Rakestraw's Writers Reading & Recommending
***UPDATE 7/6/2013: As I started looking at the website this morning (and trying to decide what to add and what to delete), I was thinking that this was a bit stale. But I really love the it, so I have decided to add to it rather than remove it.
So I've asked some of our great writer friends what they're loving right now. Enjoy!
One of the best-loved questions during author visits is "What are you reading?" Readers loving hearing what their favorite authors are enjoying and recommending.
As part of our year-end celebrations, we asked some of favorite writers -- who have all visited over the past year -- what one book, they would recommend to all of you.
Below you'll find recommendations from Michael Chabon, Lev Grossman, Deborah Harkness, Amy Franklin Willis, Jess Walter, and Jonathan Evison. Not surprisingly, great writers are also great readers, so there are some gems on this list (and one or two surprises!).
David Levithan Recommends . . . ."The most remarkable book I've read lately is A. S. King's Ask the Passengers. In fact, I've found that if you get any two YA authors in the same room, they will eventually start discussing which A. S. King book is their favorite. This is the one for me, because it's both tough and tender, and unafraid to treat sexuality in a way that defies labels, and acknowledges that labels aren't the truth -- the truth is the truth. She's an amazing writer (look out for her next, Reality Boy, in the fall) and I will easily read anything she writes."David Levithan's most recent novel for teenagers is Invisibility, written with Andrea Cremer. He last visited Rakestraw Books in October 2012.
Anita Silvey Recommends . . . .Eleanor & Park contains spare, lean prose in the voices of two delightfully weird teenagers who find each other. Set in a rough neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska, the novel puts a modern-day spin on Romeo & Juliet, but author Rainbow Rowell provides a hopeful ending to a story that explores the power of young love, alcoholism, and the problems of mixed-race children. Set in the 1980s with a lot of references to popular culture and music, the book may be as much for adults who want to revisit teenage years as for teenagers themselves; certainly the mesmerizing storytelling style keeps readers of all ages breathlessly turning the pages. Listening Library has produced a superb audio of the book -- well-narrated and just as compelling as the book.Anita Silvey, an internationally expert in books for young people, is most recently the author of Children's Book-A-Day Almanac. She last visited Rakestraw Books in 2001.
Michael Chabon Recommends . . . ."This
was the year I discovered the glory of Edward St. Aubyn's "Patrick
Melrose" sequence, the concluding volume of which, At Last, was
published last spring. Read in order, all together--as I think they
ought to be--they tell the story, in elegant, biting, unsparing and
witty prose, of the painful, disastrous and hilarious growth of a
single human consciousness over the course of forty years of (self-)
abuse, grace and gross misbehavior. I loved them, and the last is a
deeply worthy finale."Michael Chabon's most recent novel is Telegraph Avenue. He last visited Rakestraw Books in October 2012.
Deborah Harkness recommends . . . .
"This was my laugh-out-loud favorite of 2012. A bit of Jasper Fforde, a bit of the X-Files, and a lot of droll action and tongue-in-cheek dialogue as we follow the heroine, Myfanwy Thomas, through her adventures in Her Majesty's Supernatural Secret Service. Thoroughly enjoyable, and highly recommended."
Deborah Harkness's most recent novel is The Shadow of Night. She last visited Rakestraw Books in July 2012.
Lev Grossman Recommends . . . ."My favorite book of the year was John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.
It's a love story about two teenagers who have cancer. They're not
idealized, they're not sentimentalized, they're just two smart, funny,
real people who stare death in the face every day. Sometimes they blink,
sometimes they don't. This is the kind of book that reminds me why I
love novels. Don't read it anywhere where you'd be embarrassed to weep
openly."Lev Grossman's most recent novel is The Magician King. He last visited Rakestraw Books in June 2012.
Amy Franklin Willis Recommends . . . .
"Shine, Shine, Shine by Lydia Netzer is my favorite read of 2012. This book offered a rare reading experience -- A unique plot and characters that surprised and delighted while illuminating the mysteries of math, autism, true love, true difference and robots. Such an unusual and lovely novel. I can't wait for her next book."
Amy Franklin Willis is the author of The Lost Saints of Tennessee. She last visited Rakestraw Books in February 2012.
Jonathan Evison Recommends . . . ."Well, I haven't stopped crowing about it all year, so I'm not gonna' stop now! Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is the best novel I read this year, and maybe in the past five years. Fountain tackles huge themes -- the war in Iraq, consumerism, patriotism, class, to name a few -- and delivers big time, with an intimate portrait of one soldier, spectacularly written."
Jonathan Evison's most recent novel is The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving. His last visit to Rakestraw Books was in March 2012.
Jess Walter Recommends . . . .
"I thought 2012 was one of the best years for novels -- so many good ones that I'm going with nonfiction, Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. It's an incredible book, immersive and powerful and so deserving of the National Book Award. The portrait of Annawadi, a 'sumpy plug of slum' in the shadow of the Mumbai airport, is wrenching and somehow inspiring. This book devastated me."
Jess Walter is the author of Beautiful Ruins. His last visit to Rakestraw Books was in June 2012.
Those of you who follow the newsletter know how much I love the art of Jane Mount. It's a treat to have such a remarkable collection of her work.You can browse the shelves of all sorts of interesting people -- and, let's face it, isn't that what you want to do the first time you enter a reader's room?
I am still so proud to be included in this little book of recommendations from booksellers around the country.