All posts tagged: art

Are we a work-in-progress? Absolutely! Liese O’Halloran Schwarz talks about this, how success is elusive, her childhood in Thailand, the healing power of connection, and more in WHAT COULD BE SAVED

By Leslie Lindsay Enthralling family drama set in two distinct time periods–and places–about the bonds of siblings, a mystery, and more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ APRIL SPOTLIGHT: SIBLINGS A January 2021 Indie Next Pick People Book of the Week Real Simple Best Books of 2021 Starred Publishers Weekly Review…and more Is it possible to be a good person even when you’ve done something reprehensible? This is the overarching question of WHAT COULD BE SAVED (Atria Books, January 12, 2021) by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz. This is an ambitious novel both in scope and length, combining dual-timelines of 1972 and 2019, a large cast of characters, a mystery, a drama, societal class, plus it takes place alternatively in Washington, D.C., and Bangkok. It’s a lot. Laura Preston is a reclusive artist/painter in 2019 who finds herself at odds with her older sister, Bea. Their mother, Genevieve is slowing devolving into dementia. When a stranger connects with Laura via email, saying he’s their long-lost brother, she’s quick to believe it. She ignores Bea’s warnings and travels to Bangkok to learn the truth. …

Edgy & LUMINOUS, a twisted tale of love, friendship, art, & so much more in this hot debut–luster–by Raven Leliani

By Leslie Lindsay  Luminous and edgy, LUSTER is a raw examination of friendship, sex, intimacy, art, and more. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ February Spotlight: Women Writers of Color A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEARA BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: NPR, O Magazine, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times, Glamour, Shondaland, The New York Times Book Review, Boston Globe, Buzzfeed, Kirkus, Time, Good Housekeeping, InStyle, The Guardian, Literary Hub, Electric Literature, Self, The New York Public Library, Town & Country, Wired, Boston.com, Happy Mag, New Statesman, Vox, Shelf Awareness, Chatelaine, The Undefeated, Apartment Therapy, Brooklyn Based, The End of the World Review, Exile in Bookville, Lit Reactor, BookPage, i-DA FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New Yorker, Barack ObamaA BEST BOOK FOR HOLIDAY GIFTS: AV Club, Chicago Tribune, New York Magazine/The Strategist, The Rumpus WINNER of the Kirkus Prize and the Center for Fiction First Novel PrizeAN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERNATIONAL INDIE BESTSELLER * LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER * WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER I’ll admit to *not* wanting to read LUSTER (FSG, September 2020) because, well…it was on so many lists and so frequently talked about in literary circles. But then I wrote to the biblioracle at the Chicago Tribune, where I offered the last five books I’d read …

MEREDITH HALL talks about her luminescent novel, BENEFICIENCE, about one Maine FARM family’s experience with a terrible loss, the way we absorb grief, and the subconscious way of art + thinking about characters long after

By Leslie Lindsay  ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS  A deep, ravishing, quiet tale of a family upended by grief, a timely and topical exploration of what it means to be a family, and yet divided. Years ago, I read and loved Meredith Hall’s sweeping memoir, WITHOUT A MAP, and knew I had to get my hands on her first fiction, which is every bit as luminous and perceptive. When they met in the 1930s, Doris and Tup’s love was deep and visceral and immediate. Doris leaves behind her mercantile-minded family, where a life running her father’s shop was in the works, for Tup’s family farm, where his parents and grandparents and great-grandparents worked the land and are buried underneath the pines on farm cemetery. Their lives follow the calming–predictable–cycles of the seasons, the land. Cows are milked, calves are birthed, hay is rolled. There’s the garden and the canning, the laundry, the children–all three of them. Each day, they are grateful. But then the unthinkable happens. Faith is shattered. Grief permeates the walls, …

Miriam Feldman talks about how reality is written in pencil, not pen, telling her story & inspiring others, not being embarrassed by her son’s schizophrenia, self-care & so much more in HE CAME WITH IT

By Leslie Lindsay A deeply profound and troubling story about one family’s struggle with their son’s devolve into a severe mental illness, and yet, it’s hopeful and unifying. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Miriam Feldman, artist, a mother, writer, a mental health advocate, and so much more invites the reader into her chaotic, heart-breaking, but hugely honest and authentic life raising a son with schizophrenia in HE CAME WITH IT (Turner Publishing, June 23 2020). I’m no stranger to mental illness. My mother died by suicide five years ago after a lifelong battle with schizoaffective disorder. I worked as a child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. and to say that I’ve seen it all would be inaccurate. Each individual and each family present differently. We’re individuals. We don’t always respond the same, even if the diagnosis–or the overall issue–is similar. That’s why so much more awareness, openness, and advocacy is needed. And that’s why we need more books like HE CAME WITH IT. The Feldman-O’Rourke’s live in an idyllic L.A. suburb where generations of families enjoy deep roots in old homes. Miriam and …

Barbara Linn Probst dives into the stunning world of Georgia O’Keefee with her debut, QUEEN OF THE OWLS, featuring art work from her little-known Hawaii paintings, craft, isolation, consent, plus familial roles, a life well-experienced, more

By Leslie Lindsay  A powerful take on one woman’s relationship to her body, her art, her creativity…and also her mind, inspired by the life of Georgia O’Keeffe. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITER|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ QUEEN OF THE OWLS has been selected as one of the most anticipated books of 2020 by “Working Mother” QUEEN OF THE OWLS will also be the May 2020 selection of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club. Coming to nearly 800 book clubs across the country! QUEEN OF THE OWLS (SWP, April 7 2020), by debut author Barbara Linn Probst is told with elegance and precision, and empathy about what it truly means to be seen, as academic Elizabeth Crawford navigates her role as wife, mother, PhD student, and more. Until she met Richard, a professional photographer at her Tai Chi classes, her relationship with Georgia O’Keeffe’s little-known Hawaii paintings were purely academic. As an art historian, she is looking at how O’Keeffe’s work in Hawaii was seen as a ‘transition’ to her other works; she’s comparing and contrasting lush landscapes to that of the desert, to …

Parenting in the Time of Coronavirus–how are we coping? And isn’t it interesting that we often revert to our ‘old ways?’ Here, I talk about my daughters’ art, homes, isolation, and more

By Leslie Lindsay  I’m a sucker for houses and homes and architecture. As a child, I grew up with an interior decorator mother. I watched as she made her own patterns, designed draperies, throw pillows, bed skirts, even the canopy to my bed. For me, though, the passion found it’s way into interiors–the structure of a place–the lines, the shape, colors, patterns, and placement of furnishings, accessories, etc. It became a way for me to contain and understand my mother’s erratic moods and behaviors. Most of the time, especially when I was younger, she was fairly balanced. When I was ten, she devolved into psychosis, never to be the same. It was at this juncture in my life, that I leaned on art and architecture as a coping mechanism. I began sketching children’s spaces at an early age. Alcoves. Study spaces. Book nooks. Play rooms. This morphed into floor plans of traditional two-story homes, ones I created model names for (The Oakwood, for example was my signature model, but there were others, too). All throughout …

Erica Bauermeister, author of THE SCENT KEEPER turns to memoir in her fascinating exploration of renovating a 1909 Foursquare in HOUSE LESSONS, plus art, writing, empty-nests, and more

By Leslie Lindsay  A meditation of space, home, and what it means to be a mother, a wife, and a writer in this transformative memoir. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Can a home be cathartic? I think so. Can a home teach us life lessons? Absolutely! I know we’re not supposed to fall in love with a book based on its cover but O.M.G.! And the title: HOUSE LESSONS: Renovating a Life (Sasquatch Books, March 24 2020)…AND it’s a memoir? Sold. Erica Bauermeister is the author of mostly recently THE SCENT KEEPER, but has written other books, too. HOUSE LESSONS is her first memoir. This is a tale of love and family, hope and potential, all arising quite literally from a pile of junk. The 1909 American Four Square sat in eccentric Port Townsend, WA, not even for sale with the author and her husband stumbled upon it and knew it was ‘the one.’ Previously owned by a hoarder, Bauermeister and her family go about purchasing the home and cleaning it out, rebuilding the foundation, and renovating the interior …

Master storyteller Diane Chamberlain is back talking about her new novel, BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN, featuring strong women, art restoration, WPA, mental illness, and more. Plus, kitchen renovations and dog stories.

By Leslie Lindsay Diane Chamberlain skillfully weaves dual timelines in BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN, which carefully straddles the line between women’s fiction meets mystery and historical fiction. I’ve been a longtime fan of Diane Chamberlain, so no surprise I jumped at the chance to read her her newest title, BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN (St. Martin’s Press, January 14 2019). She always takes big issues and spins them into an immersive story with all the feels. BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN introduces two very strong, competent, and complicated young women across a dual timeline, 2018 and 1940, in small town Edenton, North Carolina. In 2018, we meet Morgan Christopher, a 22-year old woman who has gone to prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Her dream of an art career has been put on hold–until a mysterious visitor (and her attorney) approach her with a ‘get out of jail free card,’ that she would be a fool to pass up. Her assignment: to restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. …

The most unusual, surreal, disturbingly real read I’ve ever experienced. Leanne Shapton on her collage-style fragmented writing, houses, more in GUEST BOOK: Ghost Stories

By Leslie Lindsay A one-of-a-kind, truly unique reading experience, GUESTBOOK: Ghost Stories will alight and frighten and also leave a deep residue begging for another look.   Since publishing her first book of drawings 15 years ago, Leanne Shapton has amassed a devoted following among critics and fans alike. A ground-breaking visionary, and multi-talented artist with an illustrious career in design and publishing, Shapton is unparalleled in her ability to weave entirely original narratives out of images and text. Her earlier works have earned her National Book Critics Circle award for her illustrated memoir, SWIMMING STUDIES and WOMEN IN CLOTHES was a NYT bestseller. Now, blisteringly original artist, Leanne Shapton’s GUESTBOOK (Riverhead, March 2019) isn’t quite an art book, isn’t quite a traditional narrative, but here, she effortlessly and brilliantly combines so many different art forms into one highly intriguing experience. “Shapton uses ephemera not to catalog our social ills but to collect evidence of well-heeled lives at risk of being forgotten or brushed aside. The effect is diffuse and eerie, more often mood than assertion or …

What if you learned you had a relative you knew nothing about? And he was a Holocaust victim? Margaret McMullan delves into the ‘unspoken history’ in her moving and illuminating memoir, WHERE THE ANGLES LIVED

By Leslie Lindsay  Historical, family-oriented, and yet universal, Margaret McMullan delves into a little-known piece of her family’s heritage and brings it into the light.  I first ‘met’ Margaret McMullan with her interlinked short stories of another tragedy—the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, AFTERMATH LOUNGE—and then later, with her anthology, EVERY FATHER’S DAUGHTER. She’s also the author of seven other books, and her writing has appeared in USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Glamour, and others. WHERE THE ANGELS LIVED: One Family’s Story of Loss, Exhile, and Return (Calypso Editions, May 2019) begins in 2008 with the author’s visit to Israel’s Holocaust Museum, where she learns about a long-lost relative by the name of Richard. McMullan is thrust into a mystery–just who was this man and why hasn’t she learned of his existence before? She feels compelled to do some digging, tirelessly searching the history of her ancestors, the Engel de Janosis. Receiving a Fulbright cultural exchange, McMullan and her family (husband and teenage son), relocate to Pecs, Hungary to teach (and research Richard’s life) at a Hungarian University. This town is now largely …