Rabbit Heart: A Mother’s Murder, A Daughter’s Story

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by Kristine S. Ervin, 2024 Rabbit Heart is part memoir, part cold-case investigation of a brutal abduction and murder of an innocent young mother from a shopping mall parking lot in Oklahoma City in 1986. Kathy Sue Engle had an 8-year-old daughter Kristine and a 13-year-old son Rolland, a devoted husband, no known enemies, and […]

A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy

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by Nathan Thrall, 2023 Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, 2024! A Day in the Life of Abed Salama is a true story that occurred in 2012, a tragedy involving a bus full of Palestinian school children occurring just outside Jerusalem. The bus collided with an 18-wheeler semitruck on a highway during a […]

Birnam Wood

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by Eleanor Catton, 2023 Birnam Wood  was on so many “best of” lists for 2023 that I finally broke down and ordered it. Eleanor Catton already has quite a legacy: at 28, she was the youngest-ever winner of the Booker Prize in 2013 for The Luminaries. Yes, I read that one too, 10 years ago. […]

Say Nothing—A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

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by Patrick Radden Keefe, 2019 Spurred on by reading the 2013 obituary of Dolours Price in the New York Times, the author, a journalist for The New Yorker, became intrigued enough by her story to start researching for Say Nothing. Ms. Price, formerly a central figure in the Irish Republican Army (IRA), had been the […]

Demon Copperhead

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by Barbara Kingsolver, 2022 Demon Copperhead tells the raw, emotional tale of a 10-year-old boy’s heartbreaking childhood and adolescence scarred by drug addiction, sudden death, child abuse, and being bounced around through the foster system in a small Virginia town. Damon Fields is the boy’s real name; “Demon Copperhead” becomes his nickname, and it sticks. […]

Winter Work

by Dan Fesperman, 2022 Winter Work is a mesmerizing mix of fact and fiction, and as a reader you have the fun of trying to figure out which is which. Just a few months after the Berlin Wall came down in early 1990, the East German Stasi, their foreign intelligence service, was frantically destroying evidence. […]

Portrait of an Unknown Woman

by Danial Silva, 2022 I had the good fortune to hear Daniel Silva speak in Houston earlier this summer while on his book tour for Portrait of an Unknown Woman. It was such a rare opportunity to see someone in person when you’ve read all his books and have formed an impression of who they […]

Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders

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by Kathryn Miles, 2022 Just released on May 3, 2022, I’ve blasted through Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders within 5 days of its release date. This is a true account of two female backpackers who were murdered in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park in May 1996. They were there for a week-long […]

The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story

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By Laura Davis, 2021 I’m a member of a Facebook group that focuses on memoir writing, and this author, Laura Davis, is a regular contributor. I’ve seen her post helpful comments to other writers on occasion, and I’ve come to learn that she has been teaching the craft of writing for a living her entire […]

HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act At a Time

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by Brad Aronson, 2020 Brad wrote HumanKind after helping his wife through a leukemia diagnosis and treatment, and being overwhelmed by all the acts of kindness and generosity his family experienced from friends, family, and colleagues. He started writing down and collecting these stories, and tells how small acts can make a massive difference in […]

Never Simple: A Memoir

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by Liz Scheier, 2022 There are mother-daughter stories, and then there are jaw-dropping mother-daughter stories, where you read them and think, can this possibly be real? Surely this is made up? Liz Scheier learns in her freshman year of college that she doesn’t have a birth certificate. No, it’s not a simple matter of the […]

Crying in H Mart

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by Michelle Zauner, 2021 Michelle Zauner has written a heartwarming story of love, loss, and food in her memoir Crying in H Mart, which came out in 2021. She is the only child of a Korean mother and an American father, and tells of her deep and abiding love of her mother whom she lost […]

Mercy Street

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by Jennifer Haigh, 2022 Mercy Street is a novel about a women’s clinic in Boston, Massachusetts. The real name of the clinic, “Women’s Options,” hangs above the door, but everyone calls it “Mercy Street.” Here is where you go for contraceptives, well-woman visits, STD testing, and yes, abortion counseling and services. The focus of the […]

Notes on an Execution

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by Danya Kukafka, 2022 Notes on an Execution had such an eerie, true-to-life feeling for me that at one point as I was listening to the audiobook, I had to stop and double-check what I’d purchased: was this fiction or nonfiction? Because it’s been a long, long time since I’ve listened to a book where […]

Razorblade Tears: A Novel

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by S. A. Cosby, 2021 Sometimes I want to just dive into something trashy and escapist, and that’s when I reach for some good ol’ fashioned crime fiction. Let the bodies pile up! Razorblade Tears: A Novel is about two married gay men, Isiah and Derek, who get murdered. One is Black, one is white, […]

The Copenhagen Trilogy: Childhood; Youth; Dependency

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by Tove Ditlevsen, 2021 The New York Times Book Review editors were wildly enthusiastic about The Copenhagen Trilogy: Childhood; Youth; Dependency, and because I usually agree with their assessments, I dived in. But the deeper I got into this, I have to admit, the less I liked this author. This is a series of three […]

A Town Called Solace

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by Mary Lawson, 2021 A Town Called Solace was longlisted for the 2021 Man Booker Prize, and is quite different than most of the others I’ve read so far. Far from being a heavy drama, it’s an enjoyable, old-fashioned mystery where the author weaves together the lives of three seemingly disparate and unrelated individuals, all […]

The Fortune Men: A Novel

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by Nadifa Mohamed, 2021 The Fortune Men was shortlisted for the 2021 Man Booker Prize, and is a novel based on a true story set in Cardiff, Wales in the 1950s. A young Somali sailor by the name of Mahmood Mattan is falsely accused of murdering a shopkeeper named Lily Volpert (her name is changed […]

How Beautiful We Were: A Novel

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by Imbolo Mbue, 2020 How Beautiful We Were: A Novel was listed as one of the 10 best books of 2021 by the New York Times Book Review editors. Set in a fictional village in Africa named Kosawa, it opens in October 1980 at a community meeting between three representatives of the American oil company […]