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Books, Etc. with Lynn Carey: Check out Melanie Gideon

Oakland author speaking at Danville's Rakestraw Books and Orinda Books this week.

We live in an area rife with talented writers. At the moment, I’m reading a book by Berkeley author Cornelia Nixon, Jarrettsville, which comes out in October. It takes place in Maryland just after President Lincoln’s assassination and it is fantastic. It’s beautifully written from several different viewpoints, with Federalists, Unionists, Rebels bursting out all over and a love story in the center of it. It’s based on a true story. And, huge confession time … I had to sit my son, who’s a junior in high school, down to discuss various aspects of the Civil War. I seriously don’t think I was ever taught anything about the Civil War, which is awful. But it was really fun seeing how much my son is learning in his U.S. History class, and especially how enthused he is!

Another local author who just popped onto my radar this summer is Melanie Gideon, who lives in the Oakland Hills. She has two local appearances this week for her new book, The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After. This is a book I can relate to more. It’s a memoir based on her realization that she has a husband, a child, a dog, and is on a quest to find out if “happily ever after” really is a possibility. She’s funny and poignant at the same time. Anyone who’s ever been in a kiddy carpool will connect to this story.

I met Melanie at a lunch in her honor this summer. She is fun and smart and oh yeah … gorgeous. Still, her manner fools us into thinking she is just like the rest of us! Melanie is truly a delight and is going to be at two local bookstores: In Danville at Rakestraw Books Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. and at Orinda Books Thursday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. This one is a benefit for the Educational Foundation of Orinda and $30 will get you the hardcover book, refreshments, and the chance to hear Melanie speak.

For 12 years, Lynn Carey has run the Times Book Club, which now appears in the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune newspapers. For the past 17 years, she's lived in Lafayette with her husband, Lamorinda Sun columnist Mike Zampa, and their two teenagers.