Tag Archives: book discussions

Episode 70: Interview with Isla Morley



In this luminous historical fiction narrative inspired by the fascinating real case of the Blue People of Kentucky, Isla Morley probes questions of identity, love, and family in her breathtaking new novel.

In 1937, there are recesses in Appalachia no outsiders have ever explored. Two government-sponsored documentarians from Ohio, a writer and photographer are dispatched to penetrate this wilderness and record what they find for President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. For photographer Clay Havens, the assignment is his last chance to reboot his flagging career. So when he and his journalist partner are warned away from the remote Spooklight Holler outside of town, they set off eagerly in search of a headline story.

I was hooked from the first page, second sentence. Morley’s prose is luminous indeed and I was thrilled to host her for this episode. A must read and book club gold. Can’t thank her enough for joining me.

Isla Morley recommends, The Body by Bill Bryson; Leaving Coy’s Hill by Katherine Sherbrooke; How to Fly by Barbara Kingsolver

   


Episode 69: Interview with Megan Abbott



Just after being selected as the August Read with Jenna pick for her latest book, The Turnout,  I was thrilled to host Megan AbbottAbbott was waving to us from Queens when we spoke…

Taut and unnerving, The Turnout is Megan Abbott at the height of her game. With uncanny insight and hypnotic writing, it is a sharp and strange dissection of family ties and sexuality, femininity and power, and a tale that is both alarming and irresistible and I will not say another word about it, I was on the edge of my seat. Give a listen!

Megan Abbott recommends: Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears, both by S.A.Cosby; Dreamgirl by Laura Lippman; The Collective by Alison Gaylin

Place you hold for all Megan Abbott titles here. 

    

 


Episode 67: Interview with Claire Luchette



Claire Luchette is so wildly talented that I would follow them anywhere. Here, it’s to Woonsocket along with four women who are searching for meaning and a sense of belonging from each other and the world beyond. The result is a novel that’s blazingly original, wry, and perfectly attuned to the oddness―and the profundity―of life.”
―Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans

What a pleasure to sit down with Claire Luchette to talk about her gorgeous debut, Agatha of Little Neon. The book offers a view into the lives of women and the choices they make. It is a novel about female friendship and devotion, the roles made available to us, and how we become ourselves. I loved this absolute gem of a book…thank you so much for joining me Claire Luchette!

Claire recommends:  Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So ; Something New Under the Sun by Alexanda Kleeman


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 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!