The violence, tragedy, bravery, and loss of the Vietnam War has been memorialized in countless novels and works of nonfiction. The powerful words in these eleven books help us understand a complicated time in our recent history, and the political and personal legacy that it still carries.
You can officially call yourself obsessed with all things Tudor when you buy a book about the six wives of Henry VIII in middle school. Since then, I’ve read many more books on the subject (both fiction and nonfiction), but have enjoyed none so much as those by Philippa Gregory. A noted English historian, Gregory has the magical ability to dress the facts with fictional color and educate while entertaining. It is that special talent that keeps me coming back to her stories again and again.
We’re kicking off the summer season with a literary road trip from the lush forests of Maine, to the small towns of the Midwest, to the expansive plains of Wyoming. Each of these thirteen books celebrates a distinct microcosm of the American landscape. Choose your own destination and let’s hit the road!
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Books are the perfect getaway, especially when I’m in desperate need for a warmer climate, when I’m having a bad case of wanderlust, or when I just need a little excitement in my everyday life. The Shadow of the Wind by Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón was the perfect antidote for all three.
Although I had thought that every scene from Shirley Hazzard’s The Transit of Venus was an indelibly stored piece of memory, I’d actually forgotten, over the years, the excruciating brilliance of her writing. I remembered the fact of it but not its haunting reality. Rereading it, I got tears in my eyes on page one—brought on at first by the language itself but then by the way that language brings to life the passions that her characters grapple with, the love they seek in their different ways, the varying degrees of honesty with which they view one another and themselves, the overarching gravity—and horror—of the world they enter on the heels of World War II.
Like most devoted readers, I tend to get very attached to characters in a series or to certain authors and any of their works. It’s always a great loss when an author passes before completing the stories we’ve grown to love. But in some cases, an author’s work has been continued even after their death. Here, we’ve collected a list of authors whose legacies have continued beyond these most-loved books.
If you’d asked me what I thought life in 1937 Shanghai was like, I would have told you in all sincerity that I had no idea. And yet I must have had some conception of China before WWII, because Lisa See’s Shanghai Girls promptly blew them all away.
Maybe it’s being a writer or working with books, but I’m always being asked for my “must-read” recommendations. Every time I struggle to pin it down to just one or two titles, the more so because I’ve always been an eclectic reader. So it’s a huge pleasure to be invited to pick not just one, two, or even three top reads, but a whole list of favorites for Off the Shelf.
You don’t often come across novels about professional wrestling. And novels about women’s wrestling, in particular, are few and far between. So Angelina Mirabella’s debut novel, The Sweetheart, is an instant standout. This story takes place long before men with muscles as big as their egos competed in steel- cage matches.
As a writer, I am consistently curious about how other writers live and work, how they contemplate the writing process, incorporate their artistic profession into other aspects of their lives, and how it is they continue to show up at the writing desk day after day.