Posts Tagged ‘Authors Favorite Books’

4 Top Authors Share Their Favorite Reads

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

4 Top Authors Share Their Favorite Reads from MomAdvice.com

It’s an honor to interview all of these incredible writers for our Sundays With Writers series. Each interview, I gather a list of their favorite reads and today I’m sharing four of these author’s favorite reads with you today.  If you have enjoyed these author’s books, chances are you are going to LOVE their recommendations!

Since our book stacks can never be too high, here are a few more to add to your stack. Be sure to check out my monthly reviews on my favorite reads over here!

Miss Jane Interview

Brad Watson’s Favorite Reads

Author: Brad Watson

Book We Featured: Miss Jane

 

My Antonia by Willa Cather

My Antonia by Will Cather

After I read My Antonia, in graduate school, I read all of Cather’s other novels. It’s such a beautiful tribute to an extraordinary person, and to a place, a land. And the language is not flamboyant, but deeply beautiful with a poetic simplicity that is deceptively simple, as they say. It’s a book that seems as if it must have just come out easily, but it didn’t. You learn how much care and attention a “simple” story must receive from its writer.

Stoner by John Williams

Stoner by John Williams

Stoner is one of only four novels published by John Williams, and the books are all very different, and are all excellent. Stoner is a quiet book about a quiet man who lives a disappointing life, thwarted at just about every turn by some very unpleasant people. But his love for what he does (he’s a teacher at The University of Missouri in the early 20th century) seeps deeply into the book’s marrow and into the reader’s, as well. It is not a cheerful story, but it is one of the most beautiful accounts of a life I know of.

So Long, See You Tomorrow

So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

So Long, See You Tomorrow won the National Book Award in I think 1981, but it was never a big hit. It’s slowly and steadily gained a strong following, especially among writers, as being one of the most emotionally powerful novels in the second half of the twentieth century. And it’s only 130 pages long. And it’s an odd hybrid of apparent memoir and quasi-novel. But it will break your heart. At 130 pages, it’s novella length, but it has the power of a great novel, distilled into not so many words.

The Death of a Beekeeper

The Death of a Beekeeper by Lars Gustafsson

The Death of A Beekeeper is also brief, and presented to the reader as fragments from three “found notebooks” kept by a dying Swedish beekeeper living alone in the country. And it’s astonishing how moving and even entertaining it is. While we have darkly droll accounts of the beekeeper’s trials with the Swedish health care system, we also have a hilarious account of him attempting to introduce his wife to his mistress, hoping to hurt his wife, and ending up the butt of both women’s jokes and jocular derision. Also, a most astounding chapter in which (in order to entertain a couple of neighbor boys who are reading what he considers to be inferior science fiction) he presents a theory of the nature of God that will blow your head off. More readers ought to know of this one, too.

Mischling Interview

Affinity Konar’s Favorite Reads

Author: Affinity Konar

Book We Featured: Mischling

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie’s stories are memorable in this very specific way, in that I don’t have to dwell on them much at all before a line or scene presents itself, unbidden. Life within and around the Spokane Indian reservation is approached through characters that feel like they’re reinventing your capacity to feel. Whenever I read Alexie, I  just get flustered because what he’s written should be  impossible–there’s just startling poetry matched by startling humanity.

The Collected Stories of Grace Paley

Collected Stories of Grace Paley

Grace Paley was my first literary heroine.  She focuses on the lives of women, and pulls a complexity out of the background hum of daily life that so often goes unnoticed. Her stories are tragicomic, but strangely warm and welcoming, with spare sentences and gut-punches that confuse my heart a little, so I don’t know whether to laugh or cry first. Whenever I’ve spent a day being too-silent, just writing and being totally non-verbal, I love to go visit one of the conversations between her characters, and just linger between her lines for a bit.

The Streets of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz

The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz

Some of Schulz’s work was lost in the Holocaust, and what remains feels very precious. His writing is dreamlike and hazy, and when I first found it as a teenager I was just awed by the fact that this was a world known only to the author, an intensely private landscape that he took care to piece into words. It’s a mythologized rendering of a merchant family, with its own language and eccentricities and sense of reality; it feels like a coded thing that you are deeply fortunate to experience.

I Liked My Life Interview

Abby Fabiaschi’s Favorite Reads

Author: Abby Fabiaschi

Book We Featured: I Liked My Life

Is it possible to highlight three writers instead?

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Lisa See

I love how Lisa See brings history to life to learn from. Her next book, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, comes out 3/21, which is the day I plan to read it.

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout

Every sentence Elizabeth Strout has penned is worth at least two reads. Her next book, Anything Is Possible, comes out 4/25. I always reserve a quiet weekend for her work.

Diving Into the Wreck by ADrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich

A slice of Adrienne Rich’s poetry inspired and influenced I Liked My Life: “If we could learn to learn from pain even as it grasps us.” Isn’t that a powerful thought?

This is How it Always Is Interview

Laurie Frankel’s Favorite Reads

Author: Laurie Frankel

Book We Featured: This is How it Always Is

This is a nearly impossible question because I have so, so many favorite books. How about one a year?

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Last year, I loved Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. It’s hard to think a book that hyped isn’t overhyped, but it’s not. It’s exactly as good and heartbreaking and important as everyone said it would be.

Euphoria by Lily King

Euphoria by Lily King

The year before, I loved Lily King’s Euphoria. It’s gorgeous, brilliant, with great characters and great relationships, at once exotic and familiar, and the ending just slayed me.

A Tale for Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

A Tale for Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

And the year before that, I loved Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale For the Time Being. It’s a masterclass in storytelling and inventive novel writing and characters you cannot get enough of.

4 Top Authors Share Their Favorite Reads from MomAdvice.com

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Kathleen Tessaro’s 3 Favorite Books

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Katherine-Tessaro

Author: Kathleen Tessaro (Author of Rare Objects and many more novels! Read more about Kathleen in our interview HERE!!

Kathleen Tessaro’s 3 Favorite Books

Possession by A.S. Byatt

Possession by A.S. Byatt

A.S. Byatt’s “Possession” is the masterpiece which has inspired me the most structurally in all my novels. I have never recovered from the sheer audacity and scope of its ambitions.

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

Nancy Mitford’s “The Pursuit of Love” is my desert island book – one I could happily read over and over again for it’s flawless mixture of biting wit, sudden tenderness and clear, unadulterated love of language.

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

 

Tom Stoppard’s play “Arcadia” completely transformed my idea of storytelling. I will never forget the delicious tension of the audience, balanced on the edge of their seats the night I saw it at the National, hanging on every word; thrilled to keep up with the character’s formidable intellects as they unravel a centuries old mystery that married quantum physics with the tragic fate of young woman in the eighteenth century. He taught me never to write down to my audience.

 

 This post contains affiliate links! To learn more about the authors featured, please visit our Sundays With Writers series!

 

Clare Mackintosh’s 3 Favorite Books

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Clare Mackintosh

Author: Clare Mackintosh (Author of I Let You Go. Read more about Robin in our interview HERE!!)

Clare Mackintosh’s 3 Favorite Books

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I read this book more than twenty years ago, and must have read it a dozen times since. The characters are incredibly vivid, and the twists superb. It’s the book every writer wishes they’d written.

Find Her by Lisa Gardner

Find Her by Lisa Gardner

A recent release, as a contrast to du Maurier’s classic! I’m a huge fan of Lisa’s books, and Find Her is her best yet. Terrifyingly plausible, I read it in a single sitting and am recommending it to everyone.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

I felt bereft when this story ended. It is that rare thing; a page-turner of a book, yet written in language so perfectly constructed it’s almost poetry. Thought-provoking, beautiful, haunting.

 This post contains affiliate links! To learn more about the authors featured, please visit our Sundays With Writers series!

Robin Wasserman’s 3 Favorite Books

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Robin Wasserman

Author: Robin Wasserman. (Author of Girls on Fire and many more!)  Read more about Robin in our interview HERE!)

Robin Wasserman’s 3 Favorite Books

I’m terrible at “favorites,” but here are two books I’ve loved recently and then one of the only books that unquestionably counts as an all-time greatest hit:

The History of Great Things by Elizabeth Crane

The History of Great Things by Elizabeth Crane

Midway through this novel, I stopped reading and sent my mother a copy for mother’s day. (Which, fortunately, she appreciated, despite the fact that things don’t go especially well for the mother in the book.) This book, the ingenious and heartbreaking story of a mother a daughter trying to understand each other, is so unexpectedly smart and delightful and fascinating that I don’t want to tell you too much about it and spoil the surprise, so all I will say is that I would give quite a lot to be come up with a structure half as clever as what Elizabeth Crane is doing here.

Alice & Oliver by Charles Bock

Alice & Oliver by Charles Bock

Sad and sweet and brutal and funny, this is a novel about a family trying to battle its way through a cancer diagnosis, and about how to survive the possibility of losing the person who makes life worth living. You should read it; everyone should read it.

  A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace

I don’t think the world needs yet another paean to David Foster Wallace’s greatness, and if you’ve ever read one of these essays, it’s pretty self-evident, so I’ll just say that this is one of those books that cracked my world open. It’s not just that the book opened my eyes to radically new and enormous possibilities of what writing could do and be—though it did. And it’s not just that the book made me want to be a better writer, or a better thinker, or a better person—though it did that, too. It’s that, when I’m reading Wallace, I get a brief but glorious taste of what it might be like to inhabit life as he did. I get to mold my thoughts to his, and embody a person capable of and determined to deeply understand every piece of his world.

 

 This post contains affiliate links! To learn more about the authors featured, please visit our Sundays With Writers series!

Andromeda Romano Lax’s 3 Favorite Books

Monday, June 20th, 2016

andromeda-romano-lax

Author: Andromeda Romano-Lax. (Author of Behave, Searching for Steinbeck’s Sea of Cortez, & The Detour Read more about Andromeda in our interview HERE!)

Andromeda Romano Lax’s 3 Favorite Books

I have too many favorites so my best way to focus is by theme, and in this case, my theme will be “wives in the shadows” plus “mother blame,” two topics that are central to my novel, Behave.

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

In the first category, I absolutely love Meg Wolitzer’s The Wife, which is acerbic, funny, and all-too-real. I’ve read it multiple times, and even once the book’s twists are revealed, it’s no less enjoyable. (By the way, one of my favorite classic male writers is Philip Roth, but what he tends to ignore–the inner lives of women and especially wives–Wolitzer examines with a fabulous, Roth-like wit.)

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

 

Also in the category of shadow wives I recommend Curtis Sittenfeld’s American Wife. I loved how she handled a fictionalized version of the Barbara Bush story. Both historical truth and unfettered invention co-exist harmoniously in this empathetic novel.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

In the category of “mother blame” I challenge anyone to read Lionel Shriver’s We Need To Talk About Kevin and not feel chills, horror, and that rarer thing–sympathy. This is a book that will stay frighteningly current as long as we have mass shootings, but even without the violent storyline it’s a great look at failed mother-child bonding, guilt, public shaming, and all those things that make being a mom heart-breakingly tough at times.  

This post contains affiliate links! To learn more about the authors featured, please visit our Sundays With Writers series!

Molly Prentiss’s 3 Favorite Books

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Molly Prentiss

Author: Molly Prentiss  (Check out her debut novel, Tuesday Nights in 1980. Read more about Molly in our interview HERE!)

Molly Prentiss’s 3 Favorite Books

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion

This was the very first book I read that made me think: I want to be a writer. It taught me so much about what it means to have a voice as a writer, and that a voice could be so distinct. I have my mother’s copy of the book that she read when she was young and living in New York, and it has all of her notes in pencil in the margin. The cover is falling off and the pages are yellow. It is probably my most treasured possession.

Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

I read this book during grad school and it utterly changed my life and my writing. I couldn’t believe someone could pull it off: writing a novel in verse, about a small red monster, and making it not only pleasurable to read but so incredibly beautiful and moving. Carson’s use of language is pure genius, and it gave me the idea that everything that’s written should have poetry in it somewhere, that language should be rhythmic and considered, but there should be heart in the language; it should not be pretty for prettiness sake.

A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

I read this book when I was in the thick of writing my novel, and studied it so diligently it was like taking a self-imposed fiction class. Egan’s use of form blew me away. It was another aha moment for me as a writer: that one could play and experiment on the page, and that the reader would trust it, and play along.

This post contains affiliate links! To learn more about the authors featured, please visit our Sundays With Writers series!

Ruth Ware’s 3 Favorite Books

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Ruth Ware

Author: Ruth Ware (Check out her novels: In a Dark, Dark Wood & The Woman in Cabin 10. Read more about Ruth in our interview HERE!)

Ruth Ware’s  3 Favorite Books

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I have to pick an Agatha Christie I think as she was a huge inspiration for The Woman in Cabin 10, so maybe And Then There Were None, which is one of her best, certainly one of her darkest.

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith has to be one of the best crime novels ever- it’s just beautifully constructed and written, with characters so real you can practically  pluck them off the page, and the premise is one of those ideas that just inspires pure jealousy of the “why the hell didn’t I think of that?” type.

Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford

Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford

And to finish up, something completely different, Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford is one of my desert island books. It’s just so indescribably funny, and moving, and matter-of-fact- and it captures a moment in history with effortless lightness of touch, and painful precision.

This post contains affiliate links! To learn more about the authors featured, please visit our Sundays With Writers series!

Kimberly McCreight’s 3 Favorite Books

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Kimberly McCreight

Author: Kimberly McCreight (Check out her novels: Reconstructing Amelia, Where They Found Her, & The Outliers. Read more about Kimberly in our interview HERE!)

Kimberly McCreight’s  3 Favorite Books

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations by  Charles Dickens

The book that first made me want to be a writer.

On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner

On Becoming A Novelist by John Gardner

The book that made me feel okay about wanting to be a writer.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

The book I still read to my daughters even though they are too old for it—actually no, they will never be too old for it! It still makes me cry every time.

This post contains affiliate links! To learn more about the authors featured, please visit our Sundays With Writers series!

Julie Buxbaum’s 3 Favorite Books

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Julie Buxbaum

Author: Julie Buxbaum (Check out her novels: The Opposite of Love, After You, & Tell Me Three Things. Read more about Julie in our interview HERE!)

Julie Buxbaum’s 3 Favorite Books

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I have few distinct memories from childhood, but I do remember sitting on my mother’s lap and her reading The Secret Garden to me. I found my copy again just before I left for college (only a couple years after my mom died) and I re-read it only to discover that it’s a story filled with healing and magic and a little orphaned girl who grows strong even in the face of grief.  I’ve now re-read the book maybe fifty times since then, in part as tribute and in part as therapy, and each time it leaves me soothed. I can’t wait to read it to my own daughter one day soon.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith White Teeth by Zadie Smith

I loved every page of this exuberant novel and it is one of those books that made me want to be a writer. Not because I ever thought I could write anything like Zadie Smith—no one can write like Zadie Smith—but it was so inspiring to me to see a young woman writing with such clarity and zeal and wisdom while still in college and getting recognition for it from the literary establishment.  I haven’t re-read the book in a while, but I still read everything Smith writes, and every single time she takes me by surprise and astounds me with her prose.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

This is one those slow, quiet books that has more in common with poetry than your typical novel. It is lyrical and beautiful and deserves to be carefully read. It’s a meditation on…well, everything and it is one of the most considered and thoughtful and thought provoking piece of fiction I’ve ever encountered.

This post contains affiliate links! To learn more about the authors featured, please visit our Sundays With Writers series!