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September's FEATURED AUTHOR: Cathy's favorite books...

September 21, 2011
You've met our Featured Author of the month, Cathy Holton. And checked out her bibliography. Now she's back, to share with us her current favorite books... 

It’s always difficult to narrow my favorite books down to a manageable list. I’m a voracious reader. There are always stacks of books on my bedside table, beside my tub, on my coffee table. I usually read two or three at a time; a biography or non-fiction book, and a novel. I have a tendency to go through “periods”; my Southern writers period, my English writers period, my Australian writers period, etc.

So, bearing in mind that my list of favorite books and authors constantly changes, depending on what I’m reading at any given moment, the following are some of my favorite most recent reads.

Parrot and Olivier in America
Parrot and Olivier in America – I’ve been a Peter Carey admirer since I read Oscar and Lucinda many years ago. I’m a huge fan of historical fiction and Carey does it best. Parrot and Olivier is the story of a French nobleman and his hapless servant, Parrot, exploring the New World in the years following the Revolutionary War. Carey manages to capture the feel and flavor of a raw new country undergoing some of the same conflicts and social concerns that we’re still dealing with today. The novel is based on the true-life 1831 travels of Alexis deTocqueville.

Lives of Girls and Women
Lives of Girls and Women - How is it that I have only recently discovered Alice Munro? This Canadian short story writer has been heralded as one of the greatest living fiction writers. She writes stories about ordinary people; mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, lovers and friends, living lives of quiet desperation. The stories are engaging and deceptively simple, yet filled with a surprising emotional intensity. Everything I’ve learned about good writing in the last few years, I’ve learned from reading Alice Munro.

case histories
Case Histories – I’ve read everything Kate Atkinson has ever written, starting with Behind the Scenes at the Museum. There’s something about combining satirical humor with good, clean writing that I find engaging and inspiring. Case Histories is the first of her Jackson Brodie series, the story of a Scottish ex-cop on the trail of several seemingly unconnected murder mysteries that all wind up having a surprise connection. It was the way she handled this novel, which is not really a classic mystery novel, that gave me the inspiration to attempt my own mystery, Summer in the South.

monsters of templeton
The Monsters of Templeton – I was amazed that this was a first novel, given the skill, confidence, and youth (damn her) of this writer. Lauren Groff tells the story of a young graduate student, Willie Upton, who returns in disgrace to her small hometown in Upstate New York on the same day a mysterious sea creature washes up on the shore of Lake Glimmerglass. The descendant of some of the founders of Templeton, New York, Willie must sort out not only her own troubled life, but also the elusive past of her illustrious family, including the mystery of her own parentage. Great story, great writing style, great novel.

These look wonderful, Cathy! I am embarrassed I haven't read any of them (yet!)...  I do have Case Histories on my TBR shelves, I should pull it out to sneak it in between some of these other books I need to get to...

What about you guys? Have you read these?


bermudaonion said...

I haven't read any of these! I'm adding them to my wish list.

holdenj said...

What a great list! I kind of forgot about The Monsters of Templeton...I really liked it too. In fact, would be a good holiday buy for my sil!

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