Lisa Genova's 5 BEST EVERS

Today's guest: Lisa Genova Her latest: Love Anthony

Why we love it: She writes about autism beautifully. And her heartwarming novel reminds us of what's important: family.

The scoop on it: I’m always hearing about how my brain doesn’t work right. . . . But it doesn’t feel broken to me.

Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a “normal” life shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Understanding the world from his perspective felt bewildering, nearly impossible. He didn’t speak. He hated to be touched. He almost never made eye contact. And just as Olivia was starting to realize that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony died.Now she’s alone in a cottage on Nantucket, separated from her husband, desperate to understand the meaning of her son’s short life, when a chance encounter with another woman facing her own loss brings Anthony alive again for Olivia in a most unexpected way.Beth Ellis’s entire life changed with a simple note: “I’m sleeping with Jimmy.”
Fourteen years of marriage. Three beautiful daughters. Yet even before her husband’s affair, she had never felt so alone. Heartbroken, she finds the pieces of the vivacious, creative person she used to be packed away in a box in her attic. For the first time in years, she uncaps her pen, takes a deep breath, and begins to write. The young but exuberant voice that emerges onto the page is a balm to the turmoil within her, a new beginning, and an astonishing bridge back to herself.In a piercing story about motherhood, autism, and love, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Genova offers us two unforgettable women on the verge of change and the irrepressible young boy whose unique wisdom helps them both find the courage to move on.

Our thoughts: Lisa Genova is a beautiful writer. You will love this book!

Giveaway: FIVE copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners this Sunday after 3pm PST.

Fun fact: Watch Lisa talk about Love Anthony here.


BEST SONG: There are way too many!  Anything by Paul Simon and Ani DiFranco. My recent favorite song is “Stars and Meteors” by Sarah Swain.

BEST MOVIE: My favorite movie is probably Before Sunset starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, directed by Richard Linklater.  It’s about regret and love and real connection.  The dialogue is incredibly smart, it’s gorgeously shot, and the acting blows me away.  Many of the scenes are done in one long shot (from the perspective of one camera without cutting away) which gives the film an immediacy and intimacy that I love.

BEST BOOK: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks.  This was the book that initially inspired my passion for neuroscience.  I went on to earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard 10 years after I first read this book.  The neurological conditions and diseases presented in this collection of true stories are fascinating, but what hit me the most with Dr. Sack’s writing was the compassion and humanity contained within his descriptions of each patient. He says, “In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology and biology.  In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life.”  This singular quote has guided every book I’ve written so far.

BEST LIFE MOMENT: The day I met my husband.  I was instantly attracted to him, but what I remember most is a peace that settled over me.  I actually felt these words--he is part of whatever was next for you.  I felt chills—and butterflies.

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE: After my first marriage fell apart, I was a divorced, unemployed single mother (my daughter was 3).  I should’ve gone back to work as a strategy consultant for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Or even back to brain research.  I’d loved my job (I quit when my daughter was born to be home with her), I was good at it, it paid well, and it came with health benefits.  It was the responsible, sane decision.  But, along with the heartbreak of the divorce came the idea that this was an opportunity to start over, that I was facing the possibility of something new.  I’d started asking myself questions:  What do I want my life to look like now?  Why do I have to go back to my old job?  If I could do anything I wanted to do, what would that be?

I was sitting in my aunt’s living room with two of my five aunts when I asked this question aloud for the first time:

“Should I go back to work, or should I write a novel instead?”

Without hesitating, they both said, “Write the novel!”

Best advice of my life.  And of course, if we generalize, the advice is this:  Go for your dreams!  Do it now!

Thank you, Aunt Laurie and Aunt Mary!

And thank you, Lisa! xoxo, Liz & Lisa