#LitChat is a fun, fast, and friendly way for book-lovers to talk about reading, writing and publishing on Twitter. We have moderated chat with guest authors each Monday from 4-5 p.m. E.T.
Book enthusiasts love to compile “best of” lists and post them at the end of December. Every year I consider doing it too, but when I sit down to write, I find myself bristling much like Emily Nussbaum did over creating a top ten list of TV shows. Not only is it impossible to have read all the novels published in a given year, but it feels as silly as comparing paella to democracy. Read more here.read more
In light of the historic news of renewed diplomatic relations between U.S and Cuba I was compelled to share an excerpt from a creative nonfiction story I’ve been documenting for the better part of five years. This is the very beginning of a book for young adults about teenagers who fought in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba… read more hereread more
The Wolf Chronicles trilogy is the first thing I wrote, and as I penned Promise of the Wolves, I was both researching wolves and learning how to write. It was natural for me to find parallels between wolf behavior and what it takes to write a book. Here are some of the things I learned from my furry muses: Read more hereread more
We are so grateful for the many wonderful #LitChat sessions we’ve had this year, that we’re taking a break this week. We’ll be back with #LitChat MediaMonday on December 1 and then on December 3, Diane Chamberlain will join us to discuss her 22nd novel—yes, you saw that right, her 22nd novel—The Silent Sister. Read more here.read more
This month, in honor of Nanowrimo (which I will attempt—next year) and also in response to the #777 challenge originally posed by Heather Demetrios to Lisa Papademetriu who later challenged me, I’m going to post a few thoughts on community. But first, let me explain what the #777 challenge is. Basically it’s a dare to post seven full lines of a current work in progress from page seven, seven lines down. Read more here.read more
Many of us owe the familiarity of this phrase and concept to Virginia Woolf who penned the famous essay entitled, A Room of One’s Own. Although Woolf’s essay focused on women in particular, how women must have money and a room in order to write, the concept also applies to any author’s need for creative space and freedom. Artist residencies offer just that – …. read more here.read more
From the moment my husband and I announced our engagement—twenty-six years ago—I’ve heard just about all the marriage advice imaginable. “Marry your best friend.”“Marriage is work.”“Don’t go to bed angry.” Cliches without specifics didn’t resonate with me then, and now that my daughter is about to marry, I’m thinking long and hard about the pearls of wisdom I want to impart to her. Read more here.read more
By Matthew Neill Null; Reviewed by Billie Hinton
By turns graphic and poetic and sometimes both at once, Matthew Neill Null, in his literary debut, shapes vivid characters, West Virginia history, and a landscape under siege into one finely-hewn novel.
Null meticulously chronicles a community in West Virginia in 1904, as old growth forest is cut by hand using horses to haul the logs. The landscape herself seems to oversee the machinations of men: businessmen, loggers (called timber wolves), union men, a preacher, women. There is union-building going on, conversations in back rooms, and men named Cur and Neversummer, Seldomridge and McBride. The landscape is perfectly rendered, the work of cutting trees is brutal…read more
By Kate Hewitt; Reviewed by Stephanie Kamerman
USA Today bestselling author, Kate Hewitt, begins a new series, Hartley-By-The-Sea Novels, with Rainy Day Sisters—a story of two half-sisters who long for love and acceptance, and find it in each other. Kate’s next book in the series, Now and Then Friends, is due out in August 2016.
Lucy Bagshaw’s life as a barista and aspiring artist in Boston ends abruptly when her mother, artist and liberal commentator, Fiona Bagshaw, writes openly on how she doesn’t support Lucy’s artistic capabilities and how the fame she has will not be given to Lucy. After the humiliating article is printed for all of Boston to read, Lucy’s partner…read more
By Julianna Baggott; Reviewed by Billie Hinton
Julianna Baggott’s newest novel, Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders, is brilliant and beautiful, quirky and captivating, a multigenerational tale told from four unique points of view: Harriet Wolf’s, her daughter Eleanor’s, and those of her granddaughters, Ruth and Tilton.
Baggott uses the passage of time and very specific individual experiences in a family of women to reveal the ways in which mothers and daughters—and all of us—connect. She embroiders in rich detail…read more
By Bill Clegg; Reviewed by Mary Vensel White
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” With this famous first line, Leo Tolstoy begins his classic novel Anna Karenina, a story about allegiances and relationships, social confines and aspirations, and the binds of family and home. These themes are also the purview in Bill Clegg’s wonderful debut novel, Did You Ever Have a Family, and his characters are no strangers to unhappiness in its many forms….
By Lucy Frank; Reviewed by Carol Baldwin
Sometimes books title are difficult to come up with. But when I consider, Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling (PenguinRandom, 2014) I think, Lucy Frank, this title is perfect.
Written out of Frank’s own battle with Crohn’s disease, this novel-in-verse is simultaneously beautiful and earthy. The premise is simple and as alluded to by the title, focuses on two young women—as opposite in lifestyle, character, and background as you can imagine—who share …read more
By August Scattergood; Reviewed by Carol Baldwin
The minute sixth-grader Theo Thomas gets off the bus and arrives in Destiny, Florida with his Uncle Raymond, I’m right there with him. The author, Augusta Scattergood uses great details to pull readers into the character and setting: Theo grabs his bags, baseball mitt and a tattered book, Everything You Want to Know About Baseball; the heat hits him like a slap in the face; diesel fumes whoosh around him; he encounters slithery gray stuff hanging from the trees; and no “old men in shorts and flip-flops” meet him and his uncle at the Marathon…read more
By Autumn J. Bright; Reviewed by Carolyn Burns Bass
Debut author Autumn J. Bright’s Love Sick spins a gritty tale of one woman’s break from the dysfunction and lies of her past and toward a reinvention of herself as an independent woman capable of breaking the abusive generational habits that have bound her life. Toni Jones is a rising star in Charleston’s competitive radio scene. Her husband is a man on the move, ambitious, charismatic and passionate. He’s everything Toni could want in a husband, and more. He’s violent, possessive and a mean drunk. Toni’s family has never approved of Marvin, which makes Marvin resent Toni…read more
By Caroline Starr Rose; Reviewed by Carol Baldwin
This is the reason I love well-written historical fiction: It draws me into a place and time that I am barely familiar with, brushes me with information and imagery, and leaves me wanting to know more. Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose is such a book. Written from the points of view of Alis, the daughter of one of the first British colonists to land at Roanoke Island and Kimi, a Roanoke girl who has lost her father and uncle at the hands of the English, this novel-in-verse creates a plausible backstory of the Lost Colony. The alternating viewpoints are an excellent vehicle to show what it meant to the English and Indians…read more
By Paula McLain; Reviewed by Billie Hinton
These are the openings to two of my favorite books in the world, so Paula McLain’s Circling The Sun was on my list to read the moment I learned it existed. I was not disappointed. McLain deftly captures the ambiance of colonial Kenya and meticulously crafts Beryl Markham’s own voice. I was immediately drawn into this familiar world, a landscape and a story that has been previously painted so perfectly by Isak Dinesen and by Beryl Markham herself….read more
Lori Lansens is guest author in #LitChat on July 20, 2015. Follow #LitChat on Twitter or login directly to our dedicated channel at www.nurph.com/litchat.
By Lori Lansens; Reviewed by Mary Vensel White
On his eighteenth birthday, Wolf Truly boards the tram that takes tourists up the mountain overlooking Palm Springs. He loves the mountain…read more