CGG Book Club: Three Martini Lunch

It’s time for another installment of the CGG Book Club! As always, I’m sharing my thoughts on some of my latest reads to add some more fodder to your ‘to read’ pile.

The Humans by Matt Haig
The Humans by  Matt Haig
I read another Matt Haig – a British author – book a few years back called The Radleys and for whatever reason, it had stayed with me (it’s about a modern day vampire family). Haig has a unique style of blending a blunt, hard look at reality with a funny, whimsical view of the world by adding in some fantastical elements – and that’s exactly what he’s done here with The Humans.

In a nutshell, an alien that’s being punished for something on his home planet – where life is eternal and blissful – is sent down to earth to take over the body of a self-involved university professor named Andrew Martin, who has unlocked a mathematical puzzle that is the key to humanity’s evolution. The aliens don’t want the humans to know this however, because they believe we aren’t mentally capable of advancing in a productive way (we are barbaric, loveless thieves in their eyes). So the alien-turned-Andrew is set on a mission to destroy all evidence of the theorem being solved…only as he does, he begins to question some of his long-held assumptions about humanity. And of course, love.

Haig has a sharp eye for the ironies of our life and the weird definitions of what’s right and wrong in our world, and while they’re often used to great humorous effect (Andrew’s assessment of what we eat is hilarious, especially when it’s something that he likes – see: tea, wine, peanut butter), they’re also used to a discomfiting or almost devastating level too. Fair warning, the prose style is a bit tricky to get into – Andrew isn’t a native English speaker after all – but the pay-off from reading this humble, hilarious, heartwarming read are worth it.

Three Martini LunchNow onto the main event! I’m very excited to be reviewing Suzanne Rindell’s Three-Martini Lunch, which was freshly released in April.

What’s The Buzz?: If you look at the little blurb at the top of the book cover above, you’ll see why this book is getting lots of attention. Set in the late 1950s, it’s earned comparisons to Mad Men by putting the spotlight on a segment of the multimedia industry in New York during this innovative time. Only, instead of advertising, Three-Martini Lunch focuses on  publishing. AMC, looking for your next series?

What’s The Plot?: The story is told in three interweaving perspectives. First, we meet Cliff, who’s living in the Village like a bohemian, despite having a wealthy socialite mother and a top dog father in the publishing industry. Cliff gets it into his head that he might like to take a crack at being a writer – if partially to prove his father wrong about him. In his adventures, Cliff crosses paths with Eden, a young, ambitious, Peggy Olson type that dreams of being a book editor, but is given a rude awakening by men and women in the industry when it comes to her ambitions (and stunningly, her Jewish background). Finally, they also meet Miles, a black delivery boy and poet at heart who is on a mission to find out the truth about his father’s time in the military – only to discover much, much more about himself along the way. Eventually their stories crash together in more and more ways, all tied back to the idea of telling stories.

What You Need to Know: The Mad Men comparisons are totally apt, particularly with Eden’s storyline. If anything, there was a big part of me that wished more of the story had taken place in the offices of the publishing houses Eden becomes associated with – but the magic of interweaving the three stories together requires some out of office business to go down. While Miles’ story can take you jarringly away from the core world of the novel (but geographically and meaningfully), his is also probably the most heart-wrenching of the three, serving as the emotional core to the games the other characters are busy playing. I also wanted to mention that the book reminded me, on a less grandiose scale, of Valley of the Dolls. A surprising comparison, but a true one! Between the New York setting the big city dreams the three characters have, there may be less drama and drugs, but there’s definitely a likeness.

Who Should Read This Book: If you love period books or films or shows set in this era, then you’ll enjoy Three-Martini Lunch. If you want a glimpse into the publishing industry, same thing. If you enjoy stories that take multiple storylines and weave them together, ditto. It’s a bit of a ‘doorstop’ of a book in that it’s around 500 pages long, but it’s riveting enough that you shouldn’t see it as some big, Goldfinch-esque literary tome.

Interested in nabbing a copy of this riveting, swinging book? Here’s how to enter for your shot at nabbing a copy to dive into!

1) First & foremost: you must be a subscriber to the Canadian Gift Guide to enter this giveaway. It’s as simple as finding ‘The Gift of Gab’ box in the righthand column and dropping in your email or clicking follow. Then, tell me in the comments below by May 26, 2016 – why are you interested in readingThree-Martini Lunch?

2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around May 27, 2016 to select the winner, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.

4) Bonus Entry: Follow Random House of Canada on Twitter, tag them and me (@cdngiftguide) in a Tweet about why you want to read this book! Post a link to your Tweet below in a separate comment to earn yourself an extra entry into the draw.

5) Bonus Entry #2: Follow Penguin Canada on Twitter, tag them and me (@cdngiftguide) in a Tweet about why you want to read this book! Post a link to your Tweet below in a separate comment to earn yourself an extra entry into the draw.

6) Bonus Entry #3: Add this book to your to-read list on GoodReads, and leave a link back to the page it’s on below in a separate comment to earn yourself another bonus entry.


44 Responses to “CGG Book Club: Three Martini Lunch”
  1. aketch says:

    We loved Mad Men!

  2. Margaret Palmer says:

    I would love to read this book, because you recommended it. I did read The Humans and really enjoyed it.

  3. Aimee says:

    It would be nice to have a new book for the lake. I am a subscriber

  4. Heather Swanson says:

    I like that time period in history

  5. I loved Mad Men and I’m fascinated with the publishing industry, so Three-Martini Lunch is right up my alley!

  6. Kay Burke says:

    @Penguin Canada and @cdngiftguide I want to read three martini lunch – love books, love NYC & a succor for great books (my tweet) @corkrosy

  7. corkrose says:

    Love books, love NYC & give me a long book & I am happy

  8. Joan G. says:

    I’m ready for a good long summer read – sounds like one I might enjoy.

  9. intensev5 says:

    Looking for a good book to read. This could be it!!!

  10. Jessica says:

    It sound like something I would enjoy!

  11. CLC says:

    I love period pieces and really enjoyed Mad Men so this sounds like a book for me. (Plus, big books don’t scare me!)

  12. Karen says:

    Sounds really good, LOVE to read.

  13. Audrey Skinner says:

    I love the storyline. Can’t wait to read.

  14. Rhonda B. says:

    I like anything from the 50’s and 60’s. It sounds interesting.

  15. Giselle says:

    I’m always up for a good read and discovering new authors.

  16. cookie3 says:

    It would be interesting to read about some of the goings on in the publishing industry.

  17. Michelle says:

    I love period books and movies and the 1950s were a great period and I’m sure in the publishing world too. Got to be a great read!

  18. Lindsey says:

    I’m always looking for a new book to read and I loved The Humans!

  19. Mary Warner says:

    I have some memories, vague, I was a kid, of being taken to a movie, The Best of Everything, that was similar in subject.

  20. Chantelle says:

    I am interested because I love to read and I love to discover new authors.

  21. laura says:

    Loved your review of the book. Can’t wait to read it.

  22. cheryl mclellan says:

    I just finished reading a book, and am looking for a new one, This one looks awesome!

  23. Sean M says:

    It sounds like a good read

  24. Jennifer Kelsie says:

    I think this would be an interesting read…especially being set in the late 1950’S!

  25. James Miller says:

    Based on your review and the social media buzz about this book, I definitely want to add it to my summer reading pile!

  26. kim says:

    I think this would be a great read – I love this era.

  27. Susan says:

    I would love key to read Three Martini Lunch because it sounds
    Iike a good period piece, as well as having a great storyline!

  28. Leah E says:

    I love reading anything I can get my hands on! This sounds like a great read for the summer. It sounds like you could really get lost in this plot!

  29. AnnieP says:

    I love finding new authors and I really enjoy stories told from different perspectives.

  30. Anne Derkat says:

    At my age, I don’t have time to waste reading stuff that isn’t relevant or interesting. This sounds like something I would enjoy investing some time in.

  31. I love to read, love period pieces and i enjoy mad men.

  32. Angela Mitchell says:

    As soon as I read your comparison to Mad Men, I was interested. I love period pieces!

  33. Deb Philippon says:

    I’ve always enjoyed science fiction themes, so this would be right up my alley.

  34. It sounds like my type of book.

  35. janicour says:

    Period pieces are always so intriguing. I would love to go back in time!!

  36. diane says:

    Loved Mad Men and since you recommended it I’d like to read it.

  37. Wanda Bergman says:

    I am a subscriber. I’d like to win because the storyline intrigues me.

  38. aly3360 says:

    I’m always looking for new books to read and this one sounds like one that would deffinitely keep my interest the whole way through!

  39. aarone mawdsley says:

    i want this

  40. bkick1 says:

    This book has a story line that I would definitely enjoy reading.

  41. Susan says:

    I am interested in reading Three Martini Lunch as I like to read period pieces and the subject matter sounds fascinating.

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