All posts tagged: book clubs

Diane Chamberlain had me gasping aloud in THE LAST HOUSE ON THE STREET, plus her obsessions, civil rights, letting characters lead and the magic of writing

By Leslie Lindsay Two seemingly unconnected stories merge into one very thought-provoking, highly emotional read. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ Always with a Book Leslie Lindsay in Conversation with Diane Chamberlain Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 27 novels published in more than twenty languages. Influenced by her former career as a social worker and psychotherapist, she writes suspenseful stories that touch both heart and mind. One of Marie Claire’s Most Eagerly Anticipated of 2022 January Indie Next Pick I have long been a fan of Diane Chamberlain’s work, but this one really knocks it out of the park. THE LAST HOUSE ON THE STREET (Jan 11 2022, St. Martin’s Press), is completely ‘affecting and spellbinding,’ (Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW), and is a PEOPLE magazine ‘pick of the week,’ and is sure to pack a powerful punch for readers and book clubs. I loved it. What Diane does best is mine historical plot points with an emotional heart, and generally it’s something that once touched her own life. In fact, THE LAST …

Year-End 2021 and What’s Ahead in the New Year

By Leslie Lindsay An end of an era. But all endings are really beginnings, right? Since 2013, I have been remarkably grateful and blessed to have spent so much time connecting with readers on Always with a Book. Each week I have presented very fine authors and titles–from smashing debuts to immediate bestsellers. This has been both a privilege and joy. The website will remain, and you can always go back and re-read any author interview. How do you do this? Simple: Have an author or title in mind? Go to the search field (home page, top right magnifying glass) and type in a few keywords. It will ‘take’ you right to where you want to go! Head over to ‘Featured Authors’ and scroll through all of the…uh, featured authors…and peruse that way. Find an author or a book you really love? Great! I aim to please. You can add it to your Bookshop.org storefront, GoodReads, Instagram, or wherever else you catalogue your virtual reads. If you feel so compelled to read a book because …

An exploration of the memoir that was the catalyst to Donald Antrim’s ONE FRIDAY IN APRIL, a writing workshop, prompt, exercise and more.

By Leslie Lindsay A tender and often darkly funny portrait of a family ravaged by alcoholism, death, and more, THE AFTERLIFE is about a writer discovering his origins and his future. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ ALWAYS WITH A BOOK|MEMOIR MONDAY SPOTLIGHT, WORKSHOP, PROMPTS: The Afterlife by Donald Antrim Donald Antrim is an American novelist. His first novel, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World, was published in 1993. In 1999, The New Yorker named him as among the 20 best writers under the age of 40. In 2013, he was named a MacArthur Fellow. His most recent book, a memoir, ONE FRIDAY IN APRIL (October 12, 2021, from W.W. Norton & Co.) is profound, thought-provoking, and infused with clear-eyed examination of one’s life, but the bigger issue at hand: the human condition, sigma. ABOUT THE AFTERLIFE: Last week, I featured Donald Antrim’s most recent memoir, ONE FRIDAY IN APRIL: A Story of Suicide and Survival (W.W. Norton, 2021). Link to read that Q&A HERE. ONE FRIDAY IN APRIL struck me in so many ways, maybe it was because …

WITCHES WEEK: Ariel Gore’s WE WERE WITCHES, exploring fabulous feminist fiction, poetry, witches, motherhood, and so much more, plus a writing prompt

By Leslie Lindsay A sublime genre-bending tale of teen mom Ariel Gore caught betwixt the 1990s family values or home and family, along with the hopes of redeeming herself through education, WE WERE WITCHES casts a spell like no other. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ WITCHES WEEK ALWAYS WITH A BOOK Featured Spotlight: WE WERE WITCHES by Ariel Gore Ariel Gore is the founding editor & publisher of the Alternative Press Award-winning magazine Hip Mama and the author of ten books of fiction and nonfiction. I was alerted to this book after reading and attending an online class with Laraine Herring. Her book, A CONSTELLATION OF GHOSTS: A Speculative Memoir was featured earlier this month. ABOUT WE WERE WITCHES: We Were Witches is a 2017 novel by Ariel Gore. It is a first-person narrative of a fictionalized version of the author, of her life as a teen mom and budding feminist, from the birth of her daughter when she was 18 years old, to her graduation from Mills College. This book is a little different than most, and perhaps a misnomer. …

Caroline Beecham talks about illegal adoptions during WWII, a distant family secret, a woman pioneer in book editing, and so much more in her American debut of WHEN WE MEET AGAIN

By Leslie Lindsay Hope, love, loss, and the power of reading, WHEN WE MEET AGAIN (Putnam/Penguin Random House, July 20 2021) is about one woman’s struggle with her career, as well as personal matters, set against the backdrop of WWII England and New York. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ ALWAYS WITH A BOOK Leslie Lindsay & Caroline Beecham in conversation WHEN WE MEET AGAIN is Caroline Beecham’s American debut in historical fiction and will most certainly appeal to fans of Fiona Davis meets Christina Baker Kline with a touch of Kristin Hannah’s THE FOUR WINDS. This is an absorbing and emotional story about a mother’s love, but also secrets and redemption. ABOUT WHEN WE MEET AGAIN: London, 1943: The war has taken its toll on the book publishing industry. All the while, Alice Cotton, a young, sharp editor is on the rise. She sees books a way to cope, entertain, and distract–her hope is to get them into as many hands as possible. But she falls pregnant–a surprise–and certainly not in line with being a single, unwed woman of the day. She flees …

Is the past really prologue? I think so, and so does Kristin Hannah–join us as we talk about THE FOUR WINDS, prejudices in our everyday life, women in history, how she was influenced by memoirs of the dust bowl

By Leslie Lindsay  A powerful and poignant examination of a very bleak and gritty time, THE FOUR WINDS is about the Great Depression, the American Dust Bowl, perseverance, and more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Weekend Reading MARCH SERIES: HISTORICAL FICTION One of “2021’s Most Highly Anticipated New Books”—Newsweek Read with Jenna/Today Show Selection for FebruaryOne of “27 of 2021’s Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels That Will Sweep You Away”—Oprah MagazineOne of “The Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021″—ParadeOne of the “Books Everyone Will Talk About in 2021”—PopSugarOne of “The 57 Most Anticipated Books Of 2021″—ElleOne of “32 Great Books To Start Off Your New Year”—Refinery29One of “25 of the Best Books Arriving in 2021”—BookBubOne of “The 21 Best Books of 2021 for Working Moms”—Working MotherOne of “The Most Anticipated Winter Books That Will Keep You Cozy All Season Long”—Stylecaster One of the “Most Anticipated Books of 2021”—Frolic It’s 1921 when we meet Elsa Wolcott, an unremarkable twenty-five-year-old woman. She’s tall and gangly, a bookworm spinster living at home with her parents. Her family does well …

Sylvia True talks about her astonishing novel-based-on-a-true story, WHERE MADNESS LIES, combining elements of historical fiction, medicine, mental illness, motherhood, secrets, more

By Leslie Lindsay Such a beautifully tragic and heart-wrenching tale of hope and redemption, a lesser-known slice of WWII, combining intergenerational trauma, mental illness, secrets, more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Women’s Historical Fiction I was absolutely struck by the themes and ideas—and writing—in WHERE MADNESS LIES (Top Hat Books, February 1 2021) by Sylvia True, which is a gorgeous and devastating voyage into the madness of madness, tracing the Nazis’ view of the morally disgusting idea of racial hygiene, but also eradicating ‘any life not worth living,’ such as those deemed feebleminded, mentally ill, sexually degenerate, more. Alternating between the 1980s Massachusetts, and 1930s Germany, with a brief stint in Switzerland, WHERE MADNESS LIES is so beautifully rendered. I was in awe at the breadth of this book–in terms of historical accuracy, emotional intelligence, compelling voice/characters, how it’s based on a true story, and so much more. This story is hauntingly compelling, devastating, and horrifying, yet there’s a glimmer of hope dangling from a pearl. WHERE MADNESS LIES is achingly honest and masterful, a page-turner with fully developed characters and timelines, each …

INSTANT NYT BESTSELLING AUTHOR christina baker kline talks about her ravishing new historical fiction, THE EXILES, women convicts, mothers, writing, TREES & asks me a question, too

By Leslie Lindsay  A powerful, emotionally resonant novel that captures the hardship, oppression, opportunity and hope of four women’s lives—three English convicts and an orphaned Aboriginal girl—in nineteenth-century Australia. ~ALWAYS WITH A BOOK|WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS~ HISTORICAL FICTION SPOTLIGHT Gorgeous, sweeping historical novel about women convicts seeking refuge and freedom set in the nineteenth century England and Australia. AUTHOR OF THE PHENOMENAL #1 NYT BESTSELLER ORPHAN TRAIN Instant New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Indie Next bestseller SEPTEMBER 2020 “20 Great Reads” List, Indie Next THE BEST BOOKS OF 2020, REAL SIMPLE Optioned for television by Bruna Papandrea/Made Up Stories (“Big Little Lies”) …and more… I fell in love with THE ORPHAN TRAIN and felt the anxiety and inner turmoil in A PIECE OF THE WORLD, and when THE EXILES was published (WilliamMorrow/CustomHouse, August 25 2020), I dove head-first into the lucid prose. THE EXILES absolutely swept me away.  Kline takes a trio of young women and makes them so whole, so flawed, so authentic, it feels like they are right there with you, …

THE PULL OF THE STARS A historical novel that is strikingly similar to our current pandemic, set in 1918 Dublin, by the bestselling author of ROOM

By Leslie Lindsay  Pregnant women quarantined in a Dublin hospital during the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Historical Fiction Spotlight Barnes & Noble Book Club choice for August Reader’s Digest Book Club Pick Australian Women’s Weekly Book Club Pick  Oprah Magazine Best Book of Summer 2020 Chapters Indigo Best Book of 2020 AudioFile Earphones award for the unabridged edition I’m always alert to the work of the the lovely and talented Emma Donoghue, especially since I fell in love with her disturbingly good, ROOM. The Pull of the Stars (New York: Little Brown; July 2020), seemed to be vying for my attention, whispering, “Read me, read me,” when I came across this historical fiction set in 1918 Dublin. For three days, we are midwives in a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu. There’s work, and risk and a claustrophobic sense of the world browning at the edges; and yes, it has so many parallels with today’s pandemic. In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse …

Cara Wall talks about her incisive and gorgeously written debut, THE DEARLY BELOVED, about faith, love, marriage, family, struggle, and even autism

By Leslie Lindsay Stunningly executed first novel is brimming with conflict, but also hope, and the most astute writing. A Today show “Read with Jenna” Book Club Selection*** “A moving portrait of love and friendship set against a backdrop of social change.” —The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice) Entertainment Weekly calls The Dearly Beloved “the best book about faith in recent memory.” Plus, readers are saying it’s an instant-classic, traversing multiple generations. I love THE DEARLY BELOVED (Simon & Schuster, August 2019) by Cara Wall. This has got to be one of the most stirring and incisive debuts I have read in a long time. Writing with a restrained lyricism, Cara Wall’s THE DEARLY BELOVED is about marriage, beliefs, faith, friendships, conflicts, and motherhood. Beginning in the 1950s and traversing through the 1960s, we are truly immersed in the world of Charles and Lily, at college in Boston, when Charles strays from the academic path held by his father and wants to become a minister. But then he finds Lily, who is a skeptic –and for good reason. She’s …