Molly Shapiro

Liz's Favorite books of 2012

There were a ton of great books in 2012.  So many, in fact, that Lisa and I had hard time narrowing them down, not to mention the fact we had a good ol' girlfight over who got which ones! (She'll share her 2012 faves tomorrow...) Besides the bestselling authors we already know are wonderful, I also chose three debuts that you may not have heard of.  Because who doesn't love discovering a fab new author?!

The books listed here are the ones that I couldn't put down, that I couldn't wait to get back to, that had characters that I was thinking about(and in some cases dreaming about!) long after I was finished.  These books were my favorite of the year. And girlfrin', I read a lot!

And hey-we want to hear what books you LOVED in 2012.  Don't forget to leave a comment and let us know!



1. Ten Girls to Watch by Charity Shumway Not gonna lie--Shumway had me from page one with her fresh and dynamic narrative.  This could have been just another story about a girl trying to make it in the Big Apple, but she made it an engaging page turner about Dawn. When she's tasked to track down the past winners of Charm Magazine's Ten Girls To Watch, she ends up discovering a few things about herself through the exceptional women she's researching. And don't even get me started on how she got the job in the first place! (her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend gets her the gig...) Do yourself a favor and pick up this lovely debut!




2.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn So, I almost didn't put this one on the list.  Not because it wasn't effing fantastic(because it was!), but because it's already received so much press this year and topped so many "best of" lists.  But, there was just NO WAY I could skip highlighting this haunting tale about two of the most effed up people you will ever meet.  Gone Girl, which is about a woman who goes missing on her five year wedding anniversary, is absolutely brilliant.  I couldn't get the book out of my head for days after finishing(and even had a few nutty dreams about it...) If you haven't read it yet, you need to RUN, not walk to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy. Seriously.




3. I Have Iraq In My Shoe by Gretchen Berg Attention, my fellow SATC fans.  You are going to love the sh*t out of this memoir! When Gretchen, a shoe-loving fashionista gets a job teaching English in Iraq to pay off her mounting credit card debt, she has no idea what she's in for. Berg had me cheering her on as she navigated a completely new culture that didn't seem to wear deodorant or appreciate her keen sense of style. SO smartly written and freakin' hilarious, I promise that you'll fall in love with Gretchen on page one. Sometimes, memoirs can lose their steam in the middle, but I Have Iraq in My Shoe had me engaged from beginning to end.



4. Point, Click, Love by Molly Shapiro Another fresh debut! I loved the sparkling narrative in this novel about four Midwestern friends who are each trying (and in some cases failing) to navigate the online and social networking world.  Kate's realizing that online dating might not be all it's cracked up to be. Anne is stalking her possible sperm donor. (long story!) Maxine obsesses over celebrity gossip to distract her from the cracks in her marriage. And Claudia resents the hell out of how much time her husband spends on Facebook. What makes this book special? The way Shapiro weaves their stories beautifully with her sharp writing.  I couldn't put it down!



5.  The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner Oh, how I loved this book! When Ruth(who headed to LA six years prior with her sassy grandmother in tow) hits the Hollywood lottery and gets the green light on the show she's written, she can't wait to become the next Shonda Grimes.  But when the reality of how things really get done in Tinseltown sets in, she realizes that she may be in over her head. And did I mention she has a huge freakin' crush on her boss? I loved the insider details Weiner included, having just come off her own Hollywood story. This story leaped off the page and I raced to the end.  For me, this was my favorite of hers since Good in Bed. (Which, for the record is on the short list for my ALL-TIME fave books!)



YA Bonus Pick!

Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft by Jody Gehrman  I was on a business trip when I opened this book on my iPad.  THREE hours later, I had the run the battery down devouring this charming tale about Audrey, a witch-in-training who has to get it together when her mother goes missing under mysterious circumstances.  Audrey has her own teenage problems to deal with as she attempts to get her powers up to speed before everything is destroyed by someone from her mother's past.  Fun, light and absolutely addicting, I can't wait for the next book in this series!




xo, Liz

Lit IT Girl: Debut Author Molly Shapiro

It's rare, but occasionally we experience love at first word.  When we pop open a book and fall madly in love with the very first sentence, the narrative so addicting that we're turning the pages as quickly as possible.  We don't quite know how to put our finger why certain books make us swoon, we're just freakin' happy that we found another one that does! The book we're salivating over?  Point, Click, Love by Molly Shapiro.  We LOVED it.  We want you to grab a copy of your own RIGHT NOW.  It's fun and crass yet also thoughtful and insightful. If we actually posted reviews here, we'd give it a gazillion stars!

So OF COURSE we had to crown Molly as our next Lit IT Girl!  Who better to carry on our tradition of wearing the debut author tiara?

Here's the breakdown on Point, Click, Love: Best friends and fellow midwesterners Katie, Annie, Maxine, and Claudia are no strangers to dealing with love and relationships, but with online dating and social networking now in the mix, they all have the feeling they’re not in Kansas anymore. Katie, a divorced mother of two, secretly seeks companionship through the Internet only to discover that the rules of the dating game have drastically changed. Annie, a high-powered East Coast transplant, longs for a baby, yet her online search for a sperm donor is not as easy—or anonymous—as she anticipates. Maxine, a successful artist with a seemingly perfect husband, turns to celebrity gossip sites to distract herself from her less-than-ideal marriage. And Claudia, tired of her husband’s obsession with Facebook, finds herself irresistibly drawn to a handsome co-worker. As these women navigate the new highs and lows of the digital age, they each find that their wrong turns lead surprisingly to the right click and, ultimately, the connection they were seeking.

Sounds great, right?  So leave a damn comment so you can have a chance to have a copy of your own!  We'll choose FIVE winners on Sunday February 26th after 6pm PST. We're crossing our fingers for you!


1. How many agents did you query before you found "the one"? I had been through the whole agent search process before with my first two unpublished novels. (I didn’t have an agent for my book of short stories, Eternal City.) So with Point, Click, Love, I really knew what I was doing and had a good idea about who would be right to represent this book. I drew up a list of my 10 top choices and queried them first. Luckily, one of them decided to take me on.

2. What's a line from your "favorite" rejection letter? My rejections were all fairly cordial and kind. For me, the worst was getting no response at all. The silence was deafening.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your debut novel? Not knowing if anyone was ever going to read it. Because I had written two unpublished novels previously, I knew that the chances that this book would ultimately share the same fate were pretty good. But even though I was realistic about the difficulties of getting published, I had this completely irrational feeling that this time would be different. Writing Point, Click, Love was more fun and I felt more connected to the characters. Deep down, I thought others would feel the same way—and they did!

4. What is the best/worst advice you received while you were trying to break into the book biz? When I was studying creative writing at Columbia, Charles Baxter came to talk to us. He told us that he wrote three novels before getting his first published, and that made a real impression on me. I thought about that when I was unable to get my first two novels published, and it made me realize that sometimes it’s better if everything we write doesn’t make it into print. It also gave me the strength and confidence to keep on trying.

Another guest speaker at Columbia, an editor at a much-celebrated literary magazine, said something that really bothered me. She said that she believed that a really great piece of writing would always be found and published, even if it was sitting at the bottom of a huge slush pile. I know she was trying to be encouraging, but she ended up making me feel like if I didn’t get published, it was simply because I just wasn’t good enough. Personally, I believe that there are tons of great stories and novels out there that will never see the light of day.

5. How did you celebrate your book deal? I was in Seattle with my two kids visiting our very close friends when I found out. So that evening we all hopped into their little speed boat and rode from Lake Washington to Lake Union. We docked at our favorite Japanese restaurant and ate sushi and drank wine overlooking a gorgeous marina, the sun setting in the background. Pretty much perfect.

6. Who is your writer crush? I have lots of favorite writers, but in the chick lit genre, I’d have to say Helen Fielding. I think Bridget Jones’s Diary is the most well-written, funniest, and most entertaining piece of women’s fiction I’ve ever read. I also give her credit for writing a fabulous film adaption. I’ve watched that movie more times than I care to admit.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one book, what would it be? The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. My absolute all-time favorite. Reading it at age 17 was life-changing.

8. What's on your iPod right now? I’ve got a wide variety of stuff on my iPod, from Ella Fitzgerald to Ciara to Glen Hansard to Justin Timberlake. But the best is when my 12-year-old son, Harry, surprises me by putting a new song on there. The other day I was working out and all of a sudden MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” started blaring in my ears. I couldn’t stop smiling as I imagined Harry dancing around the kitchen to it.

9. What's your #1 stress reliever? Definitely going to the gym!

10. Who/what would you place in the center of the Entertainment Weekly bullseye? Jon Stewart. He never fails to crack me up and always manages to stay relevant. As far as I’m concerned, he can be in there every week.

Thanks Molly! xoxo, L&L

To read more about Molly, head on over to her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.