Henry Leyva reads Jim Grimsley’s “How I Shed My Skin: Unlearning the Racist Lessons of a Southern Childhood” (Algonquin Books, Highbridge Audio, 6 CDs, 7 hours). Leyva’s narration is only slightly tinged with a southern accent. This flavors his storytelling as it moves fluidly through difficult material, intricate detailing, and dialogue studded with dialect.
Local author Sarah Dessen’s 12th novel, “Saint Anything” (Viking, ages 13 and up) is being heralded as her “darkest, most searching, most provocative novel yet.”
Scott Brick reads Jon Krakauer’s introductory author’s note for “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town “ (Random House, approx.. 12 hours).
I don’t generally have great expectations when celebrities of any stripe cross genres to write a book. I hold out some hope for actors and actresses whose understanding of characterization and pacing has the potential to show up in their writing.
In her memoir, “It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War” (Blackstone Audio, 9 hours), Lynsey Addario creates an immediate and horrifying snapshot of her life as a conflict photographer. It’s March 2011 in Ajdabiya, Libya. She and other colleagues ready themselves to capture images of a bombed out car “with human remains splattered all over the back seat.” She pans out, sets the scene succinctly by describing the beginning of Egyptian Spring,” the revolution that has become a war.”
Earlier this year I was startled to find myself grieving for my mother on her March birthday and I knew her death date was almost exactly a month away. “It’s been four years since she died, why am I still grieving?” I asked myself.
Adam Rex is one of the craziest writers in children’s books. He has a tickle-your-funny-bone sense of humor, flavored with a bit of the ridiculous.
It has been more than a decade since Anita Diamant burst on the scene with her now famous “Red Tent” (audio from Macmillan, 2002), a book that brought alive the ancient Biblical world of Jacob’s wives.
Adam Rex is one of the craziest writers in children’s books. He has a tickle-your-funny-bone sense of humor, flavored with a bit of the ridiculous. His humor shines in picture books and middle grade novels, but my all time favorite was The True Meaning of Smekday (book from Disney-Hyperion and audio from Listening Library, 10 hours, 38 minutes, read by Bahni Turpin).
The recent snow and ice shut everything down, except my mind. I kept that active with two engrossing new mysteries.
Isabel Quintero’s “Gabi, a girl in pieces” won the William C. Morris award for best young adult debut novel (book from Cinco Puntos Press; audio from Listening Library, approximately 8 hours; ages 14 and up).
I have listened to all Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective books, including the newest, “The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café” (Recorded Books, 9.75 hours). This is his 15th about Precious Ramotswe, the “standardly built” lady detective from Botswana. I count on the audios’ consistencies and never tire of the samenesses. This one, however, surprised me.
Gayle Forman is coming to Flyleaf on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. where she’ll appear with local young adult superstar author, Sarah Dessen. They will be celebrating the release of Gayle Forman’s fifth novel, “I Was Here” (book from Viking, audio from Listening Library, ages 14 and up).
I am writing this on the longest night of the year, or the shortest day, depending on your perspective. The composition process will span both the day and the night. As I sit here I can feel, in some deep place, the shift in the tilt of the earth -- that cosmic return from darkness to light.
Columnist Susie Wilde picks her top books of 2014.