Today the UPS man brought me a finished copy of That’s What Frenemies Are For, and I suddenly realized that pub day is only a few short weeks away!
Our publisher is offering a bonus for those who preorder: provide proof of purchase to receive a bookplate signed by both me and Lauren—and a custom workout playlist inspired by the book. (Keep reading for this month’s conversation about whether the music we listen to really reflects who we are.) You’ll also be doing us a favor, because pre-orders can really help a book succeed. This deal ends July 29th, so act fast!
With all my best,
—Booklist (starred review)
“This smart insider look at today’s Upper East Side will be your dream come true!”
—Nicola Kraus, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Nanny Diaries
“Pack up your beach bag and put your phone on Do Not Disturb: This modern-day Pygmalion story is juicy fun! Fans of Lauren Weisberger and Jill Kargman will delight in this delicious romp about how the other half lives.”
—Jamie Brenner, bestselling author of The Forever Summer and Drawing Home
PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC ‘TIL YOU DIE
The heroine of That’s What Frenemies Are For, Julia Summers, is a careful curator of her own life. She rejects trends in favor of building her personal brand—quirky, unexpected, even choquante. But Julia also has her finger on the pulse of the Upper East Side moms’ circle, so when she sets about turning her fitness instructor into a phenomena, she creates playlists culled from her friends’ collective experience, reminiscent of sorority dances and beach house weekends and endless cardio classes. But for all the times music sets the backdrop of scenes in the novel, Julia never plays a favorite song just for herself, for the joy of it.
They say that smell is the most evocative of the senses, but hearing must be a close second. Think back to what you listened to the first night after you got your license—that glorious feeling of the wind through the open windows as you careened down an open road, with control of the sound system yours alone.
The song I played on a cold November night in 1981 was Led Zeppelin’s “All of My Love.” (It’s playing now, in fact, thanks to youtube; I marvel that my children will never know the thrill of racing to tape a favorite song when it comes on the radio.) I can track my growing-up years by the songs I played over and over: Springsteen’s “Prove It All Night,” Little Feat’s “Fat Man in the Bathtub,” Greg Allman’s “I’m No Angel,” Joan Jett’s cover of “Crimson and Clover.”
This list has, I think, stood the test of time, a decent soundtrack for my adolescent memories. Here’s the thing, though—I’ve edited out all the really embarrassing stuff. I don’t want you to know that as often as I listened to Willie Nelson or Patti Smith, I was blasting Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is,” Dan Hill’s “Sometimes When We Touch,” and even Tommy Tutone’s “Jenny” (eight-six-seven-five-three-oh-ni-yi-i-yine, baby!).
I cringe, wondering what conclusions you’ll draw—that I’m vapid, perhaps, with the emotional depth of an eleven-year-old and the esthetic of a tree stump. Why is it that we attach so much weight to musical taste? It’s hard to imagine one’s snobbier acquaintances responding with the same dismissive pffft over the contents of one’s refrigerator or even one’s podcast feed as one’s music library. My own taste—particularly my fondness for country music—has brought reactions ranging from incredulity to bemusement to a date being so appalled that he leaned over and turning off my car’s sound system without asking. And the worst part? I stammered through what amounted to an apology for having offended his sensibilities.
I was on a long road trip recently listening to Three Doors Down (yes, the band that played at Trump’s inauguration) when I decided I’d apologized enough. Music, for me, is like emotional glucosamine, easing and facilitating mood transitions. It can enhance a good day or help me wallow through a bout of depression or provide an outlet for frustration and anger. I don’t want to feel ashamed of what I listen to, and from now on I’m going to play what I like and ignore any eye-rolling that ensues.
But that means I have to give up judging other people for their taste, which won’t be so easy, because I’m every bit as critical as the next person. So this is the second part of my pledge: when you play Justin Timberlake or A Flock of Seagulls or Iggy Azalea or Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, I’m going to try hard to appreciate the joy the music brings to you. If you tap your toes or sing along, I’ll give you extra credit—maybe I’ll even join you.
Out of the Dark, the most recent Orphan X novel from Gregg Hurwitz. If you like fast-paced thrillers, you’ve got to get your hands on this series—it’s high octane, high adrenaline, and smart, with a hero you won’t be able to resist, no matter how dirty his hands get. Best of all, you can get it on your Kindle for $2.99 right now!