Here at The Longest Chapter, instead of calling out best books of 2019, I've gathered a more personal list.
This fiction debut features gambling lost souls in the American West during the 1950s. It's written with gorgeous prose. Here's what the story is about.
I've captured here the novels I mentioned on NPR member station WOSU All Sides Weekend Books that aired November 8, 2019.
Ben Lerner's new novel "The Topeka School" takes us back to the 1990s with the return of Adam Gordon, the protagonist in Lerner's first novel, "Leaving from the Atocha Station." Adam is a graduating high school senior and debate champion, but Lerner is up to much more than a good story about a Kansas boy.
Thomas Tryon's "The Other" unnerved me the first time I read it when I was 16. It still creeps me out.
Twenty-five nominees in five categories made it from the longlist to the shortlist of the National Book Awards. Here's a look at three of them, and also one that didn't make the cut but has an interesting scandal going on in Norway.
Two old Irish drug smugglers sit on a bench and chat in a derelict ferry terminal in Kevin Barry’s third novel, “Night Boat to Tangier.” It's a funny, dark, intoxicating story where the pages fly past under the quick-witted banter of Maurice and Charlie, who are looking for Maurice’s estranged daughter.
Will it be Margaret Atwood's sequel to “The Handmaid's Tale”? Or perhaps Lucy Ellman's one-sentence epic? This year's shortlist offers six novels that embrace the issues of our times. Here's the list and thoughts to go with it.
In “The Secrets We Kept,” Lara Prescott unfolds a little-known, Cold War story about Boris Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago.” It’s historical fiction that’s entertaining, with a colorful cast of characters.
"A Girl Returned" is the English-language debut of Italian author Donatella Di Pietrantonio. This memorable novel captivates readers with its young narrator whose identity and sense of belonging is shattered by her misguided family.
So many summer books, so little time. You'll be sorry, though, if you missed these two.
"The Gone Dead," a novel by Chanelle Benz, immerses readers in the Mississippi Delta with protagonist Billie James suspecting foul play in her father's death 30 years ago. This atmospheric debut explores themes of deceit, race relations and family ties.
In "The Photographer at Sixteen," British poet and translator George Szirtes recalls his mother's turbulent life during World War II, the Hungarian Revolution and her final years in England. It's impressive and captivating.
Françoise Gilot’s memoir of her 10 years with Pablo Picasso, published in 1964, was met with praise and controversy. The best-seller is now back in print. Here’s what “Life With Picasso” is about and why critics praised and criticized it.
A secret agent's diary written in the days leading up to World War II finds its way to upstate New York in 1988 in this compelling new spy novel by David Downing.