Tag Archives: Book Discussion

Episode 66: Interview with Byron Lane



Author Julia Claiborne Johnson, the bestselling author of Better Luck Next Time, and our guest on Top Shelf E56, says this about A STAR IS BORED by Byron Lane:

“I didn’t go into this expecting a love story, but the one here between a Hollywood assistant and his famous, hilarious and deeply lonely boss came very close to breaking my heart.”

A STAR IS BORED by Byron Lane is also a love letter to Carrie Fisher paved with heartbreak, humor, and love. What a special episode, I loved every minute…thank you so much Byron!

Byron Lane recommends: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon; Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Heart of Junk by Luke Geddes; Bath Haus by P.J. Vernon; Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage

 


Episode 65: Interview with Matthew Norman, 2021 Edition!



Welcome back to our E35 guest, Matthew Norman. Matthew Norman was here previously to talk about his third book, Last Couple Standing.  For this episode, we talk about his latest publication, All Together Now. Please feel free to sing right along with that title!  All Together Now is about a reclusive billionaire who invites his four oldest friends to their beloved Fenwick Island on the coast of Delaware to share his secret and to reveal plans to change their lives forever.

So grab your beach towels, unfold your picnic blankets and check this one out! This novel of friendship will kick off your summer reading perfectly! Can’t thank Matthew Norman enough for coming back on the show!

Reserve your copies here: All Together Now; Last Couple Standing; Domestic Violets; We’re All Damaged

Matthew Norman recommends: Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau; Station Eleven and Glass Hotel both by Emily St. Mandel; All Adult Here by Emma Straub


Episode 64: Interview with Laurie Frankel for ONE TWO THREE



What is “normal”? Who defines “normal”?

Laurie Frankel asks these questions in all of her books, most notably for One Two Three, a book that had me absolutely riveted. We sat down to talk about the book, how humans define “normal” and so much more. I love the voices of these triplet sisters trying to make their way through insurmountable challenges.

To say I am grateful to have had this time with Laurie Frankel is an understatement. Please don’t miss this episode and do not miss One Two Three, it’s book club gold.

Laurie Frankel recommends: Stranger Care: A Memoir of Loving What Isn’t Ours by Sarah Sentilles; Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy; Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConahgy; and the Hilary Mantel Trilogy: Wolf Hall (2009), Bring up the Bodies (2012) and The Mirror and the Light (2020)

Reserve your Laurie Frankel titles here: One Two Three; This Is How It Always Is; The Atlas of Love; Goodbye For Now


Episode 63: Interview with James Wade 2021 Edition: RIVER, SING OUT



You all remember when James Wade joined us for E42  to discuss his debut novel, All Things Left Wild.

Well, James Wade is BACK!

He’s back on Top Shelf and he’s back to talk about his new book, River Sing OutRiver Sing Out is an East Texas thriller that finds young Jonah Hargrave navigating the very depths of the river bottoms in more ways than one. Hold on to you hats folks, because once again James Wade delivers some serious bad guys in River Sing Out...one in particular is known as the Thin Man and I’m getting the chills just typing his name. So check out this episode because this southern gothic kept me glued until the very last page.

Man it was great to catch up with James Wade, and we even managed to talk about Mare of Easttown, so you’ll just have to give a listen.

James Wade recommends: The Hunting Wives by May Cobb;  Joe Lansdale titles especially the forthcoming Moon Lake; and Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann

Reserve your copy of River, Sing Out ; and All Things Left Wild 


Episode 62: Interview with Steven Rowley



Get your beach towels and picnic blankets ready because Steven Rowley has given us a perfect summer read. I am over the moon to have had the chance to sit down with him for his third book, The Guncle! Rowley tackles modern-day family issues with love and humor and this book is not to be missed. Think Auntie Mame for 2021, and you’ve got The Guncle.

FYI, Guncle’s Day is the second Sunday in August, so you have plenty of time to prepare!

Steven Rowley recommends: A Star is Bored by Byron Lane; Less by Andrew Sean Greer;  Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris; Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead By Emily Austin


Episode 61: Interview with May Cobb!



“In moving here, I thought I could become someone more wholesome, more grounded. Someone I could admire…as it turns out, you can’t outrun who you are.” ~ Sophie O’Neill, The Hunting Wives

“Margot is totally fiction, but she could be real…” ~ May Cobb

Yikes!  Folks, pour yourself a martini, hold onto your hats and get ready for THE HUNTING WIVES.  I sat down with the absolutely fabulous May Cobb to talk about her equally fabulous second book, THE HUNTING WIVES.  This spoiler-free interview was a delight and I could have spoken with May all darn day. We talked about East Texas, the character of Sophie O’Neill, a bit about Margot, and I will say no more. This book is a knockout.

Thanks so much May Cobb for sitting down with me, I really hope you’ll visit again!

May Cobb recommends: River Sing Out by James Wade; The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean; The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn; and Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto


Episode 60: Interview with Katherine A. Sherbrooke



Katherine A. Sherbrooke sat down with me for our 60th episode to talk about, Leaving Coy’s Hill, an unforgettable story about the triumphs and travails of a woman unwilling to play by the rules, based on the the remarkable life of pioneering feminist and abolitionist Lucy StoneLucy Stone was news to me until the gift of Leaving Coy’s Hill arrived in my mailbox.  I cannot wait for you all to discover Lucy and her incredible journey. Thank you so much Katherine Sherbrooke for joining me on this episode!

Katherine Sherbrooke recommends books by:  Jenna Blum, Rachel Barenbaum, Crystal King, Marjan Kamali, Christopher Castellani  

Get more information about Grub Street right here!


Episode 59: Interview with Elon Green



A “terrific, harrowing, true-crime account of an elusive serial killer who preyed upon gay men in the 1990s.” ~ New York Times (Editor’s Pick)

It was great to sit down with author, Elon Green to talk about about his true-crime bestseller, Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New YorkThis book presents a compelling and important look at the victims of the killer before they became victims: Fred Spencer, Peter Anderson, Tom Mulcahy, Anthony Marrero, Michael J Sakara. It’s an incredible and heartbreaking true story that is not to be missed. I spoke with Elon Green about his focus on the victims, investigative techniques, fingerprinting, and more. This episode is our first foray into the non-fiction genre, with a focus on true-crime in particular, and I am so grateful to Elon Green for taking the time.

“Using meticulous research and engaging prose, The Last Call tells the complete stories of the men who died in these killings, giving them dignity after death and shining a light on the issues queer people faced several decades ago that still ring true today.” ~ Stephen Ashley, Booklist 

Elon Green recommends: The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman;  The Man From the Train: The Solving of a Century Old Serial Killer by Bill James and Rachel McCarthy; and We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper 

 


Episode 58: Interview with Flynn Berry



Talk about thrillers! Flynn Berry’s debut, Under the Harrow, won the 2017 Edgar award for best first novel. That book and Berry’s follow up, A Double Life, were both NYT Editors’ Choices.  Berry’s latest, Northern Spy, takes readers to Northern Island on a journey you won’t soon forget. It’s a heart-pounding story of the contemporary IRA and a moving portrait of sister- and motherhood, and of life in a deeply divided society.

For this episode, we talked about the surprising things she learned while researching the book, writing habits from book to book, her playlist and more. Flynn Berry, thank you so much for joining me for this episode!

Northern Spy is a Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick, and an Indie Next Pick.  The NYT Book Review says Northern Spy is  “…a chilling, gorgeously written tale…Berry keeps the tension almost unbearably high.”

Author Elizabeth Wetmore, New York Times bestselling author of Valentine (E49) says, “Tense, terrifying, and briskly paced, Flynn Berry’s Northern Spy is not only a thrilling tale of espionage and conflicting loyalties in a deeply divided Northern Ireland, it is also a tender and honest portrayal of those fierce, all-consuming early days of motherhood and the complicated bonds between sisters, mothers, and daughters. A stunning story, beautifully told. I couldn’t put it down.”

Flynn Berry recommends: Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason; Intimacies by Irish author and playwright, Lucy Caldwell is not available in the US yet, but Caldwell’s book, Being Various, can be reserved right here.

Twitter | @flynnberry_   Instagram | @flynnberryauthor


Episode 57: Interview with Jess Montgomery for The Stills



Oh my gosh, Jess Montgomery can come back any old time she wants. We talked about the third book in her Kinship series, The Stills.  Here is the series in order: The Widows, The Hallows, The Stills, but the beauty of these books is that you don’t have to read them in order.

Family, friendship, kinship. That’s what this historical fiction mystery series is all about…well, that and the terrific character of Sheriff Lily Ross. Sheriff Lily’s love for her family and the residents of Kinship makes this series both compelling and comforting. And yes…once again, there’s the edge of your seat stuff we know to expect from Jess Montgomery! We talked about writing the third in the series, prohibition, and more.  Jess is a joy and honestly, don’t miss this episode and don’t miss The Stills.

Click here to find Jess Montgomery on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bookbub and more!

Jess Montgomery recommends: Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell; A Million Reasons Why by Jessica Strawser; The Overstory by Richard Powers; Pachinko by Min Jin Lee 

Thank you Jess Montgomery!