Lani Diane Rich’s Holiday Gift Suggestion

Just like last year, Beatrice will be marking the post-Thanksgiving holiday season with a round of holiday gift ideas from authors. (It doesn’t matter which holiday you give these gifts for, should you choose to follow their advice—we at Beatrice are an ecumenical bunch.) This year, I thought I’d use the three-day weekend to recognize the women behind, a group blog of “chick lit” writers with eight novels between them…and then there’s the contributions to anthologies, the books written under pen names… Let’s start with Lani Diane Rich, since her third novel, Ex and the Single Girl, was published just last week as part of Warner’s launch for its new 5-Spot imprint. And because she’s one of the first writers to take the National Novel Writing Month challenge and go on to turn that manuscript into a literary debut (Time Off for Good Behavior).


One of the best books I’ve read this year, and indeed one of my favorite books ever, is Joshilyn Jackson’s gods in Alabama. What makes this a great gift book is that it’s one of those books that everyone can enjoy—men, women, Grandma, the Grinch. It has something for everyone: Sex. Secrets. Lies. Murder. Humor. Kudzu. Tequila. Jackson’s prose is engaging from go. Get a load of this opener:

“There are gods in Alabama. Jack Daniel’s, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus.”

I mean, come on. That speaks for itself. Get a copy for everyone on your list; it’s better than another scarf.

25 November 2005 | gift ideas |

Karen Spears Zacharias in Miami

Karen’s last appearance on Beatrice was just over a week ago, when she interviewed Jack Pendarvis. Since then, she’s gone down to the Miami Book Fair, where she filed this report…


It’s Monday in Miami. At noon, two burly guys wheel cases of leftover cola out of the hospitality suite of the Biscayne Bay Marriott. Threatening black clouds pass over the bay quicker than a car driven by Tony Stewart, but Tropical Gamma turned out to be all huff & puff. Half-a-dozen people are lounging around the pool, glinting at the sun.

All the AV-equipment has been returned to its rightful place at Miami-Dade College. And the only remaining signs on campus of the Miami Book Fair International are the punctuating posters of a woman frolicking along the beach in a red dress patterned with crescent-moons, caffé latte and book in hand. “I spent the last 358 days preparing for this seven-day event,” one woman remarked as she reached for a ringing phone.

Kudos and hour-long massages to all those gracious people in Miami who worked their hineys bare, hustling authors, moderators, booksellers, escorts, media, and all those thousands of faithful, passionate readers.

I didn’t arrive in Miami in time to hear Joan Didion, Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Kozol, John Hope Franklin, Marilynne Robinson, Lorenzo Garcia Vega, Amy Tan or most of the hundreds of other notable authors, poets, and musicians. But I was able to make the New Orleans-themed dinner party, hosted by Mitch Kaplan and his crew at Books & Books. My friend Julia Reed, a New Orleans resident and Queen of Mighty-Fine Cuisine, would have handed out blue ribbons for the jambalaya, beignets and chicory.


23 November 2005 | events |

« Previous PageNext Page »