Top 5 Books You Should Read by Authors Who Attended Pulpwood Queen’s Girlfriends Weekend 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:
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…)
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!
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.)
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!
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…