Friday Fun – Latest Read

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, writing-related question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: It’s time to think about beach reads and lazy days in a hammock with a book. I never met a writer who didn’t love to read. What book or books have you recently finished  and loved?

Susan Nye: My favorite book from this past winter has got to be Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. I was charmed. I also enjoyed Helen Simonson’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Chris Bohjalian’s Secrets of Eden and Tracy Chevalier’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring. My not-at-all-secret vice is detective novels and legal thrillers. Top of the pops is anything by Robert B. Parker, John Grisham and David Baldacci and, for fun, Janet Evanovich.


Lisa J Jackson writerLisa J. Jackson: The last couple of weeks, I’ve been digging into my TBR pile and have enjoyed a few books. In the mystery genre, The Next Right Thing by Dan Barden. It has a first-person narrator and it worked well. I’m a fan of Jessica Andersen’s 2012 Final Prophecy series, and just managed to read the first in the series, Nightkeepers. (I’ve read others in the series, but it took me a while to find a the first book!) And I’m currently reading a precious memoir my friend Mary Johnson wrote about her 20 years as a nun with Mother Teresa, Unquenchable Thirst. It’s powerful, insightful, and very gripping.

Julie Hennrikus: I just read Fun House, the latest Ceepak mystery/suspense novel by Chris Grabenstein. I love this series, and it is perfect for the summer. It takes place in a New Jersey shore town. Lately my Kindle has been filling up with mysteries by Julie Hyzy, Krista Davis, Lorna Barrett, LeeAnn Sweeney and others–all new releases in mystery series I follow. I’ve also been reading The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk, and have Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art on my bedside table. My book club is looking for our next read–any suggestions?

Wendy Thomas: Our library just had a book sale and I was able to get tons of books for the summer for mere pennies. Since the weekend, I’ve read,  Tales from the Bed by Jennifer Estess (have a box of tissue ready) , Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox (inspirational to say the least) and The Gallery of Regrettable Food by James Lileks (I laughed so hard the kids came in to see if I was okay.) I’ve also started Made from Scratch – Reclaiming the Pleasures of the American Hearth by Jean Zimmerman, and Are You Really Going to Eat That? Reflections of a Culinary Thrill Seeker by Robb Walsh but both of those books are going to have to be put on hold because I started A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin just to see what it was all about and I/m finding that I literally can’t put it down.

Deborah Lee Luskin: I just finished reading David Huddle’s new book, Nothing Can Make Me Do This, which I did not love, and I just started reading Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteredge, which I think I will.





Jamie Wallace: I “read” most of my fiction via the Audible Books app on my iPhone, but I have recently also enjoyed a few digital reads on my Kindle and – gasp! – as real world, paper-and-ink books. In part because of my multiple formats, I’m usually reading several books at once – some fiction and some (mostly business-related) non-fiction. Because it’s Friday and we’re talking about summer reading (which is typically full of guilty pleasures), I’m going to restrict my list to recent fiction reads. Here goes:

Currently, I am reading Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay, and the hysterical Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. I also just started listening to A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. On my “next to be read” list – something by Ray Bradbury. Though I don’t remember Fahrenheit 451, I was saddened to hear of this man’s death and have been reading all the tributes and remembrances. I think I’ll start with Dandelion Wine.

13 thoughts on “Friday Fun – Latest Read

  1. Whenever times are tough (now for most people), I need a laugh, or need an enjoyable read, I turn back to “Diary of a Provincial Lady” by EM Delafield. It continues to amaze me that I (2012 – 40-something middle class married mother of 2, lawyer and writer of textbook(“s”, second one is started) no “help”) can relate so well to the Provincial Lady (1930s – 30-something, upper class married mother of 2, one at boarding school, “leisured” altho not really, in massive house in country with servants). Sad that I’ve just finished it again.

  2. Such wonderful books already posted! Deborah – you WILL love Olive Kitteridge (though Olive is not exactly a likeable character in many ways). Jamie – I think The Getaway Car is the best book for writers besides Bird by Bird.
    I am usually reading 3-5 books simultaneously. For honing my craft, working on Story Engineering, Hooked and finishing up the last pages of Writer for Hire so I can do a book review for Kelly James-Enger.
    On the fiction list: Re-reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to help me get in the mindset of tackling a YA novel I am working on. Half through Lowcountry Bribe by Hope Clark so I can write a review for her on Amazon.

    Next will be the Tiger’s Wife. Then Princess Bride as recommended by Wendy.

  3. I absolutely loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. This was her first and sadly her last book but I could not put it down. Written so gently and with such humour ~ a lovely book!
    However, having just celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and been amazed by Her Majesty’s strong constitution, sense of humour and resilience, I have been reflecting on all that her generation have lived through.
    This led me to a book, beautifully written by Gwen Southgate, called Coin Street Chronicles, which was recommended to me by an American friend. Gwen was born in 1929 into a very poor but caring family, and grew up in the Waterloo District of London. By the time she was 10 the World War had started and Gwen, along with all her classmates was evacuated to the Dorset countryside. Gwen moved six times over the next few years and grew in maturity with a very positive attitude to life, despite its hardships. Gwen was a very intelligent girl and devoured books. Her teachers were amazed that, although she spoke with a strong cockney accent, she wrote in beautiful prose.
    Eventually Gwen managed to get to London University where she studied Science, and met her future husband! She taught Science in high schools for many years. She married and had 2 children before moving to Chicago. She had two more children before moving finally to Princeton, USA.
    When Gwen retired from teaching she started writing her memoir as a legacy for her children. It took her 15 years. Her remarkable memory and the ability to recall every detail from a child’s perspective enabled her to write vividly and with humour and sensitivity. She published her book herself in America through iUniverse and gave readings for friends and book groups. Her book was passed from friend to friend and grew very popular through personal recommendation. In fact it became so popular that it was an Editor’s Choice book from the beginning and won a Star award! On the American Amazon site there are 23 wonderful reviews and everyone gives Coin Street Chronicles a 5 star rating. It has been read by academics, editors, reviewers and has twice been likened to the writing of George Orwell.
    Coin Street Chronicles would make a wonderful drama for stage or screen but it is hardly known in the UK. This is such a shame that I would like to recommend it to you all. Gwen is an elderly lady now and it would be great to see her book recognised in the UK as it is in America. It is available in the UK to order from various bookstores, or to buy or download online.

  4. I just finished Brennan Manning’s memoir All is Grace. And also just finished and loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It was my book club’s book this month and while I didn’t really expect to like it, I did, very much.

  5. Love all the book ideas–thanks! I recomend Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (I had read the second of his previous books, What is the What?, We had the first of his books in our book club, The Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and only one member finished reading it. In my opinion, Zeitoun is by far the best and I loved Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand. Both are true stories and I couldn’t put them down. I loved The Christmas Train by David Baldacci–funny and the word pictures he paints are fantastic. Quite different from his mystery books.

  6. Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land has been on my To-Read list for ages. Still haven’t got round to reading it. Conveniently, a colleague lent me The Moon is a Harsh Mistress which I’m reading in between Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues on the Kindle. It hooked my immediately. I was actually surprised to find Verne’s prose very dry whereas Heinlein’s is very engaging, more conversational. Easy to read despite the clipped and abbreviated tones. Fantastic stuff. Heinlein has a new fan! Stranger in a Strange Land has just moved up the list. 🙂

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