Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it.
Brandi Megan Granett had me at poetry professor and anonymous online Scrabble poet. I’m a sucker for a story with some sort of university connection. Throw in some unexpected online fame and I’m totally intrigued. Granett’s, Triple Love Score, tells the story of Miranda, who teaches poetry at a small upstate New York college and for fun starts making small poems of words related to a theme on a Scrabble board and posting them to social media as Blocked Poet. Her posts start to gather a huge following, and when she signs on with a high-powered brand manager her popularity soars and suddenly there are book deals and merchandise and cross-country book tours in support of her brand. All good and well, except her old-friend Scott has reappeared after a six-year, unexplained absence. (By old-friend, I mean man with whom she was in love and waited for, before giving up and allowing her love to morph into anger.) And he’s brought his daughter with him. All this happens at the same time Miranda is in the midst of a fun, no-strings-attached, fling with Ronan— who’s headed home to Ireland in a few weeks. Which means it’s all very deliciously complicated.
Here’s what I loved about Triple Love Score:
- The avoidance of cliché. It would have been easy for Granett to make Miranda a disgruntled poetry professor who resented her low salary and tiny apartment. But she didn’t. Miranda likes her job and her students, even wants to keep the job once Blocked Poet starts to make money. It also would have been easy for her to hate her step-mother. But she doesn’t. Instead they have this really healthy, beautiful and complicated relationship. And Granett could have made the easy choice to have Miranda want more from her relationship with Ronan from the beginning, but she doesn’t. Instead she lets him be the one that falls hard, first. All these little details make the story feel fresh and unique.
- The layover in Paris. A ticking clock on seeing as much of the city as you can in a few precious hours— yes please. So much fun. (It will also make you want to eat chocolate croissants. You’ve been warned.)
- This idea of choosing yourself. There are pieces of Triple Love Score that feel a lot like a modern-day fairytale (see Paris layover above, and the general fairy godfather like success the manager brings to Blocked Poet), but nobody is rescuing Miranda. Throughout the book she makes choices for herself, for better or worse. There are a lot of things she learns about forgiveness and fame and things not happening on a perfect timeline— but I love that she is always the one making the choices from the very beginning.
- Richmond! I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I loved seeing Richmond, VA listed as one of the stops on Miranda’s book tour!
Speaking of Richmond, it’s officially fall here. Which means pretty leaves, crisp apples, all things pumpkin spice, and eating WAY too much candy corn. (Maybe that’s just me). Anyway, couple the actual season with the fact that the book is set against the backdrop of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and I have to go with a seasonal brew. While I love a good pumpkin beer (hey, I know not everyone does, but I’m choosing myself here, like Miranda) — I’m going to avoid cliché by going with Ardent Craft Ales’ Sweet Potato Sage Ale. It’s a farmhouse saison with a nice earthy spice to it that stands out in the seasonal sea of pumpkin.