All posts tagged: literature

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 …

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 …

THE HEART KEEPER came to Alex Dahl ‘very insistently,’ about cell memory, organ donation, the lengths a grieving mother will go to reconnect; plus her experiences abroad and a fabulous reading list

By Leslie Lindsay Delightfully dark tale about two mothers and one little girl; about anger, grief, sadness, and more as the after-effects of organ donation.  THE HEART KEEPER (Berkley, July 16 2019) is a raw, gut-wrenching read from critically acclaimed thriller writer, Alex Dahl (THE BOY AT THE DOOR, 2018). This harrowingly, gritty read follows a grief-stricken mother who is desperately trying to seek a way to overcome the pain of losing her beloved only child, Amalie, who drowned. Alison becomes disturbingly fixated on a the life of a small girl who becomes the donor recipient of her daughter’s heart. She feels she can reconnect with her own daughter by becoming close to this little girl. On the surface, Alison is an affluent middle-aged mother (to step-son), Oliver, and appears to have it all together–gleaming luxury SUV and attractive husband, nice home. But she doesn’t have her daughter. She would do anything to get her back. We fall down a grim hole of mysterious interest and sinister intentions. Grief is a strange thing–it will cause even the most ‘typical’ person to come …

Fragile 9-year-old boy misses his mother dearly in THE BOY AT THE KEYHOLE, plus Stephen Giles talks about writing for adults vs. kids, his love for isolated homes, more

By Leslie Lindsay Sinister and intense story of melancholy and loneliness with an imaginative 9-year-old boy at the center in THE BOY AT THE KEYHOLE. Plus, it’s just been picked up by New Agency for film!  Stephen Giles is here chatting about his love for country homes, his distaste for the dentist, and how he misses an old cubby house  in the backyard when he was a kid.  Locked doors. An atlas. Attics. Cellar. England. Mystery and, maybe murder.  Samuel Clay is living in a crumbling old estate in England with his housekeeper, Ruth Tupper. He’s missing his mother terribly, who has ‘gone away’ to America for the last 119 days (he’s been keeping count). Mrs. Clay is now widowed and the family’s finances have fallen to disarray–perhaps there’s some money or bankers in American who will help her get the ‘capital she needs.’ What’s worse, is Samuel’s mother left in the middle of the night, without so much as a word of good-bye to her son, leaving him in the care of the housekeeper. …

WeekEND Reading: Mira T. Lee talks about her luminous family saga, EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL, touching on sisters, mental illness, immigration, and so much more. Plus, her inspiring TBR, and how fiction is a great place to develop empathy and reconcile nuances

By Leslie Lindsay  A brave, unflinching debut about the tenuous bonds of mental illness, how we define ‘family,’ immigration, and so much more.  EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL is one of those literary masterpieces that will captivate and enthrall readers everywhere, perhaps for very different reasons. There’s so much about this book I love–the razor-sharp writing, the way I was transported to another world (South America/Ecuador, Switzerland), and back again (NYC, Minnesota), and then there’s the breadth of scope: mental illness, sisters, love, who we call ‘family,’ life and death, as well as loss and rejuvenation. Told in alternating, highly distinct POVs from several main characters: Miranda: the older sister who has always been the “responsible one”; Lucia: whose free-spirited nature is dampened by her mental illness; Yonah: the Israeli shopkeeper and first husband of Lucia; Manuel: Lucia’s boyfriend, and father of her child. EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL may be best described as a literary family drama (spanning years and continents) with a mental illness theme (and its treatment) as well as an immigration (and cultural displacement) undercurrent.  I’m in awe with Mira T. Lee’s ambitious novel. I …

Wednesdays with Writers: #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Elizabeth Kostova Takes Us on Cultural Wandering Through Bulgaria, Music, Mystery, and More

By Leslie Lindsay  #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of THE HISTORIAN, Elizabeth Kostova takes us on a cultural wandering the troubled hills of Bulgaria seeking truth and peace in the mesmerizing THE SHADOW LAND.  Alexandra Boyd is a 26-year old American who is seeking for something: truth, peace, belonging. She finds a job teaching English in Sofia, Bulgaria, a country she knows little about, but was a ‘beautiful green country on a map her brother found fascinating.’ With Jack no longer living, Alexandra sets forth on her adventure, in part to finally put her brother to rest. Immediately, I was drawn into Alexandra’s story as she arrives jet-lagged and forlorn at a rustic hostel in the heart of Sofia. An encounter with a Bulgarian family, an accidental switch of bags, and a taxi propels the story into present-day action. Alexandra is left holding the bag, quite literally, of another man’s ashes. We continue along a jaunty journey meeting various Bulgarians, a monastery, and horrors of a century of civil unrest. Alexandra will have to …

Wednesdays with Writers: Kate Hamer on her debut, THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT, how being a writer was a dream akin to being a rocket scientist, taking the plunge, characters as images first, a trip to Scotland & much more

By Leslie Lindsay   First, the reviews: “Kate Hamer’s novel is both gripping and sensitive — beautifully written, it is a compulsive, aching story full of loss and redemption.”–Lisa Ballantyne, author of The Guilty Ones “Hamer’s debut novel poignantly details the loss and loneliness of a mother and daughter separated”~Kirkus Review “Telling the story in two remarkable voices, with Beth’s chapters unfurling in past tense and Carmel’s in present tense, the author weaves a page-turning narrative.”~Publisher’s Weekly An Amazon Best Books of February 2016, British writer Kate Hamer’s THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT (Melville House, 2016) has been nominated for a Costa First Book Award, a prestigious recognition in the U.K and there’s already talk of a film. It seems THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT is the next literary sensation. The first few chapters of THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT had me completely absorbed and frantically turning the pages to find out what happens next…but I absolutely adored the wonderful world of the bright, sensitive, and slightly dreamy 8-year old Carmel. While THE GIRL …

Read On, Wednesday! Summer’s Best thru History

By Leslie Lindsay If you’ve done any shopping of late, you may be thinking summer is over.  The back-t0-school supplies are shiny and new in the aisles of your favorite stores, fall fashion icons are slowly filling the store windows–backpacks, boots, and blazers.  Yet in your mind, there’s still a good month to six weeks of summer left. I couldn’t agree more! If you’re heading out to beach or the cottage “up north” you might like to snag a book to take along.  And who am I to blame you?! Inspired by a recent article in Time magazine, I stumbled upon a listing of the “ultimate summer reads” dating back to 1970.  I’ll attempt to fill in some of the years Time left out (the side bar skips several years between 1970 and present).  I’m gonna pick some dates that are significant to me, in one way or another…I’ll let you determine how they may be significant! Here goes: 1970:  LOVE STORY by Erich Segal.  A Harvard Law student and Radcliffe girl fall in love and move to New York.  Sadness ensues.  1971:  THE …

The Teacher is Talking: Seven Men and the Secret of their Greatness

By Leslie Lindsay You may be thinking red, white, and blue this time of year in light of American Independence Day (better known by the familiar moniker, 4th of July).  But, have you ever stopped to think about the qualities within Americans that make the USA truly great?  In New York Times Bestselling author’s Eric Metaxas’s recent book, we delve right into that.  While there are gads of influential women, this one focuses on seven widely known–but not well understood men.  Each exquisitely crafted short portraits of these men showcase a commitment to live by certain virtues found in the gospel.  Of course you are curious–just who are these great men and what can I learn from them?  Within the covers of this beautifully written, highly engageable book is seven men from all walks of life–politicians, founding fathers, baseball all-stars, athletes, and men of faith…George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Charles W. Colson. While not all of these individuals are American, we can certaintly see how their impact on …

Write on, Wednesay: Special Guest Heather Shumaker of “It’s OK NOT to Share”

By Leslie Lindsay Today, I have  very special guest–Heather Shumaker, mom and author of It’s OK NOT to Share (Penguin/Tarcher, 2013).  This brand-new parenting book just hit the shelves this spring and is ranked #3 by Parents Magazine.  Heather and I met at the University of Wisconsin’s Writer’s Institute this past April.   Right away, I knew her message would resonate with me.  And then she graciously agreed to participate in an interview.  Here, she explains the writing process and some great tips and ideas for parenting.  Best yet–there’s a give-a-way!!  Complimentary copy of IT’s OKAY NOT TO SHARE is coming your way if you are the lucky one whose name is drawn at random.  (See end of post for details).  Without further adieu… L2:   Loving your book, Heather!  I just started reading it this week—outside—which is so refreshing after the long winter we’ve had here in the Midwest.  Not only is the weather sunny and warm—so is your writing style.  How do you weave in parenting topics in such a fun and joyful way?  At …