Gettin’ Lit

If you live in New York and have never visited the New York Public Library‘s main branch at Bryant Park, shame on you. If you’re a non-New Yorker, add it to your future bucket list. I don’t need to justify this.

With that said, I could never say no to a literary Halloween party at this gorgeous library. I owe a big thanks to my friend Hilary for inviting me to the most lit party of the year (yes, the puns were used): The Library After Hour’s Halloween Masquerade on Oct. 26.

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Author Q&A: Stephanie Dray

My Dear Hamilton was no joke. This beautiful and insightful novel about one of the most influential men in American history — from his wife’s perspective — ranks in the top three of books I’ve read this year, mainly because of the emotions it dug out of me.

“I actually think my body and mind morphed into Eliza Hamilton’s,” I wrote in my review.

Such an impactful book had me dying to know the authors who brought this creation to life. Thankfully Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie provided us with details about their writing process in the back of their book, including all of the research that went into writing this masterpiece. Plus, their love for Fraunces Tavern instilled an instant connection. (Stephanie and Laura, let’s get a drink sometime!)

I was lucky enough to learn more about these inspiring women after exchanging a few emails with Dray. Check out our conversation below.

Stephanie Dray

Courtesy of Stephanie Dray.

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Shop ‘Til You Drop: Montreal

I’ve been bitten by the travel bug. When I look back on 2018, traveling will best depict this year, and I have absolutely no complaints about that. Since January, I’ve had first-time visits to ItalyPortland, Maine; Sea Bright, N.J.; Boston; Baltimore; and, most recently, Montreal. Gah … #blessed.

Now in Boston, I was much too busy reveling in our win for independence (see: Beth living out a fantasy) to think about bookstores.

I know I know.

Blasphemy.

But I picked up my own slack in Montreal by visiting three lovely bookstores that had their own flair and charm and, of course, books on books on books.

Readers, it’s time to shop ’til you drop: Montreal style.

Old Port

Many oooh and aaahs to be had at Montreal’s Old Port.

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Toe to Toe: Crazy Rich Asians

A friend of a friend (this is already so on par with the subject) told me that if you hadn’t read Crazy Rich Asians, don’t wait to do so before seeing the movie. The whole “it’s not like the book thing!” will sway your opinion of the movie. Well, I have one thing to say about that.

Lies.

If you haven’t read my review of Kevin Kwan’s bestseller, 1.) what are you waiting for? and 2.) you should know I love this book. It was easily five flames. Naturally, that gave me mixed feelings about seeing the movie. Books are always better than the movies they inspire (The Notebook being the only exception); even though I know this, I never want to leave a theater being let down.

Lucky for me, Crazy Rich Asians met my expectations on the silver screen; so much so that I would also say the movie is completely lit. But was it better than the book? Let’s find out as I take CRA toe to toe: book versus movie.

CRA

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Independence Day Reads

You know that horrible question that comes up during ice breakers, “Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.”

Dammit, Brenda, I don’t know. My life is not that interesting.

Well, two years ago I finally figured out my answer: I like war. Not in the gruesome way. More like I have an affinity for war themes in pop culture. The PatriotSaving Private RyanLone Survivor, Glory, Top Gun (OK, maybe this last one is a stretch). I love them all. Now maybe this won’t surprise many people, but let’s consider my love for rom coms and chick lit. There’s a sharp contrast there. When you think about how much I love nonfiction, it starts to click a bit.

Now let’s combine that passion for my obsession with colonial America and the Revolutionary War. Every year in the days leading up to my country’s birthday, I pray The Patriot will be on TV, as well as PBS’ Liberty’s Kids series (don’t judge; it’s an excellent show). Anything and everything that has to do with the Revolutionary War and our country’s independence has me jumping for joy.

Crossing the Delaware

Source: A&E.

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Vote or Die: PBS’ “The Great American Read”

Sean Combs has greatly influenced American culture: He taught us it’s cool to change your name about five times, he was the ultimate Bad Boy, he gave us Danity Kane for goodness sake. Most importantly, he proudly professed the importance of voting. While his “Vote or Die!” campaign was intended for politics, there’s no reason we can’t use it for choosing America’s greatest read.

This summer PBS has premiered an eight-part series, The Great American Read, which will determine the great U.S. of A.’s favorite literary tale. The program promotes literacy across the country (yay!!) while touching on individual stories of literary impact.

This is clearly an opportunity to invoke Diddy’s mantra, except the consequences for not participating aren’t quite so severe.

Great American Read

Source: PBS.

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Toe to Toe: Sweetbitter

Because I’m a New York transplant, I naturally gravitate toward the books that highlight the trials and tribulations of this overwhelming place (see Still Me, The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street, The Futures, and about a million others I haven’t reviewed yet). Stephanie Danler‘s Sweetbitter fit that mold, which is why I added it to my bookshelf in 2017.

This storyline makes for great TV too, and on May 6, Starz premiered a six-episode Sweetbitter based on a screenplay written by Danler who also worked as an executive producer. Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, coproduced the series.

It would be a shame if Big Little Literature let this opportunity pass; therefore, it’s time for Sweetbitter to go toe to toe: book versus TV show.

 

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