What about the Baby? Some Thoughts on the Art of Fiction by Alice McDermott, recommended by Vicki
Never mind that of McDermott’s eight novels, three are Pulitzer Prize finalists, Charming Billy won the National Book Award, and anything she imparts on the art of writing is worth devouring, she had me at the title. But in addition to the clever title, McDermott produced a well-rounded guide with categories such as “Sentencing,” “Starting Over,” “Coaching” and “All Drama is Family Drama.” Included are tips on writing a compelling first sentence—most likely not found in the first draft, claims McDermott— and “straining after beautiful sentences can ruin many a promising first draft…” Ironic considering McDermott is the model of lyrical language, she contends a stunning sentence is tyrannical— demanding high expectations on the sentences that surround it— and leads to self-consciousness. She expounds on E.B. White’s coda, “Omit needless words,” adds personal antidotes and liberally quotes from works of the masters. So what about the baby? Look for that answer in the fourth chapter.
Falling by T.J. Newman, recommended by Craig
Falling is a non-stop thriller about an airliner in trouble. The pilot is being blackmailed to wreck the plane or his family at home is killed. I had no idea how this would end and read it non-stop to see what happens! Can’t wait for her next book.
Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo, recommended by Dennis
A biracial woman living in London discovers the father she never knew is alive. She learns he is a former imprisoned guerilla fighter and the former president of a small African country. Her personal life is upended by a divorce and she decides to travel to Africa to meet him. This story explores the prejudices she experiences in London and Africa and the discoveries she makes about herself while learning her roots and who her father is. A departure from my normal reading preferences, the story is funny at times and always moving.
Falling for Your Best Friend by Emma St. Clair, recommended by Diana
Harper and Chase have been best friends since they were young. Though they think about the possibility of more, Harper’s insecurities push those thoughts away – until she decides to take the risk. Harper hopes the relationship is right, but instead of being wowed when she and Chase kiss for the first time, she focuses on how prickly and annoying his beard is. It seems everything about him bothers her. She loves Chase, and after talking to a friend, decides to seek professional advice only to discover she is on the spectrum for Autism. With Chase’s help, Harper works to manage her symptoms and build a lasting relationship with her best friend.
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin, recommended by Karen
A funny, charming, bittersweet but uplifting tale of the friendship between 17 year old Lenni and 83 year old Margot, who meet in the hospital. A great story of friendship, love, and life: living life to the fullest, no matter how much time you may have left.
Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci, recommended by Tracie
Taste is a fun way to learn about this actor’s life, enjoy his childhood and life-long appreciation of food, Italian food. As an adult Tucci shares stories of feasts in foreign countries that are memorable and alert the taste buds to new possibilities and pairings. P.S. no cheese on pasta! …according to Stanley Tucci.