January 27, 2020 | Issue #26
Five Facts from Our Friend, Marisa de los Santos
The one thing you’ve learned you can’t live without during the pandemic:
Long hikes and walks outside, sometimes with our dogs (who are tiny but mighty hikers!), preferably under blue skies but any weather will do. We’re lucky to have so many gorgeous parks and nature preserves nearby, but even if we only loop around our neighborhood, being outside has saved us.
Your perfect day:
My husband’s fresh sourdough plus coffee for breakfast, a short drive followed by a long hike in the country with my husband, kids, and dogs, early evening reading or jigsaw puzzle doing (I’ve always got one going), making dinner with some member of my family, lots of dinner table conversation (hilarious, serious, heated—or all of those at the same time, which is how it usually goes), a glass of wine by the firepit, and an episode of whichever UK crime drama we’re currently watching (we’re obsessed! Right now it’s Vera). That’s my Covid-era perfect day. Honestly, my non-Covid era perfect day looks pretty much the same. I’d just throw in some good friends here and there (how I miss standing and talking in my women friends’ kitchens), maybe a trip to a favorite café, and the long hike could be at a beach or in the Blue Ridge Mountains or through the streets of Philadelphia or under the Northern Lights in Lapland or in the Shetland Islands. It would also be wonderful to see my sister and her family.
Your favorite independent bookstore:
Hockessin Book Shelf just down the road from me. It’s another example of tiny but mighty. Also tiny but friendly. One of the warmest places you’ll ever go. Rebecca is my dream bookseller, smart, passionate, funny, kind. She and her staff read everything under the sun and sell with love. And they do such creative and thoughtful events. It’s home to a lot of local people.
The last book you raved about:
For reasons I can’t really explain, I’ve had so much trouble reading during the pandemic. It makes me sad because you’d think that would be the one thing we’d all get to do in abundance. But recently, I read Fredrik Backmann’s Anxious People and just raced through, so much so that I had to immediately read it again. It’s one of the kindest books I’ve ever read. It’s also funny and sad and smart, and, as a writer, I find the plot ingeniously put together; it’s taught me a lot. I love books that aren’t technically mysteries but that are plotted and paced like mysteries (I also love mysteries). And the characters in this book! I treasured every one.
Your next book in ten words or less:
Cornelia now, her mother as a young woman, their sisters.
Bookseller of the Week
Our guest this week, Marisa de los Santos, chose her favorite local indie—Hockessin BookShelf—as our featured independent bookseller of the week. Established in 2002, The Hockessin BookShelf is a new and used bookstore in Hockessin, Delaware. Like their state, the BookShelf is a small wonder. Known for their customer service and well-read staff, they host great author events & book clubs, and stock a little bit of everything—with a focus on fiction, mystery, romance and kids’ books. Get 10% off this week on Marisa's I'D GIVE ANYTHING and I'LL BE YOUR BLE SKY as well as on recent and upcoming books by the Fab Five. The featured books are already marked down by the standard discount in their Shop, so hop on over and add some books to your cart! See you Wednesday night! SHOP NOW!   
Up Close and Personal with
Patti Callahan Hnery

Antidote for the Winter Blues
The winter weary blahs. We’ve all got em’, right? I know I do. We’ve had enough. Simply enough of being isolated from each other and stuck in our homes and told to hold on just a little bit longer and things will get better soon. 
We want hope. We have to find it and hang onto it, don’t we? 
When I was young, my family moved to South Florida from Philadelphia, and I didn’t know exactly what to do with myself. I was lost and untethered and I hated my parents for ruining my life (so melodramatic even at that age; my life a tragic story I would one day write). So what did I do? I hid in the library. Literally. I found myself among the stacks of books and jumped into other stories.
My life made no sense, but inside the books things made sense. Nancy Drew found the clue in the clock; Laura Ingalls made it out of the blizzard, and even when I was weeping for the loss of Charlotte and her web, it all made some kind of sense and showered meaning down on me. I remember a moment as a child hiding from the mean girls in the cafeteria by sitting behind the long shelves of the school library. I was leafing through two books and trying to decide which to read and suddenly I realized that no matter how long I lived, or how much I read, I would never be able to devour every book that existed. This was a great and sudden grief and also a wild happiness knowing that I would never run out of stories. 
It is no different now. I look to poetry, art, music and stories to create meaning out of the muck of things and to bring hope to these winter days of transition from dark to light. When I was writing Surviving Savannah, there were long days (and months to be honest) when the sadness of its tragedy hit me in the solar plexus and I wanted to stop, to get to the good parts, the surviving parts, the meaningful parts. To hurry and get to the beauty of spring. 
And I did, and we will. We will arrive in spring; we always do. But meanwhile we have stories and art and literature and music. And each other! Xo Patti
Our Presenting Sponsor
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Latest News From "The Fab Five"

PATTI CALLAHAN HENRY’s Audible Original short story Wild Swan about Florence Nightingale was part of an Audible initiative to donate to front line workers and the Newark Working Kitchens. Listen to this WNYC public radio interview with Wild Swan narrator (and Grammy and Tony Award winner!) Cynthia Erivo where she talks so eloquently about Florence Nightingale’s story and the good that Audible is doing with it. 

KRISTIN HARMEL loved recording the latest episode of the Friends & Fiction podcast with Patti last week -- they got to ask Rachel Hawkins (The Wife Upstairs) and Michael Farris Smith (Nick) all their burning questions about two of January's hottest books. Stay tuned to the Friends & Fiction Facebook page this week for a notification once the podcast episode goes live!

KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY is so thrilled that UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY—which releases in less than three months!—was chosen as one of Bookstr’s 8 Most Anticipated Reads of 2021

MARY ALICE MONROE joined Mary Kay Andrews yesterday to interview fellow author and friend Marie Benedict on her instant bestseller THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE for the F&F podcast. Look for this interview as an audio-only exclusive podcast episode coming soon!

MARY KAY ANDREWS is getting finger fatigue from autographing 5,000 blank sheets that will be "tipped in" to finished copies of her upcoming May 4th release, The NewcomerShe's also combing every estate sale, thrift store and Facebook Marketplace listing for vintage treasures to furnish Coquina Cottage, the Tybee Island beach house she and her husband are in the process of restoring. 
News from the F&F Official Book Club
Mark your calendars for these upcoming book club discussions!

Feb. 15: The Winemaker's Wife with Kristin Harmel, plus a guest appearance by Patti Callahan Henry to preview Surviving Savannah
March 15: The Book Club with Mary Alice Monroe, plus a guest appearance by Kristy Woodson Harvey to preview Under the Southern Sky
April 19: Surviving Savannah with Patti Callahan Henry
May 17: Under the Southern Sky with Kristy Woodson Harvey
June 21: The Newcomer with Mary Kay Andrews
July 19: The Summer of Lost and Found with Mary Alice Monroe
Aug. 16: The Forest of Vanishing Stars with Kristin Harmel

We kicked off our first 2021 book club discussion on Monday January 18th with Mary Kay Andrews discussing of Ladies Night. Click HERE to see the replay.

We would love to have you!
Listen to the F&F Podcast!
Patti and Kristin interviewed both Michael Farris Smith and Rachel Hawkins about their new novels for a new podcast episode coming soon!

Yesterday, Mary Kay and Mary Alice interviewed author Marie Benedict about her new novel, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie.

Coming up in February, Mary Alice has an episode planned about audiobooks with a narrator and producer as her guests, and Kristy is working on one about bookstagrammers with a couple of great influencers joining her.

Meanwhile, we have one episode already up—an interview with two of our favorite indie booksellers.

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