This is actually a What are we reading? post featuring the authors as much as the books in a spirit of supporting fellow writers. The novelists and their works are newly discovered to me. Wonder if any ring familiar to you.
The top two on the stack are audio books i checked out from the library for a recent drive from Comer to Chicago and back. David Lodge‘s Author!Author! portrays the career of Henry James, the title referring to theatre audiences calling for the playwright to come to the stage and take a bow at the end of a play. The 15-disk volume is only for an English major to love, i think, and i did enjoy the glimpses of literature, culture, social mores, and more in the Victorian era even as i laughed at how ludicrously boring most readers would find it. Attica Locke‘s thriller Black Water Rising, set in 1981 Houston really had me pulling for main character Jay Porter, young attorney. Still fighting the demons of white men beating his father to death for no good reason before Jay was even born and then his own trial for radical involvement in the civil rights struggle, Jay is suddenly embroiled in murder and mayhem in corrupt oil politics of the day. Locke wrote a second Jay Porter novel and i definitely want to catch up with him.
Jason Reynolds‘s as brave as you are i read at the recommendation of my grandson. I was delighted he introduced me to Reynolds and the book featuring a grandchild-grandparent relationship was obviously appropriate and provided good dialog for the two of us. The author’s website is fun.
The next two writers came to my attention while i was researching small presses to query with my novel, Beyond the Gate. Patrick Irelan‘s The Miracle Boy offers 15 short stories most of which i appreciate for their quirky yet relatable situations. (I really love his memoir anecdotes, A Firefly in the Night.) Andrei Makine‘s The Hero’s Daughter is a stark, dark tale which begins with a Russian soldier on the battlefield in WW II and ends with his daughter’s sad life in the Soviet Union. There are moments of tender, enduring love, but hardship and regret characterize it mostly, and undoubtedly reflect the anguished lives of many in those times and places.
Marie Marquardt‘s Dream Things True tells the story of teenagers in love against the backdrop of undocumented immigration. The writing is witty, sharp, and authentic and especially interesting to me because it takes place in Georgia and depicts a visit to Stewart Dentention Center and El Refugio Ministry in Lumpkin, where Marquardt and i are both involved. I haven’t met Marie yet but have let her know how much i appreciate her excellent efforts.
And i plan to be in touch with the other authors listed above, too, or at least try to locate an email for each one and express my gratitude for and delight in their work, assuming that even well-established writers like feedback. I’ll let you know if any of them respond.
Hey, if anyone has actually read this, i ask: were you familiar with any of these writers? Do any of the books pique your interest? And, as always, you are invited to share a writer/book you’re excited about…