By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine
Did you know actress, Reese Witherspoon, is an author and started a book club in 2017? Her book, Whiskey in a Teacup, released in September. It is a must for anyone’s coffee table, Southern or not. It solves the mystery of why everything that doesn’t move in the south is monogrammed from flask to combs. There is a whole chapter on “The Magic of Sweet Tea,” our blog title’s play on words. Here is a Southern Living Magazine link with more information on her book. I sat in our local Barnes & Noble and flipped through the beautiful pages of her book that I purchased for my daughter’s birthday. I was so delighted with each page that I texted my daughter who finally said “stop, Mom-I want to be surprised, too.” Confession, I’m buying my own copy for my coffee table.
In 2017, Reese started a book club called Hello Sunshine. You can check out all her recommendations. My daughter introduced me to Reese’s book club monthly picks. Thank you!
Reese’s newest book in her own words, “Ready for my first book pick of 2019?! This month, we’re reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean. This book is like a love letter to libraries, and made me nostalgic for the long hours I used to spend there when I was a kid. The story follows the investigation of the huge fire that destroyed the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986, and the mystery, history and people that surround it. It’s a captivating story and I can’t wait for y’all to read it with me!” Susan Orlean is also the author of The Orchid Thief which was a fascinating read. I can’t wait to read The Library Book, but I’ll have to read it after my daughter, who ordered it first.
I’ve read 10 of Reese’s monthly picks and have loved them all. Her book club introduced me to authors that I was unfamiliar with like British author Ruth Ware. I devoured all of Ms. Ware’s books. They left me hungry for more. The books Reese picks tend to have a strong female protagonist with flaws that may or may not be resolved. The books also tend to be by authors who are wordsmiths of painting a vivid picture that plays like a movie in your mind’s eye. Maybe Reese is drawn to books that read more like a screenplay.
I recently read Mourning Dove by author, Claire Fullerton, her third book. It is an upmarket fiction book. After reading it in one sitting, I thought it would be the perfect fit for Reece’s monthly book pick. It’s a coming of age story set in Memphis in the 1970’s. One of my favorite quotes from Claire’s book states, “Your heart breaks only once in a lifetime. Every offense in its wake is only a variation of the original laceration. Only once can you say you have no frame of reference. Only once you're knocked to your knees by an intractable powerlessness, where the only option is surrender in listless defeat. Subsequent infractions are damaging in their own right, but they’re only a visitation of the original wound, which remains half-healed forever, with scar tissue that defines you for the rest of your life.” I found this passage to be so poetically descriptive, I know everyone can relate to their first heartbreak that forever changes one’s life.
My second favorite quote from Claire’s book is, “It’s life’s choices that scare me the most. Those critical crossroads that direct or redirect the course of a life. And what unsettles me to no end is the recognition that the choices that shape our lives are not always of our making. Sometimes we’re on the bitter end of somebody else’s.” Ain’t that the truth, as we say in the South.
Claire has appeared as a guest author blog poster on this blog several times. She gives great insight for authors with her blog posts, “On Giving an Author's Speech” read it here at these links, “Writer’s Block...Nope,” “CreativeSide?,” “Rooted as a Southern Writer,” and “Surprise at a Book Signing.”
Claire will appear tomorrow on this blog and tell of her recent adventures at the weekend with the legendary Texas book club, The Pulpwood Queens. It’s definitely on my bucket list to attend after scheduling Claire’s guest author blog post. By the way, have you appeared on SWM’s blog, Suite T? It’s a great way to layer your branding if yourself as an author. Here is a link to the guidelines for submissions as a guest author on this blog.
Claire’s Story “Burn” was a finalist in Southern Writers Magazine’s 2017 contest. You can read “Burn”at this link. With a previous career as a DJ, Claire recorded Mourning Dove for the audio book release. She also provides the first chapter to pique readers, here is the link. Mourning Dove has been awarded finalist in both, The Independent Authors Network 2018 and Literary Classics Book of the Year 2018. It also received the 2018 Bronze Medal in the Southern Fiction for Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews and Awards Contest. The book was a semi-finalist in the 2017 Faulkner Society William Wisdom Contest.
After reading 10 of Reese’s monthly book picks, I have no idea how she picks her books. I do know a book like Mourning Dove would be a great fit for her “Hello Sunshine” book club. So hey, Reese Witherspoon Book Club, I’ve Got a Book for You!
It’s winter, so this is the perfect time to read, write a guest author blog post for Southern Writers Magazine, blog, Suite T and of course, write. We all know every good writer is a reader, first and foremost.
Has anyone else read books on Reese Witherspoon’s book club? What are your favorites?