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My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman

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Overview

The incomparable Lisa Scottoline, along with Daughter Francesca, is back with more wild and wonderful wit and wisdom.

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline struck a chord with readers, book clubs, and critics with her smash-hit essay collection, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog. This time, Lisa teams up with Daughter Francesca to give their mother-daughter perspective on everything from blind dates to empty calories, as well as life with the feistiest octogenarian ...

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My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman

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Overview

The incomparable Lisa Scottoline, along with Daughter Francesca, is back with more wild and wonderful wit and wisdom.

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline struck a chord with readers, book clubs, and critics with her smash-hit essay collection, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog. This time, Lisa teams up with Daughter Francesca to give their mother-daughter perspective on everything from blind dates to empty calories, as well as life with the feistiest octogenarian on the planet, Mother Mary, who won’t part with her thirty-year-old bra. Three generations of women, triple the laughs—-and the love.

Inspired by their weekly “Chick Wit” column for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Lisa and Francesca spill all their family secrets—-which will sound a lot like yours. And you’ll have to put this book down, just to stop laughing.

LISA ON DIETING: I’m backsliding with carbohydrates, which is the food version of ex-sex.

FRANCESCA ON CUTTING THE CORD: I thought I said, “I am going to see my cousin’s new apartment,” but in Mom-speak that translates to: “I am going to meet certain death in the New York City subway tunnels that are soon to be my tomb.”

LISA ON MOTHER MARY: Most people have a list of Things To Do, but Mother Mary has a list of Things Not To Do. At the top is Don’t Go to the Movies. Other entries include Don’t Eat Outside With The Bugs and Don’t Walk All Over This Cockamamie Mall.

FRANCESCA ON BEING SINGLE: I’m addicted to the wedding announcements. Worse, I find myself subtracting my age from the bride’s. I thought I was a modern woman, turns out I’m a Cathy cartoon.

LISA ON AGING GRACEFULLY: Today I noticed my first gray hair. On my chin.

And so much more!

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

The first thing you need to know about this humor book is that it's written by Lisa Scottoline, a talented Edgar Award-winning novelist whose books have sold more than ten million copies. The second is that it's co-written with her daughter Francesca, a recent Harvard graduate who has already won three literary prizes. My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space shares bushels full of secrets about Lisa's marriages ("a mystery I have yet to solve"), her mother ("the feistiest octogenarian on the planet"), and her jittery experiences as she jumps into the dating pool again. Brisk banter with a feminist slant. Editor's recommendation.

Publishers Weekly
Scottoline, a single mom and author of 17 New York Times bestselling novels, also writes for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where her "Chick Wit" column appears on Sundays and is occasionally written by her daughter Francesca. It has also served as fodder for two books, last year's Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, and this one, which contains 70 more essays that are by turns rueful, uplifting, sweet, kooky--and always amusing. Fans of her mystery and suspense fare will enjoy the opportunity for another warts-and-all peek into the author's daily life, including musings on what it's like to live (and sleep) with five dogs, an addiction to sunflower seeds, and fruitless yet hilarious attempts to communicate with her non sequitur–loving mother. Mother Mary, a spirited octogenarian, gets lots of ink, and rightly so: she's been an important role model for Scottoline and granddaughter. Francesca's writing complements her mother's, particularly in essays like "I Don't" and "Deadhead," in which the former reveals her fascination with the weddings section of the newspaper, the latter, the obituaries. Family photos add to the fun, as does the authors' focus on enjoying life, whether via the delights of a newly empty nest or remembering that, when it comes to women, "Our strength, our wit, and our hearts are more powerful than anybody ever could have imagined." It's a funny, uplifting read for women of any generation. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Edgar Award-winning novelist Scottoline (scottoline.com), whose previous nonfiction work, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog (2009), was informed by her weekly "Chick Wit" column for the Philadelphia Inquirer, here teams up with daughter Francesca in a sequel brimming with Scottoline's trademark humor, frankness, and self-deprecation. The brief vignettes are well paced and touch on universal themes that will resonate with audiences of all ages. Whether the topic is aging, dogs, house cleaning, family secrets, or buying a larger TV, listening to the book is like sitting with an old friend telling stories—you don't want the night to end and you want to be invited back again. Highly recommended for all audiences. [Includes a bonus interview with the author; see Prepub Exploded, BookSmack! 6/3/10.—Ed.]—Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo
From the Publisher
"Scottoline stirs up even more sassy fun—this time bringing her daughter, Francesca, into the mix as co-writer. A clever compilation from two generations of women reflecting on family, love, dessert, and everything in between."—Booklist

"Essays that are by turns rueful, uplifting, sweet, kooky—and always amusing. A funny, uplifting read for women of any generation."—Publishers Weekly

“Lisa Scottoline and her daughter Francesca have proven themselves to be naturals at both writing and narrating humorous essay.  They deliver the themes of love, strength, and family connectedness in a delightfully witty fashion. The overall feel is of a conversation with friends whose accounts of zany relatives and situations may be unique in detail but are recognizable for anyone with a family. The appeal is universal.”—AudioFile

“I’ve found the perfect daily picker-upper — a chapter or two from My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space. Scottoline writes about whatever crosses her path but has also allowed readers a peek into her own family life. Francesca’s voice is entirely her own, but she shares Lisa’s ability to turn borderline TMI into memorable humor and insights. The result is one of the best double acts in the business.”—Joe Meyers, Connecticut Post

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594495383
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/26/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author of novels including Look Again, Think Twice, Save Me and Lady Killer. She has 25 million copies of her books in print in the United States, and she has been published in twenty-five countries. She is currently serving as the President of the Mystery Writers of America.  She lives in Philadelphia with an array of disobedient pets.

 

Francesca Scottoline Serritella graduated cum laude from Harvard University, where she won the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, the Baron Russell Briggs Fiction Prize, and the Charles Edmond Horman Prize for her creative writing. She lives in New York.

 

Together, Lisa and Francesca write the weekly column, “Chick Wit,” for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Biography

Most authors admit that they need to work in silence in order to get into the creative process. For them, writing is serious work that requires the utmost peace and concentration. Of course, most authors are not writing the kind of whiz-bang, sharp, wild, and witty works that Lisa Scottoline is producing. Scottoline's unusual working methods and desire for all things pop culture have helped her to create some of the most unapologetically entertaining and compulsively page-turning novels in contemporary popular fiction.

Scottoline's initial impetus to become a novelist was not quite as joyful as her novels might suggest. She had recently given up her position as a litigator at a Philadelphia law firm to raise her newborn daughter at the same time as she was breaking up with her husband. While the birth of her daughter was an undoubtedly happy moment for Scottoline, she was also thrust into relative isolation in the wake of her separation and the end of her job. To keep herself busy (when not tending to her daughter, that is), she decided to write a novel, the provocative story of an ambitious young lawyer whose hectic life becomes even more manic when she learns she is being stalked. Three years after beginning the novel, Scottoline sold Everywhere That Mary Went to HarperCollins a mere week after taking a part-time job as a clerk for an appellate judge—her first job since beginning the book. While her transition from lawyer to novelist may seem abrupt to some, Scottoline asserts that it was law school that gave her the necessary tools to spin a compelling yarn. In a 2005 interview with Barnes & Noble.com, Scottoline asserted that the job of a lawyer is surprisingly similar to that of a good writer: "Take the facts that matter, throw out the ones that don't, order them in such a way in which a point of view is created so that by the time someone is finished listening to your argument or reading your book they see things completely in that point of view."

Scottoline's sure-handed way with an intriguing narrative has led to a string of bestselling thrillers and a popular series revolving around the women of Rosato & Associates, an all-female law firm in Philadelphia—the author's own beloved hometown. Jam-packed with humor, mystery, eroticism, and smarts, her novels are published worldwide and have been translated into twenty-five different languages.

Good To Know

Lisa Scottoline is definitely no TV snob. She feels no shame when revealing her love of everything from Court TV to Oprah to The Apprentice to I Love Lucy.

One of the reasons that Scottoline is such a fabulous writer may have something to do with having a particularly fabulous teacher. While studying English at the University of Pennsylvania she was instructed by National Book Award Winner Philip Roth.

Don't try this at home! Scottoline completed her first novel, Everywhere That Mary Went, while she and her newborn daughter lived solely on $35,000 worth of credit from five Visa cards, which she'd completely maxed out by the time she completed the book three years later.

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    1. Hometown:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 1, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1981
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

MY NEST ISNT EMPTY, IT JUST HAS MORE CLOSET SPACE (Chapter 1)

A Woman At The Wheel

It all begins with Nancy Drew.

And it might end there, too.

I grew up with a girl crush on Nancy Drew, and it came back to me recently, when I was organizing my books at home. I found a few of the Nancy Drew books I had as a child, among them the blue-thatched copy of The Mystery at the Ski Jump. It's even older than I am, copyrighted in 1952.

My copyright is 1955.

As a girl, I not only read the Nancy Drew books, I memorized them. I identified with her, although we had nothing in common. She was rich, I wasn't. She was slim, I wasn't. She had a distant father and no mother. I was close to my father, and I had Mother Mary.

Who's enough mother for both of us.

Nevertheless I loved her and I still do, even in my fifties. Could there be two times in a woman's life during which she feels like Nancy Drew—pre-puberty and post-menopause?

Possible.

But why, for me?

For starters, Nancy's blond, and I'm blond in my mind.

She has a dog, and I have five dogs.

She drives a convertible roadster, and I drive an SUV.

Well, they're both cars.

Plus we both have a boyfriend. Hers is Ned Nickerson, and mine is George Clooney.

Finally, we're both on our own, which enables us to have all manner of adventures. And kidding aside, that's at the heart of Nancy Drew. That she's free, and in charge of her own fate.

No one is telling her what to do. No mom, dad, or hubby. No one can. She doesn't ask permission. She hops into that convertible and drives.

Fast.

Nancy Drew was an ordinary girl, who was extraordinary in so many ways, and because of her, I started to write novels in which ordinary women were the heroes, because we're all extraordinary in so many ways. I'm talking teachers, lawyers, journalists, at-home moms, secretaries, painters, accountants, and nurses.

In other words, you and me.

The novels became bestsellers, thanks to you, and the trademark Scottoline heroine is Nancy Drew with a mortgage, or how I feel on a good hair day.

It seemed only natural to segue from writing about fictional extraordinary women to writing about the real extraordinary women in my life, though it's a new experience for me, in some ways. In a novel, I have 100,000 words to tell a story. In one of these vignettes, I have 700.

I can barely say hello in 700 words.

I'm Italian.

Also, in a novel, I'm writing fiction, and here, it's real life. The characters in this book are my family and friends.

Even though they're still total characters.

Inside you'll meet Daughter Francesca, who writes on her own in these pages, spilling all our family secrets, like when she tells me what to wear on a blind date.

Hint: Show the wares.

And you'll read about Mother Mary, the feistiest octogenarian on the planet, who lives with Brother Frank in Miami. And my late father, Frank. Sadly, he has passed, but he's here, too.

That's how it is when we lose our parents, or anyone we love. They're passed, but always present.

As for my pals, I'm closer than ever to best friend Franca, and as you will read, I spend Christmas Day with her and Meryl Streep. And you'll meet assistant Laura, who sets me straight on having 700 people to my house for a book club party.

You'll even get to know my array of two cats and five dogs, including a new puppy that makes me wonder if I'm becoming an animal hoarder.

Answer: Possibly.

By the way, I'm divorced twice, from Thing One and Thing Two, and they hardly appear at all in this book.

Why?

They're farther and farther away in my rear-view mirror. They're so small, they hardly matter anymore.

This happens when we drive, and it tells you I'm moving ahead.

Finally.

There was a previous book about all of these people, but you don't have to read it to enjoy this one. You'll catch on soon enough. I bet because they remind you of the people in your own family.

And your life.

And yourself.

Because I think that women are basically the same, under the hood.

That's why Nancy Drew lives on.

Her life is still all of our lives, as ordinary extraordinary women. Even if we have hubbies and kids and moms and dads, at bottom, we're on our own. Each of us lives her own life, at the end of the day. Each of us has her own adventures, and each of us solves her own mysteries, of all sorts.

Parenthood is only one of the adventures in our lives.

Childbirth is another.

Love remains one of our greatest mysteries.

Marriage, a mystery I have yet to solve.

Nancy may find The Hidden Staircase, but we find The Hidden Calories. We may not solve The Case of the Missing Clock, but we've all solved The Case of the Missing Sock.

We drive along in our girl convertibles, and we never know where the road will lead us. At every fork, we choose our way, right or left, north or south, not only for us, but for the people we love, in the backseat. We steer a way through this life, for us and our families.

We have a better sense of direction than we think.

Our strength, our wit, and our hearts are more powerful than anybody could ever have imagined.

And even greater than we ever believed.

We are, all of us, women at the wheel.

Hit the gas.

MY NEST ISNT EMPTY, IT JUST HAS MORE CLOSET SPACE. Copyright 2010 by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Scottoline Serritella.

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Reading Group Guide

The incomparable Lisa Scottoline, along with Daughter Francesca, is back with more wild and wonderful wit and wisdom.

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline struck a chord with readers, book clubs, and critics with her smash-hit essay collection, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog. This time, Lisa teams up with Daughter Francesca to give their mother-daughter perspective on everything from blind dates to empty calories, as well as life with the feistiest octogenarian on the planet, Mother Mary, who won’t part with her thirty-year-old bra. Three generations of women, triple the laughs—-and the love.

Inspired by their weekly “Chick Wit” column for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Lisa and Francesca spill all their family secrets—-which will sound a lot like yours. And you’ll have to put this book down, just to stop laughing.

LISA ON DIETING: I’m backsliding with carbohydrates, which is the food version of ex-sex.

FRANCESCA ON CUTTING THE CORD: I thought I said, “I am going to see my cousin’s new apartment,” but in Mom-speak that translates to: “I am going to meet certain death in the New York City subway tunnels that are soon to be my tomb.”

LISA ON MOTHER MARY: Most people have a list of Things To Do, but Mother Mary has a list of Things Not To Do. At the top is Don’t Go to the Movies. Other entries include Don’t Eat Outside With The Bugs and Don’t Walk All Over This Cockamamie Mall.

FRANCESCA ON BEING SINGLE: I’m addicted to the wedding announcements. Worse, I find myself subtracting my age from the bride’s. I thought I was a modern woman, turns out I’m a Cathy cartoon.

LISA ON AGING GRACEFULLY: Today I noticed my first gray hair. On my chin.

And so much more!

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 24 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 24, 2011

    I'm not insane!

    It is nice to know there are more people out there like me and Erma Bombeck. I enjoyed the ride and read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2011

    Great book! Full of laughs!

    I love this book. It's a great read for women of all ages. I'm 21 and I couldn't stop laughing. This book is filled with literal lol moments. I highly recommend the first book Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog. I must admit it was my favorite of the two!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    How true!

    Wonderfuuly written with a lot of laugh out loud moments. Be warned do not read it when the rest of the house is trying to sleep. I thouroughly enjoyed it and was sorry it had to end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 29, 2010

    A True Must Read

    I laughed all threw the book, it is so funny. You will really enjoy the book and relate to it in so many ways.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2013

    Love This Book It Is So Fabulous

    My youngest is leaving soon, all I can say is I love this book, I just love it. I swear the author could be my twin, she does all the same things I do, I can't believe it. And I read the parts her daughter wrote to my daughter, the look on her face, like yup she knows her mother like I know my mother.

    Great book

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  • Posted May 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    not bad

    seems a little long winded but funny

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2011

    Very funny book

    This is my first book from Lisa Scottoline. I am so glad that I bought this book. This book is so funny,I laughed all the way threw it. It's a book that you never want to put down. I can't wait until I read "Why my third husband will be a dog".

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 24, 2011

    Funny book to read!

    I recently went to our local library and this was the title that I found. When I started to read it, it was a book that pertained to my life. I started to read and each chapter was exciting and funny !!! Each time I picked it up I wanted to continue until the end. I really enjoyed this book!!!! It was a book I recommended to all my friends. Then the next book I am reading is "My Third Husband Will Be A Dog" by Lisa Scottolinewhich is good also.

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