Author Stalker

I like books.

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My September Reads

I read so many excellent books last month. Thanks a bunch, Brooklyn Public Library!

Chocolates for Breakfast, Pamela Moore - This book has the best backstory (involving Emma Straub!). Pamela Moore wrote this book in the 1950s and it became a bestseller when she was only 18. Over the years, it went out of print, but Emma Straub was given a copy and loved it so much that she sent it to her agent and gave it a second life. It’s a quick read that will take you back to your dark, angsty teen days in the best way. Let me just throw some words at you to describe it: coming of age story, ridiculous rich people, seedy Hollywood actors, cigarettes, fancy restaurants, New York City, friendship, depression, boarding school, lots of sex.

The Engagements, J. Courtney Sullivan - If you’re looking for a light, happy love story, this book is not that, but it is truly excellent. The story weaves throughout time to follow four different marriages and the career of the female ad writer who coined “A Diamond is Forever.” There is Mad Men-esque advertising drama, beautiful scenes full of France and music and food, and a cast of compelling, unique characters. 

Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell - I’ve been following Rainbow Rowell on tumblr for forever, but this was my first time reading her work. Holy shit, Rainbow Rowell, I was not prepared. I read this on the train, on my lunch break, while I cooked dinner, before I went to sleep, all so I could make sure everything turned out okay. To sum up: Rainbow Rowell is a perfect writer and this book is amazing (you already knew that though).

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel - Would you believe that a novel about the end of civilization was the most uplifting thing I read last month? All of the attention and praise Station Eleven has received is beyond well-deserved. Not only do I hope it wins all of the awards, I hope the book people invent brand new awards so it can win those too. This book is beautifully written, kind of scary, SO INTERESTING, and incredibly imaginative. What goes on in Emily Mandel’s brain that she can come up with this stuff? Read it please, it’s the best. 

Filed under books read it! september emily st. john mandel emma straub rainbow rowell pamela moore j courtney sullivan station eleven

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Caitlin Moran: “Men are not being taught that shit.”

Longreads did a fun, interesting, and yes, long interview with Caitlin Moran. Among many other great pieces of advice, she says women should just do what they want:

What draws you to the prescriptive how-to title formulation?

I like the idea of reading something that has a stated objective at the beginning, and by the end, you learn something. That’s what will make you go, “Yes, I will give my time to this thing.” Also, one of the things women are most addicted to is self-help books. All of them, to my mind, propagate an idea of womanhood that seems like no fucking fun at all—be more kind and more generous and have lots of colonic irrigation and meditate.

Men are not being taught that shit. They’re being taught: have fun, express yourself, live your life. We treat men—in a good way—like they’re dogs or animals, running around and being sensual and living in the moment. And then women are supposed to be some fucking weird llama on the side of hill trying to ascend to a higher plane. I’m all for being spiritual and happy and thoughtful, but fuck me, the option you’re getting is not much fun at all. So my whole idea of how-to is the opposite of self-help. Rather than being told, “Here’s all the things you should do,” it’s, “Here’s the things you don’t need to bother with.” It’s, “Do as thou wilt.”

Filed under longreads Caitlin Moran women writers author interviews

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Sarah Enni
Episode 12: Rachel Fershleiser


A dynamic, outspoken advocate for the written word, Tumblr’s Rachel Fershleiser works to bring the book industry to the Internet, and to remind the tech industry that books still exist. How Tumblr’s cross-stitching, soup-loving lit fanatics are creating an entirely new community of readers, keys for authors to relax and enjoy social media, and a whooooole lot of book recommendations.

Listen to the podcast here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

Find more of my conversation with Rachel - including her tips for throwing a kick-ass in-person bookstore event - here!

Read More

This interview is great and Rachel Fershleiser is the greatest. Highly recommended for a pleasant way to kill time at work or if you’re looking for advice on writing, book blogging, or what to read next. 

Filed under Rachel Fershleiser books

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Patricia Lockwood’s Food Diary

Patricia Lockwood’s Grub Street food diary delighted me so much that I set a Google alert in order to never miss a thing that crazy bat writes. Read it now and DO read the comments. They hate her! They don’t understand. Food is supposed to be serious, apparently. 

If you were looking to incorporate your reading into your eating, this is a great idea:

8:30 p.m.: I make it a habit to eat whatever’s in the books I’m reading. This means chowder for Moby-Dick, mixed grill for The Corrections, mushrooms and sour cream for Speak, Memory, and a hamburger with french fries for Ramona Quimby, Age 8. It means that whenever I readRedwall I go out into the yard and eat flowers. (Be careful with this. There are daturas in my yard, and if I accidentally eat one of these I am told I will experience a “vision quest” in the manner of Ayla from the Clan of the Cave Bear books.) Right now I’m reading the new Murakami, which means I eat pasta while listening to classical music and thinking about cats and wondering what it would be like to live down in a well. I bet I would love it.

Filed under patricia lockwood grub street ramona quimby food

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The Author Stalker Interview with Carrie La Seur


Carrie La Seur is the author of the new literary thriller The Home Place. This highly recommended, highly suspenseful read has something for everyone; there’s a mysterious murder, family drama, a love story, and at the center of it all, a fiercely smart, independent woman who’s forced to deal with her past. Carrie talked to me about her writing tips, how she juggles being a lawyer, pilot, and author…and of course, Channing Tatum. Read the interview and then pick up her book!

You’re an expert in many things: You’re an environmental lawyer, you have a doctorate in modern languages, you’re a licensed private pilot, and now you’re a published novelist. Do you identify with one profession over another? Describe your journey to becoming a writer.

I’ve always been a writer, since long before I had any other kind of title. I do all these things because they interest me, I’m a little ADD, and I have a lot of excess energy. But there will never be a time when I don’t write on a regular basis in some form. It’s a fundamental character trait.

I have always used the written word as my primary and best form of self-expression. I’ve written law review articles and shorter pieces on environmental questions for the nonprofit I founded, Plains Justice, and I’ve also published essays with online publications like Salon, Grist, and Huffington Post.

There was a point before I went to law school when I submitted a few stories to literary journals, and my vague recollection is that I had a few published, but I couldn’t even tell you where anymore. It’s not something I’ve had time for in many years. Of course there’s a whole library of stories, novels, etc. on my hard drive and in my drawers that should never see the light of day. 

You have a jam-packed schedule. How did you find the time to write this book?

It was late nights, weekends, and vacations mostly. I’ve had to develop the discipline to sit down and put words on paper whenever I have the chance, even if I change all of them later. I carry a little notebook to take down anything that comes to me while I’m on the road or in a meeting, and I’ve been surprised how often these notes make it into the final version of the novel. If you give your brain a task, your unconscious mind gets on it even when you’re doing something completely different.

There are certain parallels between your own life and that of your protagonist, Alma Terrebonne. You both attended Yale Law School and settled in Billings, Montana. It takes a while for Alma to adjust from the big city to Montana. Did you have a similar experience?

Montana is such a refuge for me. I travel fairly frequently and certainly don’t feel isolated here, but Alma’s homecoming is far more complex. It’s not a choice she made, it’s forces beyond her control acting on her. I don’t think anyone enjoys that experience.

I love reading thrillers, and I would classify The Home Place as a literary thriller — it’s definitely a page-turner, but the writing is incredibly beautiful and you delve into complex issues. Are you a fan of thrillers and did you set out to write one?

I do love thrillers, especially when they introduce me to complex people and take me down paths where I can’t see around the next corner. I set out to write the sort of thing I’d be excited to find on the shelf.

Your book gets into unique subject matter — the environmental issues of land mining, what it’s like to live as a gay person in Montana, the poverty and drug abuse rampant in isolated areas — will there be a sequel to The Home Place?

There’s an as-yet-unnamed book to follow The Home Place that has the earmarks of a sequel but I think functions pretty well as an autonomous story. It will incorporate many of the characters from the book, plus a cast of new ones. I write to tell myself stories I want to hear, so if a theme has come up in The Home Place, there’s a good chance it will wind its way into future work.

My favorite character in your novel is Chance, a hot cowboy and Alma’s high school sweetheart. Serious question: Who would you cast as Chance in the film version of The Home Place? (During my reading, I pictured Channing Tatum.)

It’s funny that you mention Channing Tatum, because in another conversation with a blogger we were just discussing him as the casting choice for Pete. I don’t imagine Chance as anybody too pretty. The book never describes him as handsome, but he matches Alma in some pretty important ways. He’s an intellectual in a place where intellectualism isn’t always valued, and he feels the same conflict between home and the outside world. That’s why the relationship is able to pick up so quickly. I picture him as someone more like a young Hugh Laurie — although I realize that’s probably not the most commercial idea!

Who are your favorite writers? Can you recommend a book you enjoyed recently?

I’ve been loving a lot of nonfiction recently, especially Farewell Fred Voodoo, Amy Wilentz’s fascinating memoir of working as a foreign correspondent in Haiti over the last decade or so. I also have a love/hate relationship with Tana French’s thrillers. They’re so good, but I find myself wanting to argue with her about some of her choices with her characters, which must be a sign that she’s engaged me completely.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Apply butt to chair. That’s all there is. And when you’re not writing, live a little. Get dirty. Fight for something. Figure out what you believe in. Your passion — or lack of it — will translate to the page. The world needs more passionate writers. 

You can find Carrie La Seur online at her website or on Twitter @claseur

Author photos by Dewey Vanderhoff. 

Filed under carrie la seur the home place women writers author interviews channing tatum tana french books writing advice