For no other reason that to eavesdrop on some of the biggest celebrities of the last few decades, pick up Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead by Neil Strauss. Journalist Strauss goes back over former interviews and pulls out (sometimes) shocking and often unexpected narratives from interviews never published. Read how Strauss shoots guns with Ludacris, gets kidnapped by Courtney Love, makes Lady Gaga cry, shops for Pampers with Snoop Dogg, goes to church with Tom Cruise…and that’s barely cracking the surface. Unbelievable!
One measure of a great book for me is if it sends me out in search of more. In the case of Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland, I checked out 5 books on Tiffany glass, upon completion of this book, to learn more about the incredible works of Clara Driscoll and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Set in New York, near the end of the twentieth century, Vreeland takes fact – Tiffany’s debut at the World’s Fair, his employment of women in a largely dominated male field and Driscol’s idea for the now infamous Tiffany Lamp – and layers fictional scenes to create an engrossing and cultural read. Hear author Vreeland on npr discuss how it all happened.
For all you fantasy readers, run – don’t walk – and pick up a copy of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. No matter what you thought of previously published vampire books, this one takes it up a notch. There’s elements of The DaVinci Code as academic Diana Bishop (a non-practicing witch) follows clues from an ancient manuscript known as Ashmole 782 while attending yoga with a centuries -old vampire, tries to avoid disturbing daemons and spends time in her aunt’s home which has a personality all its’ own – the house that is.
The other two books that round out my spring picks would be:
1) Delirium by Lauren Oliver – Technically for YA, but I really liked it. In the future, love is thought of as a “disease” and all humans receive a procedural cure when they turn 18 in order to avoid being infected by the disease. Somewhat scientific classifications for all the symptoms and problems resulting from “infection” of amor deliria nervosa aka love, helps one to understand the government mandate…until the main character meets someone.;
2) The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht – “Natalia Stefanovi, a doctor living (and, in between suspensions, practicing) in an unnamed country that’s a ringer for Obreht’s native Croatia, crosses the border in search of answers about the death of her beloved grandfather, who raised her on tales from the village he grew up in, and where, following German bombardment in 1941, a tiger escaped from the zoo in a nearby city and befriended a mysterious deaf-mute woman”.
All of these great picks are available at your local indie bookstore. Click here to find your closest one and locally, stop by Pudd’nHead Books in St. Louis where a few of these great titles are currently 20% off.