Something has to give, and apparently I can’t leave my clothes behind in order to stack the wardrobe with books.

“The thing about being a critic is that you get sent a lot of review copies,” says Kaite Welsh, “and while that’s wonderful, sometimes I feel like Mickey Mouse in The Magician’s Apprentice when his spell goes wildly out of control.

We move in a week. There are 28 boxes of books, and that’s not counting the pile I need to read in the next fortnight which I have optimistically refused to pack yet. In comparison, my clothes only fit three relatively small suitcases.”

The first sentence of my novel Bittersweet reads, “Before she loathed me, before she loved me, Genevra Katherine Winslow didn’t know that I existed.”

“I’m grateful to every one of the best friends who offered herself as inspiration; without them, I’d have never been able to write about Genevra and Mabel, the best friend who tells of loving and loathing and everything in between,” says Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, author of Bittersweet.

“When I look back on these best friends as a whole, I can see that I have hardly known greater passion, heartbreak, loyalty, fierceness, envy, and need than I did with them.”

Tea cakes seem to remind everybody of a certain old lady. These simple round cookies get grown men to speak longingly of their grandmothers.

“For me, though,” says Alexe van Beuren, “these cookies remind me of Miss Lela McMinn, who is the voluntary grandmother to scores of children. She looks the part, too, with a cloud of snow-white hair and china-blue eyes.”

“During my time in the Deep South, I have found that the majority of sweet-faced, cheek-pinching, back-patting older women down here have backbones of pure steel. They have weathered vast losses and pains and have come through the storm shining and burnished.”

Discussion questions for Dark Eden, the book that won the 2013 Arthur C Clarke Award for the Best Science Fiction Novel of 2013.

Eden is a planet outside of the galaxy that has no sun of its own, but has evolved its own form of life that uses heat from the planet’s core, and produces luminescence like deep sea creatures on Earth. Generations before the beginning of the book, a group of astronauts found themselves stranded there with a damaged spacecraft. Three of the astronauts elected to try and return to Earth. Two, a man and a woman, decide to remain and wait.

Suddenly, at 40 years old, I moved to Luxembourg for my wife’s job. For the first time in the quarter-century since graduation, I had zero friends.

I needed to make new friends. It had never occurred to me that this would be a problem, because this had never been my problem. But now I apparently needed to walk into a roomful of people I didn’t know, stride up to one—any one—and say, “Hi, I’m Chris.”

I smiled far more frequently and insincerely than I wanted to. I joined a tennis club. I went to French classes, cooking classes, wine tastings. I became a class parent and spent far more than the necessary amount of time at my kids’ school.

“I’m what you call an ‘armchair foodie.’ I love reading about food, and so of course Ruth Reichl is one of my favorite writers,” says Kira Walton, editor at Read It Forward.

Delicious! is full of the vivid descriptions of food and the culinary life that have made Ruth Reichl one of the most celebrated food writers ever. If you haven’t read her memoirs Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples, you must add them to your TBR pile! I’m always fascinated by non-fiction authors who try their hand at fiction. It’s such a big leap! Reichl makes it look easy. Her debut novel is charming and light – a perfect summer read.