LitStack Recs: Blue Highways & The Thief

Published on :

Blue Highways, William Least Heat-Moon On a dismal morning in March, 1978, William Least Heat-Moon left Columbia, Missouri, on Interstate 70. It was “the fastest route east out of the homeland,” he would later write, and the starting point of what would be a remarkable and influential journey through the continental United States. At the [….]

LitStack Rec: Instructions & Elsewhere

Published on :

Instructions: Everything You’ll Need to Know on Your Journey Neil Gaiman Illustrated by Charles Vess How do you write a recommendation for a book that probably has less words than this recommendation? That’s the dilemma I had once I decided to recommend Neil Gaiman’s poem-as-book, Instructions: Everything You’ll Need to Know on Your Journey. But [….]

LitStack Rec: The Pretty Girl & Boneshaker

Published on :

The Pretty Girl, a novella and stories, by Debra Spark. In Spark’s 2012 collection, the puzzling and the deceptive abound—in Illusions, miniatures, stories hidden in pictures—especially in pictures. These inhabit the lives of Spark’s characters as mysteries of a familiar nature: hidden family histories, missed opportunities with those who are closest, and the unknowability of [….]

LitStack Recs: Annihilation & The Firefox Book

Published on :

The  Firefox Book, by Elliot Wigginton (editor) Perfect for #throwbackthursday, this compendium of customs and rural living practices was published in 1972, and was in its time hugely influential. The local tradition and lore documented in The Foxfire Book comes firsthand from longtime residents of Southern Appalachia. At the height of this book’s notoriety, copies [….]

LitStack Rec: Back Roads and Frontal Lobes & The Postman Always Rings Twice

Published on :

Back Roads and Frontal Lobes Brady Allen I cannot think of a better book to recommend in this season of spooky and creepy than Brady Allen’s collection of short stories, Back Roads and Frontal Lobes.  Allen’s writing is superbly crafted, seemingly effortless and wholly familiar.  His characters are immediately recognizable (for better or worse), and [….]

LitStack Recs: Elsewhere & Pet Sematary

Published on :

Elsewhere, A Memoir Richard Russo For lack of better word, Richard Russo says, he calls this book a memoir. Though in fact, that is the perfect word for this story of mother and son. The word memoir has its origins in the late 15th century French term for memorandum or record. In this context, the [….]

LitStack Recs: Brooklyn & A Wild Sheep Chase

Published on :

Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin Toibin’s 2009 novel, which won that year’s Costa Award, is a lovely and haunting story set in 1950s Dublin and New York. It tells of Eilis Lacey, born and raised in Enniscorthy, in Ireland’s County Wexford, and her immigration to the United States as a young woman. Her well-meaning sister, Rose, [….]

LitStack Recs: Ship Fever: Stories & The Tyrant’s Law

Published on :

Ship Fever: Stories, by Andrea Barrett It’s been called the Oscars of the book world, and indeed, in recent years the National Book Awards have become a glittery, red carpet affair, with a press box, photographers, and a ballroom full of candlelit tables and white coated waiters at Cipriani’s. And yet, the NBA (on Twitter, the [….]

LitStack Recs: Desperate Characters & The Master Butcher’s Singing Club

Published on :

Desperate Characters, by Paula Fox. This classic of literary fiction, written in 1970, is also a classic example of a book that was lost to readers, then found. In 1999, when this novel—and all Paula Fox’s adult novels—fell out of print, interest in the author and her work was almost singlehandedly revived by Jonathan Franzen, [….]

LitStack Recs: 13, rue Thérèse & The Tall Book of Make-Believe

Published on :

13, rue Thérèse Elena Mauli Shapiro 13, rue Thérèse is a most singular novel: perhaps not in subject matter (the reconstruction of a life from mementos and letters), but in style, substance, and subtext.  While it is deeply entrenched in the life of a woman who lived in France from the early to mid-1900s, it begins [….]