January 15, 2020
Dear Book Lovers,
I am beyond excited to introduce you to today’s guest writer…Claire Lombardo. If you do not know who this gorgeous writer is, let me fill you in. Claire’s debut novel, The Most Fun We Ever Had (Doubleday), was released in June 2019 (you know, the thick book with all of the ginkgo leaves on the cover). This family drama was an instant New York Times bestseller. Not only did it win the heart of book lovers everywhere, but it was one of my favorite books of 2019 ❤️❤️❤️. In addition to her stunning first novel, Claire’s writing has been published in numerous publications including Barrelhouse Magazine, Little Fiction and Playboy. Currently, Claire lives in Philadelphia and is working on her second novel (Hurry Claire, Hurry!!!).
Claire’s letter to Mr. H. delighted me. Her first paragraph was an unexpected treat. You would think I choreographed it myself……… (nope, pleasantly surprised). Before I go, I want to thank Claire for taking part in this project. As a book lover and avid reader myself, it is an absolute pleasure to connect with authors as writers, but most importantly, as fellow readers.
Happy Reading Everyone!
All the Best,
P.S. Rumor has it that The Most Fun We Ever Had is currently be adapted for television. When I say television, I mean a series on HBO with Laura Dern and Amy Adams co-producing and Claire writing 😮😮😮. I wasn’t kidding when I said her book was good!!!!
January 15, 2020
Dear Mr. Hemingway,
Apologies in advance for my longwindedness. Our lives started out quite similarly, as it were–I, too, was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and grew up about 2 blocks from where you did; I, too, spent many summers in Michigan; I, too, attended Oak Park and River Forest High School and wrote for the newspaper, Trapeze. But somewhere along the way, I discovered adverbs, and from there our paths diverged. Such as it goes!
The book I can’t stop thinking about, though, isn’t especially adverb-laden: it’s spare and corporeal, with emotional substance that sneaks up to punch you in the gut. I think you might’ve enjoyed it. Last week, on New Year’s Day, I took a break from my own writing and committed to full-on idle coziness: I would do nothing, I decided, but read under a blanket with my dog. My text of choice? The Innocents by Michael Crummey.
Within the first few pages of this book, young siblings Ada and Everett lose their parents and their baby sister and are left utterly alone on a remote and atmospherically inclement cove off the coast of Newfoundland. Thenceforth we sit back and watch as they figure out how to survive literally and otherwise, navigating the sparse landscape of their home for sustenance while also figuring out, with only each other as points of reference, how to understand the world emotionally.
What to say about this book? It’s dark and exhilarating and endearing and, in moments, surprisingly sexy. It’s my favorite thing I’ve read all year. It’s the most unique exploration of siblings I’ve ever encountered. It gutted me, repeatedly. I spent moments on the edge of my seat (scaring the dog–sorry, Renee!), but also burrowing deeply and vicariously in the unique pains of young adulthood. Go and get your hands on it immediately–you won’t regret it.
With flowery admiration of your contributions to canons both literary and feline,
ps–Lest I’ve left you wanting more, my own book, set in Oak Park, arrived this summer, covered in ginkgo leaves. Order The Most Fun We Ever Had today from your favorite indie bookstore! I’d suggest snagging a hardcover from my beloved Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City and/or grabbing a paperback on April 28th from the soon-to-open and sure-to-please Madison Street Books in Chicago.
pps–Seeking instant adverb gratification? I have a new story out in Playboy this month–go check out “Francophile”!
Claire’s pup likes to snuggle with her books❤️❤️❤️!!!