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Last weekend was a brilliant weekend of reading. I had no plans for the first time in a long time, and it was lovely to just disappear into some books. It was both relaxing and restorative.

I first dived into AMERICAN DIRT by Jeanine Cummins, which was one of the most talked-about books at Book Expo. It’s the kind of book that I read and will think about for a long time. I love when a book holds up to the hype. Lydia Quixano Perez is a bookseller living in Acapulco, Mexico, with her husband, who is a journalist, and her eight-year-old son, Luca, who is quite precocious and prescient. Drug cartels are overtaking the city that she knows and loves, and her husband is writing about them, anonymously, so as to keep his family from feeling repercussions. A customer at Lydia’s store shares her book taste, and they chat and banter. She is unaware that he is Javier, the jefe of a cartel that has been rising quickly. When her husband writes an in-depth profile of Javier, Lydia finds herself on the run with Luca towards el norte, the United States. Their journey is fraught with danger and fear, both from what they are running from and what they are running towards. The world they knew has harmed them, but what is before them has its own perils.

For the record, it would have been good to be a duck this week. The weather was so wet, so muggy and so humid. Instead of my usual Toms shoes, which I own in many colors, I should have bought turquoise boots for navigating the streets of the city.

On Monday night, my Long Hill Book Group had such fun talking to Wendy Walker via Skype. Twelve members all had read THE NIGHT BEFORE and pronounced it a fast-paced and quick read; they loved it! She talked to us about plotting, internet dating, writing, and juggling writing life and mom life (amusingly her boys came home as she was talking to us, and she walked her laptop up to her office while continuing the conversation). I loved the opportunity to share this chat with my fellow book club members.

I wrote this newsletter as the NBA Finals game was playing in the background. Note that this was the first basketball game that I watched all year, if watching means that I occasionally looked at the score. Why not wait until the last one, right? Whenever I can, I write the newsletter on Thursday nights after I go to a fabulous yoga class at Onyx Yoga. The class ends with a relaxing savasana, which I find totally relaxes and also energizes me, which is a great combo. It gives me some distance from the week before I write.

I feel like I still am playing catch-up from being out of the office at Book Expo last week. If I owe you an email reply or a thank you note, it will be coming in the next week. I promise!

Last Saturday, I plunked myself into a chair by the patio and read THE LAST BOOK PARTY by Karen Dukess, which will be on sale July 9th; it is one of our Summer Reading titles and will be a Bets On selection. It was the perfect book to enjoy after the busyness of the convention. It’s set on Cape Cod in 1987. Eve Rosen is 25 years old and an aspiring writer. She’s working as an assistant to Henry Grey, who is a New Yorker writer, along with his wife, a poet named Tillie. They both host a famed end-of-the-summer party where all guests dress as literary characters. But the party uncovers a number of secrets that had been hidden to Eve until then. A brisk summer read, it’s both a coming-of-age story and a fun, fictitious look into the world of publishing.