Two upcoming releases and a backlist gem

Plus what it was like to release a book during the pandemic

Hey, readers!

This week was a doozy, and I honestly forgot about writing this newsletter completely until about 4pm on Saturday. What can I say? It happens to the best of us! Because of that I don’t have much of a preamble for you this week, but I do have a wide variety of book recommendations, some excellent book lists, and an irresistible sale. I hope your weekend is feeling more relaxed than mine is and that your plan for today is to curl up with a great book!

This week in books.

This week I read…

  • All’s Well by Mona Awad (out August 3rd). This book was a wild ride and I loved it. Mona Awad’s work isn’t for everyone, but if you like your books strange and weird, you have to give this one a try. Set in a theatre, the story follows Miranda, a former stage actress turned college theatre director who’s living with severe chronic pain that’s often dismissed by those around her—even those tasked with helping her heal. After meeting three strange men in a bar (men who happen to have an uncanny knowledge about Miranda’s life), she begins to notice a new power over her life and those around her. I couldn’t put this book down. I found it fiercely funny and provocative, but mostly it’s unlike anything else, which always makes a book a winner for me. Amazon | Bookshop

  • The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht. I just finished this highly lauded novel and I cannot wait to discuss with the FictionMatters Book Club. Obreht’s writing is mesmerizing and she has a real gift for storytelling. She puts that gift to good use in The Tiger’s Wife because there are many different stories scattered throughout the main plot of this novel, each of them told in its own distinct style. I’m still processing exactly what I think this book is about, so I’m particularly grateful to have a group of readers to process it with! Amazon | Bookshop

Now I’m reading…

  • The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee. The same week that I heard this mentioned as a must-read by Ibram Kendi and Ezra Klein, FictionMatters Patron Maddie (@melizreads18) recommended it as a fantastic nonfiction audiobook*. I took that as a sign to download it, and I’m absolutely enthralled. Amazon | Bookshop

  • Beautiful World, Where are You by Sally Rooney (out September 7th). I was lucky to receive an early copy of this one and I’m about 50 pages into it. So far, I’m finding the reading experience to match up with what I expect from Sally Rooney: flawed characters, awkward tensions, some gorgeous writing, some head-scratcher passages, all rolled up into an unputdownable book. Amazon | Bookshop

*You can get two LIBRO.FM audiobooks for the price of one with my link or by using code FICTIONMATTERS.

Links I love.

Still searching for some great summer reading? Check out the biggest beach reads of 2021 and Glamour’s list of best books of the summer.

Bustle shared 18 books that will help you unwind before bed. Honestly, I’m not sure I agree with that descriptor for some of these, but it is a good bunch of books.

7 great audiobooks to listen to this week.

Sarah Ramey and Silvia Moreno-Garcia reveal what it was like to release new books during the pandemic.

I love this list of 8 picture books that will transport you and your kiddos to the water.

I’ve yet to read a book about royals, but that might have to change with the announcement of Prince Harry’s forthcoming memoir.

Grace Atwood shared this article about maintaining friendships when you’re in different life stages, and I really appreciated a lot of the advice!

Madewell is offering an additional 30% off sale styles. There are lots of goodies on offer, including my favorite cute and casual shorts, my staple cotton sweatshirt, and the breezy pull-on pants I love. I’m also eyeing this romper and this striped cashmere sweater tee.

End notes.

Watching: We watched M. Night Shamalan’s The Village because we want to see Old, but aren’t sure about going to a movie theater right now. It was a fun Friday night activity, and I cannot get over the fact that it’s basically an uncredited adaptation of Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Running Out of Time.

Listening: Lots of sleep stories on the Calm app. Typically I relisten to beloved audiobooks while falling asleep, but right now these are proving much more helpful.

Making: Lots of arugula salads. We have never been a household that makes salads, but recently that’s all I want for lunch.

Loving: My Page Anchor. Full disclosure, Page Anchor sent me this for free, but I truly love it…it’s a game changer! I’ve never really been someone who snacks and reads at the same time, but that’s definitely changed in pregnancy, and I needed a way to keep my book open while my hands were busy. I had been just setting my phone on the open book to weigh it down, but that was inconvenient because I had to move it all the time and distracting because it made me want to check my phone. While the Page Anchor makes turning pages a bit cumbersome, it is slim and stylish and fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it. I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself reading with a snack at the kitchen table.


Readers, I hope you had a chance for reading and restoring this weekend. 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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