A handful of reading opportunities to consider for different moods -- from mystery to epic drama, the Sistine Chapel to the Vietnam War. Two novels, two nonfiction, one crime mystery -- all recently published.
Author: The Longest Chapter
Recommended novels set in Rome, Norway, and England
Here you’ll find books I talked about on the most recent WOSU All Sides Weekend Books, a live radio show that’s all about finding your next best read. I’ve not yet mentioned them on the blog, three novels of varied plotlines. One is inspired by the true story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, an official in the Vatican's Holy Office who saved the lives of escaped WWII Allied POWs.
Three February books
A small selection with a broad range in topics, herein you’ll find a hard look at five literary marriages (heads up fans of Phyllis Rose’s "Parallel Lives") and Salman Rushdie’s new novel about a woman inhabited by a deity. Also, a book-length essay from one of my newest favorite translated authors, Nona Fernandez.
A woman’s secret, a moving epic, and a glacial adventure
I thought I’d share the three novels that are keeping me company right now and giving me something to look forward to. They’re very different in their plots, from introspective journaling to a villager's storytelling to an Alpine search. Here's why I've chosen them.
“Two Thousand Million Man-Power” by Gertrude Trevelyan
Gertrude Trevelyan is a British author whose novels were among the best published in the 1930s; however, they disappeared after her death in 1941. Today her work is being rediscovered, including this memorable novel that was first published to critical acclaim in 1937. It was one of my top favorites for 2022. Once forgotten, it now deserves lots of attention, even if I'm repeating myself. Here's a review.
Six favorite books from my year of reading
This 2022 end-of-year list includes an equal number of fiction and nonfiction. The books earned their place for the unusual qualities that set them apart: storytellers that amazed me, atmospheres that erased time, facts that broadened my thinking. Four of the books have been mentioned here before; two are new.
Three novels, one reminiscence
I told myself I wouldn’t add to my reading table during December, and yet these new books sound irresistible. They take place in varying worlds, such as North Korea, an Irish shirt factory, ballet, and the Mediterranean island of Rhodes. I’ve already dipped in to two of them. What’s here, I believe, is intriguing, funny, engaging, and moving, promising memorable good reads.
A family Christmas and the wisdom in a soaring flock of birds
Lynn Steger Strong’s new novel “Flight” dissects the discord among family members gathered for Christmas at a sibling’s house in upstate New York. It’s told with riveting force. Here’s a review.
Rudolf Vrba’s escape from Auschwitz and an unputdownable whodunnit
Two very different books, both written with expert style and intrigue guaranteed to fascinate: "The Escape Artist" by Jonathan Freedland and "The Enigma of Room 622" by Joël Dicker. Here's what they're about and why they're so immersive.
“The world does not know that you are here.”
The world certainly knows Cormac McCarthy's new novel "The Passenger" is here. A 16-year wait for his fans, of which I have not been one until now, hooked irrevocably. His characters herein are geniuses, and so is this author. Here's what “The Passenger” is all about.
The 2022 Booker Prize winner plus a surprise bestseller
Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka won this year's Booker Prize for his second novel about his country's decades-long civil war. Also, and totally unrelated, the MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant announcements last week connected me to a wildly popular book that has "germinated" into a bestseller. Here's more.
The unsung life of a famous painter
Award-winning author Steve Stern has a new novel out called "The Village Idiot." It creatively recounts the life of the renowned early 20th century Russian-French artist Chaim Soutine, whose paintings now reside in art institutions around the world. The story powerfully imagines the inner life of this genius. Here's a review.
“Treacle Walker” and “Oh William!”
The National Book Foundation announced their longlist for the 2022 National Book Awards this week. (This post isn't about that. I just wanted to tell you.) They have several categories beyond fiction and nonfiction, all of which you'll find on their website. Meanwhile, I'm still closing in on the Booker Prize nominees. They're down to the six finalists, including these two.
Reading the 2022 Booker Prize longlist
There’s much to be excited over in this upcoming fall season's literary line-up: Cormac McCarthy, Ian McEwan, Elizabeth McCracken are some of the authors coming out with new books. More on those later. Meanwhile, the Booker Prize is in full swing with its longlisted nominees, a great selection this year. Here are a few you might want to consider reading.
Catching up on my nonfiction reading
Nothing better than reading a good book on the porch at night with a breeze and the cicadas. Three books from my TBR table are now in the mix, all nonfiction and varied in topic. One was a finalist for the nonfiction 2021 National Book Award. The other two are “finds” that called to me. Take a look. Maybe there’s something here for you and your reading during these dog days of summer.