Samantha Ettus's Discovery at the Yellow Umbrella
When my fianc? proposed, we went up to the Cape to spend a romantic weekend relaxing. For us that means long walks, reading, and generally spending coveted time together. I had forgotten to pack my book so we stopped by an old bookstore in Chatham, Massachusetts, called The Yellow Umbrella Bookstore.
I immediately fell in love with the Yellow Umbrella, all of the books in the store were alphabetized rather than divided by genre and then alphabetized as I was used to. Their system seemed simple and lacked pretension, two characteristics shared by the kind of prose I enjoy reading. It was one of those rare occasions of luxury where I approached the shelves with no specific book in mind. As I glanced at the book spines, my gaze was drawn to one called The Hazards of Good Breeding and underneath, the name Jessica Shattuck. Could it be an old acquaintance from college that I had lost touch with? I vaguely recalled hearing that she had published her first novel, but I knew nothing about it. How could I pass it by I had to read it, if only to support a fellow classmate. Now that my first book is due to hit shelves in a month, I have a deep new appreciation for how important it is to support authors by buying and not borrowing books. In this case, I received more than I even anticipated.
We returned to the hotel and I opened to the first page without any expectations as we nestled ourselves into a beach chair. I blazed through the book, savoring every page making frequent stops to read passages aloud to my fianc?. Even though he was not following the storyline, the dead-on descriptions made it utterly captivating to him and at times we both laughed out loud from Shattuck's clever prose. He still uses one of her descriptions quite regularly, having adopted it as his own. I won't tell you which one yet, you will have to read the book for yourself.
I have thought of contacting the author, to tell her how much I enjoyed the book, and I likely still will. The characters are etched in my mind and it was one of those books that just sticks with you. It left me with a strong desire to share the secret with anyone looking for new fiction. I like to think I discovered the book, though, after doing some research I have found that many reviewers were compelled by it, too.
About Samantha Ettus
Samantha Ettus has emerged as leading voice on expert talent. Her first book, The Experts' Guide to 100 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do, is a compilation of 100 how-to essays written by leading experts in each category, from Donald Trump on negotiating to the "Holiday Inn Housekeeper of the Year" on making beds. It will be published in September 2004.