere in the face of aging and unexpected loss.  
At the core of the story is Loretha Curry, who at 68 is the head of a successful beauty supply business, happily married to a loving husband, and secure in the knowledge that her four best buds always have her back. When a  devastating event smacks Loretha in the heart, it takes all her determination and the help of her loyal friends to figure out how to navigate life moving forward. Fortunately, McMillan is in experienced control of that navigation, telling a story with the wit and wisdom she's long been known for.

Many of you already have a favorite local bookstore, but for those of you without such a relationship, you can click here to find the
nearest indie bookstore by simply entering your postal code.  

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Hi, I'm Hut Landon, and I work as a bookseller in an independent bookstore in BerkeIey, California.

My goal with this newsletter is to keep readers up to date about new books hitting the shelves, share what indie booksellers are recommending in their stores, and pass on occasional news about the book world.

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