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.
Category: literary novels
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.
“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.
Controlled perception: a 20th century tycoon’s life
Hernan Diaz's new novel "Trust" is getting a lot of attention, and it's not surprising. The book creatively embraces the distortions power and wealth enable, bending reality. It's a story that leaves its mark, long remembered after the last page. Here's a review.
Lost man at sea, lost novel recovered
"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.
New discoveries for spring reading
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.
The story of a boy who studied with Bach
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.
Now reading: poetry, nature, true crime, and J.S. Bach
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 psychological page-turner brilliantly crafted
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.
What I’m reading, plus promising new books
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.
What to read next: books now and to anticipate
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.
Books to anticipate this September: part two
More books this month promising page-turning and thoughtful involvement, from a mesmerizing story about genius scientists to a piercing narrative about a British Black woman’s climb up the corporate ladder. Here’s the second list of five (see part one), including a replacement for “City on Fire” by Don Winslow, who changed his mind about a September pub date (find out why).
“Lean Fall Stand,” a new novel by Jon McGregor
Jon McGregor is an award-winning British novelist and short story writer. His newest novel to be released this month tells the story of an Antarctic research expedition gone wrong and the far-reaching consequences. Gripping and insightful. Here's a review.
What I’m reading now: fiction by Madeleine Bourdouxhe, Mollie Panter-Downes, Olivia Manning
I'm betting you don't recognize these 20th century female authors. Each has faded into obscurity for different reasons, but now have renewed and much deserved attention. One wrote a bestseller, one wrote for The New Yorker, and one just couldn't get the critics to love her work. I'm under their spell. Here's what's captivating me.