In her just-released YA novel, The Impossible Knife of Memory, Laurie Halse Anderson presents a powerful story of a young woman coping with her father's PTSD. Our reviewer predicts that "longtime Anderson fans won’t be disappointed, and readers newly discovering her work will understand why she’s earned a reputation as one of the most honest authors writing for teens today." (Read our full review of the book here and a Q&A with Anderson about the book here.)

We were curious about the books Laurie has enjoyed reading lately, so we asked her to recommend three recent favorites, which she graciously agreed to share.

Longbourn 
By Jo Baker

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reading copy of Longbourn by Jo Baker. As soon as I finished the last page I drove to my local indie bookseller and bought a copy in hardback, because I felt I owed the author a debt for the reading experience I’d just enjoyed. Longbourn is, without a doubt, the best-written, most satisfying historical novel I’ve ever read. This is Pride and Prejudice stood on its head, told from the perspective of the servants of the Bennet household. Dare I say this? Baker is a better writer than Jane Austen, and she tells a more interesting story. I am considering offering my services as cook, housekeeper and scullery maid to her so she’ll write another book as swiftly as possible.

 

How the Light Gets In 
By Louise Penny

I have to drive all day to get to New York City, but I can make it to the Canadian border in an hour. This proximity is what first brought me to the wonderful Inspector Gamache mysteries by Louise Penny. Her ability to weave a great story and make me stay up much too late at night reading is what sends me back every time she publishes another one. This is the ninth novel in the series, but it can easily be read on its own. The layers of the story; the mystery of the first death, the building tension as the police involvement takes a dark turn, and the pitch-perfect characters work together seamlessly. This well-paced tale of secrets, betrayal and love set in a remote Québec village is the perfect book to curl up with on a dark winter’s eve.

 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
By Neil Gaiman

I bought this the day it went on sale, but saved it for weeks to read on my birthday. Best. Decision. Ever. The story transported me to that rare, magical place that only the best books can unlock. Gaiman is a once-in-a-generation storyteller. This could be his once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece. 

 

 

 

What do you think, readers? Will The Impossible Knife of Memory—or any of Halse's recommended books—be going on your TBR list?

(Author photo by Joyce Tenneson)

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