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books, family, friendship, Hachette Book Group USA, hope

My Year of Hopefulness – Eat, Drink, and Be from Mississippi

The Hachette Book Group has a fantastic line-up of book releases this year. I just finished Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi by Nanci Kincaid. I wanted a book that would lift me up and make me feel more hopeful, and that’s exactly what Nanci Kincaid delivers.

We are presented with a family in Mississippi that is very typical of what we might think of as a traditional small town, southern family. By the end of the book, we are witness to the formation of a new family, mostly self-chosen, 3000 miles from Mississippi that personifies the “resurgence of collective possibility”.

Family is a funny thing: in the traditional sense, it’s an entity created by luck of the draw, people who are tied together by biology, and sometimes grow together and sometimes grow apart. Kincaid explores a new kind of family – one that people choose, either consciously or subconsciously. They fight as much as traditional families, and they also love fiercely. They believe in one another, even in the darkest hours. They are drawn to one another.

Through the whole book, I thought about this idea of having a calling, of being drawn to someone, or something, without any true justification. Could be a career, or a certain city, particular people, or a cause you care about. It overtakes you — no one tells you that you must dedicate yourself to this person, place, or ideal. You are just compelled to.

This is cause for great hope for all of us. Some of the characters in the book took a good long time to find their calling, others found it very quickly, and others thought they found it and then realized that they actually belonged some place else. It’s never too late, or too early, to find our place in the world. And sometimes that place shifts, and the best we can do is know that the Universe knows better than we do. One things is for certain: if you are open to your calling finding you at every turn, then eventually it will.

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

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