Likely Stories: A Selection of Holiday Presents for Readers of Likely Stories

Dec 12, 2019

I'm Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and biographies.

As has been my custom over the holiday season, I share some of the books on my wish list.  I will begin with a book I have dipped into over and over:  Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright.  The subtitle is The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment.  Wright is a wonderfully accessible writer, and he shares his ideas in a manner anyone can handle.  Speaking of philosophy and enlightenment, I always look forward to any book by Salman Rushdie.  His latest novel is Quichotte.  This is a loosely adapted version of the first and most important novel, Don Quixote by Cervantes.  Both of these novels will provide hours of adventure and fun.

For the experienced adult reader, John L'Heureux may not be a familiar writer, but his novel A Woman Run Mad is a thrilling novel by a former priest who gave up religion to write novels.  His prose is smooth and difficult to put aside.  Bound in a sturdy slip case, Richard Russo -- one of my top five writers -- offers Interventions: A Novella & Three Stories.  He never fails to explore the minds of his characters.  I recently came across a new translation of Corinne, or Italy by Madame de Stael.  This love story is like few others.  It is her homage to the landscape, literature, and art of Italy.

Of course, I could not possibly pass up three books based on my favorite setting for novels, the book shop.  First, The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland; next is How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry; and finally, The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan.  I bet any, or all, of these novels will turn you into a lover of this peculiar genre.

I will confess that a book of poetry, written by a dear friend, has enthralled me.  Brenda Livingston Bradley has put together a splendid selection of her poetry on a wide variety of topics. A Few More Minutes is a collection that will bring laughter and tears and joy.   Another story of a poet is L.E.L.: The Lost Life and Scandalous Death of Lucretia Elizabeth Landon, the Celebrated 'Female Byron' by Lucasta Miller.  This looks like an incredible story that has only recently come to my attention.

Another of my favorite novelists is Ian McEwan.  His latest novel is Machines Like Me.  I am plowing through his marvelous and beautiful prose in an attempt to have one of those "must have everything he wrote" situations.  I was recently surprised that a good friend sent me a copy of an obscure novel by Joyce Carol Oates.  She is the best American woman of letters in this and the last century.  s now residing at the top of my night table.  While on the topic of women writers, Alice McDermott, who won the National Book Award, offers Someone: A Novel.  Her novels and stories are filled with detail and beauty.

I don't often read non-fiction, but I was struck by Casey Cep who wrote Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee.  The name "Harper Lee" is all I need to know.

Likely Stories is a production of KWBU.  I'm Jim McKeown.  Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and happy reading!