All posts tagged: book recommendations

Michael Rose talks about his debut, THE SORTING ROOM, about delaying creativity, how business informed his writing life, why he loves historical fiction, modernity, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay An epic family saga, THE SORTING ROOM is a captivating tale of several women’s struggles, perseverance, and more set in Prohibition/Depression-era NYC. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ ALWAYS WITH A BOOK Leslie Lindsay & Michael Rose in conversation After serving in executive positions in global companies, Michael Rose retired from the corporate world. The Sorting Room is his debut fiction. He grew up on a diary farm and now resides in San Francisco. COMING SEPTEMBER 2021 ABOUT THE SORTING ROOM: It’s the beginning of The Great Depression and Eunice Ritter is a living in squalor. She and her brother, Ulrich–Uli–are not exactly close– she’s alone, living on the edges of his world of marbles and friendship. He throws a rock at her, but Eunice may actually be more industrious and skilled than Uli, and even their parents. She’s just ten years old when she gets a job at a local sweat shop–an industrial laundry–a job no one wants. In fact, Eunice was sort of ‘dared’ into the job by adult men who suggested she would become …

The fabulous and down-to-earth Mary Kubica talks about her new domestic suspense, LOCAL WOMAN MISSING, her fascination with true crime, writing ‘the big twist,’ old houses, how even idyllic places have their dark stories–plus, a question for me, too.

By Leslie Lindsay  An explosive page-turner from Mary Kubica will have you looking over your shoulder–and your neighbors–differently. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ SPOTLIGHT: MOTHERHOOD Mary Kubica has done it again. Every one of her books is a treat and I so glad I had the opportunity to dive into this one a bit early. LOCAL WOMAN MISSING (Park Row Books, May 18 2021) is her seventh (!!) domestic thriller and it’s so, so good. Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. This is unusual, she has a newborn, she’s relatively new to town, what reason would she possibly have to leave…or for someone to kidnap her? Not long after, Meredith Dickey goes missing, and her 6-year old daughter. But it’s a close-knit, suburban town outside of Chicago, neighbors are concerned but there’s only so much that can be done, even after a search party is formed. The case(s) eventually goes cold and Meredith’s husband, Josh, and son, Leo, continue with their lives. Now, eleven years later, the 6-year old daughter shockingly returns. She’s traumatized, must wear sunglasses at all times …

Laird Hunt talks about how ZORRIE was inspired by his grandmother, her ties to Indiana, plus memory, being a literary citizen, the transformative, multifaceted aspects of the color green, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Gorgeously and sparsely told tale of one woman’s life from her hardscrabble days on an Indiana farm and everything in-between. ~Writers Interiewing Writers|Always with a Book~ March Spotlight: Historical Fiction O Magazine’s Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels of 2021   This stunning and luminously told story is so affecting, and transformative, too. Set against the harsh, quintessential Midwestern landscape, ZORRIE (Bloomsbury, Feb 9, 2021) is at once a historical fiction of a one woman’s life, but also a study in Americana, grit, and the transformative events of the 20th century. Zorrie is an orphaned child who goes to live with her aunt on a farm in Indiana. She’s twenty-one when she decides to set off on her own, and it just so happens to be in the midst of the Great Depression. She ends up in Illinois working odd jobs and then at the radium plant, sleeping in abandoned barns and under the stars. At the end of the day, the girls from the factory glowed from the radioactive material. Here she meets several young women who become friends–those …

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 …

Warmth, Passion and Coffee…how Zibby Owens does it all, plus her Quarantine Anthology, essays by contemporary writers in MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME

By Leslie Lindsay  A force to be reckoned–Zibby Owens chronicles the myriad emotions, experiences, more in this historically and personally challenging year; an anthology of essays written by authors from her podcast. “The patron saint of books.”“The Great Connector.” ~Writers Interviewing Writers|Always with a Book~ WeekEND Reading A little burst of joy to your bookshelf during a rather bleak and troubling time. MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO: A Quarantine Anthology (Skyhorse Press, February 2021) will spark interest, validate this challenging year, and more. It’s filled with anecdotes on the reading life, food, family, mental health, exercise, mindfulness, sex/intimacy, more.Here, we delve into over 60 short essays from contemporary writers exploring all of these aspects of life–but during quarantine, which makes MOMS DON’T HAVE TIME TO even more timely and topical. I don’t know about you–but as a mom myself, I found that I actually had *less* time once we were shut down at home. It sounds counterintuitive, but true. “The perfect reminder for every mom that nn of us have it all together, all of us are doing our best and, …

lyrical and hauntinly sublime literary fiction from yaa gyasi about race in america, but also about depression, anxiety, addiction, spirtuality & science in transcendent kingdom

By Leslie Lindsay  One woman’s reckoning with her family of origin, its dysfunctional aspects, a suicidal mother, a tragic event with a brother, science, and so much more.   ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ FEBRUARY SPOTLIGHT: WOMEN WRITERS OF COLOR A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK! INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER I had a feeling I would like TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM (Knopf, September 2020), I had no idea how much I would *LOVE* TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM. Yaa Gyasi is animmensely talented writer who tells a dark story with such luminous grace and compassion. Quick take: Gifty is a sixth-year neuroscience PhD candidate at the Stanford University School of Medicine. She’s studying the reward-seeking behavior of mice and the neural circuits in depression and anxiety and addiction, and with good reason. As often the case, many scientists study what they study because they have somehow been touched by the issues personally. In Gifty’s case, it’s her family members who have. Gifty’s brother, Nana, was a talented athlete with much promise, but before all of that, the family immigrated from Ghana to Alabama(and …

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 …

WHAT IF YOU WERE DRIVEN BY REVENGE but also trauma? ANDROMEDA ROMANO-lax talks about this, the early days of psychoanalysis, & so much more in a genre-bending new book, ANNIE AND THE WOLVES

By Leslie Lindsay A modern-day historian finds herself enmeshed with the life of Annie Oakley, in a dual-timeline novel exploring the concept of revenge and changing one’s past/path. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ “2020 Best & Most Anticipated Historical Fiction” Oprah Magazine “Most Anticipated Books of 2021” by Buzzfeed  Several years ago, I read and loved Andromeda Romano-Lax’s BEHAVE, about Behaviorist John Watson and his wife, Rosalie Raynor Watson, their inhumane ‘experiments’ on children and parenting, done in what they believed was what was ‘best’ for the children (withholding affection, etc.). When I discovered her forthcoming ANNIE AND THE WOLVES (Soho Press, Feb 2, 2021), I knew I had to get my hands on it. Ruth McClintock is a historian in her early thirties and completely obsessed with Annie Oakley. For nearly a decade, she has been studying the show-stopping sharpshooter, convinced a tragic past is what elevated her status as one of the best shots in the land. But Ruth sort of loses it all–her book deal, her finance, her dissertation because her own mental health gets in …

KATHERINE MAY’S NYT BESTSELLER: WINTERING & HOW IT RELATES TO A PERIOD OF TIME IN MY LIFE

By Leslie Lindsay How does one care for and repair ourselves when we find ourselves slipping through the cracks? ~NONFICTION SPOTLIGHT|ALWAYS WITH BOOK~ NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A meditation in what it means to winter, this intimate, part-memoir, part exploration, part essay, WINTERING by Katherine May (Riverhead, November 2020) explores all the ways winter is a lesson in self-care, healing, and rejuvenation. I once believed I could live in the northern climate of Minnesota. My mother scoffed, “It’s one of the coldest places we have in the U.S. Why would you want to go there?”  Simple: I had a job at the Mayo Clinic. I also wanted to get away from my wildly unstable, mentally ill mother. Still, her warning, her motherly instinct to shelter me from the harsh realities of a 6-8 month long winter, was somewhat…comforting. As children had been doing for eons, I defied her. I moved to Minnesota. Encapsulated in the snowy drifts and what I am sure was my first real blizzard, I hunkered down. I sat in the bay …

MEMOIR MONDAY: 2020 FAVORITES curated by leslie lindsay

By Leslie Lindsay Great list of memoirs that really hit home, in this year-end round-up as curated by your host, Leslie Lindsay.  ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ 2020 YEAR-END ROUND-UP Memoir is one of my very favorite genres. I think it’s because I love inhabiting someone else’s world, even if just briefly. I learn a lot about myself, and the world around me. Plus, there’s always resilience and strength and a new lens in which one gazes from the world. I am often moved to write when I read a memoir–but not always. There’s something about digesting someone else’s words and stories to help the reader excavate her own. Also, there’s learning, at least for me, that goes on ‘behind-the-scenes’ when I read a memoir. I look at pacing, structure, and character. I notice things like imagery and word use.  It takes an incredible amount of guts write a memoir. It’s cathartic, sure. I think therapy is a lot cheaper and faster than say, the years and blood, tears, and sweat  from revisiting (often) traumatic …