Greetings, TNB readers and Book Club members!

This month’s TNB Book Club selection is Jessica Anya Blau’s Drinking Closer to Home.

The Harper Collins website briefly describes the novel this way: “They say you can never really go home again. Adult siblings Anna, Portia, and Emery are about to discover just how true that is.

From Jessica Anya Blau…comes a new novel of California, growing up, and learning to love your insane family. Perfect for fans of Jess Walter, Kevin Wilson, and Michael Chabon, Drinking Closer to Home is a poignant and funny exploration of one family’s over-the-top eccentricities…”

Drinking Closer to Home has been described as “heartfelt and hilarious.”

What do you think?

Do you relate to the Steins? If yes, how so? What do you think of Louise? Do you find yourself oddly sympathetic toward her? And what of the three children, Anna, Portia, and Emery?

Please take a moment to share your thoughts about these characters – and anything else that you’d care to discuss – on the comment board below. Share what you love (or are frustrated by), what’s making you think (or feel confused), or any other thoughts you might have about our March TNB Book Club Selection.

Also, as a reminder, our cyber-chat with Jessica Blau is going to happen on Sunday, March 27th, at 8:30pm EST / 5:30pm PST. Be on the lookout for an email with instructions, which should be coming your inbox soon.

Not a member of the TNB Book Club? Follow this link to sign up. For the unbelievable price of $9.99 a month, Book Club members will receive a new book each month, along with an exclusive monthly e-mail newsletter with info, updates, and instructions on how to attend the book club meetings online. Attending the meetings will be as simple as clicking a link and logging in to the meeting page at a predetermined date and time, with a username and password provided by TNB.  Fun!

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GLORIA HARRISON is a writer whose work has been featured on The Nervous Breakdown, Fictionaut, and This American Life. Gloria was the lead editor for The Portland Red Guide: Sites & Stories of Our Radical Past by Michael Munk, which was published through Ooligan Press in 2007. She was also a contributing editor to Pete Anthony's book, Immaculate, for which she received a high five and a ten dollar gift card to Stumptown Coffee. Gloria graduated from Portland State University with her B.A. in English in 2006 and now focuses on her own writing. She had a work of flash fiction published in The Bear Deluxe Magazine (No. 26). You can follow her on Twitter here.

Gloria lives in Portland, Oregon with her school-age twin boys. She is currently working on both a memoir and her first novel. You can contact Gloria via her Facebook page.

6 responses to “Drinking Closer to Home, by Jessica Anya Blau – Open Discussion Thread”

  1. Greg Olear says:


    I love this book.

  2. Jessica Blau says:

    Second. And I love YOUR book! Am reading it in French right now–FABULOUS translation! Congrats!

  3. Dana says:

    It was hilarious Jessica! (And touching too.) I loved getting to “meet” the rest of your family in the post script. I must confess that I had a hard time keeping the daughters straight in my head, because I kept trying to figure out which one was more like you.

    When I related the story of your mom (re: the title) to my parents, my dad looked so shocked! Until I reminded him of the time his parents had left him at home while they went to a funeral. My grandmother would roar with laughter when she’d tell of seeing him out the church window, walking with such purpose and pulling his little wagon all the way. He was less than 3 years old.
    It’s amazing ANY of them survived to bear children of their own!

    • Jessica Blau says:

      Yes, exactly, amazing that generation survived! And, I suppose, a lot of them didn’t, right?
      Why do I see the Little House on the Prairie church when I see your dad walking by with that wagon? Where did this take place? Love the image!

      THANK YOU for reading the book! I’m Portia. Or Portia’s based on me. I’m me. Portia’s Portia. But they overlap a lot!

      • Gloria says:

        I love that you’re Portia. Or that you overlap with her. Or whatever. She’s neurotic and, therefore, easy for me to identify with as well. 🙂

        Excited about tomorrow’s chat!

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