Books I Love

Every time I see you, you’ve got your nose in a book.

How many times did my mother say that to me when I was growing up? And I always used to wonder: “what’s wrong with that?”

I love the excitement of discovering a hidden jewel among so many lackluster books. And debut works hold a special place in my heart, perhaps because I know how hard it is to break through with that first novel when nobody knows who you are.

The books featured here were the first appearance of these authors on the stage. Sometimes this is a story they’d been working on for years and had to tell. The books often contain clues about how they see the world and what themes they’ll examine in their future writing. And then there’s the very real possibility this may be the only book they write, either because of the vagaries of the publishing world, or because they had only one story in them and this was it.

These are the diamonds I’ve discovered. I’d love you to contact me with yours.


Crow Lake

Sometimes I run across a fabulous book by the merest of coincidences. As an avid reader of the NYTimes Book Review (yes, even way out here in the hinterlands of Wisconsin we get Sunday delivery), I love their By The Book feature where well-known authors answer a...

Up From the Blue

Set in 1970 America, with its backdrop of rising feminism, school busing, and military families. Tillie, an 8-year old girl must deal with the slow disintegration of her family as her free-spirited and eccentric mother slowly sinks into mental illness. When her father...

If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This

The ten short stories in this collection, first published in 2010, took the author, Robin Black, eight years to write and they are wondrous and poignant and fiercely brilliant. The people in them suffer terrible loss, usually of someone they love. Her characters are...