Books

This week I’m changing things up a little bit and recommending to you all one of my new favorite authors, Nickolas Butler. Born in Pennsylvania, but raised in Wisconsin, this former hot-dog vendor, potato harvester, and Christmas tree axe-man, has found international success with his wonderfully engaging yet spare writing style, authentic characters, and strong sense of place he is able to evoke in each work.

This week I’m changing things up a little bit and recommending to you all one of my new favorite authors, Nickolas Butler. Born in Pennsylvania, but raised in Wisconsin, this former hot-dog vendor, potato harvester, and Christmas tree axe-man, has found international success with his wonderfully engaging yet spare writing style, authentic characters, and strong sense of place he is able to evoke in each work.

Today, I’m recommending American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World by former NPR science correspondent and award-winning journalist David Baron. As we prepare ourselves for next week’s first total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. (coast to coast) in 99 years, Baron’s captivating story makes for an enjoyable and informative teaser. 

One of my all-time favorite stories is J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, so I take it to heart when someone was to add to the story. Peter Pan, while amazing, let me with a lot of unanswered questions.

How did Peter get to the island? Who taught him to fly? Where did the pirates come from? How did Peter and Tinkerbell meet? Why, if fairy dust allows people to fly, is Peter the only one who can fly without it?

Following the award-winning success of her debut novel, The Good Thief, author Hannah Tinti returns with her second novel, another atmospheric and intricately suspenseful saga centered on a vulnerable child under the care and guidance of an outlaw.  Today, I’m recommending The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. 

This book highlights important women in wrestling from the past and present and also shows the evolution of women’s wrestling from its beginnings as a sideshow act to its current state in 2017, where female wrestlers are big stars, just like their male counterparts.

Rural noir—it’s a thing.  Sometimes called country noir, hillbilly noir, or even “hick lit”, these are stories of everyday people and the struggles they face in the harsh realities of rural life.  Often gritty and heart wrenching, these complex novels seek out the universal truths that connect our human experience, evoking a variety of emotions for the reader.  Today, I am recommending a book that has become a classic of this writing style—Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. 

Today, I’m recommending the audiobook First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones. This first installment in this paranormal romantic suspense series introduces listeners to Charley Davidson, a 27-year-old woman who’s a part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper.

Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. It is her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when someone dies with unfinished business on Earth, they seek out Charley in order to bring the bad guys to justice.   

Imagine that a global pandemic has wiped out most of civilization as we know it.  Who struggles the most in this world to adapt to a new way of life? Those survivors who remember what life was like before the pandemic—or those who have not experienced the beauty of civilization through art and culture? What is worth saving when the world has lost so much? These ideas are explored in the lyrical and compelling Science Fiction novel, Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel.   

Today, to help keep your spirits merry and bright this season, I am recommending a trio of my personal holiday favorites.

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