All posts tagged: book reviews

Musings & Meanderings: Does a writer need a room of her own? How about two desks? Plus: where to submit, what I do with the books I review,

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! I bought a desk. Another one. Because what writer needs two desks? Apparently, this one. For months I avoided my messy office in lieu of working at the kitchen table (chaos, distraction), or maybe going to the coffee shop (not a bad alternative if I had the time), but then fall hit and it was like–bam!–I gotta do something about this junky office. In all reality, it wasn’t that bad. But it was cluttered and there might have been a cobweb or two in the corners–eek! Scraps of paper with scrawled notes and ‘good lines,’ were everywhere. Notecards with scenes were taped to the wall. Cords were strung everywhere to illuminate spaces and power the heater. I know: it’s not winter. That’s how long it’s been. There was a real, psychological reason I wasn’t in my creating space. I was burned out. It was …

Where Have all The Interviews Gone?

By Leslie Lindsay I’m still here, just in a slightly different format… After nearly a decade of bringing great authors and their books right here, every Wednesday, I am shifting my focus a bit. It’s been a joy and privilege to connect with authors and share interviews with you. You can find all of my bookish suggestions, reviews, and more on Instagram in 2022, where I’ll be sharing reels and blurbs about books, what I’m reading, and even writing. Keep scrolling to learn more: Memoir-on-Submission: MODEL HOME: Motherhood, Madness & Memory is ‘making the rounds’ with publishing houses. This book has been in my heart for years. It’s about my mother’s devolve into psychosis when I was 10; the body, mind, houses and homes (she was an interior decorator), our estrangement, breaking the cycle, her suicide, my complex grief. It’s time for this story to make its way into the world. Learn more about MODEL HOME in this Psychology Today Q&A with Caroline Leavitt. ~Represented by Catalyst Literary Management~ Author Interviews: I’m grateful for this essay with Read Her Like …

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 …

MEMOIR MONDAY: Michelle Oranage’s PURE FLAME is less of a legacy, and more of a heritage, about mothers & daughters, a reckoning with matralineal ties

By Leslie Lindsay An intellectual, personal, and ultimately ferocious reckoning with feminism, family, and motherhood from a celebrated critic. A New York Times Edi­tors’ Choice ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ MEMOIR MONDAY Featured Spotlight: PURE FLAME by Michelle Orange Michelle Orange is the author of the essay collection This Is Running for Your Life, named a best book of 2013 by The New Yorker. Her writing has appeared in publications including The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, Bookforum, McSweeney’s, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she is a contributing editor. She teaches in the graduate writing programs at Goucher College and Columbia University. ABOUT PURE FLAME: During one of the texting sessions that became our habit over the period I now think of as both late and early in our relationship, my mother revealed the existence of someone named Janis Jerome. So begins Michelle Orange’s extraordinary inquiry into the meaning of maternal legacy―in her own family and across a century of seismic change. Jerome, she learns, is one of her mother’s many alter egos: the name used in a case …

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 …

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 …

Diana Kupershmit talks about her unbearable decision, second chances, parenting a child with special needs, photography, and more in her moving memoir EMMA’S LAUGH

By Leslie Lindsay An elegantly raw, and often brutal memoir of a mother’s loss, but also a deep gift of second chances, growth, and more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ Always with a Book|Memoir Monday Leslie Lindsay & Diana Kupershmit in Conversation Convinced of her inability to love her “imperfect” child and give her the best care and life she deserved, Diana Kupershmit gave her first-born up for adoption. But as with all things that are meant to be, Emma found her way back home. Diana is a social worker, mother, and photographer. EMMA’S LAUGH is her debut memoir. ABOUT EMMA’S LAUGH: The Gift of Second Chances: In this hugely moving and harrowing examination of a life, love, and loss, Diana Kupershmit takes a tragic–and seemingly–unfair situation and turns into a EMMA’S LAUGH: The Gift of Second Chances (SWP, June 2021), about her first-born’s rare, genetic condition, and the gifts she bestowed on the family.Like most eager new parents, Diana imagined a perfect child when she gave birth for the first time to Emma, at the age of …

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 …

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 …