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Posts Tagged ‘Brookline Booksmith’

…is meeting the friends you make online in real life.

sarah katie brookline booksmithI first met Sarah McCoy when she came to the Concord Bookshop on tour for her second novel, The Baker’s Daughter, back in 2012. We were already Twitter buddies, but we bonded (and squealed) when we finally got to meet in person. We’ve kept up online ever since. And in a stroke of serendipity this spring, my editor for Shelf Awareness asked if I’d be interested in interviewing Sarah about her new book, The Mapmaker’s Children.

Needless to say, I jumped at the chance. We had a delightful (two-hour!) conversation ranging from books to family to music to the expectations placed on women in the modern world. And when Sarah came to Brookline Booksmith this week to do a book event, of course I was there in the front row.

As you can see above, we squealed and hugged and bonded again. We didn’t have a chance for a longer catch-up, sadly – she’s just in town for two days, sleep-deprived and running hither and yon to book events. But being together, even for an hour or so, was the best.

I love the bookish Internet.

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I’m a longtime fan of Rachel Bertsche’s fun blog, MWF Seeking BFF, and have been eagerly anticipating her book by the same name. I was jazzed when I won an ARC through Goodreads, and immediately emailed my editor at Shelf Awareness begging to review it. “I read her blog and am so excited to read this book,” I wrote. “Is that a conflict of interest?” Marilyn responded, “No – that’s just interest!”

Spotting the book "in the wild"

So I read it, loved it and sent in my review (which appeared as my first starred review in Shelf Awareness!). And last week, Rachel came to Boston for the first leg of her book tour, and we met up for lunch. And I fell in friend-love.

Our conversation was like one long continuous sentence – topics crisscrossing and doubling back, both of us saying, “Oh! That makes me think of…” or “I thought of you when I saw…” several times. It felt more like a good gab with an old friend than a first meeting with someone I’d never seen before. (Which I suppose it was – we’ve tweeted and emailed for months.) I could have sat there and talked with her over Thai food all afternoon – but I had to get back to work, so I hugged her goodbye (I am a hugger, so I love it when my new friends are too).

That night, I headed to Brookline Booksmith to watch Rachel give her first reading ever. And judging by the packed house and the fact that they sold OUT of books, I’d say it was a huge success.

I’m kicking myself that we didn’t get a picture together – but we had a glorious lunch, and she signed my book, and then we met up with Lindsey the next morning for coffee before Rachel had to jet off to New York. The whole experience was just lovely – it’s such a treat to meet online friends in person, and discover that they’re just as delightful as you thought they were.

I’m posting my Shelf Awareness review of Rachel’s book below, and would urge you to buy it, if you’re looking for a fun, thoughtful read about friendship.*

Review: MWF Seeking BFF

When Rachel Bertsche moves to Chicago, she’s thrilled to finally live in the same city as her boyfriend. But since she left most of her friends behind in New York, she needs to find some local pals, stat.

Longing for a BFF to call for brunch or a pedicure, or a gossip partner to dissect the latest pop-culture news, Bertsche goes on 52 friend-dates – one per week for a year. She scours her existing network for potential friends-of-friends, then branches out to joining an improv class, forming a cooking club, and even going on a mortifying “date” with a “Rent-a-Friend.” As she sizes up potential BFFs, Bertsche also delves into research on friendship – from how a person’s number of friends affects her health to how our ultra-connected culture can propagate loneliness and isolation.

Throughout her quest, Bertsche’s self-deprecating humor shines through as she recounts her adventures and admits that meeting girls, juggling schedules and maintaining new relationships can be exhausting. (Comparisons with dating memoirs are inevitable here, and Bertsche wonders: why isn’t there a better vocabulary for making friends?)

By the end of her Year of Friending, Bertsche has a slew of new phone numbers, several promising relationships, and a renewed sense of confidence and warmth – because acting friendlier has actually made her a better friend. As they cheer Bertsche on in her quest, readers will appreciate the friends they have and even pick up useful – and entertaining – tips for finding new friends of their own.

*(I don’t get any compensation for urging you to buy Rachel’s book – I just think it’s great!)

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