Walking with Friends | I Don't Hate It

Hey there. To those of you tuning in for the second time, welcome back. To those of you who have subscribed since the first newsletter went out two weeks ago, thank you! These will be short missives, designed to recommend books. You can look forward to receiving them twice a month, on Fridays.

1. Gail Caldwell's Let's Take the Long Way Home is subtitled "a memoir of friendship," and it is—Pulitzer Prize-winner Caldwell writes movingly about her friendship with fellow writer Caroline Knapp—but it is also a story of how two women found each other and became friends in early middle age, when neither thought that was still possible. I don't want to give too much away, but don't be surprised if you find yourself sitting up in bed late at night crying, pondering which of your friends you would spend hours walking your dogs around a pond with. Regularly.* (My research suggests it's only $1.99 on Kindle right now, for those of you inclined toward such bargains.)

2. I began recommending Amanda Davis's novel, Wonder When You'll Miss Me, immediately upon reading it, more than a decade ago, mailing copies of it in care packages to ailing friends and family members and gifting it on birthdays. Tragically, this was just after the thirty-two-year-old's death, along with her parents, in a small-plane crash on the way to one of her readings. Davis had also written a story collection, Circling the Drain, and while that doesn't bring her back, it does bring her to life on the page. This is a writer whose voice and talent we lost too soon. If you haven't read her, please do.

*3. This week's first recommendation is influenced heavily by a recent visit from one of my best friends, who would be on my list of pond circumnavigators, and a four-mile walk we took along the Saunders-Monticello Trail. I walked over to my bookcase this morning and I knew instinctively the Caldwell was it. So my third, non-book, recommendation this week is to spend some time outdoors, if you can, moving, if you can, talking to a friend. Turns out it's good for the soul. (If you put in for such things.)

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