Tag Archives: Staff Pick

Episode 55: Interview with Chris Whitaker



What a pleasure to sit down with best-selling author Chris Whitaker to discuss the book that is taking the reading world by storm, We Begin at the End

Chris Whitaker’s debut novel, Tall Oaks, a striking blend of tragedy and offbeat humor, was awarded the U.K. Crime Writers’ Association New Blood Dagger Award in 2017. He followed that up with All the Wicked Girls published in 2017 and here we are in 2021 with his latest, We Begin at the End.  Already optioned by Disney, We Begin at the End became an instant bestseller on the NYT Bestseller list the first week of publication.

I am so lucky to have been able to sit down with Chris. He spoke about the very personal inspiration for Duchess Day Radley, and seeing  We Begin at the End splashed all over Times Square as part of the GMA Book Buzz. We shared more than a few laughs and talked about his part-time gig at a library.  Working part time at a library certainly has it demands, doesn’t it Chris, lol? Listeners, please tune in to this conversation…it’s terrific.

I’ll never forget his honesty and generosity as we spoke. Thank you so much Chris for making Top Shelf a stop on your book tour.

Follow Chris Whitaker on Twitter: @whittyauthor and on Instagram: chriswhitakerauthor

Chris Whitaker recommends, The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward (out 9/21)and any book by the terrific John Hart.


Episode 54: Interview with author Kate Hope Day



“Feminist and thrilling, this novel centers around a precocious, brilliant character named June. I happily followed June into deep space, but I would have followed her anywhere. What a wonderful story—I highly recommend this novel.”
—Ann Napolitano, bestselling author of Dear Edward

Do I have your attention with that review for the fabulous In the Quick by Kate Hope Day? This is the story of one woman’s persistence despite many obstacles and the costs of human ingenuity. #TeamJune

For this episode Kate Hope Day and I talk about the book, space camp and Charles Dickens…how we get there is absolutely worth the listen. Just a great conversation, thank you so much Kate!

Kate Hope Day recommends: Wintering: the power of rest and retreat in difficult times by Katherine May; Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart; and We the Animals by Justin Torres

Please check out Kate’s website right here.

Follow her on twitter: @katehopeday and on Instagram: katehopeday


Episode 53 : Interview with author Sarah Penner



“How had I only just learned that happiness and fulfillment were entirely distinct things?”  ~The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

That’s only one of the many gems in this fascinating debut by Sarah Penner,  and I simply cannot thank her enough for joining me.

I was transported to 18th century England to a time where some women had no choice but to seek out revenge with the help of The Lost Apothecary. I could feel the cobblestone streets beneath my feet and was absolutely spellbound. We spoke about crime and forensics in the 1700s and a whole lot more.

Listeners, you’re in for a treat!

Readers? Even more than that… I’ll quote Sarah Penner with this synopsis of her debut:

“It’s perfect for readers who love:
-secret, hidden alleyways in London
-apothecaries, herbalists, witches, poison
-magical tinctures & spells
-antiquated ephemera like old maps/manuscripts
-unlikely friendships among women
-women exerting control in clever ways.”

So, yes.  Raise your hands, listen to the interview and order this book!


Episode 51: Interview with author Chang-rae Lee



“But at some point, we’re all extra hungry, aren’t we, if not necessarily for grub.”  ~ Tiller Bardmon

Yes, this is just one of the many gems in Chang-rae Lee’s latest, MY YEAR ABROAD. I cannot thank him enough for getting up so early to talk with me about this incredible new book, and the origins of Tiller Bardmon and Pong Lou.

Synopsis: “An everyday American college student, Tiller Bardmon, finds his life transformed by a Chinese-American businessman who unexpectedly takes him under his wing on a series of whimsical, heartbreaking and darkly shocking adventures throughout Asia. An exuberant and entertaining story of a young American on a global adventure.”   ~from Riverhead Books

What a journey is MY YEAR ABROAD, thank you so much Chang-rae Lee!

 

 


Episode 50! Interview with author Sarah Langan



What better way to celebrate the 50th episode than with Long Island native, author Sarah Langan for her latest book, the page-turning suburban thriller,  GOOD NEIGHBORS.

A riveting and ruthless portrayal of American suburbia, GOOD NEIGHBORS excavates the perils and betrayals of motherhood and friendships and the dangerous clash between social hierarchy, childhood trauma, and fear.

This is such a special episode… Sarah Langan and I talked local LI establishments that appear in the book, suburban living, sink holes and yes, even Godzilla. Man did we pack alot into 32 minutes. Please join me for this episode-it was a total blast.

Sarah Langan recommends Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix


Episode 49: Interview with author Elizabeth Wetmore



I have wanted to host debut novelist Elizabeth Wetmore on Top Shelf for so long, and when it finally happened, I could barely sleep the night before. This episode was such a delight and I could have spoken to her all day. We talked about her amazing debut, VALENTINE, the strong and determined women in the book and maybe, just maybe there is something new in the works. You’ll have to listen here to find out.  VALENTINE made my “Best of list” for 2020, so please, like I always say: give a listen, read the book!

Thank you SO much Elizabeth. The pleasure was all mine.

Elizabeth Wetmore recommends: Memorial by Bryan Washington, Lot by Bryan Washington, and Last One Out Shut Off the Lights by Stephanie Soileau


Episode 48: Interview with author Ashley Audrain



Pushing into 2021 with an incredible debut…

The Push by Ashley Audrain is not to be missed, so book clubs? Start your engines. For this episode we talked about motherhood fears, the origin story of The Push, being on the author side of publishing, and more.  Ashley Audrain, thank you so much for being our first guest of 2021!

The Push is a tour de force you will read in a sitting, an utterly immersive novel that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood, about what we owe our children, and what it feels like when women are not believed.” ~ from Penguin Random House and I couldn’t have said it any better.

Reserve your copy of The Push here.

Ashley Audrain recommends this title: The Harpy by Mehgan Hunter, check it out!

#givealistenreadthebook

 


Episode 47: Interview with author Greer Macallister



What a terrific sit down with author Greer Macallister!  I’ve been a fan since her debut, The Magician’s Lie. Greer Macallister has the most empowering historical fiction titles that I can hardly wait until she has a new release.  Well, her newest, The Arctic Fury couldn’t be more perfect:  A dozen women join a secret 1850s Arctic expedition―and a sensational murder trial unfolds when some of them don’t come back. That’s some edge of your seat stuff right there. It’s terrific.

We also talked about what’s next for her and boy oh boy, are all you readers in for a surprise, but that’s all you’ll get from me. You’ll just have to listen to the episode. It’s pretty mind blowing!  Thank you so much Greer Macallister for joining me on this episode of Top Shelf at Merrick Library!


Episode 46 Interview with author Susie Yang



Ivy Lin was a thief but you would never know it to look at her. So starts the compelling debut, White Ivy, by my guest for this episode, debut author Susie Yang. 

White Ivy is a coming-of-age novel that is a nuanced exploration of class and race filled with surprising twists and a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost. All I can say is good luck trying to make dinner when you’re halfway through the book!  We had a terrific conversation that included how she got the news about making the NYT Bestseller list, getting the Shondaland treatment, and more! I am thrilled she stopped by to speak with us… thank you so much Susie!

Susie Yang recommends:   The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst and The Patrick Melbourne Novels by Edward St. Aubyn

Give a Listen, Read the Book!


Episode 45 Interview with author Jess Montgomery



For this episode it is with pleasure that I present the first book in an incredible historical mystery series, The Widows by Jess Montgomery. To prep, l listened to the audiobook read by the wonderful Susan Bennett, and it was so immersive, I immediately started reading the second book, The Hollows.

But let’s start with The Widows: Vowing revenge against her sheriff husband’s killers in 1924 Ohio, Lily Ross offers help to a fellow widow and uncovers dangerous evidence about her husband. The Widows, inspired by the true story of Ohio’s first female sheriff, is a powerful debut about two women’s search for justice as they take on the corruption at the heart of their community. Julia Keller, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author calls The Widows, “[A] flinty, heartfelt mystery that sings of hawks and history, of coal mines and the urgent fight for social justice.”

I am so thrilled that Jess Montgomery sat down to chat about this book, the series, merchandising (#TeamLily) and more… I am totally hooked and you will be too.Thank you so much Jess Montgomery!

#GiveAListenReadtheBook