Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Reading: Seating Arrangements

{In Which My College Roommate Writes A New York Times Best-Seller}

If you've been hanging around bigBANG for some time you might remember occasional references to my "Writer Friend." 

Well, my Writer Friend's name is Maggie Shipstead (known to this blogger as Smaggletooth; just role with it) and she just went and wrote a goddamn NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLER. After working her tail off in complete penury for the past three years our dear Smaggletooth suddenly has a first novel on the New York Times Book Review summer fiction list, the Washington Post wants to make sweet love to it, and the San Francisco Chronicle wants to read it aloud to you while you whale-watch after a round of gin and tonics. Sha-zam. If anyone deserves fame and fortune, it's my Smaggletooth. But my adoration for the personage of Smaggletooth is irrelevant; it is the book that matters, and the book is DELECTABLE. 

Think dysfunctional WASPs do Rachel Getting Married, but on Nantucket, brined in booze, and starring an enormous decomposing beached whale.  It's Cheeveresque, hysterical social satire- the perfect cocktail of high-brow literary chops marbled with uproarious impropriety. Case in point: my mom was convulsing with silent laughter at the Naughty Bits on our tiny, tinny, shoe-box flight out of Bozeman, and yelled to me over the roar of the engine, five rows back, Does your generation really shave off all their pubic hair? I pretended I didn't know her. Sorry, Frontier flight 270!

Maggie starts her national book tour next week; her amusing Facebook page has tour dates, whale videos, self-deprecating links to the less-than-stellar reviews (Travel + Leisure says Seating Arrangements is "not so embarrassing that you have to hide it on an e-reader!"), and other Shipsteadean goodies. 

Ok enough banter.  Cancel all plans for the weekend, pre-chill the Hendrick's, and go out and buy the damn book: Seating Arrangements, by Maggie Shipstead. Go Shipstead, go!

30 comments:

  1. that's so awesome! adding to the summer reading list now.

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  2. now i know that she is your pal, i'm going to have to cancel my 150 person wait listed library hold and purchase this damn book. THANKS A LOT ;)

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  3. sounds like the hilarity follows it, inside and outside the book! totally putting this on my to-buy booklist. :) (also, can i steal your mum? she sounds AWESOME!!)

    ps. i've finally gotten around to setting up my etsy shop!! i've got some necklaces in there right now, but i'm also planning on throwing some of my polaroid prints up there too (only in mega-huge poster form). rather than show my spectacularly awful coding skills by trying to include the link here, just go to etsy and search for 'indreams' the shop. :)

    pps. i've ALSO got a contest on for winning a print of one of my polaroids on my blog. feel free to give me explicit directions on what polaroids of mine you need to see up close + personal! (seriously, though, i would love your feedback on this! thanks in advance...)

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    1. Just left you a long comment- looks AMAZING, lady- that tribal necklace has my name all over it. Can't wait to see more!

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  4. Awww, thanks Lilmuffin!! The book has never looked so handsome.

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  5. I've been hearing good things about this one all over town. Congrats to your friend! What a dream come true.

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  6. I just finished Seating Arrangements! Best book I've read in ages. Your gal pal is absolutely brilliant with words.

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    1. Oh Lisa that is SO fabulous to hear. So glad you enjoyed it.

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  7. Crazy! I literally just started reading this book two days ago. That's so cool, good for her! So glad to from you how good it is, makes me even more excited to continue reading.

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  8. Just picked this up yesterday! Seriously! And this review? Priceless. You two obviously have a beautiful friendship. Inspiring!

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    1. Perfect timing! Can't wait to hear what you think.

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  9. Ah, amazing when someone you love does well at their passion. Good on her! I'm fairly new to your blog and don't think I've commented before... but wanted to say I am really enjoying your posts - they are always so well written, my favourite!

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  10. Hooray for great friends doing great things.

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  11. what a delightful love fest of your friend! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy after this. I love that your mom asked you that - I think my mom would just melt at the thought. Summer vacay = chilled hendricks in our house :-)

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    1. My mom is *usually* pretty proprietary about those kinds of things, so it was doubly hilarious/mortifying. Gawd.

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  12. looks like I just found a book for next month's book club reading!

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  13. Ooh! Her Facebook page is indeed amaze balls. Thanks Lily! This is going to be my airplane-reading this weekend.

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    1. Ha! So glad you checked it out. She's an effing riot. Enjoy the book!

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  14. Eee how exciting! I just LOVE the cover of that book. I needed some good summer reading...

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  15. See? You are really cool.You have successful writers among your college mates, I can't say that. I have a two drag queens and a killer. For real. And I swear I went to a totally normal school! Anyway, I asked for reading advices on my blog and I have a nice list of books, i'll add this one to it!

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  16. I was fully prepared to dislike this book, aggrieved at paying hardback prices and emboldened by the second page when Mr. Van Meter feels that twinge of regret at the lamplight obliterating the predawn world and thinking, aha, nobody really feels like that. But just a few pages later I was hooked, telling an empty apartment every few minutes, That's good, and then marvelling that she could include Ernest Shackleton and a le maillot jaune reference in teh first 100 pages and not feel forced. 94 pages down and I'm still not sure it's a better read than bB, but I've got a few hundred pages to figure that out.

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  17. Just purchased it! Thanks for the recommendation...

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  18. I got this one last week, how great a coincidence! What smart people you all are! She writes great and funny and I love it! Now I can tell her myself!
    xoxo Victoria

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  19. Sounds brilliant. I am in GREAT need of a GOOD book. Best timing ever:)

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  20. "It's Cheeveresque"
    Okay, I'm on it, even though 2011 was the Year of Cheever for me.

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  21. that is brilliant-i am helping her stay on the list!

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