Archive for September, 2023

LGBTQ History Month Books to Read Now

Thursday, September 28th, 2023
LGBTQ History Month Books to Read Now from MomAdvice.com

Discover history with these must-read books for LGBTQ History Month! Explore the diverse stories and struDiscover these LGBTQ History Month books! Explore these diverse stories and struggles through our curated collection of nonfiction, fiction, and YA reads.

Jeffrey Dale Lofton recently appeared on the Book Gang podcast to chat about his debut book, Red Clay Suzie.

Given Jeffrey Dale Lofton’s extensive expertise in literature, thanks to his senior advisory position at the Library of Congress, he was an excellent collaborator in crafting today’s book list.

Listen to the full episode below (the show notes are located here) and subscribe to the Book Gang podcast for more episodes like this one.

This month-long celebration highlights the LGBTQ community’s rich and diverse history.

Before sharing the book list, I wanted to answer frequently asked questions about what LGBTQ hiistory History Month is.

Who Started LGBTQ History Month?

In 1994, Rodney Wilson, a high school history teacher from Missouri, established LGBTQ History Month.

Thanks to his efforts, he gained the backing of the National Education Association’s General Assembly. This laid the groundwork for a dedicated month to celebrate LGBT history.

You can discover more information on the history through the Library of Congress.

Why Do We Celebrate Pride Month in June and LGBT History Month in October?

In June, Pride Month offers the LGBTQ+ community and its allies a chance to unite and celebrate LGBTQ+ rights.

It commemorates the Stonewall riots in June 1969, which catalyzed the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.

LGBTQ+ History Month, observed in October, focuses on educating people about the history, struggles, and achievements of the LGBTQ+ community. 

It highlights key figures, events, and milestones in LGBTQ+ history to foster understanding and respect. 

While Pride Month is more celebratory and contemporary, LGBTQ+ History Month delves into the community’s historical context and challenges. 

Both months contribute to LGBTQ+ awareness and support but have distinct missions.

We encourage you to explore this month’s book list for BOTH Pride Month and LGBTQ History Month. 

LGBTQ History Month Books to Read Now from MomAdvice.com

LGBTQ History Month Books

Jeffrey Dale Lofton's insightful book recommendations reflect his passion for storytelling and the LGBTQ+ community.

Through Jeffrey's knowledgeable role as a senior advisor to the Library of Congress, we have one of our most well-curated book lists today.

Additional selections from Larry Hoffer, my incredible co-host on Patreon and a proud member of the LGBTQ community, have also been added.

Finally, I've included the books that have impacted me the most over my reading years. I hope these book selections evoke compassion and empathy as we reflect on this history month.

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

LGBTQ BOOKS FOR ADULTS FOR LGBTQ HISTORY MONTH

These LGBTQ books for adults offer education and reflection on pivotal moments like the AIDS crisis and its impact and other critical moments in history.

LGBTQ YA BOOKS FOR LGBTQ HISTORY MONTH

These impactful LGBTQ young adult books are books you can share with your teen or tween, exploring how this history impacted the younger generation.

BEST LGBTQ NONFICTION BOOKS

These nonfiction books are gripping page-turners that offer necessary history lessons that give readers context to this time.

What what book would you recommend for LGBTQ History Month? Let us know in the comments below what this list is missing!

Celebrate LGBTQ History Month With This Curated Stack

Thursday, September 28th, 2023

Debut novelist and senior advisor to the Library of Congress, Jeffrey Dale Lofton, discusses identity and self-discovery for LGBTQ History Month in October.

Celebrate LGBTQ History Month With This Curated Stack

Jeffrey Dale Lofton is one of the most intriguing voices I’ve read this year, and  I count his debut among my favorites of 2023. 

 Join us on an inspiring journey as we sit down with Jeffrey Dale Lofton, the talented debut author behind Red Clay Suzie, a fictional memoir that delves into the depths of identity, self-discovery, and the journey of growing up as a gay boy in the Deep South. 

In this intimate conversation, Lofton shares his personal experiences that shaped this remarkable narrative, the challenges of navigating his own identity, and the power of storytelling to bridge understanding, especially in the LGBTQ community.  

As a senior advisor to the Library of Congress, Lofton brings a unique perspective to literature and history. Be sure to tune in to the second half of our conversation to discover his top book recommendations for LGBTQ History Month. 

Don’t miss this week’s bonus book list-  The Best Books for LGBTQ History Month!

This new book list includes fiction and nonfiction books on queer history. 

Red Clay Suzie Book Synopsis

Nominated for The Center for Fiction 2023 First Novel Prize, this debut novel will resonate with fans of Jeff Zentner

Told through childlike narration, Philbet is a young boy with a misshapen chest and a heart full of dreams embarking on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance in the rural landscapes of Georgia. 

Amidst the backdrop of tomato sandwiches, green milkshakes, and a deep love for cars, he grapples with the challenges of being a gay outsider in a conservative community. 

Bullied, misunderstood, and yearning for acceptance, he discovers unexpected sources of strength and solace within his community. 

Inspired by Lofton’s true life story, this coming-of-age story will capture your heart.

Meet Jeffrey Dale Lofton

Jeffrey Dale Lofton transitioned from a career in acting to pursue post-graduate studies, earning Master’s degrees in Public Administration & Library and Information Science. 

Currently, he serves as a senior advisor at the Library of Congress, indulging in his love for books.

Originally from Warm Springs, Georgia, the author now resides in Washington, DC. 

Red Clay Suzie is his debut novel and was longlisted for The Center for Fiction 2023 First Novel Prize.

Celebrate LGBTQ History Month With This Curated Stack

Listen to the Book Gang Podcast:

Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform!

Mentioned in this episode:

Joining the Patreon community is an affordable way to support the show and gain access to a wealth of resources, including our monthly FULLY BOOKED buzzy new release show, exclusive author interviews, music playlists, and more! 

2023 MomAdvice Fall Reading Guide

The Best Books for LGBT History Month (BONUS BOOK LIST)

Red Clay Suzie by Jeffrey Dale Lofton

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner

And I Do Not Forgive You by Amber Sparks

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Best Libby App Tips & Tricks

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

Pete Cross, Audio Book Narrator

The Born This Way Foundation

The Trevor Project

LGBTQ History Month

How to Survive A Plague by David France

My Government Means to Kill Me by Rasheed Newson

Rasheed Newson’t Debut Novel Retells the Early Years of AIDS in New York City

The Other Pandemic by Lynn Curlee

Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco by K. Iver

Who is This Grief For?

The Center for Fiction 2023 First Novel Prize Longlist

Shop the above (Amazon) links or through my Book Gang Bookshop Page!! They pay a 10% commission on every sale and match 10% to independent bookstores.

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The Best Halloween TV Episodes to Stream Now

Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Discover the best Halloween TV episodes and where to stream them now. From heists to haunted houses, these Halloween shows deliver hilarious fun for viewers.

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

When I was little, I started having nightmares. My mom eventually realized they were caused by something she’d allowed me to watch on television. The terrifying show? Scooby Doo.

I’m no longer scared by a silly cartoon, but I could only watch one season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer before I got too scared. 

I don’t see horror movies in the theater, I don’t read Stephen King novels, and when our local amusement park starts playing its “fright night” commercials every year, I lose my mind because HOW DARE THEY?

Suffice it to say, I’m not really here for the scary parts of Halloween. But the candy bars and costumes? 

Oh yeah, that’s my jam.

I love dressing up my kids and seeing other kids’ clever and cute costumes. Sometimes I even dress up with them.

And, obviously, I’m in it for the candy. And the pumpkins. And don’t forget It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (where to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown full movie)

The Office Halloween episode

But luckily for scaredy cat couch potatoes like me, that’s not the only Halloween fun to be found on TV.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As the licensing deal with Netflix expired on your favorite sitcoms, we have updated this list on where to stream these shows in 2023 with a Halloween Cheat Sheet with season and episode names.

Browse today’s updated list of Halloween episodes and where to stream them.

The Best Halloween TV Episodes to Stream Now

Skip the scary movie, pop some popcorn, and join me on the couch for these sitcom Halloween episodes.

Join your favorite characters for costume mishaps, ghostly fun, and non-stop laughs. It's a scream-worthy season you won't want to miss!

EDITOR'S EDITIONS

The MomAdvice editors curated these additional Halloween sitcoms that you might be searching for.

 Tell Me: What Halloween sitcom episode do you watch every year? Are we missing anything on this list?

The Best Halloween TV Episodes to Stream Now
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How a Kindle Page Turner Remote Improved My Reading Life

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

This remote control Kindle Page Turner is perfect for reading with hand pain. Learn how to use this gadget with your Kindle Paperwhite or the Kindle app.

How a Kindle Page Turner Remote Improved My Reading Life

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve dedicated a post to a single product, but the Kindle Page Turner is the kind of gadget that deserves its own post. 

How a Kindle Page Turner Improved My Reading Life

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hand Pain

This is your reminder that Instagram is an optical illusion- this is my Glamour shot with a chronic illness. This is not for sympathy, but it was important to offer a real user perspective for today’s post.

Longtime readers know I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which affects my joints and causes chronic pain. An ongoing problem that has increasingly become harder to navigate is the joint pain in my fingers. 

I can no longer hold a book comfortably, so I’ve been troubleshooting my reading life with various gadgets to make reading easier.  

reading tools for hand pain

Many readers have asked that I share all of the tried-and-true items that have helped my reading life (scroll down for a full list).

As someone who would refer to herself as a “professional reader,” I have to read for longer periods of time than an average reader.

In addition to today’s post, I am hosting a Book Gang podcast on Literary Wellness with Chronic Pain with Alexandra Orfanide, Creator of The Hypermobility Helpline Podcast & Osteopath on November 10th to discover new ways to manage reading with chronic pain. I will update this list with her suggestions after we record.

For now, the Kindle Page Turner is new to my arsenal of tools but has singlehandedly made even my worst joint days manageable with reading.

This tool allows me to change the placement of my fingers on this remote based on which joint is experiencing the least amount of pain.

I wanted to explain how this gadget works for you today! 

Kindle Page Turner Remote

What is a Kindle Page Turner?

This remote control allows you to turn pages without touching the screen, making it a convenient option for those who require a hands-free approach to reading. 

The demonstration for this Booktok reading sensation is that it is usually paired with a reader cozied under a blanket, clicking the remote while lying in bed.

What I Love About the Kindle Remote:

This ergonomic remote stays charged with a USB charging cord, which lasts for a week on a single charge. 

The remote itself does not require charging, but the sensor that is clipped to your gadget is charged with the cord.

What impresses me the most about this tool is that the remote is unbelievably light, so light, in fact, that I’ve been known to walk around my house all evening with the remote still attached to my wrist.

As someone with wrist issues, this element alone made this gadget a winner. 

Kindle Remote

The biggest win for hand pain sufferers or people with carpal tunnel is using this in either hand and selecting which finger needs to do the page turning for that day. 

I will switch from the thumb to my trigger finger or other digits when I’m having a difficult day.

Page-turning is quick and pushing the large button doesn’t take too much finger strength.

Kindle Page Turner

What I DON’T Love About This Kindle Remote:

This device is imperfect in its design construction, and I want to share my minor grievances with it.

If you have hand pain, getting the wristlet threaded for the first time will require assistance.

The holder must be threaded through with a pin and requires a steady hand to achieve.

As someone who lacks fine motor skills, assembling it took me a long time. It surprises me that this element does not come pre-assembled for users.

The page-turner remote only moves forward, not backward, so you must swipe if you need to manually reverse direction.

The biggest hurdle is that the device placement takes a little getting used to. It can hide a word of text, typically wherever you place it. 

Lori, a reader here, also submitted this tip as a workaround! If you adjust the margins of your Kindle page, you can reduce the words covered by the clip!  

Click the font menu (Aa) then layout and adjust the margin options there. This is her screen that shows what that new layout will look like, but will require more clicking with a remote if you go this route.

Kindle Page Turner

Quick Tips for this Kindle Page Turner Remote:

Keep in mind, if you have a case with a large lip, you may need to pop it off to use this ebook remote.

I use a slim origami Kindle case, so I haven’t encountered that issue with my current setup. 

It would be best to position this lower than where you would tap to access your Kindle menu. If you set this too high, it will go back to your Library, and you must confront how many books you have bought and still need to read.

Once you find the optimal placement, you are off to the races.

Kindle Remote Page Turner

How to Use a Kindle Remote Page Turner

Let’s walk through the process of pairing your Kindle Page Turner Remote for the first time.

Be sure to scroll down for more fun reading gadgets!

Step 1: Check Compatibility Before Purchasing a Kindle Page Turner

Before purchasing a Page Turner Remote, ensure it is compatible with your reading device.

While I use this, specifically for my Kindle Paperwhite, the remote control can also be used on an iPad, Android tablet, or Barnes and Noble Nook. 

If you use the Scribd app, Libby app, or Kindle app for reading with your wireless device, this device should be compatible once you have opened up your book for reading. 

Step 2: Pair the Remote with Your Kindle

Enable Bluetooth: On your Kindle device, go to “Settings” > “Bluetooth & Wireless.” Make sure Bluetooth is turned on.

Pairing the Kindle Page Turner

Put the Remote in Pairing Mode: Follow the instructions provided with your Kindle Page Turner Remote to put it in pairing mode. Typically, this involves holding down a button until a light indicator blinks.

Discover Devices: On your Kindle, tap “Pair a New Device.” Your Kindle will start searching for nearby Bluetooth devices.

Select the Remote: When your Kindle discovers the remote, select it from the list of available devices to pair them.

Confirm Pairing: If prompted, confirm the pairing on both your Kindle and the remote.

Here are some frequently asked questions about Kindle page-turning remotes: 

Does the Kindle Have an Auto Page Turner? 

Kindle devices primarily rely on manual page turning, either by tapping/swiping the touchscreen or using physical buttons if equipped with them.

That is why a remote can be a helpful device for people with hand pain. 

Book Gang Podcast

Do You Have Any Page-Turners for My Page-Turning Remote?

I host the Book Gang podcast that celebrates debuts, under-the-radar books, and backlist selections!  We host an author or literary hero to help co-host our shows. 

Each episode features a page-turner book list. That’s a beautiful place to start! 

The Best Prime Reading Guide 10 Free Kindle Books

Do You Have Resources for Free Kindle Books?

I am the queen of free Kindle books and how to get them. Be sure to check The Best Prime Reading Guide with Ten Free Books you can borrow if you have Prime. 

Don’t forget to take advantage of the Kindle First Reads program that allows Prime members to access and purchase new books a month before they are officially released to the public! 

You can check this landing page for monthly Kindle First Reads recommendations.

If you don’t have Prime, the library or my The Best Daily Kindle Deals list is a wonderful spot for readers on a budget. 

Below I am sharing my favorite reading tools for hand pain. Sending love and comfort to any reader who faces these kinds of challenges!

Reading Tools for Hand Pain

The Best Reading Tools for Chronic Pain

You can read more comfortably beyond the Kindle Page Turner! These are the items that help me the most with reading and chronic pain. As a professional reader with hand pain, I rely upon these items daily.

Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

TELL ME: What reading tools help you with chronic pain? If you have tried any of the devices mentioned, I’d love to hear your experience with them.

The Best Gifts for Kids Who Have Everything

Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

Are you searching for the best gifts for kids who have everything? This unique gift guide offers ideas for gifts for older kids, toddlers, and preschoolers.

The Best Gifts for the Kids Who Have Everything

Welcome to our updated 2023 gift guide for the kids who seem to have everything.  Cue the confetti! 

You’re in the right place for great gifts that I don’t think you’ll find anywhere else. 

Our comprehensive gift guide has compiled a curated selection of unique and fun gift ideas for kids of all ages that are perfect for birthday gifts, special occasions, or just because. 

Whether you have teens, tweens, toddlers, or preschoolers, we’ve covered you with many exciting gift options.

So dive in and discover some of our favorite gifts for your kiddos that we also believe are fun for the whole family. 

The Best Gifts for the Kids Who Have Everything

Activate Your Rakuten App First

Just as a reminder, if you are on a budget, I DO recommend that you sign up with Rakuten to do your shopping. This service will give you cash back on all your qualifying purchases.

If you want to read more about this shopping app, head here for an in-depth review of what Rakuten offers.

If you want $40 and plan to get shopping, this should automatically deposit $40 in your account for purchases(sorry- new customers only!).

Here are my suggestions for this year!

Gifts For Kids Who Have Everything

GIFTS FOR KIDS WHO HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER $25

Browse these unique gift ideas for kids under $25.

GIFTS FOR KIDS WHO HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER $50

Browse these kid gifts under $50!

GIFTS FOR KIDS UNDER $100

Browse these kid gifts under $100.

GIFT IDEAS FOR TEENS & TWEENS UNDER $25

Browse these unique gifts for teens and tweens under $25

GIFT IDEAS FOR TEENS & TWEENS UNDER $50

50

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The Best Anthony Doerr Books (Exclusive Author Interview)

Monday, September 18th, 2023

Read my interview with the author on the All The Light We Cannot See book. Discover the Anthony Doerr books in order and details on the new Netflix TV series.

The Best Anthony Doerr Books (Exclusive Author Interview)

This exclusive interview with acclaimed author Anthony Doerr delves into the captivating world of Anthony Doerr’s  Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See book. 

Join me as Doerr offers unique insights into the creation of this literary masterpiece, revealing the inspirations, challenges, and emotions that brought this unforgettable tale to life.

Anthony Doerr Books

Be sure to scroll down to see the FULL LIST of books from the author, and more details on the All the Light We Cannot See movie.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All The Light We Cannot See Summary

In this story, Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. 

When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind, and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. 

When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. 

They carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel with them.

Meanwhile, in a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. 

Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. 

More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

All the Light We Cannot See Quotes

All the Light We Cannot See Themes:

This novel was selected for an Alex Award which is given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. 

You will find many powerful themes in this book including:

War and Its Impact: The novel vividly portrays the devastating effects of World War II on individuals, families, and communities. It poses moral dilemmas faced by characters caught amid the conflict.

Resilience and Survival: The story follows the journeys of two young protagonists, Marie-Laure and Werner, as they navigate the challenges of war. Their resilience, courage, and determination to survive against all odds highlight the strength of the human spirit.

Human Connection: Amidst the chaos of war, the novel emphasizes the importance of human connections and empathy. It explores the bonds formed between characters, emphasizing the capacity for kindness and compassion even in the darkest times.

The Power of Knowledge: The novel celebrates the transformative power of knowledge and the way it can provide solace and hope. Marie-Laure’s love for books and Werner’s expertise in radio technology are symbolic examples of the intellectual pursuits that can illuminate even the darkest paths.

Moral Choices: Throughout the story, characters are faced with moral dilemmas and choices that challenge their values and principles. These ethical quandaries reflect the complexities of human nature and the blurred lines between right and wrong during times of war.

All the Light We Cannot See Quotes

 At the time of this interview, Anthony Doerr had already been on the New York Times best-seller list for twenty weeks. He certainly doesn’t need this interview for a promotion. 

Shortly after my interview, they awarded All the Light We Cannot See the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

Anthony Doerr All the Light We Cannot See

The Best Anthony Doerr Books (Exclusive Author Interview)

What was it like spending a decade on this book, and did you ever feel discouraged while writing it?

Oh, I was crazy with doubt almost of the time. 

You invest so many months into a single project—shelves stuffed with WWII books, three separate trips to Europe, dozens of scribbled notes, and the terror that you won’t be able to pull it all together keeps you up at night. 

I worried that if I abandoned the project, I’d let down my wife, kids, editor, and myself. 

And I never dreamed it would take so long—a quarter of my life!

The story beautifully centers around radio communication bringing unlikely individuals together. What inspired your choice to delve into radio, and did researching older radio models and their workings play a significant role in crafting this plotline?

I adored radios as a boy and often stayed up late listening to baseball games under my covers while my parents thought I was sleeping. 

But that passion had waned until ten years ago, when I took a train from Princeton, New Jersey, into New York City. 

I had just completed a novel and was searching for a new idea, and I had a notebook in my lap. 

The man in the seat in front of me was talking to someone on his cell phone about the sequel to The Matrix, I remember that very clearly, and as we approached Manhattan, sixty feet of steel and concrete started flowing above the train, his call dropped.

 And he got angry! 

He started swearing and rapping his phone with his knuckles, and after briefly worrying for my safety, I said to myself: What he’s forgetting, what we’re all forgetting, is that what he was just doing is a miracle. 

He’s using two little radios — a receiver and a transmitter — crammed into something no bigger than a deck of cards to send and receive little packets of light between hundreds of radio towers, one after the next, miles apart, each connecting to the next at the speed of light, and he’s using this magic to have a conversation about Keanu Reeves.

Because we’re habituated to it, we’ve stopped seeing the grandeur of this breathtaking act.

So I decided to write something that would help me and my reader feel that power again, to feel the strangeness and sorcery of hearing the voice of a stranger, or a distant loved one, in our heads.

That very afternoon, ten years ago, I wrote a title into my notebook: All the Light We Cannot See—a reference to all the invisible wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum (like radio waves). 

And that night, I started a piece of fiction in which a girl reads a story to a boy over the radio.

I conceived of her as blind and him as trapped in darkness, and the sound of her voice, carried by radio waves – the light we cannot see — through walls, as his salvation.

My heart went out to Werner, especially during his time in the Hitler Youth and the difficult choices he had to make for survival.

The book delves into themes of death, war, sadness, and poverty, despite the underlying hope in the story’s conclusion. Writing about this challenging period in history must have been tough.

Can you share which scene was the most challenging for you to write?

Yes, lots of the research for this novel was excruciating. 

The destruction of human beings during WWII, especially on the Eastern Front, occurred on a scale almost too large for the human brain to comprehend. 

Sometimes, the source material would send me to dark places, and I’d have to take breaks to work on other projects.

As for scenes that were hard to write, a writer faces many kinds of difficulties: technical, emotional, and syntactic. 

In terms of emotions, all the scenes involving Frederick were the most difficult because he reminds me of one of my sons.

Marie-Laure’s father’s intricate puzzles add so much beauty to your story. 

It made me wish I could find a puzzle for my kids to solve. 

How did you come up with this concept?

A friend of our family once gave me a Japanese puzzle box as a present.

 It was a wooden cube that looked like an ornate, solid block of wood. No visible doors, no knobs, no handles, no buttons.

But, as our family friend showed me if you knew what side to push in on, then various panels would start to slide down, and by manipulating all the panels in clever ways, you could eventually slide open the top and discover a hidden compartment inside.

I played with that thing for hours, showing it off to friends, examining its construction, etc., then eventually put it on a shelf and forgot about it. 

A couple of decades later, while working on this novel, the puzzle box came back to me, along with my fascination with it, and I decided to try writing a couple of scenes in which Marie-Laure’s father fashions puzzle boxes.

Which character do you identify the most within your book?

I do my best to identify with all my characters, even the bad actors—I think that’s probably part of the job description for any novelist, isn’t it?

This novel has 187 chapters beautifully segmented and sectioned for the reader in small doses. Why did you decide to structure your story this way?

Obviously, there are infinite ways to write a novel, but for me, “plotting it out” has always sounded scary and programmatic.

 I have to compose, revise, and re-revise scenes to understand what should happen.

So my process involves a lot of trial and error. I write hundreds of paragraphs trying to figure out where the story is going, and I usually cut most of them. 

I knew early on that I wanted the two narratives to feel like two almost parallel lines that gently inclined toward each other.

The structure was a big mess for a long time.

 It probably had 250 or 300 chapters at some points.

All I knew early on — and wanted a reader to intuit – was that Marie’s and Werner’s lives would intersect.

But it took me a long time to figure out exactly how that would happen.

If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own), what would that book be?

Oh, gosh, my answer to this question changes all the time, but a novel I’m absolutely in love with right now is Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

It’s about family, siblinghood, memory, storytelling, and particularly about our society’s treatment of animals.

It’s also structured in this beautiful, organic, perfect way—I hope a few of your readers will look at it!

*Editor’s Note: Read my interview with Karen Joy Fowler about “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” here!

Frequently Asked Questions About Anthony Doerr Books:

How do you pronounce Anthony Doerr?

Anthony Doerr’s last name sounds like “door.” For a pronunciation guide, it would look like this: Anthony Dor

What are the best Anthony Doerr books?

My favorite book by the author is All the Light We Cannot See.

This novel also is the highest-rated on GoodReads, followed closely by Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Is All The Light We Cannot See based on a true story?

All The Light We Cannot See is a work of historical fiction. 

While the characters are entirely fictional, the setting of Saint-Malo is a real place.

All the Light We Cannot See movie

When can I watch All The Light We Cannot See movie?

The book will become a Netflix TV series very soon! 

Directed by Shawn Levy, the Netflix adaptation stars Louis Hofmann, Lars Eidinger, Marion Bailey, Hugh Laurie, Aria Mia Loberti, and Mark Ruffalo.

With four hour-long episodes in total, the All the Light We Cannot See limited series will premiere on November 2, 2023, nearly a decade after the novel was published.

You can watch the riveting movie trailer here!

What are Anthony Doerr’s books in order published?

  • The Shell Collector: Stories (2001) 
  • About Grace (2004)
  • Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World (2007)
  • Memory Wall: Stories (2010)
  • All The Light We Cannot See (2014)
  • Cloud Cuckoo Land (2021)
Anthony Doerr Books

Anthony Doerr Books

Anthony Doerr is the author of six books. He won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for his novel All the Light We Cannot See.

His talent extends to the world of short stories and essays, where he has claimed an impressive five O. Henry Prizes.

Anthony's work has been translated into over forty languages.

He has received recognition from the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, and an Alex Award from the American Library Association.

Other esteemed honors include the National Magazine Award for Fiction, four Pushcart Prizes, three Pacific Northwest Book Awards, five Ohioana Book Awards, and the coveted 2010 Story Prize.

Discover more about all six books in this book list today.

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Love this author interview? Stream the Book Gang Podcast wherever you get podcasts. We discuss debuts, backlist, and under-the-radar book gems with your favorite authors.

Book Gang Podcast

TELL ME: What is your favorite Anthony Doerr book?

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The Best Page Turners About Motherhood to Read Now

Thursday, September 14th, 2023

These books about motherhood are the best page turners to read now. Dive into the joys, struggles, and complexities in this curated list of books about moms.

If you missed the Book Gang podcast, Adele Griffin celebrated the literary wisdom in motherhood-themed books! Adele Griffin’s debut revealed a captivating surrogacy journey and shares the characters that molded her narrative.

Listen to the full episode (the show notes are located at The Best Motherhood Lessons From Literary Characters) below and subscribe to the Book Gang podcast for more episodes like this one.

In honor of today’s topic, Adele and I share our favorite books about motherhood with this beautiful reading list celebrating mothers. 

Remember, you can find our book club member recommendations at the end of our book lists!

If you love this list, you can support my work through a one-time donation on Buy Me a Coffee or join our Patreon community for book fun all year long. The financial support helps us keep the lights on in our online space.

Best Page Turner Books About Motherhood

Browse these top page-turner books about motherhood.  This list includes book club books, thrillers, mysteries, classics, and memoirs.

ENLIGHTENING INFERTILITY BOOKS

These books document the infertility journey through fiction and include a poignant personal story that influenced today’s author.

BEST BOOK CLUB BOOKS ABOUT MOTHERS

Dive into these stories and experience the highs and lows of motherhood like never before. These are the best book club books about mothers for discussion.

PAGE TURNER THRILLERS AND MYSTERIES ABOUT MOTHERHOOD

Motherhood is complex and these books explore the darker sides of motherhood in the thriller and mystery genre.

BEST MEMOIRS ON MOTHERHOOD

These motherhood memoirs capture the joys, challenges, and complexities of this role.

CLASSIC BOOKS ABOUT MOTHERS

Celebrate the best mothers in classic literature.

Looking for more books about mothers? Fall in love with these MomAdvice Book Club recommendations:

What is your favorite book about mothers or motherhood? Let us know in the comments below what this list is missing!

The Best Motherhood Lessons from Literary Characters

Thursday, September 14th, 2023

Celebrate literary lessons found in books about mothers! Adele Griffin shares her riveting surrogacy story in her debut and how these characters shaped her.

The Best Motherhood Lessons From Literary Characters

Adele Griffin knew something had been missing from her fiction for a long time. 

Although she knew it was missing, she admits that it took her years to process and refine this motherhood journey into her adult fiction debut, The Favor

In this moving conversation, we discuss her riveting surrogacy journey and what writers have gotten wrong when writing about this deeply personal partnership. It is a profound bond that can have lifelong impacts on all parties involved, but the author’s challenge was packaging it lightly for a reader like her. 

As a seasoned author of over thirty books, she describes her unique challenges and hurdles in writing adult voices and, ultimately, the literary mothers who shaped this story, and how she viewed motherhood. 

In one of the most eclectic stacks brought to our show, we will discover surprising trivia behind some well-known classics and contemporary literature that brings modern motherhood issues to light.

The Best Page Turners About Motherhood to Read Now

Bonus Books About Mothers Book List

Today’s BONUS BOOK LIST explores The Best Page Turners About Motherhood to Read Now. This includes Adele’s fiction, nonfiction, and memoir selections. I’ve rounded out this stack with the most compelling books I’ve read on motherhood. 

And if you want to dive into Adele’s page-turning plot twists, you will love today’s bonus. Patrons get an additional  SPOILER-FILLED episode with Adele, discussing three pivotal moments in her book’s ending. 

The Favor Book by Adele Griffin

The Favor Book Synopsis

The Favor delves into the intricate world of surrogacy, weaving together the lives of two women from vastly different socioeconomic backgrounds. 

Readers meet Nora, a vintage fashion curator navigating the hidden burdens of financial debt and fertility struggles. 

Her life takes an unexpected turn when Manhattan’s socialite, Evelyn Elliot, breezes into the vintage shop she works at and enlists her as a personal assistant for high-society events.

As the two women get to know each other, Evelyn proposes an unprecedented favor—offering to be Nora’s surrogate. 

As Evelyn’s pregnancy unfolds on social media with the hashtag #compassionatesurrogate, Nora must navigate uncharted territory in this captivating novel, blending modern motherhood with a fashion-forward backdrop. 

Adele Griffin Author

Meet Adele Griffin

Adele Griffin is the author of over thirty highly acclaimed books across various genres, including Sons of Liberty and Where I Want to Be, both National Book Award finalists. 

The Favor is her adult fiction debut.

Listen to the Book Gang Podcast:

Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform!

Mentioned in this episode:

Joining the Patreon community is an affordable way to support the show and gain access to a wealth of resources, including our monthly FULLY BOOKED buzzy new release show, exclusive author interviews, music playlists, and more! 

2023 MomAdvice Fall Reading Guide

2023 MomAdvice Summer Reading Guide

True Biz by Sara Novic

The Favor by Adele Griffin

Adele’s Pinterest Board

The Kingdom of Prep by Maggie Bullock

Vampire Island Series by Adele Griffin

Witch Twins Series by Adele Griffin

All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Meg Shaffer Interview (The Wishing Game)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

10 Fascinating Facts About Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women

Waiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott

Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott, Who Wrote the ‘Operating Instructions’ on Motherhood Tackles the Sequel

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere Trailer

Guide to the Celeste Ng Books

Celeste Ng: The WD Interview

Hello Beautiful by Anne Napolitano

You’ll Never Guess What Anne Napolitano Was Doing When Oprah Called

The Celebrity Book Club Deep Dive Episode You Need

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Retirement Gifts for Men They Will Love and Use

Monday, September 11th, 2023

This gift guide features the best retirement gifts for men that they will love and use. These gifts for retired men include ideas for adventure, travel, and fun.

Retirement Gifts for Men

This oddly specific retirement gift list has been one of the most requested by our readers. 

I wanted to have a spot to point to friends and family, and hope you’ll enjoy these thoughtfully curated gifts. 

While many lists I’ve found are filled with clutter and gag gifts, these recommendations lean into style and are gifts that they will love and use over the years. 

So, join me in honoring this milestone and finding the perfect way to say, “Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement!

Retirement Gifts for Men

Whether they're looking forward to more time on the golf course, cozy evenings with a good book, or grand adventures in far-off lands, these thoughtful retirement gifts are designed to make their retirement unforgettable.

OUTDOOR GIFT IDEAS FOR MEN

Explore the ultimate outdoor gift ideas list for backyard adventures at home or out on the golf course.

TRAVEL GIFT IDEAS FOR HIM

Explore travel gift ideas for him to make those future travel days more enjoyable.

COZY GIFT IDEAS FOR HIM

Find the perfect cozy gift ideas for him that will bring warmth and comfort for those lovely days at home.

RETIREMENT GIFTS FOR COWORKERS

Show your appreciation for retiring coworkers with thoughtful retirement gifts that celebrate their years of hard work and wish them well in their new journey.

Whether it's a personalized keepsake or a gift that aligns with their post-retirement plans, discover a range of ideas to bid them a fond farewell.

Shop My Gift Guides

Don't miss these other great gift guides!

Easy Seafood Fried Rice (Better Than Takeout)

Monday, September 11th, 2023

Meal prep this seafood Fried Rice from leftover rice, soy sauce, veggies, and your favorite seafood. Try this better than takeout shrimp fried recipe today. 

Seafood Fried Rice

Are you looking for a versatile and budget-friendly dish to help you put those odds and ends in your fridge to good use? 

Look no further than this Seafood Fried Rice recipe!

This flavorful meal transforms leftovers into a tasty lunch option and can be customized to suit your dietary preferences, such as using cauliflower rice for a lower-carb version. 

If you meal prep brown rice in your rice cooker like we do each week, you already have a wonderful base for this recipe. Learn how to cook brown rice in rice cooker today.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through simple steps to create a delicious Shrimp Fried Rice that’s a healthier and more satisfying alternative to your takeout cravings.

Seafood Fried Rice

How to Cook Fried Rice With Shrimp or Prawns

Scroll down to see the complete ingredient list and printable step-by-step instructions.

Shrimp or Prawns

Cooked rice (day-old rice works best)

Frozen mixed vegetables

Eggs

Soy sauce

Cooking oil

Optional extras (see below for ideas)

Seafood Fried Rice

Step 1: Prep Your Ingredients

Gather your ingredients- Shrimp or Prawns, cooked rice (day-old rice works best), frozen mixed vegetables, eggs, soy sauce, cooking oil, and any optional extras (see below for ideas).

If using day-old rice, break up any clumps so that it’s easier to work with in the pan.

Measure your frozen veggies.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl and set them aside.

Step 2: Sauté Your Veggies

Heat some cooking oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat.

Add your chopped vegetables to the pan and stir-fry them until they’re tender but still crisp. This should take about 3-4 minutes.

Seafood Fried Rice- Cooking Eggs and Veggies in Wok

Step 3: Scramble the Eggs

Push the sautéed vegetables to one side of the pan to make space.

Pour the beaten eggs into the empty side of the pan. Allow them to cook without stirring for a few seconds.

Once they start to set, scramble the eggs until fully cooked.

Now, mix the scrambled eggs with the cooked vegetables in the pan.

Seafood Fried Rice

Step 4: Add Seafood and Rice

Add your cooked shrimp or prawns to the pan with the vegetables and eggs.

Next, add the cooked rice. Stir everything together to combine.

Step 5: Season to Perfection

Drizzle soy sauce over the mixture to add flavor and color. Be sure to taste as you adjust the seasoning to your liking.

If you like a bit of heat, you can also add a dash of sriracha sauce or crushed red pepper flakes.

Seafood Options You Can Try In your Fried Rice

Shrimp: Cooked shrimp adds a delicious seafood flavor and texture to the fried rice. 

Crab Meat: Lump crab meat or imitation crab can be flaked into the rice for a sweet and briny taste.

Scallops: Sliced or chopped scallops provide a tender and mildly sweet seafood element.

Mussels: Steamed and shelled mussels can be mixed into the fried rice for a unique taste and texture.

Fish Fillets: Small pieces of white fish, such as tilapia or cod, can be lightly seasoned and pan-fried, then added to the rice.

Lobster: Lobster meat, diced into chunks, offers a luxurious addition to seafood fried rice.

Fish Roe: Roe from fish like salmon or flying fish can be used as a garnish for a burst of salty flavor.

Oysters: Fresh or canned oysters can be chopped and stirred into the fried rice for a unique taste.

Smoked Salmon: Flaked or thinly sliced smoked salmon can add a delightful smoky flavor.

Sardines: Canned sardines can be flaked and mixed into the rice for a strong, savory taste.

Seafood Fried Rice

Seafood Fried Rice Toppings to Try:

Chopped green onions or chives for freshness

Pineapple chunks for a sweet and tangy twist

Sesame seeds for a crunchy texture

Cashews or peanuts for added crunch and protein.

Yum Yum Sauce

What Goes With Shrimp Fried Rice?

For lunch meal prep, I paired this  Shrimp Fried Rice recipe with bags of green grapes and some prepared edamame for a delicious lunch.

Be sure to scroll down for even more meal prep ideas!

Seafood Fried Rice

Seafood Fried Rice

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A frugal chef’s dream dish made from leftover rice and veggies. Try this shrimp fried rice for a meat-free night at your house or any other suggested seafood combination.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound medium prepared fresh shrimp or prawns (see post for more seafood options)
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (any mix of frozen peas, carrots, corn, and green beans)
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine or other long-grain white rice, preferably cold and day-old
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet or wok, heat sesame oil and canola oil. 
  2. Add shrimp or prawns and cook for 3 minutes or until pink and done. With a slotted spoon, remove the seafood into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add your choice of veggies and cook for two minutes. 
  4. Add garlic and ginger and cook for one more minute.
  5. Scoot your veggies to one side and add your beaten eggs to the wok (see the picture in this post for guidance). Scramble the eggs well.
  6. Finish by adding the cooked rice, soy sauce, and salt to taste. Stir to combine.
  7. Add the seafood and toss well.

Notes

For variations on seafood options, see today's post with tinned fish and fresh seafood options. Shrimp rice topping suggestions can also be found for variations.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 376Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 238mgSodium: 831mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 27g

The calorie and nutrition information provided with our recipes is intended to be an estimate based on commonly used ingredients and serving sizes. However, individual nutritional needs may vary, and the actual values can depend on factors such as specific brands of ingredients, preparation methods, and portion sizes. Please use these figures as estimates.

Easy Meal Prep Ideas

Try these 3 other meal prep ideas for lunch or dinner.

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