Also in the warehouse
and sorrow, shows how the most meaningful people
in your life can help heal your heart, enabling you to
grow, and flow, through life’s changes and challenges.
Serle’s ability to cut to the core of a relationship
is one of her gifts, as is her ability to suck a reader
into a story. She does it masterfully in this tome, her
first adult novel, as well as the half dozen she has
crafted for young adults.
Some have hit the publishing stratosphere,
including her ;;;; novel, Famous in Love, the basis
for a hit show on Freeform for Warner Bros.
Television. Her ;;;; debut, When You Were Mine—a
modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet from the
perspective of Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—has been
optioned as a film.
The Dinner List nearly stayed locked in Serle’s
laptop because she wrote the first ;;; pages just
before Famous in Love got picked up as a TV show.
But then her grandmother, Sylvia Pesin, died, and in
her grief she found herself surfing old computer files.
“I discovered those pages and realized there was
a lot I wanted to say regarding losing somebody you
love and the fantasy of getting to have one last dinner with them,” says Serle, who dedicated this novel
to Pesin. “She taught me that first, baby, you gotta
love yourself.” It’s also for her grandfather Sam—the
first person on the author’s dinner list.
What does Serle hope readers will take away
from The Dinner List?
“I’d love for people to think about how much of
our past defines us,” she tells the Connection from her
apartment in Manhattan. “Things happen that we
can’t change, but the story we tell about those things
is transformative. I hope that people look at the stories that they tell about themselves, look at the stories
that they tell about their path, look at the stories that
they tell about their own relationships and choose
narratives that serve them, that are positive for them
and that move them forward in their lives.”
Hope Katz Gibbs is a freelance writer living in Richmond,
Virginia. Her dinner list includes her dearest Aunt Natalie,
grandmother Pearl, Benjamin Franklin and the two men
who broke her heart.
or paper cutting. I
liked the idea of the
book metamorphosing into a curio, but
it was important to
find a concept that
worked editorially as
well as aesthetically.
We came across
a vintage book on
birds that had been
book art, and that
inspired a ‘spotter’s
guide’ illustrated with
What does she
like most about these
books? “[I love] the
they get when peo-
ple first open them.
I love books that
surprise the reader,
and these have a real
wow factor. I also like
the fact that these
books are o;ering
for the reader, in a
novel, rather than
The Aviary, The
The Flower Garden
and The Tree (Item
#1270909, 9/4) will
be available in most
This month, Costco is
the only place you’ll
find The Tree.
Books can serve as
passages to other
places, sources of
fascinating information and, especially
this month, art. The
from Thunder Bay
Press provides interesting information
about a variety of
flora and fauna from
around the world—
titles include The Aviary, by Matt Merritt;
The Butterfly Garden,
by James Lowen;
The Flower Garden,
by Michael Scott;
and The Tree, by
Steve Marsh. What’s
especially fun is that
with some careful
punching out of the
pages, each book
turns into a beautiful
work of art.
I recently had the
opportunity to ask
Anna Darke, editorial
at Thunder Bay Press,
about these books.
When asked about
the inspiration for the
Darke says, “Our
creative director was
inspired by the plethora of beautiful book
art appearing on
Instagram and Pinterest to do something
“I love books
Thunder Bay Press