Hey there. Welcome to October, my favorite month. Why is October my favorite month? It’s not because of Fall, though that has become my favorite season now that I live in a place where the leaves change color, but rather because October is my birth month. I love birthdays, especially mine. This is thanks to my mother, who always made my birthday special and taught me to enjoy it. She used to decorate the house for every passing holiday—if it was Valentine’s Day, we had a cardboard Cupid Scotch-taped to our screen door—but she would not allow any Halloween paraphernalia until October 28, the day after my birthday. And I could forget about a Halloween-themed party. (Consequently, the allure of that particular holiday is lost on me.) As she recently said when describing my birthday, “it’s a season.” So what I mean to say is, Welcome to the season of my birth.
I have been waiting to tell you about Jami Attenberg’s new novel, All This Could Be Yours. It comes out the week before my birthday and feels like a present for me. Now is the perfect time to pre-order. Attenberg is called “the poet laureate of difficult families” in a blurb on the cover, and I have been reading her long enough to recognize the truth in that. A few years ago I stayed up well into the night finishing Saint Mazie, her novel based on the life of a woman who lived on the Bowery in New York City’s Lower East Side in the 1920s. I had a similar experience with this one while on vacation in July: the book had gotten wet at the pool and the pages had swollen despite my best efforts to dry it out but I was undeterred. For the last half or so, I could not put it down—at restaurants, in airports, on two planes—I was determined to finish before my vacation ended. It is the story of an extended family—really a few small families within a larger, nuclear family, like a set of Russian nesting dolls—who come together, and don’t, at a crucial moment.
Okay this one is a little self-serving, but the Fall issue of VQR is out & has been selling like…hotcakes? It’s been very popular! The theme is Bedtime Stories—tales for kids and grown-ups alike. I would hate for you to miss it. You can purchase a single copy OR you can subscribe and still get the Fall issue as your first issue this week only. Use the discount code Friends&Family to receive 25 percent off.
This last recommendation is for my readers who wear makeup (or know people who do): Almay Oil-Free Makeup Eraser Sticks. These are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and—my fave—cruelty-free. They look like q-tips; the stick is hollow and filled with makeup remover. When you snap off one end, the liquid flows into the remaining cotton swab. You then use that to remove any leftover eye makeup that may have migrated to your under-eye area or any lipstick you might have accidentally applied outside your lip line, etc. These babies are on my monthly Subscribe & Save list.
In other news, I’ve just started reading the new Emily St. John Mandel novel (will report back) and am still obsessed with my succulents (you can use the referral code qtF@XGC4n for $5 off your first box). Actually, my obsession now extends to this heart plant—look how cute! Enjoy October!