"Gentleman Overboard" by Herbert Clyde Lewis published in 1937 slipped into forgotten books land as so many good books do (and shouldn't) until it was rescued. It's the story of Henry Preston Standish, who finds himself floating in the Pacific Ocean, sure the ship he fell off of will turn around and pick him up. It's ingenious tragicomedy with an objective. You've got to read it.
I was pretty excited to discover Audrey Schulman published a new novel. I loved her last book, “Theory of Bastards,” which gets a praiseworthy blurb on the new book’s cover. You’ll find more about both in this new blog post. Also, a novel about a wealthy couple in 1920’s New York City whose phenomenal fortunes create a mystery. And then an Appalachian novel about ecoterrorism.
Author James Runcie is best known for his Sidney Chambers Mysteries, which have been turned into the popular PBS Grantchester series (one of my favorites) on MASTERPIECE. He’s written a new book called "The Great Passion" that’s not a mystery but historical fiction. It answers a question about the famous Baroque composer J.S. Bach. Here's what it’s all about.
Here you'll find stories to savor and characters you'll love so much you'll have to put the book down and walk away, to get ready, when things get tense. Also, a memoir about growing up on the largest block of unfenced wilderness in the lower 48 states, and a new novel I'm thinking may just be a spring break beach read.
The Salpêtrière hospital in Paris functioned as a city within a city, an enclosed asylum for women whose nerves were shot. That's my modern speak for what then neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot termed hysteria. In "City of Incurable Women," author Maud Casey lets their stories be known. Read more about her new book here.
For too long, Ilya Kaminsky’s “Deaf Republic” sat on my reading table, a story told in poems that’s not only profound but now so very timely. Also in this blog post you’ll find a compelling mix of fiction and nonfiction, with authors writing about love for the natural world, truth in a murder investigation, and the St. Matthew Passion.
A chance encounter at an airport and a delayed flight together offer the perfect opportunity for a man to tell the story of how he rescued a drowning swimmer and what came after, a story he’s never shared with anyone. Prepare to stay up all night (or to drop everything) to read “Mouth to Mouth,” Antoine Wilson’s newest novel, a story within a story that explores themes of deception and manipulation. Read the review here.
Three books, three intriguing topics: stolen art, a musician’s performance anxiety, and a deep look into the interviewing process. Here’s why I’ve chosen to read them.
I’m deep into the fictional lives of Guy and Harriet Pringle in Olivia Manning’s classic trilogy, but I'm also looking forward to some interesting new books out this month and next. They include a novel narrated by a book (the narrator being Joseph Roth’s “Rebellion”), a small gem exploring 19th century women hysterics, a psychological thriller, a reissued story collection from the 1970s, and more. Read about the books here.
"The Fortune Men" is a fictionalized account of a gross miscarriage of justice that sent a Somali sailor to the gallows in 1952 Cardiff, Wales. Shortlisted for Britain’s 2021 Booker and Costa literary awards, it’s received much attention and praise. Here’s a review.
A surprising mix of novels became my year-end favorites for their morally conflicted and inspiring characters: from scientists to petty thieves, French Algerians to Chilean dictators, an Indiana farm woman to a Black female executive. And then one book, simply put, I didn't want to end.
"Winter in Sokcho" by Elisa Shua Dusapin tells the story of a stranger arriving in an isolated South Korean fishing village. He’s a graphic novelist looking for peace and quiet to complete his final book in a series. The unnamed narrator, who works at the guesthouse where he takes a room, becomes his tour guide, and also his unexpected emotional life reckoning. Her voice is enticing. Read more here about this award-winning novel.
Here you’ll find an intriguing mix of fiction, memoir, and graphic nonfiction. One of the novels is by an internationally acclaimed Irish author. Another is by “the other Elizabeth Taylor,” a British author whose writing career unfortunately began just as the American Elizabeth Taylor came to fame in Hollywood. Her novels are considered to be a well-kept secret.
Author Hilma Wolitzer has gained a reputation as one of our best fiction writers who, according to The Washington Post, “raises ordinary people and everyday occurrences to a new height.” Thirteen stories are collected for the first time in her new book since their publication in magazines during the 1960s and '70s. They're funny, heartrending treasures about an unforgettable couple, Paulette and Howard, and others. Read more about them, here.
Since 2006, this significant prize in literature has celebrated the power of the written word to promote peace. Here are the 2021 winners: one adult fiction and one adult nonfiction, both of World War II and lives revealed, both riveting reads.