When Beth Hoffman's agent submitted Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, five publishers came back with offers and a deal was made—all within the span of 18 hours! Hoffman's charming debut novel about a 12-year-old southern girl with a neglectful father and mentally ill mother won rave reviews and became a bestseller. Our reviewer called it "a gem of a story, lovingly told." (Click here to read a Q&A with Hoffman about the book.)
Hoffman's much-anticipated follow-up, Looking for Me, comes out on May 28 and introduces another unforgettable narrator in Teddi Overman, who returns to the rural Kentucky home she left 18 years ago as new clues emerge regarding the mysterious disappearance of her brother.
We asked Hoffman to recommend three books that she's enjoyed reading recently. Here they are, in her own words:
By William Kent Krueger
The cover stopped me in my tracks. I was drawn in by the atmospheric quality and the structure of the bridge, so I put the title on my reading list. Shortly thereafter, I read what several book bloggers had to say about the story, and I was immediately hooked. Besides being a terrific story that examines a powerful range of human experiences and emotions, it was the authentic voice of the teenage narrator, Frank Drum, that kept me reading late into the night. Though the tone is quiet, Krueger artfully layered the story with suspenseful examinations of family life, death, fury, spiritual fiber and redemption. In some ways it reminded me of one of my favorite movies—Stand by Me.
I love poetry and try to read several pages each night before bed, not only because I enjoy it, but because poets have a lot to teach novel writers: for an ill-chosen word in a lengthy novel is forgivable, in poetry it would be disastrous. Sometimes delicate and reflective, other times smoldering with hurt and disappointment, Laux’s work exposes human frailties with a keen eye. I particularly enjoy her sensitivity to the wonders of nature, and she’s gifted in illuminating the essence of an otherwise unremarkable moment.
By Reynolds Price
What prompted me to read it: pure reading pleasure. I’ve read this fine novel before, and have no doubt that I’ll read it again. The prose is sublime. Price crafted a story of an ordinary, unassuming woman into an extraordinary piece of literature. Just as people remember where they were when they heard the news that the Challenger space shuttle had exploded, I will always remember where I was on the day Reynolds Price died. The news came over the radio on January 20, 2011, while I was being driven to an author event in South Carolina. The world had lost an important literary voice, and I had lost a personal favorite author.
What do you think, readers? Plan to add any of these to your to-be-read list?
Be sure to check back tomorrow for What they’re reading: Jojo Moyes.