All posts tagged: mothers

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 …

IF THE HOUSE…an arresting collection of poetry that begs the questions of obsessions, motifs, memories, flaws, and so much more–MOLLY SPENCER ON this plus how poems ‘talk’ to each other

By Leslie Lindsay  IF THE HOUSE…a lyrical and emotive collection of poetry about the most basic structures of creation and recreation. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ POETRY FRIDAY Well-known spaces of homes are examined with lush and precise prose in IF THE HOUSE by Molly Spencer (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019), and being a ‘house person,’ I found myself completely absorbed. Here, we navigate the experiences of land and home, person and family, the cycles of nature, as well as ordinary and extravagant things–a kitchen table, a memory, the sky. It’s complex, it’s metaphorical, it’s all things good poetry should be. And like all good poetry, it is best savored and read aloud, and revisited–like an old homestead–often. Molly Spencer’s poetry has appeared in various well-known and recognized literary journals. She is a poetry editor for Rumpus and this collection won the 2019 Brittingham Prize in Poetry. Please join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Molly Spencer back to the author interview series. Leslie Lindsay: Molly, welcome back. I so loved IF THE HOUSE and HINGE (see …

Ravishing bold & meaty memoir focusing on mothers, mental health, grief, but also trauma, the female body, traditional ‘womanhood;’ plus writing structure, more in WIVING

By Leslie Lindsay  Ravishingly bold and haunting memoir about growing up Mormon, ‘wifely’ expectations, mental illness, and sexual abuse. ~Writers Interviewing Writers |ALWAYS WITH BOOK~ I was immediately taken with this compassionately visceral and lyrical memoir by Caitlyn Myer.  WIVING (Arcade Books/Skyhorse Publishing, July 2020) is so brave, so bold, all things laid bare account of the author’s upbringing, but also abuse and personal sexuality. Raised Utah in a traditional Mormon family, Caitlin Myer’s life had an expected trajectory: she would attend church-related activities, hold on to her virginity, learn to be sweet and compliant, keep a hope chest, and then when the time was right, she would marry and enter ‘full womanhood.’ I read with such an urgency a worry and an impending sense of doom–things do not go to plan. As much as I loved WIVING, it’s a challenge to summarize it in terms of plot–it comes to the reader in a fragmented, spiraling thread, and I love this structure. It’s much like life in that sense, and in what I think encompasses the entirety of the narrative: …

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 …

Alexandra Burt begins Shadow Garden as a ‘thought experiement’: Does wealth and privilege sway moral corruption? Do we risk more if there’s more to lose, plus gorgeous prose, houses and homes, plus memory and tragedy

By Leslie Lindsay  A dark, haunting and atmospheric read about memory and twisted family dynamics set amidst luxury. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ I’ve read all of Alexandra Burt’s stunning books and when SHADOW GARDEN (Berkley, July 2020) came to my attention, I knew I had to get my hands on it. This is such a haunting read that feels claustrophobic and uncomfortable at every turn. Burt is absolutely gifted at atmospheric prose, psychological detail, gorgeous turns-of-phrase, and generally giving readers dark intrigue. Here’s the quick take: Donna Pryor has lived a life of luxury, being a ‘lady of leisure.’ Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon. Her only daughter is grown, she has a housekeeper who caters to every whim. She lives in a gated complex, her home is beautifully decorated. But. Something’s off. Donna is recovering from a recent hip surgery. Her memory isn’t what it used to be. Her daughter never calls. She and her husband are estranged. Her only companions seem to be the caregivers and housekeepers who manage her luxury neighborhood. What’s going on? Immediately, I …

Janine Urbaniak Reid talks about her medical mother-son memoir, THE OPPOSITE OF CERTAINTY, how love & goodness show up at the right time, her fascination with what’s left when everything has been stripped from us, faith, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Life is turned upside-down in this self-proclaimed perfectionist mother’s memoir about her son’s brain tumor.  ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ What happens when life is turned upside-down due to a challenging, mysterious illness of one’s child?  That’s what happens in Janine Urbaniak Reed’s astonishing memoir, THE OPPOSITE OF CERTAINTY (May 12: Thomas Nelson). Janine just wanted everything to be perfect. She thought if she did everything ‘right,’ they would be fine, everyone would be happy and no one would experience the pain she felt growing up. Married with three children, a husband who travels for work, she took time out to raise her children…and then, her son, Mason, experienced strange tremors and other symptoms. What was wrong and why were some doctors discounting it? Infusing faith with medicine, Janine takes readers—and herself—on a somewhat reluctant journey. THE OPPOSITE OF CERTAINTY is most definitely a memoir for our times, as the world faces so many uncertainties, as we all must fortify ourselves against the potential of chaos and fissures at our feet. …

Anna Solomon talks about her ravishing and darkly sexy The Book of V., about female friendships, Biblical Esther, the imbalance of power, the structure of writing and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  Bold, elegant, blisteringly raw and delicately complex reimagining of the biblical Queen Esther, interwoven with contemporary characters, about being a strong, passionate woman in a male-dominated world. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Recommended by: People Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Real Simple, The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, The New York Post, CNN, The Skimm, and more… plus… A Good Morning America & An Emma Roberts’ Belletrist Book Club Pick Bold, elegant, blisteringly raw and delicately complex reimagining of the biblical Queen Esther, interwoven with contemporary characters, about being a strong, passionate woman in a male-dominated world. I just finished THE BOOK OF V. (Henry Holt, May 2020) by Anna Solomon, and this book…oh this book! I cannot rave about it enough. I scrambled to order everything else she has ever written and am anxiously awaiting their arrival. This book made me think, it made me talk, it made me write. “The Book of V. asks complicated questions about power, desire, and the evolution of women’s roles.” —Real Simple, Top Picks for Every Taste THE BOOK OF …

Can we break the cycle of trauma and abuse? Kristi Carter talks about this, the twilight of spring, Southern identity, the struggles that make up womankind, and so much more in this luminous collection of poetry in ARIA VISCERA

By Leslie Lindsay Such a gorgeously dark and ruminative collection of poetry focusing on one’s thick, oppressive familial heritage, and yet, a compelling light to break the cycle. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ With a title like ARIA VISCERA (April Gloaming Press, May 5 2020), I could hardly resist this collection by Kristi Carter. In music, aria is defined as a singular voice, self-contained, and it also brings to mind great expansion, an origin I am not familiar with etymologically, but maybe. And of course, viscera represents the internal organs. Being a writer with a background in medicine, this collection spoke to me, quite literally, but once I dove into the pages, I discovered there was another calling: it’s about a scarred past, and how scars don’t exactly go away, but fade; it’s about finding one’s own light in dark times, of escaping the cycle of abuse, neglect, of breaking away. Divided into four sections, ARIA VISCERA focuses on birth, names, anatomy, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, brothers, life cycles; it’s also about myths and monsters (literal and …

Beloved UK Author Ruth Hogan delights with her newest release QUEENIE MALONE’S PARADISE HOTEL with vibrant characters, tackling issues such as estrangement, mental illness, and chosen families

By Leslie Lindsay  An uplifting novel of mothers and daughters, secrets and the astonishing power of friendship, from the wildly popular bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things. ~FICTION FRIDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WINNER OF THE ROMANTIC NOVELISTS’ ASSOCIATION AWARD 2020 SELECTED FOR WORLD BOOK NIGHT 2020 A PRIMA BOOK OF THE YEAR Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone’s magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits. But Tilly’s childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she’d ever loved to boarding school with little explanation and no warning. Now an adult, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. But when her mother dies, Tilda returns to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unravelling the mystery …

Colette Sartor talks about her sublime collection of linked stories in ONCE REMOVED, but also how she never intended to write a collection; the grittier side to L.A., a study in storymapping and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  Stunning collection of interlinked stories featuring strong, yet vulnerable women, exploring fears, desires, earned raw emotion, and so much more. ~FICTION FRIDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ FLANNERY O’CONNOR AWARD FOR SHORT FICTION I am literally swooning over this collection of interlinked stories by Colette Sartor. ONCE REMOVED: Stories (University of Georgia Press, September 2019) and winner of the Flannery O’Conner Award for Short Fiction, shimmers with radiant, but unsettling characters in authentic situations. It’s mostly about intimacy–and I’m not talking about sex here–it’s the voids and turns of life brimming with emotional complexity. It’s about babies and meals, traditions, and customs. It’s about houses and homes; leaving and going; about love and grief, fierce natures and grudge-holders. It’s about disillusionment and estrangement. The prose is pounding with pulse, and yet, there’s a lyrical restraint here, too. Sartor strips away the facade we fallible humans hide behind, revealing the (sometimes) crumbling foundation. She excavates the fears, desires, secrets in ways that are surprising and while troublesome, are also delightful. The emotion here is raw, but it’s …