Thanks for joining us for our very first book club episode! To kick things off, we're discussing Wild, by Cheryl Strayed and Delancey, by Molly Wizenberg.
We thought it'd be fun to share an Arnold Palmer, inspired by Cheryl's obsession with Snapple Lemonade in Wild. Just equal parts lemonade and iced tea. Ours were unleaded this time, but vodka is always a great addition to this simple summer beverage.
We tried the Penne a la Vodka from Delancey and My Kate's Brownies. There was an unfortunate outcome when Kelsey tried to vegan-ize the brownies, so do stick to the recipe, friends...
We loved these books!
Kelsey gave Delancey a solid A, and Erica gave it an A-. We're both big fans of Molly's blog and podcast, and loved her first book, A Homeade Life. We emailed her some questions about the book, and she emailed us back! Here's our Q&A session with her...
1. Were you nervous to share how stressful opening Delancey was and to be candid about disagreements that you and Brandon had? I appreciated this so much and wondered if you knew it was a story you wanted to tell or if you had to convince yourself.
I was definitely nervous. Yes! I was nervous about what Brandon would think of the way I saw and told our story, and I was also nervous about how that story would be received by readers. But I wanted to do it anyway. Here's the thing: I've always known that if anyone would come out looking like the villain in the story, it would be me, and if anyone would be the hero, it's Brandon. And that's 100% okay with me, because it's how it was! Does that make sense? I was never nervous about making myself look bad, because it was the truth, and good writing is honest writing. That's what matters to me. Also, I felt compelled to write down this story because writing is how I figure things out, how I get some perspective on my life. The difficulty we faced in opening Delancey was something that I was still very much trying to understand, and writing about it was daunting, but I'm glad I did it. I also believe that we - and I mean this in the broad, cultural sense - need to talk more about the difficulties of marriage. Everyone has to work at it! It's nothing to be ashamed of.
2. Both Erica and I are writers and have our favorite routines. I prefer silence and coffee while Erica likes banjo music and scented candles. What is your ideal writing environment? Do you have favorite writing music or accessories?
I'm with you, Kelsey! I like silence. Silence, or maybe some ambient noise in the form of trees rustling outside. And a big glass of water. I mostly write at home, at my desk, which faces a window over our deck. But when I was writing Delancey, I struggled so much with getting started each day that I wound up renting a room from a friend and setting up an office for myself there - just a desk, my printer, and a bulletin board. I wrote almost the entire book there, and not long after it was done, I moved my desk back home and gave up the lease.
3. Something that I love so much about your writing is its familiarity, if that makes sense. It feels immediately personal in a comforting way, as if I were sitting at your kitchen table. Is this something you have admired in other writers and strive for or is this just how the words flow for you?
It's a quality that I like in writing generally, but that's not why I do it. In fact, I think it's probably the other way around: this is how my voice comes out, and maybe(?) because of that, I'm drawn to voices with a similar tone. Anyway, it's important to me that my writing sound natural, the way everyday speech does, and I think the strongest writing is often the simplest and most concrete.
4. And lastly, have you read any good books lately (for adults or small people, my son is almost 15 months old :) )?
I've just started reading Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers, which is a great story so far. I tend to read a lot of nonfiction, often in The New Yorker, but I've been trying to get back to novels, too. My favorite book of all time, I think, is The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, by Michael Chabon. As for kids' books, June and I love The Deaf Musicians, by Pete Seeger; Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin; The Tiger Who Came to Tea; and Bear's Toothache. They all have great illustrations, too.
Thanks Molly, we are honored you took some time out of your busy schedule to join us for The Girl Next Door Book Club!
Kelsey gave Wild an A+, and Erica gave it an A.
We both loved the beautiful descriptions of the Pacific Crest Trail, and both felt very inspired by Cheryl's story of literally putting one foot in front of the other to overcome grueling physical,mental, and emotional challenges.
Erica's favorite quote was, "I looked north, in its direction - the very thought of that bridge a beacon to me. I looked south, to where I’d been, to the wild land that had schooled and scorched me, and considered my options. There was only one, I knew. There was always only one. To keep walking.”
Kelsey's was the beginning of the first sentence of the book, "The trees were tall, but I was taller..."
Have you read either of these books? What'd you think? What was your favorite thing about them? Chime in on twitter or in the comments below.
Thanks for joining us for our very first virtual book club!