OMG All The Books Giveaway

I know a shocking number of writers with books coming out very soon, and many of them are joining me in this massive book giveaway. 

It's easy to enter, and you could win signed copies of ALL the books mentioned above. You might have to buy a new bookshelf! So, for my part of the giveaway, you're supposed to list some favorite vacation spots, and here are mine, in no particular order: Montauk, Palm Springs, the Oregon coast, Maine, a hammock, a swimming pool. That's really all I need. xoxoxo

Crack Open the Rioja! Another Starred Review


It's so nice when people are nice. Here's another lovely starred review, this time from the folks at Booklist. I raise a glass of Rioja to you, my friends!

[STARRED] The Vacationers.

Straub, Emma (Author)

May 2014. 304 p. Riverhead, hardcover, $26.95. (9781594631573).


Straub’s second novel (Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, 2012) is contained in the two-week vacation of the extended Post family: Franny and Jim, married over 30 years; their teen daughter, Sylvia; twentysomething son Bobby, his girlfriend, Carmen, in tow; and Franny’s best friend, Charles, and his husband, Lawrence. Trading one grand island for another, the mainly Manhattanites arrive in Mallorca with, of course, a few secrets tucked in their literal baggage—and so begin the games that occur above the plane of the Scrabble board. Jim has suddenly left his beloved magazine job, and not everyone knows the circumstances; Sylvia’s excitement to get to Brown might have more to do with leaving home; Carmen wishes Bobby would ask his parents for that favor already; and it’s more than work emails keeping Lawrence searching for a WiFi signal. Straub masters a constantly changing flow of perspectives as readers wonder who will forgive and be forgiven in this sun-soaked, remote paradise. Spongy and dear, sharply observed and funny, Straub’s domestic-drama-goes-abroad is a delightful study of the complexities of family and love, and the many distractions from both.

— Annie Bostrom

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow!

Last night, I got to interview Lorrie at Symphony Space, which was a total delight. Here's what we looked like. 

Someone in the audience asked Lorrie about the second person, and I said that I'd just written my first story using it--as a matter of fact, it's my Twitter Fiction story, which I'll start posting today! Half goes up from 11am-12pm EST today, and half goes up tomorrow night from 9pm-10pm EST. Riverhead designed me a cute little box that says so, as you can see below. 

As Lorrie said, the second person is addictive, and so who knows, maybe I'll write a hundred more. One at a time. 

Hope you tune in! And thank you thank you to Symphony Space for letting me sit next to Lorrie, forcing her to publicly acknowledge that I'm not her stalker. I mean, I'm not REALLY her stalker. Only a little bit. The nice kind. 


Instagram Giveaway

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I bet you thought that the lovelies at Riverhead were done giving away packages of Vacationers-themed stuff! Not so! March brings a whole new bucket of goodies, this time on Instagram. A Vacationers beach towel, fancy sunscreen that I once bought for $35 at a hotel in Miami (your very own can, not my used one), some Essie nail polish, some Nars lipstick, a pouf, and yes, a book. 

To enter, tag a vacation photo with #thevacationers and @riverheadbooks. Fun! There is no reason not to try, unless you work at Penguin or are my mother, in which case, I'm sorry, you can't win. But if you're really nice I'll buy you a tube of lipstick anyway. Especially if you're my mother. 

If you want to see my goofy pics on Instagram, they are found @emmastraub. 



Kirkus Gives Me a Star!


Kirkus reviewed The Vacationers, and they liked it so much they gave me a little star. I've always wanted a star. Thank you, Kirkus!

Straub refreshes a conventional plot through droll humor and depth of character.

By now, the premise is so familiar it seems like such a novel could write itself, but it wouldn’t write itself nearly as engagingly as Straub has (Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, 2012, etc.). Starting with the somewhat generic title, she has all the predictable elements in place: family and close friends gathering at an exotic remove from their daily lives, reveal secrets (and articulate unacknowledged truths), learn how well they know each other and how well they don’t, discover which relationships will endure—even strengthen—and which will dissolve. At the end of the idyll—in this case two weeks on the Spanish island of Mallorca—all will return transformed. The reason for this group gathering is the 35th anniversary of Jim and Franny and the high school graduation of their daughter, Sylvia. Franny is a successful journalist, specializing in travel pieces, and Jim had a career at a GQ-style magazine until he lost his job as editor for reasons that threaten their marriage. Sylvia is the novel’s most perceptive character, with a single goal for the vacation—losing her virginity. Joining them are their older son, Bobby, and his older girlfriend, whose lives in Florida are somewhat of a mystery to the New York family, as well as Franny’s lifelong friend Charles and his husband, Lawrence. From the periphery, Lawrence observes that “[o]ther people’s families were as mysterious as an alien species, full of secret codes and shared histories.” Yet even those who share that history remain enigmas to each other, as Franny discovers about Jim: “What did anyone know about anyone else, including the person they were married to?” Ultimately, the reader will savor the novel’s illumination of these characters, who are neither good nor evil but all too human. Will Jim and Franny stay together? Will Sylvia achieve her goal?

A novel that is both a lot of fun to read and has plenty of insight into the marital bond and the human condition.

Beautiful New Website!

If you're reading this, you've already found my beautiful new website. Hello there! Isn't it wonderful?! My husband made it out of twigs and berries while the baby and I were napping. 

The book launch is rapidly approaching, and exciting things are starting to happen. I can't wait to share them all here. In the meantime, here's a picture of one of my 'Greetings from Mallorca' postcards taken by the lovely Corinna Barsan, set against a very snowy New York City. 

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If you want one of these postcards to arrive in YOUR mailbox, hit me up on the Contact page (or via social media, choose your poison) and I will happily send you one. 

Happy February!



Yee Haw!


This spring is going to be an exciting one. My new novel, THE VACATIONERS, will be out in June, and there are sure to be lots and lots and lots of really fun events surrounding the book's publication. Before that happens, though, my husband, baby and I will be practicing our boot-scootin' boogies down in Nashville.

That's right! This spring, I'll be teaching a workshop at the venerable Vanderbilt University. My beloved friend and mentor Lorrie Moore starts teaching there in the spring after two and a half decades in Madison, Wisconsin, and I feel very lucky that she thought of me when this gig came up. Please tell me where the good brownies are. And the fried chicken. And the babysitters. We'll be in Nashville from the beginning of January to the end of April, and the whole thing sounds like a great adventure. If the baby could talk, he'd say, y'all, I can't wait. Connie Britton and Ann Patchett, look out! We're about to be best friends.

love and grits,