The Debutante Ball Group Picks
The Debutante Ball is a group blog starring five debut authors who share the ins and outs, ups and downs of the year leading up to their book launches. The Debs’ nightstands (real and virtual) are piled high with all kinds of books. Here are just a few:
I love fall. Blankets of red and gold leaves covering the ground. The scent of wood smoke. Cozy scarves. And, best of all, book releases by my favorite authors! I like to keep up with the latest releases in my genre, crime/mystery fiction. I’ve got a cornucopia of choices with Elizabeth George’s Just One Evil Act, Laurie R. King’s The Bones of Paris, and Anna Lee Huber’s Mortal Arts topping the list. I love these authors because they combine deep characterization with intriguing plots, which is the best of all novelistic worlds for me.
I’m currently reading The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton, a tale about family secrets (I love family-secret novels) that spans 70 years. It’s the most lush and lingering page-turner I’ve read in a while. I pick up the rare nonfiction book too. Right now it’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, plus The Art of Procrastination by John Perry. (Now you know a little bit about me besides my taste in novels, hah!)
Lisa Alber is the author of her own family-secret novel, Kilmoon, A County Clare Mystery (March 2014), a debut inspired by an annual matchmaking festival in Ireland. Ever distractible, you may find her staring out windows, dog walking, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging at Lisa Alber’s Words at Play round out her distractions.
I don’t have any books on my nightstand because I am a Kindle girl–the black and white, e-ink kind. On my Kindle right now is Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. It’s the story of an ultra rich “Overseas Chinese” family. It follows an old-moneyed Chinese family and their social circle, spread throughout Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. It’s a fascinating story and a ton of fun. Highly recommended for an escapist read.
Right now on my nightstand, Louise Penny is the star. Her latest, How the Light Gets In, is tormenting me—it’s sad, funny, marvelous, and I don’t have any time to read it. Is there anything worse? I’m also getting depressed as I progress through the book because it seems elegiac, as though it might be the last in the series. Tell me it’s not true, Louise.
Most of the other books at my bedside better fit the kind of thing I like to read before sleep—something that is enjoyable but maybe a little, tiny, itsy bit boring. And episodic, so that I will notice the clearly marked moments at which I should put down the book and shut my eyes. Right now I’m working through the harrowing travel stories in The Kindness of Strangers, edited by Don George, and Books to Die For, edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke. This last, a collection of essays on the best mystery books ever written, is actually a problem for me. I keep finding more books to add to my nightstand.
The last book currently taking up the precious real estate next to the bed is Guerrilla Marketing for Writers by Jay Conrad Levinson, Michael Larsen, and Rick Frishman. I’m not exactly guerrilla material, but with my novel The Black Hour coming out in July, I’m trying to figure out what I can do to get my book into readers’ hands.
Lori Rader-Day is the author of the mystery The Black Hour, coming from Seventh Street Books in July 2014. She lives in Chicago with her husband and their very spoiled dog.
My nightstand is a tower of books I’ve read and have yet to read, books I can’t wait to get lost in and books I can’t quite let go of. Even though I only read one book at a time, I always have several next to my bed, like a child surrounded by her favorite stuffed animals to comfort her.
I’ve recently finished reading Reyna Grande’s memoir, The Distance Between Us, about her coming of age as a child who crossed the border from Mexico to the US. A book I bought years ago, but only started reading last week, has me completely enchanted. The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Italian writer Paolo Giordano captures something I’ve always marveled at but been unable to articulate: though we may sometimes feel alone in our thoughts, bodies, and souls, true friendship chips away at the loneliness.
Up next is Jamie Ford’s new novel, Songs of Willow Frost, about an orphaned boy in 1920s Seattle who searches for his mother on the silver screen, and Secret Sex Lives: a Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality, a memoir about how a journalist’s investigation into sex in the US led to some discoveries about her own life. So, you know, very similar books.
Natalia Sylvester is the author of the novel Chasing the Sun, about a frail marriage tested to the extreme by the wife’s kidnapping in Lima, Peru. A former magazine editor, she now works as a freelance writer in Austin, Texas. Visit her online at nataliasylvester.com or follow her on Twitter @NataliaSylv.
Despite my deep love for writing historical fiction, I’m also an editor, and therefore, constantly reading (and shaping) all kinds of books, from sci-fi space operas to women’s fiction. Characters I love, that I can really get behind, are what keep me turning pages, regardless of genre. So what’s on my nightstand this month? I’ve just started reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and also The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro. I’m loving both!
Heather Webb is the author of Becoming Josephine, her debut historical (Plume/Penguin 2014). A freelance editor and blogger, she spends oodles of time helping writers hone their skills—something she adores. You may find her Twittering @msheatherwebb, hosting contests, or hanging around RomanceUniversity.org as a contributor to the Editor’s Posts. She is also the Twitter mistress for the popular Writer Unboxed. She loves making new reader and writer friends. Stop on by her website, Between the Sheets!
We’d love to know what books are waiting for you on your nightstand. Send a description to us here.
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