Searching for a good read can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you’re like me and you read a lot already for work. By the time you get done for the day, your eyes and head are tired and achy and it’s hard to focus on any one story line.
A couple of months ago, as I sat in my office plugging away at the computer, a package arrived in the mail that was thicker than a normal envelope. I knew from the size and prior experience that it was a publisher sending me a book to consider readying and reviewing for the newspaper.
We don’t tend to do reviews, whether it be on books or restaurants, but locally we lean away from doing those. There are so many important and fun unbiased articles we can do on activities and issues affecting the community, that a review takes time away from those other tasks.
But something caught my attention this time.
I always look at the promo sheet and the author information to see if the book has a local tie. Oftentimes they don’t. This time, it did.
It wasn’t initially obvious unless you happen to know the name Mamrie Hart. I didn’t. I grew up in Forsyth and Guilford counties, so Hart wasn’t someone I was familiar with. But apparently, I’ve know who her father was for years, as I loved watching, “In the Heat of the Night,” on which David Hart played one of the officers.
When I first saw the book and the promo letter, it simply mentioned that Mamrie Hart “is from middle-of-nowhere North Carolina.” That didn’t tell me much, so I opened the book, and I was hooked from page one.
The book is definitely adult reading, for the most part, due to the language and some of the content, but for those who enjoy going to comedy shows, like Comedy on Main this past weekend, you’d likely spend your free time LOL (laughing out loud) at Hart’s newest book, “I’ve Got This Round.”
The book is a sequel to her 2016 New York Times bestseller, “You Deserve a Drink,” which was a spin-off of her YouTube series of the same name.
What drew me into the book was the first chapter. She tells the story of, as a child, seeing a commercial for a romantic hotel with giant champagne glass tubs. That hit home.
One of my favorite things to do as I was growing up was peruse through prom and bridal magazines dreaming of dressing up fancy (initially I wanted to be a fashion designer and would spend hours drawing rough sketches of fancy gowns), and flipping through those bridal magazines I always saw a print ad for a hotel in the Poconos with champagne glass hot tubs.
That story in Hart’s book, of making her dream visit to the Poconos’ hotel with the tubs, just resparked my desire to go there one day. It also led me to read the next chapter, and the next chapter, following her stories and humorous footnotes as I went.
As I read along, she mentioned Yadkin County, and then I knew there was a local tie. Even more specific, she mentioned Boonville United Methodist Church.
Apparently her dad, the actor, and her mother split up when she was young, and she grew up in Boonville, graduating from Starmount High School before going on to UNC Chapel Hill and then moving to New York to pursue acting. She now lives in Los Angeles.
Her adventures and stories make me yearn to travel and reignite my youthful desire to go to the big city like New York or Boston or D.C. to work and play. No worries, I’m not going anywhere, other than maybe for a vacation. My husband owns his own business in Surry County, and our families are either in Surry or within an hour’s drive of home.
The older I get, with a very monumental big birthday just a month away, the more I feel the urge to travel before I don’t have a chance to, with bills and money getting in the way of making that desire come true.
I find myself jealous of people like Hart, who jumped at the chance to explore life and the world. But hopefully I’ll have the chance eventually.
Until then, I’ll enjoy good reads, like Hart’s new book, which just hit the shelves in hardback version. I’ll definitely be finding a copy of her first book, “You Deserve a Drink,” now, too.
Mamrie, you have a new fan in me.
If you’re looking for a copy of Hart’s book, published by Penguin Random House, you can order it from Diana’s Books and More in downtown Elkin, to support a local business, or find it for purchase online, as an ebook or an audiobook.
Wendy Byerly Wood is editor of The Yadkin Ripple and The Tribune. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.