A hidden life: Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch

indexThere are plenty of things I never wonder about that I’m nonetheless thrilled to learn about when I learn them. That’s why I love reading magazines as much as I do. Did I ever wonder about how Jami Attenberg’s excellent novel The Middlesteins reached the bestseller list and therefore my attention in 2012?


Was I thrilled to learn, via Rebecca Mead’s profile of the chick-lit author Jennifer Weiner, that Weiner’s effusive praise of The Middlesteins to her 80,000 (now 90,000) Twitter followers played a large role in the novel’s success?

You bet.

The beauty of Rebecca Mead’s recent bibliomemoir My Life in Middlemarch is that it will answer the questions you did not know you had, imbuing you with the sense that you are now an insider to an important life story.

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Are You There God? It’s Judy Blume’s New Novel for Adults


Don’t worry, Margaret, God has been listening to your prayers. Iconic children’s book author Judy Blume will be treating her grown up fans to a new novel slated to be released in the summer of 2015 by Knopf.

The untitled publication will be Blume’s first adult novel since 1998. She will be reuniting with Carole Baron, who edited SummerSisters.

“Carole and Judy have a long history together, and have been discussing this project for the last four years,” Knopf VP Director of Publicity Nicholas Latimer said. “When our head of house announced this acquisition at our editorial meeting last Thursday, everyone in the room broke out into applause. All as a way of saying, many Judy fans here!”

The editorial staff isn’t alone. Blume wrote childhood classics including Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Blubber, Deenie, and Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.

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This is a love story: Mona Simpson’s Casebook

imagesIn an interview conducted by David O. Russell at UCLA’s Hammer Museum, Mona Simpson said of her new novel Casebook, that she had been trying to find a way to tell this love story for a long time. It wasn’t until she landed on the idea of telling the story through the lens of her teenage narrator that she was able to write the romance that is Casebook.

I wanted to write this love story … but I couldn’t write it full on. – Mona Simpson

Whoa whoa whoa. A love story?

Clearly Simpson is the expert on the text and I’m just some Schmoe who read her book while sitting in a deck chair and sipping glass after glass of Rioja. But would we call this a romance?

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Full Disclosure and News for Bloggers

Full Disclosure and News for Bloggers

Red Brick Reads is now part of the Blogging for Books program from Crown Publishing. Click the link to learn more. This means that occasionally we’ll receive free books from Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review of those books. The nature of our reviews won’t change and we’ll continue rank books based on what Hemingway might have thought and draw wildly inappropriate connections to Kanye West.

We have integrity here at Red Brick Reads which means our reviews can ONLY be swayed by free hotdogs, not by free books.

Reviews of books received through the Blogging for Books program will always note that the book was received for free.


This is not a YA novel: A few seconds of radiant filmstrip

indexA couple of weeks ago Ruth Graham of Slate wrote this take down of adult readers who choose Young Adult books, stating that adults who read books meant for children should be ashamed of their reading choices. Graham’s article is click-bait. Meant to boil blood and inspire enraged responses all of which will link back to her original text. And it worked! The article currently has 74,000 Facebook shares, 2800 links via Twitter and 3000 comments. There’s no doubt that Graham spent all of last week on Slate’s leader board.

The most obvious counterpoint to Graham’s argument is that “Young Adult” is merely a construction of book marketing and reflects less on the text than on the desire of a publisher or bookseller to move copies. Michelle Dean over at Gawker makes the counter-argument very well so I’m not going to re-hash what she’s presented so well.

To celebrate Ruth Graham’s trolling, let’s talk about a book that may or may not be YA but is definitely wonderful: Kevin Brockmeier’s A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade.

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