Read This: “Lessons in Chemistry”

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lessons in chemistry

Right now I’m reading a fabulous novel with not one but two Sacramento connections: “Lessons in Chemistry,” which was released April 5 and is already getting tons of national and international buzz. It’s written by Bonnie Garmus, a 64-year-old first-time author whose sister is Nancy Greenlee, a notable Sacramento garden designer. The other local connection: Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson, who grew up in Sacramento, purchased the film rights and will star in an Apple TV+ streaming series based on the book.

Now that I’ve got the Sacramento stuff out of the way, here’s why you should read this book: It’s a hilarious, fast-paced and inspirational story about a female chemist in the 1960s who becomes the improbable host of a wildly popular TV cooking show. The main character, the idiosyncratic Elizabeth Zott, deals with workplace discrimination and unwed motherhood and has been compared to Beth Harmon of “The Queen’s Gambit.” The book features other memorable characters, most notably a dog named Six-Thirty, who has to be the smartest and funniest canine in fiction history.

“Lessons in Chemistry” was the subject of a heated 16-way auction at last year’s Frankfurt Book Fair and has been sold into 35 territories. According to Publishers Weekly, it was “the clear book of the fair” and “what everyone is talking about.” The New York Times and The Washington Post both published glowing reviews, and “Good Morning America” chose it as its GMA Book Club pick of the month. You will no doubt be hearing more about this remarkable book. East Village Book Store (3604 McKinley Blvd.) has copies for sale; Capital Books (1011 K St.) is expecting them soon. You can also get it on Amazon or anywhere else you buy books.