Mary and Pamela join me to discuss their recommended reads for Fall 2022.
Mary and Pamela join me to discuss their recommended reads for Fall 2022.
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[00:12] Cindy: You are listening to the Thoughts From a Page podcast, which is a member of the Evergreen Podcast Network. My name is Cindy Burnett and I'd love to talk about books with anyone and everyone. While listening to my podcast, you will hear author interview, youth, behind the scenes conversations about various aspects of the publishing world, theme discussions with other book lovers, and more. For more book recommendations and a complete list of all of my interviews, check out my website, Thoughts from a Page.com and follow me on Facebook and Instagram at Thoughts From a Page in 2022. I would love for you to join my Patreon group. I offer at least two bonus episodes a month and a monthly advanced read and pre-publication author chat. For those on Facebook, I host a special Patreon Facebook group where we all chat books. Thanks so much to those who already participate and I hope you will consider joining us. Today I am chatting with Mary Weber O'Malley and Pamela Klinger. Horn about their recommended reads for Fall 2022. Mary is the free range virtual bookseller at large for Skylark Bookshop and author liaison and scheduling producer for A Mighty Blaze. She is also a writer, grandmother and chicken wrangler. Mary lives outside of Chicago with her husband and a menagerie of pets. Pamela has been a literary event planner since 2012. She enjoys attending and promoting literary events throughout the Twin Cities and beyond, and has been nicknamed the local literary fairy godmother. Pamela is currently the literary event coordinator at Valley Bookseller in Stillwater, Minnesota and host of the monthly literary program Literature Lovers Night Out. In addition to recording this episode with me, Mary and Pamela also recorded a bonus Patreon episode where they each recommend five books that they regularly hand sell, books that they consider to be must reads, books that would make great gifts for the holidays or other events, and books that you do not want to miss out on. I hope you'll consider becoming a patron and have access to this episode. I also hope you enjoy our conversation and add many books to your TBR. Welcome, Pamela and Mary. How are you guys today?
[02:15] Pamela: Very well. Thank you for the invitation to be here.
[02:18] Mary: I am great. Always happy to be here with Pamela. I can't be here with her in person. This is the next best thing.
[02:28] Pamela: It is indeed.
[02:29] Cindy: Well, I always love your recommendations and I get such great feedback on these episodes and so I'm thrilled to pieces that you're here to talk about. Recommended reads for Fall 2022.
[02:39] Pamela: There's nothing I'd rather talk about in books.
[02:42] Mary: Me too. And I've got quite a list.
[02:44] Cindy: Well, and I enjoy following your social media accounts because I add books to my list right and left that are upcoming. You guys are now into winter and spring of 2023 and every time I turn around, you're posting some new book that I'm then screenshotting and looking for on NetGalley or adding it to my list to try to track down from the publicist. So your wealth of information.
[03:05] Pamela: Glad to hear that we are accomplishing our life goals.
[03:09] Cindy: Absolutely. And then also the other fun thing before we start talking about your recommended reads, as you guys were recently the subject of a wonderful article by Publishers Weekly, do you want to talk a little bit about that?
[03:20] Pamela: Sure. It was very exciting to see our social life get profiled. In Publishers Weekly, journalist Claire Kirk talked about some of the kind of impromptu gatherings that we've had. Mary and I and some other book sellers have got together both at my house and at a friend's home down in the lake of the Ozarks area and at the Unbound Books Festival in Missouri and gathered with some of our other bookselling friends just to talk about books and get together. Since Covet had kind of derailed some of our more traditional conferences and meetings.
[03:56] Cindy: I want to get to Unbound at some point.
[03:59] Mary: It's magical. I had high expectations, and it just far exceeded everything I could imagine. Alex puts together some incredible panels down there.
[04:11] Pamela: It was well worth the trip. It was really an excellent conference.
[04:15] Cindy: Well, it's on my list, so hopefully I will get there some day. Well, I've been thinking about how much you both read and recommend, which is wonderful. As I said, I follow closely to add books to my list. Do you finish every book you start, or do you DNF if a book is not holding your attention?
[04:31] Mary: I absolutely DNF. I have too many books waiting for me. There are times that if it's something Pamela's recommended and it's not grabbing me right away, I know I need to stick with it because I know I will love it. But there are plenty that I will pick up and give maybe 50-60 pages. And if it's really a struggle, I'll put it down. Maybe I'll pick it up again later, maybe I won't.
[05:01] Pamela: I tend to finish what I start, but I am like Mary. First of all, if Mary has recommended it, I know I'm going to like it as well. So I do need to stick with it, even if maybe the first page doesn't grab my attention. But fortunately, I'm in the position where the publishers know the type of book that I like, and I tend to be sent things that I am going to enjoy. So it's not too often that I end up picking up a book that just is not working for me.
[05:26] Cindy: I'm still really working on trying to make sure I do target those books that will really work for me. I have a good sense for what's going to work and what's not, but I don't ever want to miss out. So sometimes people be raving about one and I'm like, that doesn't really sound that good. But then I pick it up and every once in a while I love it, but most of the time if it didn't sound that good, it doesn't end up working for me. So I'm hoping I can kind of continue to hone that a little better. You just don't ever want to miss out on that one book that doesn't sound good but really is good, just because I think, well, generally I'm not going to like it.
[05:58] Pamela: Right. Life is too short to read books that are not really making you happy because there are so many out there that will.
[06:04] Cindy: Exactly. The other thing I was curious to ask you guys about was historically fall has been considered the kind of big time for books to come out, like really large books or the season that all the great books are coming out. But it seems that that has really shifted in the last, I don't know, five to ten years. I'm not exactly sure on timing and that most of the books that are many books that are coming out in winter and spring are kind of the big blockbusters and fall doesn't have as many of those anymore. What do you all think about that?
[06:33] Pamela: I'm seeing great titles come out all year long. I think that fall certainly has great books that are going to be put in that season because it leads up to the holiday shopping season. But I am looking at books right now that are coming out in winter and spring of 2023 and there's just some incredible literature on the way. So I think that publishers are doing a great job of spreading that out throughout the year. Mary, what are your thoughts?
[07:00] Mary: So I do think that there are more literary books coming out in the spring and I see a lot of celebrity memoirs coming out in the fall, big names that people are going to want to buy for holiday gift giving or buy themselves for holiday gift giving this fall. We have another Michelle Obama. I think there's a Prince Harry memoir coming out. I just got a PDF copy because they didn't get the print copies out in time of a memoir by Steve Martin that's actually in graphic novel format, which is fascinating and I absolutely adored. But I feel like the publishers are putting their efforts in the fall now behind these big blockbuster, Maggie O'Farrell/John Irving novels.
[07:59] Cindy: I think that's right. And definitely there are some wonderful titles coming out this fall, but I feel like it used to be really fall loaded and that what you're both saying, gift books are coming out this fall, some titles by very well-known authors, but also they're spreading things out across the entire year versus loading the fall.
[08:16] Mary: Agreed.
[08:17] Pamela: Yeah, I would go with that.
[08:18] Cindy: Well, Mary, I think you have eleven, so why don't we have you start and then we can end with you as well. What is your first book?
[08:24] Mary: Excellent so my first book actually comes out tomorrow, so you'll be able to get it right away when you hear this episode. I just connected with it so much I had to feature it. And it is called nobody Gives a **** what Happened to Carlota by James Hanahan. This is one that I truly did not expect to connect with. It was hard for me to immerse myself in the language of Carlata, but once I did, Carlota grabbed hold of me and didn't let go. This raucous, irreverent and harrowing story of a trans woman's reentry into life on the outside after more than 20 years in a men's prison told over one 4 July weekend. It's not an easy read. The language of Carlota took some time to sink into and there are some graphic scenes. But those who know me know that I try hard to read outside my own experiences as a Midwest, middle class white woman. And this book absolutely did this. I don't think I will ever forget Carlota Mercedes and her heart and spirit. This book both broke my heart and held it up.
[09:41] Cindy: I'm not familiar with that one at all. I'm going to have to go read more about it.
[09:45] Pamela: Oh, that was news to me too. Well done, Mary. I'm excited to check that title out. I am also going to start with a novel you can get your hands on today that is called When We Were Bright and Beautiful by Jillian Medoff. It just came out in August. This one is a shocker with a gasp inducing final scene and it has the most unreliable of unreliable narrators and type of genre that I certainly enjoy. Cassie Quinn is the main character. She comes from a very wealthy, privileged family in New York, and her younger brother has just been accused of being a rapist by his girlfriend. She does not believe this. She comes rushing back home to join forces with the family and they, of course, lawyer up with all the finest that Manhattan can offer and have to go to court to try and prove Billy's innocence. Billy, of course, fits the all too familiar sex offender profile. He's rich, he's white, he's athletic, he's handsome. And this young girl is up against all of that, saying that he has raped her. But of course, there's so much to this story than what meets the eye. They may look like a typical, wonderful family, but there are so many dark undertones. We find that Cassie is not actually part of this family by origin. She was orphaned and they took her in. And as the story goes along, each chapter reveals more skeletons in both Cassie's closet and in this family's closet. And we come to find out she was in a long term relationship as a very young girl with a much, much older man. This book is so thought provoking, so staggeringly real and smart and riveting, that readers just won't be able to put this down until they find out what the actual truth is. And when it's revealed, all I can say is you're going to be saying, Holy moly. That is called When We Were Bright and Beautiful by Jillian Meddof. Available now.
[12:02] Cindy: I have been seeing that one all over Instagram. It definitely seems like it's a very popular read.
[12:07] Mary: I certainly hope it will be okay. As I'm writing down Pamela's titles, that's been at the top of my TBR, and now I've got to move it into next to read. My next title is People Person by Candice Carty-Williams. She's the author of Queenie it's out September 6. One father, four mothers, five children. It is funny, authentic, heartwarming story of these half siblings who have met once during childhood, but they are brought back together by a dramatic event. It is a vibrant and charming celebration of getting to know your family as an adult. I tore through this book. The writing is wonderful and moves you right along, and it is a charming and vibrant novel. People person by Candice Cardi Williams.
[13:05] Cindy: I have that galley and it's high on my list, but I haven't gotten to it yet, so I'm going to bump it up my list.
[13:10] Mary: Excellent.
[13:12] Cindy: Pamela, what's up next for you?
[13:14] Pamela: My next novel is going to be available on September 13, and it is called The Real Mrs. Tobias by Sally Koslow. If you've ever been a wife, a mother in law or a daughter in law, The Real Mrs. Tobias is going to be a novel that will resonate with you. Sally Koslow captures all the nuances of these potentially fraught relationships. These women share a great love for all the men in their lives, but they have been put together through no choice of their own. This story is told with a lot of warmth, but with also some hard truth and some humor. And again, this is one that's going to have book clubs buzzing. Takes place in New York City. There are three women, all known as Mrs. Tobias. We've got Veronica, the matriarch, and then Mel, the daughter in law, and then Mel's daughter in law, Birdie, and they're all trying to navigate their own personal difficulties and things that are going on in the family as well as with each other. Both Veronica and Mel are, of all things, psychotherapists who should be more skilled at helping people solve their own problems, but they still have a hard time solving their own. And this is just, like I said, a warm and wonderfully nuanced tale of a family and all the complicated relationships you get when you marry into a family. And so the title asks, who is the real Mrs. Tobias? Well, I'm going to say that we all are, because you're going to see yourself in bits and pieces of all these characters. So. September 13. That one comes out from Sally Koslow. The Real Mrs. Tobias.
[14:50] Cindy: I was happy to see that one on your list. I've seen her posting about it because we're connected on Facebook, but I haven't read it yet, so I need to go track it down.
[14:57] Pamela: You will really enjoy it.
[14:59] Cindy: It sounds good. All right, Mary, what's up for you?
[15:03] Mary: My next title is The Matchmakers Gift by Linda Cohen Loigman. And let's just start by saying this is one of the prettiest covers I have ever, ever seen. The cover is stunning and the inside of the book is every bit as beautiful. One of the quotes from the book is when you weep, the one you are meant for tastes the salt of your tears. This is dual timelines. A maker of matches and her divorce lawyer granddaughter. When her grandmother dies, Sarah bequeaths her journals to Abby. Sarah was a matchmaker, a female matchmaker, in a time when that was pretty much not permitted. It was unheard of. Only the men made the matches. But she had a literal 6th sense for people who belong together. And so when her granddaughter, who is a very successful divorce lawyer, comes across her journals, she starts realizing that maybe she has the same gift. It is a gorgeous and sweet novel. I truly was worried that the inside was not going to live up to the cover itself, but it did, and then some. It's one of those that every time I cross by it when it's sitting on my bookshelves, I just smile at the memories of it. It's a lovely, lovely book. The Matchmakers Gift by Linda Cohen Loigman.
[16:38] Pamela: That cover is absolutely frame worthy. And the inside is gorgeous too. Mary, were you ready to cheer when she stands up to all the men in the synagogue?
[16:46] Mary: I was so ready to cheer. It's one of those that had me like, raising my fist and saying yes throughout.
[16:54] Pamela: It's a great book.
[16:56] Cindy: So for part of my Patreon program, I have a monthly early read. We get the book early from that galley and then we meet with the author pre-publication. And so Lynda was the August read because the book comes out in September and we've already met with her. It was one of the most popular ones we have done. Everybody loved the book, loved yinda, and in fact, she was so popular that I have now booked her for my literary salon in November here in Houston because I just had such great feedback on that one.
[17:23] Pamela: I have hosted Linda in the past at Literature Lovers Out and she just gives a great presentation. She's got a warm and wonderful personality. People love meeting with her. And I've read her entire body of work and you can't go wrong with any of them.
[17:36] Cindy: That was exactly my thought. So I can't wait for that book to come out so I can be telling everybody to read it.
[17:41] Mary: Hurray.
[17:43] Pamela: Well, my next book is going to take us to the Land Down Under in Australia. This is called All That's Left Unsaid by Tracy Lien. And this comes out on September 13. This novel asks us how well we really know our closest friends and family members. All that's left inside explores a really complicated family dynamic. The character, He Tran, returns home after her brother's brutal killing. And sometimes they say that unhappy families are all unhappy in their own way. I think this shows that no matter where your family lives, if you endure a trauma, it's just a universal issue of how families have to work through so many complicated emotions, and this novel explores that beautifully. It's such an unforgettable novel. If you ever read like Celeste Everything I Never Told You, or Bennett the Mothers, you're going to find a lot to admire in this novel as well. Our main character said she's Vietnamese Australian and she returns home because her brother has been murdered. The police know that there were witnesses to this murder. However, they are completely at a loss as to solving it. And so she takes on her own research, going back to the restaurant where this happened, trying to find the bystanders that were there and why no one is able to give them any information when there were so many people in the restaurant. It is fascinating. Goes back to their childhood, their relationships with their friends and in the community. And again, it's a real page turner. Profoundly moving, devastating crime, what this family goes through. And so that comes out mid-September. All that's left unsaid by Tracy Lien, L-I-E-N.
[19:37] Cindy: I love anything set in Australia, so I'm going to definitely have to add that one to my list.
[19:42] Pamela: Yeah. Interesting to explore the Vietnamese-Australian community there, too.
[19:48] Cindy: Something I've definitely not read about yet.
[19:50] Pamela: Me neither. That was the first for me.
[19:52] Cindy: Okay, Mary.
[19:53] Mary: Okay. I just love how well rounded our lists are. I think there's something for everybody here. My next title is The Book Haters Book Club by Gretchen Anthony. Out September 13, this light, charming and lovely book is a love letter to booksellers and readers. When Elliot, the beloved co-owner of a bookshop, dies, his partner Irma decides to sell the building to condo developers. Her children and Elliot's romantic partner are aghast and conspire to save the shop. Filled with wonderful book recommendations from actual book sellers like Pamela and myself, this is an absolutely delightful read. And I actually mentioned one of my favorite all time hand sells, the Awakened Woman is my book recommendation that I talk about within this book. But it is just a charming, wonderful novel by Gretchen Anthony. The book haters book club.
[20:57] Cindy: I love any books that are about book clubs. I think that's just such a fun trope. So this sounds like it will be very entertaining.
[21:04] Pamela: It is. Gretchen Anthony is a Minnesota author and I am going to introduce you to another Minnesota author, Alan Eskins. He has become a Minnesota mystery treasure for the stage. His new novel comes out on September 20. It's called forsaken country. I'm sure many mystery fans will know his name. He's a big USA Today bestselling author. His first novel was The Life We Bury. This one is another really fast paced, gripping mystery. This time he takes the reader up to the boundary waters in northern Minnesota. Forsaken country is a complimentary novel to the stolen hours. His last work, It again features the character of Max Rupert. He had left the world of homicide, but now a kidnapping brings him back in to work and he has to help solve the crime. Comes out on September 20 forsaken country. If you can't wait for Alan Eskins, I suggest starting with nothing more dangerous. That one's set in Missouri, but it is my favorite of his books and Alan Atkins is very popular. As soon as you open up any one of his titles, you're going to find out why.
[22:16] Cindy: How dark is this one? Because I have always heard such good things about him and I haven't read any of his books. And I kept thinking, oh, I'll pick this one up. And every time I read the summary, I worry it's really dark. Is it?
[22:27] Pamela: Oh, I mean, I like to walk on the dark side, but I don't find his writing particularly dark.
[22:32] Cindy: Okay. I don't really like to walk on the dark side. I mean, it depends on how dark it is. And so that's why when I read the summary, I'm like, oh, I wonder if this is too dark for me.
[22:40] Pamela: No, I would never put his books into the dark mystery genre.
[22:46] Cindy: Okay, good. Well, then I'm going to add it to my list wide appeal. Okay, good.
[22:50] Mary: All right, so my next title is The Last Dream Walker by Rita Woods. And that is out September 20. Rita is the author of remembrance. It was an award winning title and The Last Dream Walker is just spectacular. It is mystical, lyrical, gorgeous storytelling. The story of two women separated by nearly two centuries, yet completely linked by the Gullah-Geechee Islands off the coast of South Carolina and their connection to a mysterious and extraordinary gift passed from generation to generation. Rita has really come into her own with this book. The setting was immersive. The storytelling was just divine. I could not put it down. I could smell, taste, see and hear everything around me off the coast there. Just absolutely loved this book.
[23:52] Cindy: I love books like that that are so immersive.
[23:55] Pamela: They are. And the goal of people have such a fascinating history. Anytime I get a chance to read anything about them, I am all there.
[24:02] Cindy: I agree completely, absolutely.
[24:05] Pamela: Well, my next book is a memoir and it is called Uncultured by Daniella Mestionic Young, and that will be available to readers on September 20. And I have to say, I think it has been since educated that I have found such a memoir that was so inspiring about escaping a difficult life. Danielle message IIC young. She was a young woman growing up in a violent religious cult that her parents had become involved in. And needless to say, the children did not fare well in this cult. It was abusive, both physically and sexually and emotionally. And she is a smart young woman with a lot of inner strength and she is seeking a way out, and she finds an avenue of escape through the military. Unfortunately for her, she finds that she is perhaps trading one cult for another once she gets into the military. She finds many similarities to the type of rigorous doctrine and control that she was growing up in. And it is such a scary tale. It's men who are in power and who take advantage of women who they think are less powerful, and she really has to rise above so much prejudice and really tap a source of inner strength to get out of a second very scary and violent culture. It does not paint a good light of either the military or the religious cult, but it is absolutely fascinating. People who've read Educated are going to find this to be another really propulsive memoir. And again, that comes out on September 20, called Uncultured by Daniella Mestianic Young.
[26:05] Cindy: I was just going to say, I keep seeing people reference Educated when they reference Uncultured, and then you mentioned it as well.
[26:12] Pamela: Exactly. Denied and education and opportunities, and yet these young women find a way to get that for themselves anyway. It really speaks of an incredible inner strength.
[26:24] Cindy: It certainly does.
[26:26] Mary: I'm seeing this everywhere as well, and it is, of course, at the top of my TBR. And now I'll just need to move it up even higher.
[26:35] Pamela: You'll tear through it in one sitting. Mary, I know you excellent.
[26:39] Mary: All right, so my next book is another sort of magical realism, but I don't want anybody to be scared off by that term for either The Last Dream Walker or this book, Other Birds by Sarah Addison Ellen, which comes out tomorrow, was an absolute delight to read. It's a little magical, but the stories within the story were just wonderful and heartwarming. So this is another South Carolina setting. There seems to be a lot of magic in that state. On Malo Island sits the Delus, a stunning old cobblestone building shaped like a horseshoe and named after the tiny turquoise birds, who, alongside its human tenants, inhabit an air of magical secrecy. Each tenant has a story, each tenant has a secret. I loved everything about this book. It had me smiling throughout chapter after chapter, and I really didn't want to leave the pages. I think of those little delos frequently, and this has me inspired to just want to find a little blue ceramic bird and have it on my desk where I can look at it and think about this lovely and charming story. Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen.
[28:10] Cindy: I've been seeing a lot of chatter about this one as well.
[28:13] Pamela: It was fun. When we received our gift boxes from the publisher, I opened up the box to take out the galley copy and all these lovely little blue feathers fell out of the box. Was fun.
[28:23] Cindy: Oh, that's really fun. I think it's so entertaining to see what they send with some of those things and how creative they can be.
[28:30] Pamela: I know they get terribly clever in their marketing departments.
[28:33] Cindy: Definitely.
[28:34] Pamela: My next title is going to take us to Historical Fiction, and we all love historical fiction, but then there's Historical Fiction by Laurie Lico Albanese. This one, is hester? As an American Studies major, I have read The Scarlet Letter quite a few times, but it was incredible to get a story about the inspiration for the character of Hester Prynn. This might be historical fiction, but I read it at the pace of a thriller. It's such a great reimagining of the woman who inspired The Scarlet Letter and it takes in elements of slavery, the witch trials, all about New England at that time period. The character, Isabel Gamble, is the one who will ultimately be the inspiration for Hester Prince. But she's an immigrant from Scotland in the early 18 hundreds and she comes with her husband and he has many, many deaths that have forced them to flee and make their way to the New World. But he leaves again on another sailing ship and she's left there. And luckily, she has amazing skills as esteemed stress, so she can support herself. But while she's on her own, she meets a very young Nathaniel Hawthorne and the two of them form a friendship. And that was rather frowned upon at the time for men and women to become friends, and certainly not anything more if one of them is married. But this is an absolutely hypnotizing tale about our country's complicated past, about a young woman on her own and how she's able to support herself, and about freedom for women as well as for enslaved people. Laurie Lee Albanese did a meticulous job of researching this time period, and it comes across just as beautifully as the cover art does. When you look at the cover, they have done a gorgeous job of having this beautiful needlework depicted in the cover images, and it's a gorgeous story outside, it's a gorgeous story inside, and, of course, about the inspiration for a classic novel of America. So that is Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese. It will be available October 4.
[30:53] Mary: And I adored this book. Oh, my gosh. I could not get enough of it and could not put it down.
[31:00] Pamela: Yeah, this is one Mary and I had to arm wrestle over who got to talk about it. Thank you, Mary.
[31:06] Cindy: The cover is absolutely stunning on that one.
[31:09] Pamela: Isn't it gorgeous?
[31:10] Cindy: Definitely.
[31:12] Mary: All right, so I am taking. US over to Memoirs now. This is Solito by Javier Zamora. Comes out September 6. It is a breathtaking memoir. Javier is a poet and this is his story of his unforgettable story of his harrowing migration from El Salvador to the United States. He was a nine year old little boy living with his grandparents. His parents had already made their way to the United States and were sending for him, so his grandparents handed him over to a coyote to smuggle him to his parents 3000 miles away. This is an absolute must read for memoir lovers and a very discussion worthy book for book clubs. It reads like the most heart pounding fiction. Harrowing this little boy's journey, he goes back through his memories and is reliving these moments. And my heart broke for him so many times. I was truly on the edge of my seat and it is just an incredible memoir.
[32:29] Cindy: That does sound like that would be a very compelling read.
[32:32] Mary: It is, absolutely. If anybody has read American Dirt and found that to be compelling, this is a true story version of that journey.
[32:46] Cindy: That's a great idea. Another good pairing.
[32:49] Mary: Yes.
[32:50] Pamela: Well, my next title is from author Dani Shapiro. Her last book was a memoir, Inheritance, about finding out that her father was not her father biologically. This time she returns to fiction with Signal Fires, which is coming out on October 18. Dani Shapiro always delivers a top notch family drama and this is no exception. Signal Fires is going to leave her readers awestruck. It explores the complexity of family dynamics and, of course, secrets. And she has amazing compassion for her characters. Her writing is very poetic. This is a book that's really going to ignite your soul. It's already been listed as one of the most eagerly anticipated books of the year. It opens back in 1985. Three teenagers who have been drinking and of course, nothing good can come from that. There is a devastating accident that changes all of their lives forever. After one of the people in the crash tells an untruth about what happened. The second timeline in the story is about the father of these kids. He's a doctor and he ends up delivering a baby on their street for a neighbor as the story takes place and jumps into the future. And he is now an older child. The father and he had not had much contact over the years, but now they've become friends, kind of late night in the streets talking to each other and these two stories collide. And of course, the families come together in ways that we would not have imagined, to both help each other and nurture each other back from really tragic circumstances. This is a really beautiful work of fiction. And Dani Shapiro, as I said, her last book, Inheritance, was a memoir. This is her first novel in 15 years and it's been well worth the wait. So that's called Signal Fires.
[34:51] Cindy: That one is high on my list. I don't think I have a copy, so I need to track one down. But I keep hearing really good things.
[34:57] Pamela: You will be very well pleased with the time you have spent with Dani Shapiro.
[35:01] Mary: That's another title that was on both of our lists, and Pamela got that one as well. We loved it, both of us together.
[35:10] Pamela: We both did well.
[35:11] Cindy: I always hear great things about her writing, and this one sounds very good.
[35:15] Pamela: It is.
[35:16] Mary: Well, my next title is the storyteller's death by Ann Davida Cardinal. Out October 4. And the very first line grabbed me. There was always an old woman dying in the back room of her family's house when Isla was a child. As soon as I read that, I needed to know why. Where did she live? Who are these people? Why are they dying in the back room? When her father dies, Isla's mother starts leaving her for the summers in Puerto Rico with her grandmother and her great aunt. When Isla turns 18, her grandmother dies and Isla discovers that she has a gift that has been passed down through her family's quintessa. It's another magical realism novel that had me absolutely riveted. This is so filled with culture and immersive settings. And as Isla is discovering what this gift is and what it means, she also discovers that there is a mystery within it that threatens her life unless she can figure it out. I loved this book so much. It's just beautiful. And another way to read outside of.
[36:37] Cindy: My own experience and talk about a beautiful cover. I loved this book. I picked it up and the first sentence grabbed me as well, and I read it in less than 24 hours. And I've been posting about it, and I've already scheduled an interview with Anne. I just thought it was absolutely stunning.
[36:54] Mary: Excellent. I'm thrilled you enjoyed it as much as I did.
[36:58] Cindy: I just thought it was so immersive in Puerto Rico and I learned so much, and I just thought it was very well done.
[37:04] Mary: Agreed.
[37:05] Pamela: On October 4, two of my favorite writers come together to produce a novel that is Mad Honey, coming from authors Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan. Jodi, of course, probably needs no introduction, as she has had multiple bestsellers. She always goes right to the New York Times bestseller list. And Jennifer Finney Boylan is, of course, a New York Times columnist, a college professor, and the author of the memoir She's Not There, and her most recent, Good Boy, about her life with dogs. And they have a great origin story for this novel. Boylan put on Twitter that she woke up from a dream about co writing a book with Jodi Piccolo, and they got together on Twitter and said, let's do it. And so they did, and the effect is absolutely brilliant. It's a courtroom drama, which I love, but this one brings together two teenagers who have been dating. They both come from families that have some trouble past. And then one day the teenage girl winds up dead and the boyfriend is accused. At this point, you're about halfway through the novel and everybody knows that Jodi Pico loves to have a great big twist in the tail and boy, is this one a shocker. And it is absolutely gripping. I talked to an attorney friend of mine after the end of this because I was just so fascinated with the process. And again, both clubs are going to have a lot to talk about. This is a really great novel of suspense. It's got a wonderful love story, it's got great exploration of the secrets that we keep and also about the risks that we have to take to be our true innermost selves. And again, gripping courtroom drama. Two great writers that are at the top of their game right now. It's Mad Honey and I predict this one will generate a lot of buzz to make a pun.
[39:05] Cindy: I love the way their origin story started. That's great.
[39:10] Pamela: Isn't that incredible? Just on Twitter.
[39:12] Cindy: Well, I've seen a lot of buzz about this one as well, obviously. And you've convinced me I need to pick it up.
[39:17] Pamela: You do. It's about 400 pages and you will rip through it.
[39:21] Cindy: Okay, good. I'm so glad that you convinced me because I wasn't sure, but now that you're describing it, I'm thinking, okay, I'm going to give it a try.
[39:28] Pamela: You will be very happy you did. It's so exciting.
[39:31] Mary: The book world is such a magical place. So for my next title, I have an October 18 release and it is called when we were Sisters by Fatima Asgar. She is the author of If They Come For US. And this is a fictional novel with some of the most lyric, gorgeous language I've come across in months and months. If you are a reader that is in it for the language and the lyrical writing, this novel is for you. It is about an orphan grappling with gender, siblinghood, family. It's a coming of age as a Muslim in America. It's heartrending debut work of fiction. Fatima traces the intense bond of three orphan siblings who, after their parents die, are left to raise one another. The language is simply exquisite. I picked it up just to read a few pages and see if it grabbed me and I never put it down until I was through it. I stood at the stove stirring dinner with it in my hand. I ate while I was reading. I couldn't stop. It's just so stunningly beautiful. When We Were Sisters, Fatima Asgar, those.
[40:56] Cindy: Are truly the best reads. When you sit down and think, I'll read the first paragraph, I'll see what I think about this book and then you don't put it down until it's done.
[41:04] Mary: Absolutely. I just wanted more. More.
[41:08] Pamela: I love when that happens.
[41:09] Cindy: I do too.
[41:10] Pamela: And I think that that is also going to be your experience when you pick up gilded Mountain by Kate Manning. Kate may ring a bell for many readers. Her last book was My Notorious Life, which could not be more timely in light of the overturning of Roe versus Wade. This one is another work of historical fiction takes place in Colorado. She's got a very fresh and spirited young narrator named Sylvie Palettier, who narrates the story of a battle between the laborers and the mining magnets in Colorado. This is historical fiction, which I think is working its finest magic because it shines a light on the past that we don't forget it. And these untold stories of the heroes, they get a record in literature. This is set in the this young woman and others bravely speak out against the injustices that the laborers are enduring in these mines. And, of course, the mine owners themselves are living in a lapse of luxury. One of the indelible images that I will take away from this novel is when there's a blizzard and the workers have to hand shovel the train tracks for 3 miles to be able to open up the town again to the rest of the world. It's just an incredible visual. And this is filled with real characters like Mother Jones, who was actually involved in this union organizing at the time, and the young girl, Sylvia, our narrator, she is a journalist, a local paper. So you've got women in publishing, and it's just drawn from real stories of Colorado history. Gilded Mountain is fascinating. If you like stories about the American West, about strong women, about union organizers, or if you're just a fan of historical fiction, you will want to pick this up on November 1. And that is Gilded Mountain by Kate Manning.
[43:13] Cindy: I have heard great things about that one, and I have a copy, and it's on my list. I just haven't picked it up yet.
[43:18] Pamela: You will devour it very quickly once you do manage to get that one in your hands.
[43:23] Mary: I would say put it right up at the top, because after hearing Pamela rave, it had been languishing on my TBR pile. I wanted to get to it. And after hearing Pamela talk about it, I picked it up. And it is incredible.
[43:41] Pamela: It really is. It's been a while since Kate brought out My Notorious Life, and her time has been well spent with Gilded Mountain. It's just brilliant.
[43:50] Cindy: Okay, good. Well, you have definitely convinced me. I'm moving it up.
[43:53] Mary: Fantastic.
[43:54] Pamela: Great to hear.
[43:55] Mary: So my next book is another October release. And for those of us of a certain age, you might recall the days of the Loves Baby Soft ad campaign where they had it seemed perfectly normal at the time. And now, looking back, I am horrified. It had a young girl completely made up, hair done, eyes done, everything, and the slogan was, because innocence is sexier. Than you think. And you look at the shape of the love baby soft bottle, and truly, I'm mortified to think that this was okay in the world. Well, this next novel is Such a Pretty Girl by T. Greenwood, and it is kind of written around that ad campaign and society at the time. It is Pretty Baby Meets Mommy Dearest in this heart wrenching story of showbiz parenting at its worst. It is an absolutely riveting novel of this young girl and the age of exploitation. It's mother and daughter relationships. It's coming out from the shadow of your mother finding yourself and then going back and understanding that things that maybe were normalized for you as a child weren't. Okay. I could not put this book down. I tore through it. It's absolutely an engrossing novel. Such a Pretty Girl by T. Greenwood.
[45:33] Pamela: It is absolutely fascinating. I was actually so intrigued by the story that the setting is a real artist apartment building in New York. And so one time when I was in the city, I actually had to go walk past this building, and I was just hoping there would be some friendly face outside and I could ask for a tour, which didn't happen. But it was fascinating to see the real location where this story and these characters took place. It's gripping.
[46:00] Cindy: It sounds really good, but it also sounds disturbing, and that's why I hadn't picked it up. I mean, is it okay enough that it's not too disturbing?
[46:08] Pamela: There's nothing graphic. Right?
[46:11] Mary: It's not graphic. It's a dark world, but it is not a graphic depiction of anything in there.
[46:20] Cindy: Okay, that's a good way to describe it, because that's really what I'm trying to ask is, is it going to be really dark, or is it just kind of talk about those things, but doesn't go into great depth about what happens?
[46:30] Pamela: Yes. I mean, it's amazing to see how our sensibilities have fortunately changed for the better as we become a bit more enlightened about sexualizing young people.
[46:39] Mary: Absolutely.
[46:40] Cindy: Yeah, I agree with that completely.
[46:42] Pamela: Well, my very last title comes out on November 29 by one of my favorite authors, Rae Meadows. This one is called Winterland, and it takes place in Soviet era Russia in Siberia, and it's got three women. But it focuses on primarily the young girl who has been chosen to be part of the Soviet Union's elite gymnastics system. And she is going to be trained to become one of their top gymnasts. And although this position comes with great rewards, it also comes at great cost. Her mother is missing. They're not quite sure what happened to her. And she's got an older neighbor who is her confidence, who also has secrets about her life and how she wound up in this Siberian town. It alternates between these different point of views, talks about different unspeakable horrors of the tundra in Siberia in the 1930s, and about what possibly happened to her mother, who was a ballerina and again had this grueling life of training to be one of the top performers. As soon as I finished reading it the first time I talked to Ray and I asked her, I had no idea you had lived in the Soviet Union. This is just so incredible. I was transported and she said she never had lived in the Soviet Union, but she certainly works her magic into actually taking you there. You feel the cold, you feel the deprivation, the kind of grayness of that world, as well as the incredible pressure that the young girls had to perform despite fatigue and hunger and exhaustion, that there is so much at stake if they are not at the top of the gymnastics world. And it was an absolutely gripping story and I hope readers will really be excited about Winter Land when it arrives just before the holiday season on November 29 from Ray Meadows.
[48:52] Cindy: And I remember when you guys did your summer recommended reads that you both highlighted this one then and said, even though it's not coming out till November, put it on your list.
[49:00] Pamela: Exactly. I think it needs to be on a lot of lists and I'm hoping it's going to get a lot of publicity when it comes out or maybe picked up by a celebrity book club because it really is an amazing perspective.
[49:11] Mary: I agree so completely with this. This is another one Pamela and I fought over highlighting because we both loved it so much. And it is one of those rare gems that all I have to do is look at the title and I am transported back into that gray, dreary, freezing, bitter cold setting I just put right back into the pages.
[49:38] Pamela: And speaking of the title, it has an interesting history. It started out as her manuscript working title was called Look for Me because the mother is missing. Then it was switched to Motherland, which of course, references Russia. And then ultimately it became Winterland. And I think that Winterland is a really great title for this book. It certainly encompasses all the feelings you're going to have while reading it and.
[50:03] Cindy: Talk about a great cover, because that is a really great cover. That definitely evokes all of the thoughts that you are describing.
[50:10] Pamela: Yeah, they really nailed it. It's beautiful.
[50:13] Cindy: Well, good. Well, Mary, do you have our very last title?
[50:17] Mary: I do. I have the final title. And this is We Are the Light by Matthew Quick coming out November 1. Matthew is the author of The Silver Linings Playbook. And I love that movie. I hadn't read the book, but I loved that movie and there was something about the way those characters were portrayed that really pulled me in. And so when I saw this new book, We Are the Light, I immediately opened it up to read. And instead of reading, getting into the book, there is a long note from the author there talking about his struggles to get this book written. He talks about his giving up drinking and after becoming sober and going through some intensive therapy, he was struggling to get the words out. He just couldn't write. And through conversing with an author friend of his that he mentions in this letter and the support of his therapist and his wife to just keep going, keep going. He wrote this book and We Are The Light is a very difficult premise. It deals with a mass shooting in a small town. It is tough. I wouldn't say it's graphic in the depiction, but it is on the emotional side of it. The emotional toll is very graphic. So I want that clear out front. In light of the times we're living in. However, this book is more about this reluctant hero and a boy that needs to find a way to heal and he brings the town together in a completely unexpected way. Matthew just has this gift for writing characters that are flawed and human and maybe a little quirky. And this book ultimately filled my heart to just completely overflowing. I will give a plug to Matthew's newsletters. I realized that publishers are kind of forcing authors. Everybody's got to do a newsletter. I'm newslettered out, but I do open and read all of Matthews. I find them just so personal and lovely and I found his book to be the same way. It just is a beautiful, heart filling novel. We are the light by Matthew quick.
[53:00] Pamela: I have to say it was Mary's endorsement that led me to that novel and it was very rewarding. The characters are beautifully depicted. It's well worth everyone's time and I hope it will be on a lot of favorite lists this year.
[53:14] Cindy: I really like The Silver Linings Playbook, so I was interested when I saw he had a new book coming out. Well, as always, this was absolutely fantastic and I have many more books to add to my list, so I appreciate you taking the time to come on the Thoughts from a Page podcast. Again.
[53:29] Pamela: Cindy, it's always a pleasure to talk with you and of course, my book selling twin sister Mary. Love spending time with her.
[53:36] Mary: And thank you so much for inviting us back. Being able to share these titles that I'm so excited about with your listeners and to be able to go back and forth with you and Pamela on the books we've all loved and read is truly a joy.
[53:54] Cindy: Well, I find it to be truly a joy too, and I have such wonderful feedback. So again, thank you.
[54:00] Mary: Anytime.
[54:01] Pamela: It was a pleasure.
[54:04] Cindy: Thank you so much for tuning in today. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen to my podcast. I want to quickly share about this wonderful company I am now partnering with. I am always looking for entities that promote and highlight books and recently came across Bookclubs, a company who provides all sorts of resources for established and new book clubs as well as individual readers. My own personal book club recently signed up on Bookclubs and the group has been impressed with all of the great tools the site and app provide. The book club's website is linked in my show notes and I hope you will check them out soon. Also, if you like my show, I would be so grateful if you would tell everyone you know about it it and rate it on whichever platform you listen on. It truly makes a huge difference and really helps the show grow. I hope you will check out some other Thoughts from a Page episodes and have a great day.
Event Coordinator - Valley Bookseller
Pamela Klinger-Horn has been a literary event planner since 2012. She has been on the Board of Directors of Rain Taxi Literary Review and the Excelsior Friends of the Library. Pamela has experience as a children’s Book Club facilitator at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School and the Excelsior Public Library. Pamela enjoys attending and promoting literary events throughout the Twin Cities and beyond, and has been nicknamed the “Local Literary Fairy Godmother.” She is currently the literary event coordinator at Valley Bookseller in Stillwater, MN; and the creator and host of the monthly literary program Literature Lovers' Night Out™️ .
Mary OMalley is the Free-Range Virtual Bookseller at Large for Skylark Bookshop; Author Liaison and Scheduling Producer for A Mighty Blaze; Mary is also a writer, grandmother, and chicken-wrangler. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and menagerie of pets.