My nonfiction story, “The Messenger,” is one of 101 miraculous stories of faith, divine intervention and answered prayers selected from thousands of submissions to be included in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel book. Now, that’s a miracle! But it almost didn’t happen because I almost didn’t send my story in. One might suspect a lack of faith, but...
This fast-paced and gripping novel is part thriller, part crime story, part mystery. It tells the story of Bobby Drake, a deputy sheriff in a small Pacific Northwest town trying to outlive the sins of his larger-than-life father, Patrick. He is doing a good job of it, until his father is let out of prison and the cycle of crime and violence begins again—threatening the peaceful existence Bobby has created.
Bryan Stevenson was fresh out of Harvard Law School when he embraced—first in Georgia, then in Alabama—the mission of defending death row inmates and others facing undeserved or disproportionate prison sentences. An African American from a poor family in Delaware, Stevenson accepts as a starting point the maxim, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”
Kekla Magoon’s books just keep getting better. The first time I read her work, I was serving on the Coretta Scott King Awards committee, and we honored Magoon with the Steptoe New Talent Award for The Rock and the River. So it’s with special pride that I look forward to each of her subsequent releases.
Jim Aylesworth’s and Barbara McClintock’s satisfying new book is based on the Yiddish folk song “I Had a Little Overcoat,” which has been adapted to picture book form in various ways over the years, most notably in Simms Taback’s 2000 Caldecott Medal winner, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. Here, author and illustrator make the story their own. It’s a pleasing new adaptation of a treasured story.
Rebecca Makkai’s second novel, The Hundred-Year House, is an appealing mix of archival mystery, ghost story and historical novel. Told in reverse chronology, it unfolds as a kind of bookish scavenger hunt set in a former artist’s colony, uncovering clues and putting pieces of the fictional puzzle in place. I was able to catch up with Rebecca at Nashville’s Southern Festival of Books.
Beloved children’s and young adult author Katherine Paterson has won two Newbery Medals, two National Book Awards and numerous other honors. However, it was only when she realized her children had never heard family stories over the kitchen sink—they’d long had a dishwasher—that she penned a memoir.
Gina B. Nahai’s fifth novel, The Luminous Heart of Jonah S., is a book full of enchantments and mysteries. The mystery that launches her tale is a contemporary murder: On a morning in June 2013, Neda Raiis, the wife of a Iranian Jewish exile named Raphael’s Son, reports finding her husband with his throat slit in an idling car at the gate of their Los Angeles mansion. By the time the police arrive, his body has disappeared.
If the mark of a great author is not merely how much she incites the imaginations of readers but the extent to which she inspires fellow writers, then there can be no doubt that Jane Austen is the greatest author of them all. Just when you think the market for Austen spinoffs has reached capacity, a new book comes onto the scene that turns the genre on its head. Such is the case with First Impressions, Charlie Lovett’s delightful new novel.
North Carolina author Charlie Lovett has always had a passion for books and writers—his father was an English professor, and Lovett is an expert on the Victorian writer Lewis Carroll and a former antiquarian bookseller. His 2013 novel The Bookman’s Tale combined these interests to create a compelling story about a bookseller who uncovers a mystery in a used bookstore. In his latest novel, First Impressions, Lovett again combines antiquarian intrigue and a literary mystery—and this time, Jane Austen herself is at the center. We asked Lovett a few questions about books, collecting and, of course, Jane.