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Top 5 Books You Should Read by Authors Who Attended Pulpwood Queen’s Girlfriends Weekend 2015

February 17, 2015

I had fun writing this feature last year, so I thought I’d reprise it. Just another arbitrary BBC list…But as I started to write (my next upcoming post) about the books I can’t wait to read from Girlfriend Weekend (GFWE), it just seemed fitting to give a shout out to those books by Pulpwood Queens (PWQ) authors that I already read and relished. I think you’ll enjoy them too. So, in alphabetical order:

Lft: Gabrielle and I posing with her first adult novel; Rt: Gabrielle at Saturday night’s costume ball dressed as Tuesday Addams

Lft: Gabrielle and I posing with her first adult novel; Rt: Gabrielle at Saturday night’s costume ball dressed as Tuesday Addams

1) Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. What a delightful story by a delightful author! Of course, I hadn’t met Gabrielle when I read her book… I was reading along about this curmudgeonly man, only to find out he’s only in his 30s! That was the first of many twists in this funny, mysterious, and heartwarming novel which is an homage to literature of all types—and independent book stores, in particular. (This book made my Top 10 Book Club Books of 2014 list, as well, if you want to check it out…)

Lft: Carla Stewart, Shelley Rushing Tomlinson and Judy as airline professionals; Rt: PWQ founder, Kathy Patrick giving Judy Christie one of her numerous book awards

Lft: Carla Stewart, Shelley Rushing Tomlinson and Judy as airline professionals; Rt: PWQ founder, Kathy Patrick giving Judy Christie one of her numerous book awards

2) Judy Christie’s Wreath. I read this one several years ago, but it was so haunting, it has stayed with me. Marketed as a Young Adult book, its beauty and depth has captured many an adult as well. It has twice been named a PWQ book of the year. As a volunteer at a local women’s shelter, it’s no wonder I would be entranced by a story about a homeless girl. This short novel is both heart-wrenching and heartwarming. Following wreath is a great way to get a different perspective on life. Oh, and rumor has it, another Wreath Willis novel is coming in the spring. Yay!

Lft: My high school BFF, Jan, Karen Abbot and I posing with her latest book; Rt: Bill Dedman, Karen Abbot and co-host Jamie Ford kicking off the weekend as pilots and flight attendants

Lft: My high school BFF, Jan, Karen Abbot and I posing with her latest book; Rt: Bill Dedman, Karen Abbot and co-host Jamie Ford kicking off the weekend as pilots and flight attendants

3)  Karen Abbot’s Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War. I love narrative non-fiction done right. And Karen does it right! She wove the stories of four different women (two from the North, two from the South) so skillfully, that it reads like an old story your grandma would tell around the fireplace. But it’s so well researched, the author had to be selective about what she included—and didn’t. (For an example of the latter, you can read #3 on my Top 10 Sound Bites Heard at Pulpwood Queen’s Girlfriends Weekend ‘15. Karen’s book also appeared as #3 on my Top 10 Book Club Books of 2014 list.)

Lft: Karen and I posing with 2 of her books. (And I brought home a 3rd…) Rt: One of her many formal author photos—with 22 books to her credit, you can be sure she’s more than a pretty face…

Lft: Karen and I posing with 2 of her books. (And I brought home a 3rd…) Rt: One of her many formal author photos—with 22 books to her credit, you can be sure she’s more than a pretty face…

4) Karen White’s Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion. This great collection of short stories by Karen (and 9 other noted authors including Kristin Hannah, Jenna Blum, and Melanie Benjamin) was my entertainment on the plane ride out to Houston. And Grand entertainment, it was! (Pun intended.) Of course, they probably had me at the mention of the accomplished authors… but if not, I was definitely ‘in’ when I learned the setting was one of the most beautiful train stations in the world and on a single day in September, 1945. (I’m one of those readers obsessed with WWII—and anything to do with it…) Given this one idea, each writer created a unique short story of her own imagination. And trust me; they will capture yours as well!

Lft: Tracey Guzeman, BCC, and Kristen Harnisch posing with their debut novels; Rt: Kristen and Tracy in costume at the Great Big Ball of Hair Ball on Saturday night

Lft: Tracey Guzeman, BCC, and Kristen Harnisch posing with their debut novels; Rt: Kristen and Tracy in costume at the Great Big Ball of Hair Ball on Saturday night (Why are Kristen and Tracy always together? It’s just serendipity…)

5) Tracy Guzeman’s The Gravity of Birds. I was so excited to read this book, I tucked it into my purse and read it on the plane back to California. It’s hard to believe this is Tracy’s first novel. Yes, she’d been previously published in Gulf Coast, Vestal Review, and Glimmer Train Stories, but what a gorgeous treat for the senses this book is! It’s a story about art and birds, families and sisters, betrayal and loss, forgiveness and redemption—and if that weren’t enough, it’s also a bit of a mystery. It grabbed me from the beginning and I didn’t want to let go at the end. (But as they were kicking me off the plane and that point, and Handsome Hubby was probably circling the airport for the fifth time, I sort of had to…)

Five fantastic reads by five fabulous authors! Oh, yeah, and a little help from those other nine writers…

Cheers!
BCC

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dorothy Nerison permalink
    February 17, 2015 11:00 am

    Yes, The Storied Life of….is an excellent book!

    Another group I liked that was published before and is being revived again, is the Princess by Jean Sasson. Very interesting biography of a Princess in Saudi Arabia. I’ve also read her book the Princess’ Daughter. And now I see she has a trilogy ….a third one I haven’t read.

    Love your suggestions below and will be reading some of them.

    Did you hear that the Boys on the Boat made number one on some top reading lists as well. Local writer which came to speak at the library here and in Seattle. He has also spoken in some cities in Europe including London as well. The book came out in 2013 and was a best seller by January 3014.

    Keep reading and know I always read what you recommend.

    Dorothy

    • February 17, 2015 1:14 pm

      Dorothy, always fun to share beloved books! I’ll check ut the princess series you recommended. Also, I’ve had “BOTB” but have yet to get to it. I hear nothing but great things, however. Glad you got to hear the author speak–that always makes it interesting! Cheers!

  2. Dorothy Nerison permalink
    February 17, 2015 11:04 am

    Yes, The Storied Life of….is an excellent book!

    Another one I liked that was published before and is being revived again, is the Princess by Jean Sasson. Very interesting biography of a Princess in Saudi Arabia. I’ve also read her book the Princess’ Daughter. And now I see she has a trilogy ….a third one I haven’t read.

    Love your suggestions below and will be reading some of them.

    Did you hear that the “Boys on the Boat”. made number one on some top reading lists as well. Local writer here which came to speak at the library in Mill Creek and in Seattle. He has also spoken in some cities in Europe including London as well. The book came out in 2013 and was a best seller by January 2014.

    Keep reading and know I always read what you recommend.
    Dorothy Nerison
    Mill Creek, WA

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