Thursday, June 10, 2010

Everything lovely, effortless, safe.

Last night, I waded through the dreary Brooklyn weather with Jaime to arrive at an impressive little bookstore called Word. My bare legs were cold with a sheen of mucky rainwater backsplashed at my ankles, my sandals were soaked and I'm pretty sure my toes had started to prune - I had not prepared for rain before work! It was well worth the trek, however, because author Jenny Hollowell was reading from her debut novel, Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe.

The small room crowded with other valiant weather warriors, everyone eagerly listened to the young, poised Hollowell as she read four chapters from her book. From what we heard, I can tell you the book has depth, an acerbic wit, and sounds like it's sprinkled with some Didion-inspired prose. And I love Didion.

Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe (also a line from the book) is about a woman named Birdie who flees Virginia and her Evangelical upbringing for Hollywood, and becomes a body double for an actress. I am quite excited to start reading the book, and as Jaime and I are in a book club together, we decided it would be our next book for the group. And what a better place to recruit others into our book club - at an event based around the very book everyone was buying? So, our book club expands and if you'd like to read along, you can purchase Hollowell's novel via Word's own online shop here!

I'll circle back on the book in July after our group's meeting and anyone else who read it should tell me their thoughts then, too! In other book club news, Jaime and I just wrapped up Cormac McCarthy's Suttree this past Saturday over brunch:

Jaime above, complete with a Southern-ish cocktail that uses mint and sweet tea vodka - because Suttree takes place in Knoxville, Tennessee. You may know McCarthy from his popular book-to-screen adaptations of No Country for Old Men and The Road; I was enthralled by Suttree and the prose of the novel. The descriptions of Knoxville and its dismal surroundings, the portrait of a man afraid of his own mortality, and the surprising humor in the characters he meets along his miscreant adventures in the dirty city in the 1950s made for something I could hardly put down, with paragraphs I would reread right after I finished them. I obviously also recommend this novel!

But - back to last night - after getting my book signed by the author, she and a small group of the literary revelers traveled to a bar nearby for some drinks and snacks. There's just something about talking to others who enjoy reading; we shared good books we'd just read (see above), our excitement to read Jenny's book, and that evolved into conversations about media and advertising and etc., etc.! Jesse ended up coming by with friends to join the small table soiree (yes, I'm calling it that) and in the end, it was quite a fulfilling evening of boisterous conversation.

Are you into checking out Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe? Suttree? Have any book clubs of your own or a book you think I'd particularly enjoy?


  1. Hi Jessica,
    We loved having Jenny back at WORD last night, and I'm so glad you came. The blog post was really lovely, and I hope I'm not being too pushy by reminding your readers that Jenny's book can also be purchased from an independent bookstore, one can easily be found at, or even through our site directly, at We have a bunch of copies signed by Jenny last night as well.
    Amazon is not hosting amazing, new writers like Jenny, so why should they reap all the benefits?
    Thanks for listening,
    Christine, owner of WORD

  2. Christine

    Thanks for hosting the lovely evening! I will definitely redirect the links to those you've provided - I completely understand your point of view. I'll be coming by Word a lot more often after discovering it last night!


  3. Sounds like a lovely evening. Don't you just love happy discoveries, especially when they involve book stores? I'll have to check both of those books out. I'm interested in reading McCarthy's version of a 1950's Knoxville.:)

    It would have been great to see you at the reunion, but I completely understand it being difficult to make the trip. About 50 people showed up. We had a good time. Matt and I are discussing taking a week long trip for our 10 year anniversary next summer and I'm trying to convince him to take me to NYC.

  4. you are the reason for half the books in my house haha - i added everything to my amazon wish list and last year i ended up going through a bunch of 'best of' lists. thanks for those to recs, i'll check them out soon!

  5. I don't think we really have the same taste in books, but "Everything Lovely, Effortless, Safe" sounds like an interesting read. I'd be interested to know what you think of it!

  6. Thank you! Small victories like these mean a lot. :-)