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A short holiday work week means that we all were working double time! Whew, we literally turned out a full update in 2 1/2 days. So once again I wave my mouse at our Editorial Director, Tom Donadio, with appreciation!

There’s lots to share. First, we have our interview with Jacqueline Winspear; the title of her new book, THIS TIME NEXT YEAR WE’LL BE LAUGHING (a Bets On pick), coincidentally could be our mantra. After 16 novels, she has taken the bold step of turning to memoir, revealing the hardships and joys of her family history. Both shockingly frank and deftly restrained, her story tackles the difficult, poignant and fascinating family accounts of three generations --- her grandparents, her parents, and she and her brother. Her childhood was spent picking hops and fruit on farms in rural Kent, capturing her ties to the land and her dream of being a writer at its very inception. Jackie talks about this eye-opening and heartfelt portrayal of a post-War England that we rarely see and how she pulled together these memories. She also discusses the experience of narrating the audiobook. Click here to watch the video and here to listen to the podcast.

Last night, we hosted our first “Bookaccino Live” Book Group event with Jeanine Cummins, the author of AMERICAN DIRT, as our guest. We went with a new format for this program. I interviewed Jeanine at the start, and then we invited eight readers to join us to ask questions. We wrapped up with a Q&A from the audience.

I had been looking forward to this interview for a long time. I read an advance copy of the book in June 2019, and when it came out in January of this year (which feels like a lifetime ago), it was a Bets On selection. It is now a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards in the Fiction category, which makes me so happy. Voting is open until November 30th. In our conversation, we talked about her research for the book, the stops and starts it had, and her various inspirations, as well as what the last 10 months have been like since it came out. Readers who joined us asked about the title, the cover design, her incorporating Spanish into the prose, and what she hoped people would take away from it. And there also was a lively conversation about the audio edition.

The Masters is being played this weekend at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, so I will be making pimento cheese sandwiches, which is my ode to watching golf. It’s very odd to be doing this in November instead of April...but hey, it’s all part of 2020, the year that feels like a decade! If they play again in April, will we feel like we are moving at warp speed? But then again, will anything be happening the way it was “in before times” in April?

Back when we first started Bookreporter, I read THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT by Walter Tevis, so it has been such fun to see how much viewers have been enjoying the adaptation on Netflix. Last night, I saw that it was their #1 show in the United States. Each day, there have been comments from friends about it on social media. I have read that there is an uptick in chess set sales, especially to young women. I have never played the game (I played backgammon and cribbage when others were playing chess), but it has made me to want to learn. Cory loved to play; he even carved a set for himself a few years ago. I may need to find a set in the house and get him over here to give me some lessons. By the way, I read that Agadmator’s Chess Channel breaks down each move from the final game in the show here.