Author

Melissa Duclos - page 2

Melissa Duclos has 59 articles published.

received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, and now works as a freelance writer and editor. Her clients include many first time authors, and she delights in helping them give voice to their stories. She has recently completed work on her own first novel, Besotted, literary fiction set in Shanghai, for which she is currently seeking representation. She lives in Portland, OR, with her husband, two children, and Yorkshire Terrier, Saunders.

Pass a hot summer afternoon building towers of cookies and ice cream

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When the thermometer hits 80 degrees this summer, everyone goes out for ice cream. Forget about chocolate and vanilla, though. Artisanal ice cream makers like Coolhaus are whipping up flavors like salted caramel, spicy pineapple-cilantro-chile, blueberry mojito, and bourbon pecan pie. Coolhaus takes these and many other mouth-watering flavors and makes them even better by turning them into ice cream sandwiches. Our mothers may have taught us never to play with your food, but Natasha Case and Freye Estella, founders of Coolhaus Ice Cream and authors of the new Coolhaus Ice Cream Book (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 2014), would say otherwise. The duo creates and sells architecture-inspired ice cream sandwiches from food trucks in LA, New York, Dallas, and…

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Summer Food is the recipe for making great summer memories

in Non-Fiction by

In the introduction to his new cookbook Summer Food (Weldon Owen), craft and food stylist Paul Løwe writes, “Summer food is really all about memories.” We at BookTrib couldn’t agree more. Summertime, with its relaxed schedule, long days, warm weather adventures, and backyard gatherings, is the perfect time for making memories. While we love our summer standbys—burgers, corn on the cob, fruit salad—we’re excited for a summer of new an adventurous eating, and for all the new memories that will come with it. Summer Food is an excellent place to start. Paul Løwe is best known as “Sweet Paul,” the man behind Sweet Paul Magazine, a lifestyle magazine with a focus on simple, elegant meals and stylish yet easy home…

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Coming of age with Catcher in the Rye author, J.D. Salinger

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Catcher in the Rye—the quintessential coming of age novel—made J.D. Salinger one of the most famous American authors of all time. Though it was first published almost 65 years ago, it is still an iconic book in the American canon, and its once reclusive author, who died in 2010, still holds a prominent place in the hearts of his fans. We recently sat down with author Joanna Rakoff, whose new memoir, My Salinger Year (Knopf, June) details the year she spent working for J.D. Salinger’s literary agent, to ask her thoughts on what it means today to come of age, and how she was affected by her relationship with one of the most mysterious literary figures of our time. BOOKTRIB:…

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Parenting is about mom AND dad in Julia Fierro’s Cutting Teeth

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Father’s Day is a great time to reflect on the universality of parenthood. While novels and movies often portray mothers as doing the heavy lifting when it comes to parenting, fathers are sharing more and more of the childrearing as families strive to achieve the elusive work-life balance. Julia Fierro’s debut novel, Cutting Teeth (St. Martin’s 2014) unfolds through the varying perspectives of all the “mommies” (including one dad) in a long-running playgroup, along with Tenzin, the Tibetan nanny. These disparate voices who narrate alternating chapters of the book highlight the many ways we approach parenting, but also the similarities that underscore this difficult and rewarding experience. The novel has been garnering attention; it was included in the “Most Anticipated Books…

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Five books we recommend for terrific reading during Pride Month

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BookTrib welcomes Pride Month! This year, members of the LGBT community and their allies have much to celebrate: since January, same-sex marriage has been legalized in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Oregon, bringing the total number of states (and the District of Columbia) that allow same-sex marriage to 19. Additionally, laws banning marriage equality have been ruled unconstitutional in Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, Michigan, Arkansas, and Idaho, though these decisions are all awaiting appeal. While we’re still elated about these victories, we were sad to hear that Giovanni’s Room, the oldest LGBT bookstore in the country, closed its doors in May. Founded in 1973, this Philadelphia bookstore occupied a historic building in the center of the city and shelved thousands of LGBT titles,…

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How to win the food battle with your kids — with recipes!

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Parents of young children often talk about their struggles with sleep, discipline, and eating; they want their children to sleep through the night, do what they are asked without throwing temper tantrums, and eat a wide variety of healthy foods. While there are myriad systems out there for sleep training and discipline, many parents assume that they just have to put up with picky or unhealthy eating until their kids grow out of it. Karen Le Billon, author of the new book Getting to Yum: The 7 Secrets of Raising Eager Eaters (HarperCollins, May 2014), says otherwise. With 18 percent of children ages 6–11 classified as obese as of 2012, her message is more important now than ever. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm Le…

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SUMMER READS 2014: Literary classics in the making

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What is it about summer that makes us want to lose ourselves in the pages of the newest novel? Fans of literary fiction looking for the books that will transport them to other lands, or introduce them to intricate characters and complex relationships, should look no further than this list of new books hitting stores—and the beach—this summer.   Wonderland by Stacey D’Erasmo (Houghton Mifflin Harcout, May 6) D’Erasmo’s newest novel is narrated by musician Anna Brundage, who at 44 is launching a comeback, returning to her music and her life on tour one more time to try to salvage the career she struggled so hard to achieve. During her European tour, Anna revisits scenes from her bohemian childhood, in…

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Tales of girlhood friendships inspire website and Bittersweet novel

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Bittersweet, the newest novel by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, is about a difficult friendship between two college-aged girls. The experience of writing the book inspired Beverly-Whittemore to launch the website Friendstories.com, where women share their stories about their own girlhood friendships. This universal theme, combined with its suspense and dark secrets make Bittersweet a must-read for summer. When Mabel Dagmar befriends her blue-blooded college roommate, Genevra Winslow, and is invited to spend the summer at Ev’s family’s compound on Lake Champlain, she believes she’s found the secret to escaping her dark past. But the Winslows have their own family secrets to keep, and ultimately Mabel must decide whether to keep their secrets and her place within their paradise, or reveal them and…

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The ultimate downsizing: Can you live large in a tiny house?

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For many of us, springtime is synonymous with cleaning. The sun peeks out behind the clouds, and we notice that the windows need to be washed. Once the glass is clean, we get a better view of all the dust on our windowsills, and the scuffs of dirt on the floor. Or we go to pack up our sweaters and notice how disorganized all those closets are. For an increasing number of Americans, including Dee Williams, author of the new book The Big Tiny (Blue Rider Press, April), this time spent on home maintenance and upkeep is one great reason to make the shift to tiny living. Williams was inspired to join the ranks of the Tiny House Movement after…

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Bonding over books: How to start a mother-daughter book club

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Back in February, I posted a quick guide to setting up a successful book club, based on my own wonderful experiences with my book club. My daughter, at eighteen months, is perhaps a bit too young to join the club, but I love the idea of starting a mother-daughter club once she gets old enough. I’ve discussed this with some of the other mothers in my club, and everyone seems to like the idea. But we weren’t exactly sure how it would work. It’s one thing to vow to get together with our daughters once a month and all read a book together, but how could we use the club as an opportunity to have the kinds of conversations with…

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Terrifying true bridesmaid tales — and dresses

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In the last ten years, I have been a bridesmaid five times. I wore periwinkle organza in New Hampshire, purple taffeta in Washington DC, navy cotton in Mexico, navy silk at a yacht club outside New York City, and magenta chiffon on a farm in upstate New York. I have planned showers and bachelorette parties, delivered some eloquent toasts, and some not-so-eloquent ones, packed emergency bridal kits, stood in receiving lines, helped to make flower arrangements, and herded wedding guests, Pied Piper style, to cocktail hour by playing a kazoo. I have been an emotional bridesmaid, a take-charge bridesmaid, an embarrassingly drunken bridesmaid, and a stone sober pregnant bridesmaid. I suspect that my stint last summer, as my younger sister’s…

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Women, it’s time to start talking about sex!

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Men who deal with sexual issues or dysfunctions have a host of pharmaceutical options available to them, and doctors who are ever-willing to pull out their prescription pads. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to be told to schedule a date with their husbands, or take a bubble bath. That is, if women can even bring themselves to ask their doctors about their sexual issues. Many women simply remain silent on this topic, despite the fact that almost half of all women experience unpleasant or downright painful sex. Dr. Lauren Streicher wants to help. Her new book, Love Sex Again: A Gynecologist Finally Fixes the Issues That Are Sabotaging Your Sex Life (HarperCollins, April 22), aims to answer…

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Top 5 spring reading picks from off the beaten path

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Spring is the perfect time to get to know some new authors. If you’ve been keeping up with your BookTrib reading, you know that 2014 has been dubbed “The Year of Reading Women.” My run-down last month of five female authors everyone should read hopefully got you off to a good start, but what’s next? This month, we’ll go off the beaten path, highlighting a handful of new novels from small presses. Small  or “indie” presses—meaning those that are independently owned and operated outside of the control of a large conglomerate like Penguin/Random House or Simon & Schuster—are the place to go to find new, creative, and often experimental work. These presses operate on smaller budgets, and with lower expectations for…

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How will YOU celebrate National Library Week?

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April 13th marks the first day of National Library Week, a celebration sponsored by the American Library Association that has been observed since 1958. The week-long celebration is aimed at promoting the use and support of libraries. According to the “State of America’s Libraries Report” released last year during National Library Week, 53% of Americans reported visiting a library or book mobile in the past year. Whether you count yourself among those 53% or not, this week is a good time to step back and appreciate what our public libraries have to offer. Robert Dawson’s new book, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay (Princeton Architectural Press, April) is a good place to start. The book includes photographs taken by Dawson over…

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What does this text mean?

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It’s no surprise that the popularity of text messaging has changed the world of dating. The emotions that used to require an awkward phone conversation, or—worse!—eye contact, can now be conveyed with just a few taps on your phone screen.  This isn’t always a good thing. The ease with which text messages are sent mean that they are also completely unromantic. Sure, it’s nice to hear from a date that he had a good time, but wouldn’t a phone call make you feel even more special? Text messages can also be difficult to interpret because they are not really conversations, though they pretend to be. Let’s say you have a date on Friday, and you text the next day to…

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Is it time to petition Facebook for an “Empathize” button?

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How often do we see friends posting Facebook status updates about bad days at work, sleepless nights, or frustrating interactions with strangers? Or something much worse? How many of us have hit the “Like” button in response, looking for a way to acknowledge suffering, knowing that “Like” is absolutely not the emotion we’d want to convey? Facebook users have long cried out for a “Dislike” button, but the company refuses to provide it. According to Facebook product engineer Bob Baldwin, “Actions on Facebook tend to focus on positive social interactions.” Fair enough. Maybe it’s time, then, to petition the company for an “Empathize” button. This is what we mean, isn’t it, when we hit that button? “I feel your pain,” we…

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