September 30, 2020 | Issue #9
Five Facts From Our Friend, Kathy Reichs
The one thing you’ve learned you can’t live without in quarantine:
Coffee. But I knew that.
Your perfect day:
Sleep until 8. Write until lunch. Afternoon with the grandkids. Dinner with the whole family. All at the beach house!
Your favorite independent bookstore:
Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC
The last book you raved about:
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Took me a while to get around to reading it. But I was fascinated.
Your next book in ten words or less:
What happens when a madman hijacks science for his own purposes? (The Bone Code, on sale March 16, 2021)
Bookseller of the Week
Our bookseller of the week is Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC. Independently owned and operated since 1977, Park Road has been a cornerstone of Charlotte’s local community for 43 years. They are the only full-service independent bookstore in Charlotte and they pride themselves on finding the right book for the right person. They host author events and book club meetings, and strive to provide the best customer experience possible. This week, they are offering 10% off books by our guest Kathy Reichs, as well as the most recent releases by our five host authors. Call their store at (704) 525-9239 or visit in person to get the discount.
Debut Spotlight
Kristin mentioned LAKE LIFE by David James Poissant on the show in July, but since she did an event with the author this week, she re-read the book and was reminded of how much she loved it. Poissant is an acclaimed, award-winning short story writer (and a creative writing professor), and his skill with carefully chosen words and details is beautifully evident in this novel examining relationships and based around a family's last week at their lake house before the house is sold. The book grabs you from the start—with the drowning death of a child in chapter one—and never lets go. It's a read that will make you examine the tangles beneath the surface of your own relationships.
Up Close & Personal with Mary Alice Monroe

Reading in the Time of Coronavirus

Reading in the pandemic has been rich with diversity and surprises. At the onset of our confusing, unsettling, forced isolation, I sought out books that were calming, even inspiring. First among those were poetry. I’ve always loved poetry and read it often. I try to write poetry, humbly, and with trepidation. Yet reading it sets my mind free. My sisters and I (we spent the summer isolating together at my mountain house) read a poem aloud each morning outdoors among the trees to set the tone for our day. And it did. My favorites during those mornings of five dogs sitting on our laps and chasing each other, were Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs.

I also became a devoted fan of audiobooks, something I’ve mentioned on Friends & Fiction. During those early days of Covid 19, my mind was easily distracted. I found reading novels oddly difficult. But listening… It was a surprise to me how enchanted I was with this medium. I knew it well. After all, I’ve read my own audiobooks for over a decade. Yet I relegated audiobooks to car trips. Not anymore. Once again, my sisters and I sat together at night, in front of a fire when chilly, and listened, each lost in our separate visualizations of the unfolding story. My recommendations are Maeve Binchy’s A Week in Winter, Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls, and my favorite, William Kent Krueger’s This Tender Land. Caught up in a story, I listened while I hiked the mountains, did laundry or the dishes, and sometimes, lying in bed before sleep.

Summer is over now and as we move into fall, I’ve fallen in love again with the printed page. My second surprise came from reading the widely varying and stimulating books of the authors we’ve enjoyed on Friends & Fiction. Like the best of book clubs, we select authors and books that cover a wide range of interests and a diversity of subjects and genres. Reading afield from my usual repertoire, I’ve delighted in the power of books I might not have picked up on my own. I was stunned by the power of Etaf Rum’s A Woman Is No Man, got lost in the history of Fiona Davis’s The Lions of New York, and thrilled to the nail biting mysteries of Karin Slaughter and Kathy Reichs. And I can’t wait to read the holiday books of Christina Lauren and Susan Mallery. I’ve truly enjoyed every one of the books we’ve shared each week.  

And more, I am grateful to be a part of the Friends & Fiction group that allows us to meet and chat with the authors of these wonderful books. To hear them share their ideas, their writing processes and writing tips (thank you!), and graciously answer all of our questions. Wednesday nights are my favorite night of the week!

The pandemic continues and we have entered a “new normal” of determination, perseverance, and calm. Throughout it all, books have been there for me. As have the booksellers who have weathered this storm with us. As have my fabulous friends of Friends & Fiction. As have you, dear readers. 

Read on!
Latest News From "The Fab Five"

KRISTIN HARMEL's The Book of Lost Names was part of the launch of Bedside Reading/On the Download, a new program to put a curated collection of bestselling eBooks on the nightstands of luxury and boutique hotels, including Conrad Hotels & Resorts. Learn more HERE.

KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY did an exclusive interview with Bookish by NetGalley about her forthcoming novel, UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY. (And she recommended some pretty fabulous books to tide you over until the April release!)

MARY KAY ANDREWS is holed up at her beach house on Tybee Island making revisions to next summer's novel The Newcomer, which she was elated to learn her agent and editor LOVED! Yay!

Last week, PATTI CALLAHAN HENRY delivered the 10th Anniversary Tom and Marla Corts Distinguished Author Series lecture virtually via livestream with Samford University in Birmingham, AL. You can watch it HERE.

Last night, MARY ALICE MONROE interviewed Carl Safina about his new book, Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace at a virtual event with Buxton Books and the Charleston Library Society.
We're Now a Podcast!

We're so excited to announce that Friends & Fiction is officially available as a podcast!

Never fear! Our weekly web show on Facebook Live is not going anywhere! But we have been working hard to produce our episodes in audio-only format. So, the episodes we've recorded will be up on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and all other major podcasting platforms.

Not in front of the computer? Pop in your ear buds and listen in. Have a road trip planned? Take Friends & Fiction along for the ride!
News from the F&F Official Book Club
On Monday September 14th, FRIENDS AND FICTION Official Book Club hosted Mary Alice Monroe to discuss her new novel, On Ocean Boulevard, the book club's September pick. If you missed the discussion live, you can watch it on their Facebook page HERE.

Next month's pick will be Patti's Becoming Mrs. Lewis. The Facebook Live meeting featuring Patti will be held on Monday, Oct. 19, so you still have a few weeks to read the book!