Five new books, both fiction and non-, including two I’ve actually read!
Left on Tenth by Delia Ephron. The essayist/novelist/screenwriter tells the story of four years in her life where she not only lost her husband of 33 years, she somehow fell in love again … only to be diagnosed with leukemia just a short time later. Lots of dark moments but also a lot of witty, wise observations about how life can make a lot of turns you don’t expect.
Bomb Shelter by Mary Laura Philpott. This terrific memoir-via-essays (one of my favorite genres) has one event that keeps popping up and connecting to everything else: the terrifying 4 a.m. medical emergency involving her teenage son. Whether you’re a mom or a dad or even a single guy like me, you’ll find a lot to identify with in these pages.
Secret Identity by Alex Segura. A mystery set in the world of the comic book industry in the 1970s, as an assistant at the small Triumph Comics imprint is asked by a writer to create a female superhero but to keep her involvement secret … and then that writer is found dead.
Boom Town: A Lake Wobegon Novel by Garrison Keillor. The Minnesota (now New York City) icon’s latest — and probably last — Lake Wobegon book finds the author going back home to attend a friend’s funeral and seeing how the place has changed, thanks to millennial entrepreneurs. (Cable Neuhaus has a great interview with Keillor in the next issue of the Post about this book and his guide to aging, Serenity at 70, Gaiety at 80.)
Barnes & Noble Is Helping Save Indie Bookstores
You can buy those books at a bookstore, you know.
I’ve had a theory that I’ve mentioned in this space before that if they remade You’ve Got Mail today, the “big bad bookstore” Fox Books would actually be the good guys, going up against Amazon.
Now it seems like that theory is coming true, as the 600-store Barnes & Noble chain has not only seen sales rise the past few years but is getting love from independent bookstores as well. That makes me feel good, because I haven’t been in a Barnes & Noble since the pandemic began (which has made me feel bad).
One literary agent says that “it would be a disaster if they went out of business,” and I agree.
Saturday Is Record Store Day
And while you’re out at the bookstore, there must be a record store you can check out too.
Post Writers You Should Read (A Never-Ending Series)
Sometimes I think I’ve found all of the great writers I’m ever going to read. At least ones from the past (who knows who’s coming down the road). But then I accidentally stumble upon someone like Marya Mannes who changes my thinking.
Mannes was a novelist and critic who wrote a regular column for The Reporter, penning essays and reviewing theater and other aspects of pop culture and life. She was also an editor at Vogue, contributed to The New Yorker, and even had her own talk show on WNEW in NYC in the late ’50s. I honestly don’t remember how I came across her work last week — a link led me to another link and to another link that mentioned her, I’m guessing — but she has become one of my favorite writers. She’s sharp, funny, and serious in equal measure, and I love how she writes about whatever she wants to write about. She even mentions how she’s a generalist in her book of essays More in Anger: Some Opinions, Uncensored and Unteleprompted (which you can read for free at the Internet Archive). She’s like Dorothy Parker mixed with Andy Rooney.
Of course, the next question is, did she write for the Post? She did! In the October 6, 1962, issue she had an essay titled “Let’s Stop Exalting Jerks” that could have been written today.
Quote of the Week
“I’d rather lose big than win small.” —A Let’s Make a Deal contestant, with not only a bad game show strategy but a bad strategy for life too
RIP Robert Morse, Liz Sheridan, Mike Bossy, Wendy Rieger, Roderick Clark, and Art Rupe
Robert Morse was a stage and screen star who appeared in several Broadway musicals and plays, winning Tonys for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Tru (playing Truman Capote, for which he also won an Emmy). He appeared in the film version of How to Succeed too, and other movies, including A Guide for the Married Man, The Proud and the Profane, The Matchmaker, and such TV shows as Mad Men, American Crime Story, That’s Life, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and the first episode of the soap The Secret Storm in 1954 (his first role). He died this week at the age of 90.
Liz Sheridan was best known as Jerry’s mom on Seinfeld. She started out as a dancer and later had regular roles on ALF and Life with Louie and had appearances on dozens of other shows. Oh, and she dated James Dean and wrote about it in the book Dizzy and Jimmy: My Life with James Dean: A Love Story. She died last week at the age of 93.
Mike Bossy helped the New York Islanders with four Stanley Cups. He died last week at the age of 65.
Wendy Rieger was a news anchor and reporter in the Washington, D.C., area for 33 years, including 20 years as anchor at NBC4. She died Saturday at the age of 65.
Art Rupe was the head of the indie record label Specialty Records who signed Little Richard, Sam Cooke, and Lloyd Price and helped popularize rhythm and blues. He died last week at the age of 104.
This Week in History
Charlie Chaplin Born (April 16, 1889)
He died in December 1977, and what happened to his body three months later remains one of the oddest things to ever happen to a celebrity.
Battles of Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775)
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Soundproof Listening Booths” (April 19, 1952)
Record store, 70 years ago. The kids in number 5 are either swooning to Sinatra or the pipe smoke from number 6 has seeped in.
April Is National Garlic Month
But you can do more with garlic than going the Italian route. How about Curtis Stone’s Garlic and Herb Mashed Potatoes or Farm to Philly’s Roasted Garlic Ice Cream with Raspberry Preserve Ribbon? Dinner Then Dessert has these Loaded Garlic French Fries, while Bon Appétit has The Garlickiest Fried Rice.
And since next Tuesday is National Pretzel Day, here’s a recipe from Eating on a Dime for Garlic Ranch Pretzels.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
Hug an Australian Day (April 26)
But only if you haven’t eaten any garlic.
Arbor Day (April 29)
Many countries celebrate Arbor Day (in fact, the first may have been in Spain in 1594), but the first American celebration was in Nebraska on April 10, 1872, when 1 million trees were planted.
Featured image: Shutterstock
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