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    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Cause If You Miss It I Feel Sorry, Sorry For You

June brings the arrival of two new books from my agenting corner of the sky.

The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman is about as fully furnished an historical novel as you are likely to read. The one line pitch: a serial killer in Colonial America. Here’s  a review fromUSA Today. You will feel absolutely transported to the Dutch Colony of Manhattan, you will be amazed at how deftly Jean weaves in the history and artifacts of the day into  a seamless story you can’t put down. In it you will find a dissolute killer, a strong young woman trader, a British spy, a seven foot slave, a jilted suitor, and a morally corrupt Orphanmaster among others! It’s also really scary. “The Orphanmaster is a sweeping novel of great and precise imaginative intelligence; it’s also the most entertaining and believable historical novel I’ve read in years. Jean Zimmerman is a debut novelist who already writes like an old master. Read any page of The Orphanmaster and you’ll become an instant fan.” – Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life and Chang and Eng

Please get your adult diapers handy for David Yoo’s The Choke Artist: Confessions of a Chronic Underachiever. The one line on this:  An hilarious collection of essays about cultural stereotypes and Yoo’s resolute  insistence on defying all of them. No violin, no SATs off the charts, no straight A’s and pocket protectors. More, it’s about internalized racism and assimilation. But it never gets preachy or full of itself. Yoo’s self-deprecating humor and genius for comic timing keep you turning pages. “Reading THE CHOKE ARTIST is like watching someone get kicked in the nuts-in a good way. Yoo makes us laugh and wince and relive the horrific, hilarious agony of being young.”-Annie Choi, author of Happy Birthday or Whatever And from the Tiger Mom herself, Amy Chua: “I loved this book and couldn’t put it down! It’s raw, startling, laugh-out-loud funny.”

Guys, were you to judge a book by its cover, what would you say?

P.S. If  you have a chance to read either or both! books,  please spread the word, leave bitchin’ ass comments on Amazon, etc. Thanks so much. It’s actually good to be back and thanks for dropping by while I was mini-golfing and keeping the thread going. And  yes, I prevailed. Love, Betsy

14 Responses

  1. As a nonfiction gal, I can tell you that I will be reading The Choke Artist right away. I can’t wait. I will spread the word, leave bitchin’ ass comments on Amazon and Goodreads, etc. etc. Congratulations on your mini-golfing successes. If we were not proud of you before, that would clinch it.

  2. You had me at, “a serial killer in Colonial America”.

  3. “Guys, were you to judge a book by its cover, what would you say?”

    I would say The Orphan Master looks like goth chick-lit and The Choke Artist looks like YA fluff. But my eyes aren’t what they once may have been.

  4. The Orphan Master cover reminds me a dutch baroque painting, which is textural, interesting. The Choke Artist cover seems incomplete, two dimensional.

  5. The Orphan Master would have me opening up to read the first sentences, that’s a certain. If somebody recommended The Choke Artist I’d pick it up too but hell reading about underachieving and internalised racism – and laughing – well I’d give it a try anyways.

  6. ‘Jean Zimmerman is a debut novelist who already writes like an old master.’
    Questions: How did she snag you Betsy? What made YOU say yes? If a query was involved…may we see it?
    Questions…a waste of key-strokes because I know you don’t comment.

    • No need to comment Betsy. Jean didn’t ‘snag’ anybody, she’s amazing…a hell of a historian and writer. She was interviewed by a publication I’ve written for. Go Jean ! BTW the cover is perfect.

  7. If I were to judge these books by their covers, I’d say, “Here’s my credit card, put the receipt in the bag, please.”

    Which is probably what I’ll be doing as soon as my next paycheck clears.

  8. Shoot! I just got home from a long trip and see I’ve missed Jean’s reading at Book Passage in Marin County. Looking forward to the read.

  9. Congrats on the new births.

    I’ll buy The Choke Artist because I’m a sucker for counter-stereotype warfare, but perhaps the cover is a bit heavy-handed in the race-of-author department? Still, the exclamation points of text labeling the kid’s head crack me up.

    The cover of The Orphan Master portrays a threat to a seemingly peaceful town. (Does the town deserve to be stabbed with a small knife? I must find out!)

    I recommended it to my wife. She’ll bring it home and we’ll treat those pages like hot sheets in a pay-by-hour motel, or the New Amsterdam equivalent.

  10. I wouldn’t have read The Orphanmaster based on the cover because I’m not usually interested in historical fiction, but based on the blurb—definitely.

    The Choke Artist cover I think perfectly represents what the book is about. And a screaming yellow cover does just that, scream: pick me up! Pick me up!

    Time to start thinking about whatever you’ll be wearing to whatever awards ceremonies these writers get nominated for and/or win.

  11. Both books sound fabulous but I’m sorry to say, I don’t like either cover.

  12. I have a design in mind for the cover and have even spoken to a model who will be in the background, ominously watching over the lead. But, I’m open to suggestions.

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