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Who Doesn’t Love a Good Backrub?

Google It book cover

Google It: A History In Google By Anna Crowley Redding

November 13, 2018

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Who doesn’t love a good backrub? I know it seems odd that I am opening up my letter today talking about something other than books and literary things. Stay with me though, I can explain. I am sure you have heard of the multi-billion dollar company, Google. But did you know that its original name was “Backrub” (no joke)? Well, I sure didn’t. If you are even slightly curious about this piece of Google history, then I urge you to check out Anna Crowley Redding’s hot new YA book, Google It: A History of Google. From Google’s modest beginning run out of a friend’s garage, to its current home in a three million square foot office complex on 68 acres of land, Crowley Redding takes her readers on a behind the scene adventure on how Google really came to be.

While reading Google It, readers will quickly discover that Google started off as a thesis project for Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.  Crowley Redding dives right in by sharing how Page and Brin’s first computer server storage rack was built out of second hand “lego type” building blocks.  She continues with how Jennifer Lopez’s infamous dress at the 2000 Grammy Awards was responsible for the creation of Google Images, how the events of September 11th prompted the development of Google News, and how automatic spell corrections during Google Search came about from the constant misspelling of Britney Spears’ name.  This and so much more can be found between the covers of this incredible book.

The structure of Crowley Redding’s book is superb.  She provides excellent sidebars that offer a plethora of fun tidbits for readers to enjoy. Crowley Redding introduces Page and Brin’s story in perfect chronological order starting from their individual childhoods to the future of Google.  Her writing style is accessible and easy to digest for young adult and adult readers alike.

We are living in an age where technology is a part of our everyday lives.  The days of looking up information in books and encyclopedias are long gone.  It is so easy to take for granted how fast we can access information of any kind with a click of a mouse and how our cars practically drive themselves on autopilot because of Google Maps.  Google It will no doubt highlight the advancements Google has made in the past 25+ years.  Most importantly though, Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s true story will show you how impossible ideas can turn into something completely possible, influential, and life-changing for all of mankind.  Their story of hard work and determination will inspire young ones to build the unimaginable with their plastic building blocks, code the next big video game and take us to places far far away.

Google It, by Anna Crowley Redding, is a book for now.  It is not only a book filled with mind-blowing information but a book filled with dreams and inspiration.  This story truly belongs on everyone’s bookshelf.

Read it, love it, share it, and for goodness sake…GOOGLE IT!!!!!


Your Biggest Fan,


P.S.  Anna Crowley Redding is a former Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter.  Be on the lookout for her upcoming YA book, ELON MUSK:  A Mission To Save The World (July 2019), and her picture book titled Rescuing The Declaration of Independence: How We Almost Lost The Words That Built America, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (2020).  This author is one to watch. Feel free to GOOGLE Anna Crowley Redding’s name.  I’m sure you will find her at and @annacrowleyredding on FB and Instagram.

Click here to buy Google It: A History in Google By Anna Crowley Redding

Audrey Hepburn is So Pretty

The Dinner List Book Cover

The Dinner List By Rebecca Serle

October 30, 2018

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I am going to get right to the question of the day. If you could invite five people to dinner, living or dead, who would you choose? Think of how many stories can come from a dinner party crafted by this one crazy list. Well, I am happy to say that Rebecca Serle took this question and put into words, one dinner party scenario that readers will never forget. You are going to want to go get yourself a copy of her new book, The Dinner List, ASAP.

When Serle’s lead character Sabrina was in college, her BFF Jessica, asked her to write down the five people she would invite to dinner if given the chance.  Sabrina wrote her list, then gently tossed it aside. Years later, her life changed forever on her 30th birthday. As she walked into a restaurant with Jessica to celebrate, she was shocked to be greeted by the five people on the list she wrote many moons ago.  Jessica, Sabrina’s father, a beloved college professor, the famous Audrey Hepburn (I am not kidding), and Tobias (the love of her life) were all seated at the table eagerly waiting for Sabrina.

The structure of Serle’s book is wonderful.  The chapters alternate between the present day dinner party and Sabrina’s past.  Readers get an in-depth look at her love story with Tobias and how the other people on her list influenced and shaped her story (Hello Audrey).  I loved how at first it was difficult to know which characters on Sabrina’s list were living or dead. However, after sitting at this dinner table long enough, it became very apparent who was walking home at the end of the night and who was going elsewhere.

Sabrina’s conversations with her dinner companions were tender and complex.  The actual dinner party itself had a celestial charm that felt real and dreamlike all at the same time.  The clock is ticking during Sabrina’s evening. It was hard as a reader not to feel a sense of urgency and sadness as the time moved closer to midnight.  Sabrina has a lot of ground to cover with the people around her before the clock strikes twelve. Will there be enough time for all her questions to be answered?  How on Earth will this end?

The Dinner List was a quick and easy-going read filled with lots of emotion.  I was playing around with my own list in the back of my mind as I flipped each page of the book.  We all have different stories to tell. Questions go unanswered and we are constantly on the hunt for closure in order to move on.   People we do not know personally can easily add dimension to our own lives by simply being in our space at the right time. As you read Serle’s story, it’s impossible not to think of your own relationships and how they may or may not impact your journey.  I truly believe that Rebecca Serle is inviting us all to come up with our own dinner guest list. You may need tissue from time to time to blot your eyes, but I think everyone can handle it. At the end of the day, who wouldn’t want to make that once in a lifetime dinner reservation.

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S.  Audrey Hepburn’s real name was Audrey Kathleen Ruston.

She is one out of twelve people to have won an Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony award. She also was soooooooooooooooo pretty!

Click Here to buy The Dinner List By Rebecca Serle

Devils Actually Do Wear Prada

Fashion victim book cover

by Amina Akhtar

October 23, 2018

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Reading about the New York City fashion world never grows old to me. How can you not love a female character who can flag down a cab in six-inch stilettos while juggling her high-end handbag, designer umbrella, diamond-studded iPhone, and piping hot Starbucks?  The first books to introduce me to this scene were The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger and Sex in the City by Candace Bushnell. These stories gave me my first glimpse into the chic and designer world of NYC. They allowed me to turn off my brain and relax into a colorful and bubbly atmosphere so different than my own. Because of the fun, I experienced with these two oldies but goodies, I was super pumped to get my hands on this new book, #fashionvictim by Amina Akhtar.  

The story follows Anya St. Clair, fashion editor at La Vie magazine in NYC. Anya is desperately trying to win BFF status with her co-worker and fashion icon, Sarah Elizabeth Taft. Anya will do ANYTHING for her approval and to secure a seat next to her at fashion week. Starving yourself, charging designer clothes, and fetching coffee are all normal behaviors to win over a co-worker at La Vie. What separates Anya from the rest of the civilized world is that she actually murders people (wearing Louis Vuitton and sporting a fresh mani) to get closer to Sarah.

#fashionvictim starts out relatively light with hints of Anya’s craziness.  I wasn’t too alarmed with Anya’s first kill. Sadly, there was a comical aspect to it that led me to believe that this was going to be no big deal (you know, just a dead body in the background of a glamorous tale). I was mistaken by this premature thought.  Don’t get me wrong, there were many “ha, ha, ha” moments between characters. There were also disturbing thoughts and actions of a psychotic personality that totally creeped me out. Akhtar’s book is a dark and stylish story filled with funny, narcissistic, and self-absorbed characters.  It is a quick read with a storyline that will keep your nose in the book. The conclusion of #fashionvictim not only surprised me but earned my approval.

Fashionista + Serial Killer = Winning Combination.

Write to you next week Mr. H!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S. If Andrea Sachs and Dexter Morgan had a baby, her name would be Anya St. Clair!

Click Here to buy #fashionvictim by Amina Akhtar

The Mars Room is Not in Outer Space!

The Mars Room book cover

October 16, 2018

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a 29-year-old woman having to serve two (not one) consecutive life sentences? Oh, and did I mention that in addition to this sentence, there would be zero hope (zilch) of ever seeing your young son again? The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner tells the fictional story of Romy Hall (San Francisco, 2000’s) and her journey to and her life long residency at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility in California. Romy is a single mother to her son Jackson and a former stripper at the club, The Mars Room (a seedy at best strip club). The short of it is that Romy kills a man who was seriously stalking her. I will admit, I am not a huge fan of murder, and crimes of this nature typically deserve some type of consequence. But here’s the scoop: Romy was assigned a public defender and had no say in the matter. Now, I do not have a law degree or pretend to know of these affairs, but based on what I read, Romy was totally under defended and the flaws in the justice system were made very apparent. Sadly, the odds were stacked against her from the start. With a past that was anything but stellar and her socioeconomic status/lack of resources, it was made clear that her case was basically abandoned.

Throughout the story, Kushner adds in the backstories of other characters and prisoners from the book. I could see how a reader may consider these additions confusing and just plain choppy. I found myself acknowledging this detail, but not overthinking it. I found the individual stories of the others only added more flavor to what I was reading. My curiosity and fascination with Romy’s path and prison life in general propelled me forward.

Kushner makes it evident that behind bars is no place to be. The Mars Room is not a book that aims to entertain. It makes you think, really think. It makes you uncomfortable. It makes you look at pieces of your life that you may just take for granted.  It will show you how fragile human existence can be. It gives you an ending that will haunt you long after you read the last page.

I truly hope that others will give this book a go and expand their reading boundaries. I look forward to writing to you soon.

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S.  If you enjoy chasing a shot of tequila with a lime, you may enjoy chasing this book with a Danielle Steel book (circa 1980’s).  You get my drift!!!!!

*click here to buy this book!*

Unconditional Love at its Finest!

This is how it always is book cover

October 9, 2018

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Oh, how our lives are constantly filled with “what ifs”. You can make yourself crazy trying to answer that question, day in and day out about every little thing. However, there is much beauty in a question beginning with these two words. There is a certain mystery in it that will not only evoke interest but will create dialogue, debate, and overall awareness of a new or existing issue. I just finished reading, This is How it Always Is, by Laurie Frankel. My mind has not stopped racing since the completion of this story (making this a FABULOUS book club pick for friends). Because of this, I open my letter to you with another “what if” question. What if your five-year-old son thought he was a girl?  He literally identifies with the female sex in the most natural and innocent way and is completely thrilled with this.

In Frankel’s book, fictional parents, Rosie and Penn embark on an unfamiliar parenting path (off roading, if you will).  Their youngest son (youngest of five boys) Claude believes he is a girl. He loves wearing dresses, playing with his peers who are girls and is the most joyful wearing a two piece bikini in the pool.  He has the most loving parents who not only support him by changing his name to Poppy, but keep this family secret. Like any secret, there are costs to keeping up a lie. Decisions made for one, often impact others in ways unexpected.  At what point during a child’s self-expression should a parent intervene and protect them from the world? In her book, Frankel writes of gender dysphoria and transgender issues with a sensitivity that envelopes compassion, honesty and courage.  It is an absolutely heartwarming story that mixes truth with fairy tale. Frankel gives readers an intimate glance at one family’s unexpected journey into the sea of unknown. Most importantly though, readers can briefly experience a world with no labels, no judgement and unconditional love through the eyes of a five year old child.  I know that fairy tales are not exactly true, but everyone deserves a happy ending.


Write to you next week!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S.  If you enjoy This is How it Always is, check out Super Late Bloomer…….My Early Days in Transition by Julia Kaye.  This is a Kaye’s personal experience during her early months of gender transition.  It is a Non-Fiction Graphic Novel for adults and is brilliantly executed. Make sure to read the Before and Letter to my younger self  (part of the book) as well.

A Cherry is Not Always Sweet!

Cherry book cover

October 2, 2018

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I just finished the book Cherry by Nico Walker. WOW…I’m definitely all amped up after reading it!  This semi-autobiography mixed with splashes of fiction is a heroin and OxyContin fueled ride that is not for the faint of heart. The premise of this book is bleak. The nameless narrator fails out of college, marries his girlfriend, then enlists in the army and serves as an army medic in the Iraq war. He was no stranger to drugs before and even during the war. His addiction to heroin, Oxy, and any other substance he could get his hands on only worsened following his departure from Iraq and the onset of PTSD. His desperation for money and his next fix leads him down a path of bank robberies and self-destruction.

The narrator’s story is not a cheery one. His thoughts and words are salty and crude. His wartime and drug addiction experiences make you feel like you are on an endless roller coaster ride. Getting high on your drug of choice is easy. Cherry’s narrator shows you just how exhausting it is to stay high. The priorities one will abandon and the lengths one will go to to stay high are mind-blowing. The desperation in this book is vivid and real. The narrator speaks from his gut and does not shine a glamourous light on war or addiction.

Read this book, share this book, and talk about this book.

Cherry is a riveting story that you will not be able to put down.

Until next time!

Your Biggest Fan,



Nico Walker is currently serving an 11 year sentence in jail for robbery.  He wrote this book on a typewriter while in prison…………….hence, no book tour or signings!

*click here to buy the book!*

What Do You See When You Look Out Your Window???

The Woman in the Window book cover

September 25, 2018

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

Can you see your neighbors when you look out your window? I can, but it is not particularly entertaining. They mow their lawns, start their grills, play with their dogs, and shoot hoops with their kids. Imagine if one day when you glanced out your window, you saw someone being murdered in your neighbor’s house! Keep that thought in mind while I set you up for your next big read.

Suspense and thrill-seekers are going to enjoy A.J. Finn’s debut novel, The Woman in the Window.  Without giving too much away, Anna Fox is a child psychologist living alone in her New York City brownstone (not counting her tenant who rents out her basement).  She suffers from extreme agoraphobia and hasn’t left her home in TEN MONTHS. She spends her days washing down her prescribed medications with a bottle or two of wine, watching old movies, and casually spying on her neighbors through her window (I mean, what else is she going to do?).  One night, while peeking out of her window, Anna sees someone stabbed inside her neighbor’s house. What should she do? How can she help (remember, she doesn’t leave her house)? Who should she call? Was this real or just a figment of her drunk imagination? Will anyone believe her? Can she trust her own memory?  Beware, the atmosphere of this story is thick with anxiety.

Anna’s daily struggle with mental illness doesn’t leave much to the imagination.  With each page read, however, there is a strong desire to want to know how this all came about.  Anna keeps herself and readers guessing whether her memories are real or imagined. This isn’t hard for her to do while under the influence of a concoction of pills and wine throughout the majority of the book.  The story starts off at a leisurely pace. Once you get the lay of the land, it starts to unravel into quite the suspenseful and gripping read. Do not be alarmed if your head is spinning and you feel like your mind is playing tricks on you while reading.  It is merely a reflection of how magnificent a writer A.J. Finn really is. My final warning…plan on staying up until the wee hours of the night with this little gem. It will not disappoint.

Until Next time Sir!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S.  I kid you not, this is being adapted for the big screen starring Amy Adams, Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman.

*click here to buy book*

Quirky Lead Ladies I Just Want to Hug!

eleanor Oliphant book cover
Convenience store woman book cover
Cover of Britt Marie Was Here

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Convenience Store Woman by Sayak Murata

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

September 18, 2018

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I feel lucky to have connected with many characters on my reading adventures. Characters come and go as fast as books are finished, and new ones started. Every now and then, though, I come across someone in a book that I can’t stop wondering about long after I’ve finished reading their story. How are they doing? What have they been up to? I want just to pick up the phone and give them a quick call.

I share with you today three extraordinary ladies who have struggled to navigate life in a society that doesn’t always embrace the unique and quirky.  The one thing these gals have in common is that they are perceived as misfits to themselves and the people around them. Their journeys are all rocky in their own way.  They are inspiring and lovable; I hope you adore them as much as I do. Mr. Hemingway, I would like to introduce to you………….. Keiko, Eleanor, and Britt-Marie.

Keiko Furukura is a 36-year-old woman from Convenience Store Woman by Sayak Murata.  Keiko has worked at the Convenience store in Japan since she was 18.  She carries out her days mimicking her co-workers’ mannerisms and lingo and thrives on her day’s predictability in the store’s written manual.  She even goes as far as consuming the majority of her food intake from this particular store only. She is literally “one with the store.” Keiko is a dependable and hard worker who lives an independent life.  She is beyond socially awkward, has very few friends, has zero interest in any type of romantic relationship, has no advanced goals, and finds all of her joy only… you guessed it, at the convenience store. Even though Keiko is content with her life, the people around her find it socially appalling.

My next gal pal is Eleanor Oliphant from Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Eleanor is a young girl who lives in an apartment, works a Monday-Friday office job, and enjoys her weekend routine of vodka and pizza in her Glasgow flat.  Eleanor’s social behavior makes the people around her anything but comfortable. She has no friends and only a literal understanding of the world around her. As her highly dark past continues to haunt her, Eleanor lives her life on autopilot until, one day, she decides she wants more.

Lastly, there is the lovely Britt-Marie from Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman.  Britt-Marie is a 63-year-old woman who leaves her cheating husband to live on her own in a small town in Sweden called Borg.  Her OCD, atypical social skills, lack of humor, and over-the-top cleaning behaviors make Britt-Marie supremely odd to the people around her.  In Borg, Britt-Marie lives an alien life running the small town’s dying recreational center while forming surprising relationships with the new people around her.  Living by herself as an independent woman for the first time allows her to process the sadness from her past finally and discover her self-worth. It isn’t a smooth journey, but one that will reshape her life forever.

I encourage you to read these three books to feel happy and sad, to observe the impact of loneliness, to have compassion, and to see the power of love in all shapes and sizes. You can speculate about how these women came to be, but most people do not want to be defined by their past alone but by the journey as a whole.  With common themes of loneliness, humor, acceptance, and love that float through these stories, it is not a chore to chuckle and cry while reading the same page. Once immersed in these three books, any sorrow you feel will turn to pom poms cheering these ladies on. You will no longer be sitting in the stands watching their lives unfold.  Instead, you will be standing on the turf and rooting them on with all your heart and soul. I mean, who doesn’t want an underdog to win??????


Your Biggest Fan,


P.S.  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is going to be a movie. Sayaka Murata was selected to be Woman of the Year in 2016 by Vogue Japan. I’m calling Britt-Marie to see if she can come over and get my son’s white baseball pants cleaned!!!!!!!

*Click here to buy Convenience Store Woman by Sayak Murata*

*Click here to buy Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman*

*Click here to buy Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman*

*Book links provided in today’s post are affiliate links. Dear Mr. Hemingway makes a tiny commission through books purchased in our storefront. Even better, 20% of purchases made through the Dear Mr. Hemingway storefront go towards an independent bookstore. Thank you so much for all of your support!

Wicked Fast Reads

Sunburn by Laura Lippman & Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

Sunburn book cover
Book cover of Ghosted

September 11, 2018

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

The number of books on my ever-growing “To Be Read” list can seem completely overwhelming at times.  There is nothing more satisfying than gobbling up a few super-fast reads while enjoying my morning cup of Joe or a cocktail on my front porch on a warm fall evening. I am not always looking for a book that is a literary work of art, just quick, entertaining, and a little bit mysterious to keep me on my toes.

Well today Mr. H., I am sharing two really fun reads with all my friends. Both books are way more intriguing than any synopsis could ever provide. Because of this, I am not telling you a whole lot about each book, just a little sip to wet your whistle. I certainly do not want to be a book spoiler!

My first book is Sunburn by Laura Lippman. Why in the world would a young mother up and leave her husband and young daughter in the middle of their family beach vacation?  Too much sunburn perhaps????? So the mystery begins of why Polly disappeared during her vacation and what happens next. I will tell you that Lippman’s story is an absolute seductive treat.  The characters are all mysterious with secrets I was dying to know. A suspenseful read that keeps you guessing and a hint of dark small-town charm will keep you whipping through the pages. The book cover is pretty cool too! READ IT !

My second book is Ghosted by Rosie Walsh. Here is how this book sets up.  Sarah meets a man named Eddie by chance, and the two of them fall madly in love in the week that they spend together.   Eddie then leaves on an already planned vacation with promises of calling Sarah and maybe getting something more serious started when he returns.  Well, lo and behold, Eddie doesn’t call EVER! He disappears…”Ghosted”. The storyline starts off a little cheesy, but hang in there. The mystery starts to slowly unravel with plenty of twists and turns that totally caught me off guard.  Walsh was super clever with how she laid out the clues throughout the book. The overall story turned out to be completely unexpected and a very pleasant surprise.

Enjoy these two delightful reads this weekend!

Till next time my friend!

Your Biggest Fan,


P.S.  My early autumn night Cocktail (while it is still seasonably warm) on my front porch has been a slightly modified version of the famous Moscow Mule.  This lighter version was concocted by my one of my girlfriends. She refers to it as a Moscow Mule Light. I simply refer to it as My Mule!


8-10 oz glass of choice

Fill your glass with TONS of ice

Pour in one big shot of vodka (your choice)

Squeeze an entire lime into the glass (really SQUEEZE it)

Finish off with a splash or two of good ginger beer (I personally use one that is crafted in Maine)

Throw a lime slice in to make it PRETTY!!!!!!!

Bottoms up!

*Click here to buy Sunburn by Laura Lippman*

*Click here to buy Ghosted by Rosie Walsh*

A Memoir That Makes You Go 😱

Educated book cover

September 9, 2018

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I just read a memoir that I most certainly could not put down. I found the pages of this book practically turn themselves. Readers will absolutely escape their own reality and be transported back to Westover’s childhood where they will be thanking their lucky stars it was not their own. I was beyond captivated by Tara Westover’s story and utterly baffled by her childhood and family dynamics. In her memoir titled Educated, Westover shares her story of growing up on a mountain in Idaho with her parents and siblings. Her father was a survivalist (always preparing for the end of the word…literally) and a religious fanatic. He ran a scrap metal business on his land (basically a dangerous junkyard) with his capable children who provided free labor.  He truly believed in the “will of God”. As someone who was anti-government and western medicine, he raised his family off the grid (no birth certificates, doctors, schools, etc.).  Westover’s mother, a midwife and a self -trained herbalist/healer was the primary “Doctor” to her family no matter the severity. Though her parents claimed to have successfully homeschooled their children, the memoir tells us differently.

Westover grew up with essentially no formal education.  When old enough, she worked in her dad’s scrap metal pile in harm’s way enduring serious injuries.  She was mentally and physically abused by one of her brothers. Wanting more from her life, she challenged her parent’s beliefs and somehow got herself accepted to college where she experienced a classroom and formal education for the first time at age 17.  As the years went by, she continued to struggle with adapting to the mainstream, while battling emotional push and pull with her parents and family. Despite her family drama, Westover goes on to study and earn a Ph.D. from the prestigious Cambridge University.

This story was downright jaw-dropping.  I paused throughout the book many times saying “WHAT?!?!”. I was stunned and mesmerized by Westover’s story and how it’s craziness just kept intensifying.  It no doubt raises questions on what is the definition of “responsible parenting”, who gets to judge, and where/when the line is drawn?

I am hoping my friends enjoy the strangeness of this memoir for what it is.  If anything, it will make them appreciate their own stories!!!!!!!!


Your Biggest Fan,


P.S. Check out two more books with a similar vibe that I absolutely LOVED…

To purchase each book, simply click on its cover!

The Great Alone book cover

The Great Alone (fiction) by Kristin Hannah

The Glass Castle book cover

The Glass Castle (memoir) by Jeannette Walls

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