Resources and Faves

(A few of our favorite things)

Grub Street: We met here in our Novel in Progress class taught by Jessamyn Hope, which already makes this place special. If you get a chance, take a class or workshop (in Boston, or online), or attend Grub's annual conference, Muse and the Marketplace. Not just one of the best writing communities, Grub Street is an extraordinary community of humans, too, as evidenced by their mission statement: Haven't been to the biggest library/book club on the web yet? Come on!  Give a book review, and get one, too. Make book friends, and check on what they're reading. 

We're Currently Reading Or in the TBR Pile...:

Cindy Layton:

Just finished: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Ordinary Grace reminded me of Plain Song with a level of mystery. Michigan plays a big role in the story and it is beautifully written. It's a book I could read, turn off the writer's critique and enjoy.

Nancy Sackheim:

 Just finished Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. I literally read it in one sitting. Her language is startling and inventive, coming at you from directions you'd never expect. She throws all conventions out the window and sashays wherever she wants in her highly original stories. I'm not sure I've read anyone quite like her. Some of the stories I found really disturbing, but I was totally drawn in with all of them.  The girl can tell a tale!

For summer I am ambitious, if nothing else:  

  • Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari  - A compulsive inquiry on the possible futures of mankind.
  • Ulysses by James Joyce 
  • The Power Broker by Robert Caro - a biography of controversial urban planner Robert Moses that focuses on the creation and use of power in local and state politics and the influence his decisions continue to have on the flow and pace of life, particularly in New York City.
  • The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs - Jacobs believed that city planners should focus on preserving neighborhoods as diverse, walkable, mixed-use areas, paying close attention to the intrinsic value of older buildings while shunning car-centric construction.

Victoria Fortune:

  • For character research, I’m reading The Historian’s Craft by Marc Bloch—a classic for students of history.

  • For craft, Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel, by Lisa Cron. (I’m finding it riveting and taking notes.)  

  • And for fiction, I’m reading The Best American Short Stories 2017 (a constant on my Christmas list and my usual first read of the year).

On my TBR is another Christmas gift, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas, which was on the Kirkus Review list of best books of 2017 - a question of ballast:  motherhood and ambition.

Elizabeth Solar:

Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders - definitely Unique. 

Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng - found the characters wonderfully flawed, the time period quintessential '90s felt very grounded, admittedly a slow burn (no pun intended) and the omniscient narrator intriguing. *

See this NY Times article for more on the return of omniscience

And finally got to read: The City Bakers Guide to Country Living  by Louise Miller and let's just say the #procrastibaker in me LOVED it. 

Lee Hoffman

  •  History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund - One of the New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2017; An NPR and MPR Best Books of 2017
  • Sisters by Lily Tuck. In this book Tuck offers a very different portrait of marital life, exposing the intricacies and scandals of a new marriage sprung from betrayal

  •  Manhattan Beach: A Novel by Jennifer Egan Set on Brooklyn’s docks during WWII it’s full of mobsters, the looming war, and the first female diver.

Kimberley Allen McNamara:

Just finished: Conversation with Friends (hard copy) by Sally Rooney and it is my current love. So many GREAT lines in this. There is a point where I hit the doldrums but am convinced those pages were added for page length soo glad it rebounded and the great lines continued. See my review on Good Reads

Before that: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger - absolutely loved it. Sort of reminiscent of Stand By Me by Stephen King set in the summer of 1961 with train tracks, death, and small town life. Must agree with Cindy above - mystery, nostalgia and a snap shot of life hated to see it end. 

Concurrently reading for Craft: 

Conversations with Friends (on digital underscoring all those lines), 

Three Uses of the Knife: on the uses and purposes of drama by David Mamet, 

Reading for Pleasure:

The Elegance of a Hedgehog by Muriel Barberry

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

And as I have finished binge watching Stranger Things by the Duffer Brothers, I am adding the following to my TBR pile courtesy of: ( )The Underground Kingdom by Edward Packard Fire-Starter by Stephen King.