Writers in Fact and Fiction | Audio in Advance September 2016 | Stephanie’s Picks

41EDkB96PsL__1467215635_35461Franklin, Ruth. Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504739078. Reader TBA.
Still known to millions only as the author of the “The Lottery,” Shirley Jackson (1916–1965) remains curiously absent from the American literary canon. A genius of literary suspense, Jackson plumbed the cultural anxiety of postwar America better than anyone. Now, biographer Ruth Franklin reveals the tumultuous life and inner darkness of the author behind such classics as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Koch, Herman. Dear Mr. M. Brilliance. ISBN 9781501241185. Reader TBA.
Once a celebrated writer, M’s greatest success came with a suspense novel based on a real-life, unsolved disappearance. Upon publication, M.’s novel was a bestseller, one that marked his international breakthrough. That was years ago, and now M.’s career is almost over as he fades increasingly into obscurity. But not when it comes to his bizarre, seemingly timid neighbor who keeps a close eye on him. Why? From various perspectives, Koch tells the dark tale of a writer in decline, a teenage couple in love, a missing teacher, and a single book that entwines all of their fates. 

le Carré, John. The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780735210066. Read by the author.
From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer that took him from war-torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion, le Carré has always written from the heart of modern times. In this, his first memoir, le Carré is as funny as he is incisive, reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels. Whether he’s writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire or the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth, visiting Rwanda’s museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide, or celebrating New Year’s Eve 1982 with Yasser Arafat and his high command, le Carré endows each happening with vividness and humor.

DFW__1467215682_65335Max, D.T. Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace. Read by Malcolm Hillgartner.
Max sets out to chart Wallace’s tormented, anguished, and often triumphant battle to succeed as a novelist as he fights off depression and addiction, taking readers from Wallace’s childhood in the 1970s in the Midwest to his hothouse success in his twenties and subsequent collapse into depression and drugs, ending with his triumphant novel of addiction and redemption, published when he was just 33. But Infinite Jest itself left as an open question what should come next, as Wallace sought hopefully—and then, increasingly, helplessly—for a way forward, stymied even in the midst of the happiest personal time he had ever known.

Quinn, Susan. Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780735289383. Reader TBA.
In 1932, as her husband assumed the presidency, Eleanor Roosevelt entered the claustrophobic, duty-bound existence of the First Lady with dread. A lifeline came to her in the form of a feisty campaign reporter for the Associated Press: Lorena Hickok. Over the next 30 years, until Eleanor’s death, the two women carried on an extraordinary relationship: The two were at different points lovers, confidantes, professional advisors, and best friends. Hick, as she was known, had grown up poor in rural South Dakota and worked as a servant girl after she was orphaned, eventually becoming one of the most respected reporters at the AP.

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Stephanie Klose About Stephanie Klose

Stephanie Klose (sklose@mediasourceinc.com, @sklose on Twitter) is Media Editor, Library Journal.