I am excited to share my Fall Bookstack with you. Nothing makes me happier than losing myself in a good story. A book finds a place on my permanent bookshelf if its characters continue to live inside my head and heart long after the final page, or if the author presents an idea, perspective, or truth that stirs something at my center. The works of fiction on my list today hit my favorite themes: history, adventure, family saga, faith, resilience, and the power of pure love. I am envious of you getting to read them for the first time! I have a writer’s admiration for Claire Keegan, Abraham Verghese, and Patti Henry. I will read anything they conjure! Claire Keegan has secured her spot as one of the great writers of our time! Thanks to Parnassus she is coming to Nashville for the first time on October 30th for a much anticipated literary event at MBA. Get your tickets here.
I have also included two brilliant works of nonfiction by my friends Rebekah Lyons and Sissy Goff.
Please, please send me what you are reading! I need a new book!!
I have the blessing to know Patti! She is such a generous and creative author. I took my mom and sister to hear her speak this spring at Parnassus. I have been a fan for a long time. I loved Becoming Mrs Lewis, the story of C.S. Lewis and Joy’s poignant love story. In her new novel, The Secret Life of Flora Lea, Henry spins an adventurous and heart-warming tale around “Operation Pied Piper.” I had no idea that millions of kids were evacuated out of London during WW2. My favorite character was Bridie! I cannot wait for her next one!
Keegan writes historical fiction with beautiful brevity. Her novella and so much more is set in an Irish town in 1985 at Christmas time and centers around a community that turns a blind eye to the inhumanity perpetrated to young women by the Magdalene Laundries and Catholic Church. No one dared to speak out against the evil occurring right under their noses. Until one unlikely hero, a coal merchant with five daughters, does. This book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize!
This story struck a personal chord after the Covenant school shooting because I continue to struggle with what one small or grand thing I can do to make a difference in our current reality and policies. What Keegan suggests is that indeed it is the small acts of bravery that can turn the tide for the good. We need more stories like this to nudge us to be brave and believe in hope.
I have a feeling that Flannery O’Connor and Keegan would have been friends. Both authors, well-versed on the hard and heart-breaking in our world, believe in the power of grace to save souls. I have read Foster three times and the final scene is one of the most beautifully written moments of pure love. Have your Kleenex ready. All anyone of us really need is to feel seen and loved.
He has done it again! I thought Cutting for Stone was brilliant, but Verghese has topped himself! The Covenant of Water is a spiritual gem. The story opens with a young girl who is married to an unknown man. Their unlikely union creates a rich, layered and spiritual plot of regular heartbreak, terrific loss, tremendous love, and surprising redemption. 736 pages later, and all I wanted was 736 more!!!! It is so clear that we were made to love at all costs.
I so appreciate Rebekah’s willingness to share how she has been tested in this life and how she has risen! I have a line in SOULFULL: Resilience is beautiful. Rebekah radiates this truism, and shares ways we can become more resilient, find again our joy and inner peace. We recently filmed a podcast conversation together which will go live in November!
Sissy is my hero! Her heart has no limits. She has come to my rescue so many times, and made kids who have endured great loss see there is still hope. Sissy is a healer of the best kind, and her new book speaks hope into our anxious, worry-crazed hearts. We don’t have to live this way (a constant state of flight or fight worry), and neither do our kids. Sissy gives us a new way forward! Follow Sissy on instagram because she gives daily doses of wisdom and hope!
I have not read this one yet but everyone is talking about it! The much anticipated second in the series comes out this month. Apparently, it is about dragons and their dragon riders! Let me know if you liked it! I am sure a movie is forthcoming!