Reading with... Betty Corrello

Betty Corrello is a writer, comedian, and proud Philadelphian. Her greatest passion is writing stories where opposites attract, but love is chosen. Summertime Punchline (Avon Books, May 21, 2024), her first novel, is a second-chance romance in which an up-and-coming comedian unwillingly returns to her hometown for the summer and sparks unexpectedly fly between her and the boy who broke her heart 10 summers before.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

I'm going to steal the blurb Sarah Adler did for Summertime Punchline because she nailed it!

"Humor, heat, and steam collide in this charming story about how people and places change and grow whether we're there to witness it or not."

On your nightstand now:

I have a monstrous stack of romances on my nightstand right now. It's both terrifying and spectacular. Trouble by Lex Croucher on top of At First Spite by Olivia Dade on top of The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata on top of Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. Just hits on hits on hits. And what am I doing with my time? Nothing important!

Every night I apologize to them, and every morning I kiss them goodbye before putting on my big red nose and clown makeup.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I was absolutely devoted to the Dear America series as a child. A fanatic! The more harrowing the story, the faster I lapped it up. I particularly loved A Coal Miner's Bride by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, which was probably the first romance I ever read. Nothing like a 13-year-old getting, essentially, human trafficked to uh... make you believe in love.

I also adored A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Everything about it spoke to me and made me want to be a writer.

Your top five authors:

This is such a hard question to answer. I did my best!

Zora Neale Hurston
Elena Ferrante
David Sedaris
Elif Batuman
Charlaine Harris

Book you've faked reading:

So many. I'm constantly pretending I've read more Kurt Vonnegut than I actually have. I don't think I've ever finished an entire book of his. But I really seem like the type of millennial woman that would be rabid for Kurt and believe me--I'd love that! But the guy refused to write paranormal romance! And that's usually what I'm in the mood for.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Subdivision by J. Robert Lennon. Everyone needs to know about this book. It's so, so good and always what I prescribe when someone tells me they're in a reading slump. It's unlike anything I've ever read before. You know those TikTok slideshows of AI-generated liminal spaces? This is the book version of that, while also being very funny and perfectly gut-wrenching.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood. Perfect name, perfect cover, perfect book.

Book you hid from your parents:

None, I was a perfect angel* and never broke any rules. *does fanfiction count?

Book that changed your life:

French Exit by Patrick deWitt. I reference it like it's the Holy Bible. My copy is so dog-eared, so underlined. It's a master class in comedic novel writing. The tone, pacing, punchlines. Chef's kiss.

Favorite line from a book:

Here are two lines that are tattooed across my brain:

"Love is like the sea. It's a moving thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from the shore it meets, and it's different with every shore." --Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

"It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don't like something, it is empirically not good. I don't like Chinese food, but I don't write articles trying to prove it doesn't exist." --Tina Fey, Bossypants

Five books you'll never part with:

  1. My annotated copy of Their Eyes Were Watching God from high school. It's a personal treasure. Sometimes we'd be prompted to underline a passage and at the time my brain was still too soft to understand the full extent of what was going on. But now I get it, and I feel like I have a piece of English class rigor with me that I can reference whenever I want.
  2. How to Eataly, an enormous encyclopedic cookbook on everything Italian cuisine.
  3. My childhood copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Every time I reread it as a kid, I'd sign the inside cover.
  4. My annotated copy of Beach Read by Emily Henry
  5. On Writing by Stephen King

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

French Exit by Patrick deWitt

Books you're reading right now:

Physically reading: This Could Be Us by Kennedy Ryan
Listening to: Mixed Signals by B.K. Borison

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