Dear book-seeking reader,
I have discovered an unexpected joy in being a published author — I get to meet other authors and find out about their books! During these past few months, this has led me to some wonderful novels I want to share with you.
The Detour is the newest novel by Alaskan novelist Andromeda Romano-Lax. I first saw Andromeda at a public reading years ago in Anchorage where she was sharing a passage from her debut novel, The Spanish Bow. I was mesmerized by her description of the cello and music in general. Interestingly, Andromeda’s first two novels are not set in her home state of Alaska, but instead in historical Europe. During an on-stage talk between the two of us a few weeks ago, she says she might still have an Alaskan novel up her sleeve. In the meantime, read The Detour. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the relationship between Hitler and art, individuals and the social forces that shape history. But it is told through the intimate, sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, perspective of one man — Ernst Vogler.
When two authors have novels released around the same time, they begin to bump into each other on the book trail. Fortunate for me, this has happened to me with Julianna Baggott. Her most recent novel Pure was released in February around the same time as The Snow Child. I first met her in Oregon at a bookselling conference, and then again in New Orleans for a similar event where we signed books next to each other. Between the two events, I devoured her novel. Pure is the first in a post-apocolyptic trilogy. It tells the story of Pressia, a young girl who is surviving in a strange, twisted, destroyed future Earth. The story is page-turning and surprising; the images haunting.
I don’t know if I would have picked up J. Courtney Sullivan’s newest novel Maine on my own. The cover looks like a beach read, which isn’t my usual choice. But then at Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver, we were a part of the same author event. When Courtney stood at the microphone and read a few pages from the book, I was stirred to laughter, shock, and recognition. I decided right then to read the novel, and I’m glad I did. Maine tells of three generations of Kellehers women tied to a cottage in Maine. It is about the love and strife that comes between mothers and daughters, and the urge to shape ourselves even as we cannot deny the influence of our families.