Just When You Thought It Was Safe…More Of What Our Favorite Authors Are Reading This Summer!

We might be able to keep this going all summer! More books to think about…

Roxana Robinson author of Sparta

“I’ve just finished reading Jane Smiley’s strange, mesmerizing and quite beautiful novel, The Greenlanders, which is set in 14th century Scandinavia. It’s told in a sort of mythic language that is both lyrical and oddly familiar. The big risk of historical fiction is, of course, the dialogue, but the language here is not troubling, though it’s not contemporary. Smiley creates a voice that locates us in the fourteenth century, but also deep within the hearts and minds of her characters, in a way that’s both heroic, like the sagas, and intimate, like the best fiction. And next in line, in keeping with the Scandinavian theme, is My Struggle,
by Karl Knausgard, because so many writers whom I admire have told me they loved it. And I’ve been watching “Borgen,” so Scandinavia is dominating my world view at the moment. I’m interested by the similarities between that
culture and the one I come from, the New England Puritans. The Vikings settled throughout the British Isles, and brought a lot of their culture with them. It came with the early settlers in the New World, and has come down through the generations, in ways that were very familiar to me – a kind
of sternness in their way o looking at the world. Frugality, a strong sense of morality, indifference to physical hardship, strong work ethic – all those Yankee virtues are right there in the Scandinavian stories. It was like discovering a relative you never knew about.”

Next up-  “If I like Knausgard, I’ll read the next two books.”

Working on- “…something”



Meg Waite Clayton author of The Wednesday Daughters

Reading now- ” Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson. I loved her Life after Life so much that I now want to read everything she’s written. I’m also really enjoying the collected letters of Martha Gellhorn. She has such a wonderful voice, and is both spirited and fascinating.”

Next up- “I have a tbr (to be read) closet. I need a twelve-step program. Badly.”

Working on- “My new book, The Race for Paris, which will be published next summer! It is the story of a British military photographer and two AWOL American women – a journalist and a photojournalist – who join the “Race for Paris.” They hope to be among the first to cover the liberation of the city from Nazi occupation, an accomplishment that could make their careers.”



twitter- @megclayton

Josh Weil author of The Great Glass Sea

Reading now- “BLACK LAKE by Johanna Lane. It’s a beautiful book about small and large tragedies and the way they eat away at people who love each other, at the fabric of family — quietly powerful, restrained in the best way—everything feels carefully thought-through, meticulously sculpted.”

Next up- “Anthony Doerr’s ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE. I’ve loved Doerr’s work for a long time. His novella, MEMORY WALL, is simply one of the best examples of the form I’ve ever read. He manages to write in a deeply lyrical way without losing sight of plot and he manages to write sentences that are intensely musical and wondrously while still staying true to the story. It’s a high wire act, what he does, balancing literary craft with focus on character and all put together in a way that’s so intricate its hard to see just how the moving parts are possible. I’m kind of in awe of his work. So I’m eager as hell to read this next one.”

Working on- “I’m writing the last couple stories in a collection. It’ll be called THE AGE OF PERPETUAL LIGHT and I hope it’ll be out in about a year and a half. We’ll see — it depends how long it takes me to get these last two right!”


Mike Harvkey author of In The Course Of Human Events

Reading now – “Josh Weil and I are going on a reading road trip from east coast to west this August. We’re taking a tent and calling the whole thing BrokeBook Mountain, which our wives find amusing. So right now I’m reading his novel, The Great Glass Sea. Josh and I met in the Columbia M.F.A. program and have been reading each others’ work since. I was lucky to get a very early draft of this, which was half as long, so it’s really interesting to see how he’s expanded and deepened everything. Like Cormac McCarthy, Josh has the ability to thoroughly imagine a scene, to think beyond the point at which many writers might put their pens down. This quality makes reading him an unusually rich experience. I’m also reading documents about the Midwest in the mid 19th century.”

Next up- “I’m dying to get into David Reynolds’s John Brown, Abolitionist, which I’ll be reading both for pleasure and for research. I missed Flamethrowers when it came out, and I’ve got a copy on the ever-growing stack of books I’m looking forward to reading soon. I love how random reading can be if you let it. Since last July my wife and I have been traveling the world and I’ve taken books off the shelves of houses where we’ve stayed for a week or two that I might have otherwise never read. I’ve read everything from Walter Mosley to Norman Mailer this way, always putting them back where I found them when I finished.”

Working on- “I’m doing research now for my next book, which is a coming-of-age of an outlaw tale set against the backdrop of the Kansas-Missouri border wars that led to the Civil War. I grew up around there, this area that had witnessed extremely bloody fighting a hundred years prior by people who would become famous for other reasons after the war, like Frank and Jesse James. Frank was really just a young boy when this was going on, and he joined in these attacks against abolitionists because of his brother, not his beliefs.”


twitter – @mikeharvkey

Laura Munson author of This Is Not The Story You Think It Is

Reading now- “Triggering Town by Richard Hugo. It is a wonder of a book about the writing process and I use it at my writing retreats. Hugo is brilliant and hilarious and hardcore!”

Next up- “When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams. I’m so interested in helping people find their voice through their creative self-expression on the page, and something tells me that Terry Tempest Williams (who gave me permission to step out of fiction and write memoir), nails it.”

Working on- “I am currently working on a novel which I hope to finish this summer, as well as a memoir, and a book about the writing life and how to create one that works no matter where you are in your creative process. It’s a full
load and I’m loving every minute of it!”


founder of Haven Writing Retreats which was named in the top five in the US by Open Road Media: click here


twitter- @lauramunson

Jael McHenry author of The Kitchen Daughter

Reading now- ” Natalia Sylvester’s debut CHASING THE SUN. Really lovely, intriguing book.”

Next up- “Joshilyn Jackson’s SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY — I’ve heard such good things and am really looking forward to it!”

Working on- “…Totally immersed in research right now. Can’t wait to share more when the time is right.”


twitter- @jaelmchenry

Mira Jacob author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide To Dancing

Reading now-  “The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes, My Salinger Year by Joanna Smith Rakoff, and the occasional random sentence in Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because wow. Those sentences.”

Next up- ” Marie-Helene Bertino’s 2 A.M at the Cat’s Pajamas, out in early August! Loved her last, Safe as Houses.”

Working on- “I am currently in the research stages of the next novel. I’m also drawing a lot of small cartoon vignettes because it’s about what my brain can handle at this moment. Lastly, I am writing country western songs with a friend based on titles my brother made up about my worst relationships, i.e. Those Aren’t My Panties But That Was My Heart.”



twitter- @mirajacob

Mike Sacks author of Poking A Dead Frog

Reading now- Pin Action: Small-Time Gangsters, High-Stakes Gambling and the Teenage Hustler Who Became a Champion by Gianmarc Manzione, Masters of Atlantis by Charles Portis and Authority by Jeff Vandermeer 

Here is the truly amazing part -and this I’m told by Mike is since the beginning of June! Wait for it…

“”Books I’ve Read Since Start of Summer” :

Curious by Ian LeslieThe Stranger Beside Me: The Shocking Inside Story of Serial Killer Ted Bundy by Ann RuleMy Lunches with Orson: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles Edited by Peter Biskind Open Mike: From Corporate Radio to New Media by W. Michael KelleyThe Magicians by Lev Grossman, Annihilation by Jeff VandermeerAnother Great Day at Sea by Geoff Dyer, 135 Miles from Shore: The Ditching and Rescue of ALM Flight 980 by Emilio Corsetti IIISee You in Paradise: Stories by J. Robert LennonThe Lowbrow Reader of Lowbrow Comedy, Read Harder: Five More Years of Great Writing from The Believer, See You in Paradise by J. Robert Lennon, Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker, Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown, The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon RonsonFrank Story by Jon Ronson, The Testament by John Grisham, Over Easy by Mimi PondMarathon Man by William GoldmanDo Not Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry MarshFierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman by Robert L. O’ConnellGone Girl by Gillian FlynnBrain Wars by Mario Beauregard, Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book by Tim GrahlThe Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures by Phoebe GloecknerAxis Sally: The American Voice of Nazi Germany by Richard Lucas, Contract Killer: The Explosive Story of the Mafia’s Most Notorious Hit Man Donald “Tony the Greek” Frankos by William Hoffman and Lake Headley, The Todd Glass Situation by Todd Glass with Jonathan Grotenstein,  Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists by Hillary L. ChuteDance of Death: The Life of John Fahey by Steve Lowenthal, and finally… Living with a Wild God by Barbara Ehrenreich.


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