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Launchpad: Dead Mom Walking, by Rachel Matlow

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Rachel Matlow's memoir Dead Mom Walking, which we're particularly excited about after reading their recommended reading list of queer memoirs.

Zoe Whittall writes, “This book is perfect. Dead Mom Walking is a deeply funny, incredibly smart, and moving page-turner...I just can’t get over what a stunning achievement it is.”

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

Dead Mom Walking is about how my amazing/beloved/hilarious mother tried to cure herself of cancer …

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Drunken Chicken Wings: from Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

Book Cover Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

There's so much great buzz for Roselle Lim's debut Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortuneplus, Ali Wong's Always Be My Maybe has left us hungry for more stories about food and romance with a San Francisco setting. To give you all a taste of what Lim's novel has in store for readers, we're pleased to feature an excerpt from the book, along with Natalie Tan's recipe for Drunken Chicken Wings, which are exactly what's called for to save an ailing marriage—or so Natalie hopes....

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From Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune: 

I combined five spice, black pepper, Thai chilies, and paprika into a large bowl for the seasoning. I tumbled two pounds of chicken wings out of their brown paper wrapping and into the awaiting bowl where I kneaded the pungent mixture into them, squeezing the spices into the meat like an experienced massage therapist. Another bowl full of shaoxing rice wine combined with red vinegar awaited the wings as the next step after their rigorous massage. They soaked, relaxed, basking in the pool of wine, to become drunken like their namesake. I set them aside to marinate in the fridge...

The side dish for the drunken chicken wings was a pickled slaw. This was my recipe and something I had picked up from my travels in Vietnam. I julienned carrots …

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Rebecca Rosenblum: Good Books for Hard Times

Rebecca Rosenbaum's debut novel, So Much Love, is a stunner, and it's recently been nominated for the 2017 Amazon First Novel Award. And while it's a heavy book, in her list with us Rosenblum shares the books that helped her along the way by providing a little levity. These are, as she tells us, good books for hard times.  

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I wrote a very serious, very dark book and it took six years. I read a lot of different things for different reasons during that long challenging period of writing—for research, for inspiration, for reminders of what I was striving for—but I read a lot for fun. These are some of the books in that last category. These are all fiction—my preferred reading matter—and though not all were originally intended for grownups, all can be enjoyed by us. These are all good books—the word funny isn’t a pejorative in my world—but those that take on serious issue do so with a lighter hand and some skip right over the serious issues and go straight for the silly. Apply as needed.

Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Mongomery

I’ve …

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