Remember how much I loved Jonathan Tropper's novel This Is Where I Leave You? Well, the only thing better than loving a book by a new author is discovering that this "new" author is new only to you and that he has in fact written several other novels. So, next up for me in the Tropper oeuvre was The Book of Joe. This has a similar plot motivator—that is, a 30-something man returning to his hometown for family reasons. In this case, Joe's father has had a stroke and is in a coma. Complicating matters is the fact that after Joe left his hometown, he wrote a scathing (and best-selling) "novel" about everyone there, which was later turned into a blockbuster movie. Suffice it to say that everyone there hates him. Joe reconnects with his brother, his old best friend, his old girlfriend, and more ghosts from his past. I really enjoyed this, although perhaps not quite as much as This Is Where I Leave You, perhaps because The Book of Joe felt a little too self-consciously clever. But still, I quite literally laughted out loud and shed more than a few tears during (different) parts of the story. I'm delighted to see that Tropper has still more novels in his backlist, as well as a new one coming out this fall.
Right now I'm halfway through Jincy Willett's The Writing Class; that'll be my next review. My book group is skipping August and planning to discuss The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh in September. And, though I swore I wouldn't buy another hardover until I read every book in the house, I found myself leaving the bookstore the other day with Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Everywhere I turned, someone was telling me to read it, so read it I will. And read it I will before it comes out in paperback in November.
The last bit of novel news is that I—yes, I, your own Red Sox–loving, bacon-eating, Scrabble-playing blogger—will be proofreading Tom Wolfe's new novel next week! Yes, really! It's behind schedule, so three of us will each proof 200 pages. Wow, huh? And when the book comes out in October, any typo you find was definitely in one of the other two sections, we clear on that?