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Bestselling author Helen Ellis joins Books Inc. for a celebration of her latest critically-acclaimed essay collection, Bring Your Baggage and Don't Pack Light: Essays. Helen will be in conversation with Ann Napolitino, New York Times-bestselling author of the transcendent coming-of-age novel, Dear Edward.
Bring Your Baggage and Don't Pack Light: A PureWow Best Beach Read of 2021
As with everything written by the Alabama-born novelist who gave us Southern Lady Code, this collection of twelve essays is equal parts irreverent and poignant--a mirthful toast to friendship at middle age. -- Southern Living
This collection is sneaky good. At first reading, it feels like a trifle, a treat. But once you've finished, you realize how important its messages are: Friends are how we get through a punishing world; it is absolutely imperative to fully embrace who you are; never take yourself too seriously; all we can do is take the next best step for us. -- The Bitter Southerner
Whether she's playing poker or second fiddle, Ellis proves again she is in it to win it, with this essay collection... Unpretentious and uplifting, Ellis's writing on friendship reads more like a conversation you'd have with your best friend than an essay by a stranger... Readers looking for a new literary pal who's classy enough to wear pearls at the poker table, and brave enough to visit a crowded water park post-menopause, need look no further. Recommend to fans of Nora Ephron and Annabelle Gurwitch. -- Library Journal, starred
The author of American Housewife and Southern Lady Code cuts loose with uproarious observations on friendship, middle age, and her own life... This smart, sassy, page-turning collection will appeal to fans of the author's work as well as anyone who enjoys the quick-witted jocularity of a singular Southern woman who refuses to let anything--or anyone--get her down... Darkly hilarious. -- Kirkus
With the ongoing pandemic, many are in need of a good laugh. Thankfully, Ellis' essays deliver hilarity on every page, providing the perfect way to get one's socially distanced jollies. A seasoned Manhattanite by way of Alabama, Ellis entertains with a spicy blend of good ol'-gal snark and seasoned urban savvy, disarming folks with her tongue-in-cheek Southern bellecharm and shocking the unsuspecting with her flinty, no-nonsense persona. -- Booklist
Ellis... shines in this collection of essays that lovingly underscores the importance of having a circle of close friends... Charming and frank life lessons ensue... Ellis balances intimacy, humor, and directness... The result is a candid, funny reminder that one need not take life too seriously.
-- Publishers Weekly
The bestselling author of American Housewife and Southern Lady Code returns with a viciously funny, deeply felt collection of essays on friendship among grown-ass women.
When Helen Ellis and her lifelong friends arrive for a reunion on the Redneck Riviera, they unpack more than their suitcases: stories of husbands and kids; lost parents and lost jobs; powdered onion dip and photographs you have to hold by the edges; dirty jokes and sunscreen with SPF higher than they hair-sprayed their bangs senior year; and a bad mammogram. It's a diagnosis that scares them, but could never break their bond. Because women pushing fifty won't be pushed around.
In these twelve gloriously comic and moving essays, Helen Ellis dishes on married middle-age sex, sobs with a theater full of women as a psychic exorcises their sorrows, gets twenty shots of stomach bile to the neck to get rid of her double chin, and gathers up the courage to ask, Are you there, Menopause? It's Me, Helen.
A book that reads like the best cocktail party of your life, Bring Your Baggage and Don't Pack Light is chockablock with fabulous characters: cat-lady plastic surgeons and waterpark Adonises; bridge ladies and poker players; platinum medallion fliers and Garage Sale Swindlers; forty-year-old divorcées; fifty-year-old new moms and still-young octogenarians. Alive with the sensational humor and ferocious love for her friends that won Helen Ellis legions of fans, this book has a raw vulnerability and an emotional generosity that takes this acclaimed author to a whole new level of accomplishment.
Ann Napolitano's novel, Dear Edward, was an instant New York Times-bestseller and was published in twenty-seven different countries. She is also the author of the novels A Good Hard Look and Within Arm’s Reach. She was the Associate Editor of One Story literary magazine from 2014-2020. She received an MFA from New York University and has taught fiction writing for Brooklyn College's MFA program, New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies and for Gotham Writers’ Workshop.