Sometimes I disappear from the blog due to personal or family dramas. Sometimes it’s because of an internal struggle I’m having with God or myself. Sometimes, though, it’s just because a good book has taken over my life. Such is the case this week.
Believe it or not, I actually created a whole schedule for upcoming posts. I wanted to write about a recent parenting dilemma (Yes, I have them frequently.), about my daughter’s birthday (She turned seven yesterday. Can you believe it?!), about some cool insights gathered from our pastor, about our recent trip to Disney (It was awesome!), and a few other things, but … well, I chucked it all for the love of a good book. Okay, maybe “chuck” is a strong word. I’ll get back to my schedule. Eventually. It’s just that I feel like I’ve discovered a new friend!
Everyone loves a good how-did-you-meet story, so let me tell you ours. (She doesn’t know we’ve met yet, or that we’re destined to be best friends, so I guess it’s not “our” story. This is all beside the point.)
This past weekend for our once-a-month date, my friend Lauralin and I got our nails done then headed to a new independent bookstore not too far from here. She had been nudging me for months to check it out. I walked in and it was love at first sight. Fresh coffee and tea, cozy leather armchairs, serene lighting and an entire room filled with books and quiet. *Cue the collective sigh.*
After three hours of talking books and authors and “have you read this?” and “I can’t believe you’ve never heard of her!” and “Oh, you can borrow this one, but you absolutely must buy that one” — After three-plus hours of delight, I realized that I had completely forgotten about my family at home whom I had abandoned without dinner plans (and who were obviously starving, evidenced by the phone call I received shortly thereafter inquiring about sustenance) and dutifully bee-lined it to the register with my final selections. The owners, clearly identifying us as bibliophiles, directed us toward a few shelves we had not yet noticed. They were filled with ARCs — Advanced Reader Copies.
I love ARCs. As uncorrected proofs, they consistently contain errors, but I would much rather find errors with disclaimers, than errors in something I know has gone through several editors’ hands, for which I paid full price, and that possesses no hope of being rectified any time soon. BONUS: ARCs are free, typically offered in exchange for reviews. In this case, for a positive shelf-talker.
And there it was: Dolci di Love by Sarah-Kate Lynch. Okay, actually Lauralin grabbed it first and I grabbed something else, but we quickly decided we had the wrong ones and swapped, to the delight of us both. I expected a heart-wrenching family drama, but received a wondrous story of beauty, mistakes, love and forgiveness, all dappled with an amusing group of meddling Italian widows. If you’re a movie-watcher, imagine touches of IQ and Under the Tuscan Sun but with a more intricate plot; deeper, far more endearing characters; and much better actors. Okay, so maybe it’s not like those movies at all, but parts of the book made me think of those movies. And all of the book made me want to visit Italy.
While I treasure the safety of beloved authors who consistently satisfy, there is nothing quite as exciting as finding a new-to-me author. It’s a thrill coupled with the hope of a fresh new well. I finished Dolci di Love this morning, promptly jumped on the author’s website and wrote her an email. Imagine my wonder to discover she has several other books! I can’t wait to start reading them all. It’s just … well, joyful! Once I get my bookshelf back in order, I’ll post a full review for you all. This, her newest novel, is already available in New Zealand. The US version (which I read) releases March 29th.
If you’re new to me or this site, you may assume that, because I am a Christian, I only read Christian or faith-based books. This would be a false assumption. Yes, I do read many books distributed by Christian publishers, but this is not one of them.
Read with Me: Girls, it is Friday, so it’s time to check-in. I’m still reading. Are you?