Big news and big books

Plus a Gatsby musical and the best books of the year so far

Hey readers,

You may have seen on Instagram, my husband and I are expecting our first baby in October. I never thought I’d be someone who announced a major life event on social media, but, quite honestly, it’s been getting harder to share what I’m reading, watching, loving, etc. without telling you! We’re very excited—and mildly terrified—and are welcoming any and all baby book and kidlit recommendations. Of course, reading to a little one is one of the things I’m most looking forward to.

I’m also finally feeling my energy levels and ability to focus start to return. I have so many books I want to read and so many projects I want to accomplish for the blog, but that all fell by the wayside the last couple of months. I’m looking forward to getting back into all of that now that I’m feeling more like myself, so get ready for more blog updates in these Sunday emails!

This week in books.

This week I read…

  • The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. I read this for an upcoming episode of Novel Pairings, and thought it was darling. There were a few things about it that frustrated me, but overall, this is a super sweet coming-of-age story that I think a lot of readers would enjoy. I’ll save the rest of my thoughts for the podcast—that drops May 18th. Amazon | Bookshop

  • Ariadne by Jennifer Saint. This mythological novel reimagines the story of Ariadne—the Cretan princess who helped Theseus slay the Minotaur, only to be discarded by him in ruin. It’s no secret that I love myth retellings, and this is a good one! At first, I was thrown off by how fast the story was moving, but once I got to Part Two and say how Saint was opening up the world and her characters, I was pleasantly surprised. The book goes in a very different direction than I expected and ultimately explores the way women of ancient myth were punished for the wrongs of the men in their lives. Because I know readers will ask, I will say that this didn’t quite live up to Circe for me. Madeline Miller has a really special way of writing about gods and magic that most authors can’t quite pull off, and that was the case here. Still, if you’re like me and can’t get enough retellings, you’ll want to check this one out. Amazon | Bookshop

Now I’m reading…

  • The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia. I’m making my way through this brick after hearing nothing but rave reviews of it. It’s been a while since I tackled an almost 500 page work of fiction so I’m nervous, but excited. Amazon | Bookshop

  • Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe. This is my current Libro.fm* audiobook and it is fantastic. If you like journalistic exposés or want to know more about the pharmaceutical industry, you have to pick this up. It’s 18 hours on audio, but I bumped the speed up (and can’t stop listening!) so I don’t think it will take me too long to finish. Amazon | Bookshop

*You can get two Libro.fm audiobooks for the price of one through my affiliate link. Libro.fm has been my favorite way to support indie bookstores during the pandemic, and their new app update makes the listening experience even more user friendly!

Links I love.

On the FictionMatters blog, I shared my April favorite things. These included some backlist books, my favorite spring sandals, the return of our two staple summer side dishes, and a wild ride of a podcast. I hope you’ll check it out!

This interview with Akwaeke Emezi is a great read. With Vox’s Constance Grady, they talk about what it means to be a nonbinary author and to write a nonbinary novel.

Check out Vulture’s Best Books of the Year (So Far).

I’m skeptical about the Florence Welch Great Gatsby musical, but I’ll be eagerly awaiting further information and reviews.

In the lead up to Stacey Abrams’ new thriller While Justice Sleeps, she announced that she will be rereleasing her three romance novels.

Meghan Markle wrote a children’s book!

The punctuation marks famous authors love and loath.

16 ways to structure a novel—in doodles.

End notes.

Watching: Bletchley Circle. Chelsey—my Novel Pairings counterpart—told me about this show after I raved about The Rose Code by Kate Quinn. It’s been a really fun watch so far!

Listening: The Be There in Five episodes about Rachel Hollis.

Making: Social plans again?? As the weather warms up and more of our friends reach the point of fully vaccinated, I’ve been making more plans for outdoor hangouts. It’s awesome, but it feels very weird to go from having nothing on the calendar to having to fit things in. I’m still easing back into it, but even have two meetups in a week can feel totally overwhelming at this point!

Loving: Clinique Even Better Refresh is the mid-coverage, full-face makeup of my dreams. I use a pea sized amount and it completely evens out my skin tone without looking like I’m wearing makeup at all. It’s perfect. It’s available at Sephora and department stores, but Ulta has the most shade options.


Readers, thank you for being such a wonderful community for me as I navigate another big life change. For questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out by emailing fictionmattersbooks@gmail.com or responding directly to this newsletter. I love hearing from you!

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Happy reading!

Sara


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