September 2, 2020 | Issue #5
Five Facts From Our Friend, Etaf Rum
The one thing you can’t live without in quarantine:

Your perfect day:
Sitting in a coffee shop, by a window, with a good book to get lost in

Your favorite independent bookstore:
Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC

The last book you raved about:

Your next book in ten words or less:
A woman receives a prophecy that triggers repressed childhood memories
Bookseller of the Week


Our featured bookseller this week is Quail Ridge Books.
Part of the fabric of Raleigh, NC, for 36 years, Quail Ridge
has a super friendly and knowledgeable staff, the best
customer service, a huge selection of books, and great
author events. They've gathered all of our books, as well
as the hugely bestselling A Woman is No Man by this
week's guest Etaf Rum, all on one convenient page on
their website where they are offering free shipping.
Debut Spotlight

Mary Kay Andrews adored this debut by Linda Holmes which came out last summer and was just released in paperback in June. According to People, EVVIE DRAKE STARTS OVER is “everything a romantic comedy should be: witty, relatable, and a little complicated.” Chance thrusts a washed up baseball star and a newly widowed young woman together in a sleepy little seaside town in Maine. As Evvie and Dean each try to overcome their recent hardships and adjust to their new normal, an unexpected friendship turns into something more. Who doesn't love a comeback? It's no wonder this book was a New York Times bestseller and a Read With Jenna Today Show Book Club pick
Up Close with Kristy Woodson Harvey
Sensitivity Warning: Duke fans might be triggered by some content.

           My first ever author bio at Gallery Books said, “Kristy Woodson Harvey is a born and bred North Carolina girl who loves all four seasons, especially summer in Beaufort and fall in Chapel Hill.” So, yeah, not a ton of gravitas to that bio. But a whole lot of truth.
           So many things have changed in 2020 that we’ve probably lost count. I am endlessly grateful that that whole summer-in-Beaufort thing stayed the same, but fall in Chapel Hill is looking a little bleak. I don’t know about y’all, but I mourn the end of summer. I love warm weather and long days and the beach and boat and the books. But, what gets me through, is knowing that Tarheel football season is coming. Tailgating and walking down Franklin Street and Kenan Stadium overflowing with fans. Tarheel face tattoos from Johnny T-shirt and KD loves UNC buttons and that gorgeous Carolina blue everywhere you look. Weekends at the Carolina Inn with its packed bar and soft, gooey chocolate chip cookies…
           To be honest, I don’t even like football that much, which is fortunate since UNC is definitely known for its basketball. (Now basketball, I love.) But I cherish any excuse to be back at my alma mater, which is also the alma mater of my husband, my mother, my father, two aunts, both grandfathers, my great-grandfathers, etc., etc., etc. (We will try to love our son if he goes elsewhere.) But there is a clarity to the air, a crispness to the breeze, a beauty of the campus that has been around since 1789 that is unmatched by anything else. The light shines on the Bell Tower just so, the students are back, enthusiastic and ready for another of the best four years of their life, and old friends are everywhere you look. Chapel Hill in September feels on the brink of everything, like the world is new and open and yours for the taking.
           In March, when this entire thing began, it never would have occurred to me that we would still be dealing with Covid-19 in September. But here we still are. No tailgating. No peanuts and popcorn or DKE barbecue on the lawn. No Carolina Inn Fridays on the Front Porch.
           But, on the bright side, there are still riding boots and pumpkin spice lattes, changing leaves and roasting marshmallows, apples and kohlrabi, all those gorgeous new fall releases—and a fireplace to read them by.
           Yes, indeed, even in times of change and strife there is so much to be thankful for. (Oh! Oh! Thanksgiving! That’s certainly a fun tenant of fall.) I’m grateful for memories so good and friends so dear that I can’t wait to return to them year after year. I’m grateful for the winning seasons and the losing ones. And I’m grateful for the ACC Network, so even if we aren’t in Chapel Hill in body, we can be there in spirit.
           That bio was right about my being a North Carolina girl. But it missed one thing. Like the beloved song says, I’m a born and bred Tarheel. I hope that one day I will write a fitting love letter to one of the most magical places on earth. But, in the meantime, I can borrow from the immortal words of Charles Kuralt, who, in his booming and impassioned voice (talk about gravitas!), said:
“What is it that binds us to this place as no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls. Or the crisp October nights or the memory of dogwoods blooming…No, our love for this place is based on the fact that it is, as it was meant to be, the University of the people.”
           And all I can hope is that, by basketball season, the people—including me—will be back in the stadium, where we belong, cheering the Heels to a championship.
Latest News From "The Fab Five"

KRISTIN HARMEL's The Book of Lost Names will finally be back in stock this week wherever books are sold, after a long printer delay!

PATTI CALLAHAN HENRY and MARY KAY ANDREWS have been hanging out together in the mountains of NC. When not writing, they are up to no good at all. Their crimes include trespassing and attempted petty theft. Read about their escapades—and see photographic evidence—on their social media feeds.

MARY ALICE MONROE has been hard at work on a short story she's contributing to an anthology that will serve as a tribute to the late Dorothea Benton Frank. Did you hear that huge sigh of relief as she submitted her contribution this week? More info to come, but that book (which will also feature a story from Patti) will be out next summer.

KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY is looking forward to hosting tonight's episode with Etaf Rum. Let's hope the Carolina grad (Kristy) and the NC State grad (Etaf) keep the Tarheel/Wolfpack rivalry at bay.
News from the F&F Official Book Club
The September book club pick for the FRIENDS AND FICTION Official Book Club is Mary Alice Monroe's On Ocean Boulevard. The discussion with Mary Alice will take place on Monday, September 14th. Mark your calendars and get the book read so you can join the chat!