Do you remember D.E.A.R? At my elementary school that meant “Drop Everything And Read,” something we typically did for 10 or 15 minutes every day. Best part of my day, really. As my TBR and Library piles are battling for supremacy and trying to sneak in around the review copies who have staked out places on my calendar, I’m thinking back to the simpler days of D.E.A.R., when I believed I had time to get to any book I wanted. And that, of course, got me fantasizing about a world where I really could just Drop Everything And Read for more than just 15 minutes a day.
Randy Susan Meyers is busy celebrating the paperback release of her debut novel, The Murderer’s Daughters, but she is here telling us about the books calling to her, the books she wants to just drop everything and read:
My teetering pile of bedside books is matched only my the length of my writing ‘to-do’ list, but as I drill down, these are the books I can’t wait to dig into:
The Report by Jessica Kane
I read an excerpt on Granta’s online site, which drew me in immediately. This is a story of the largest loss of civilian life in the UK in World War II, when 173 people died in a crush on the stairs down to a tube station used as a shelter during air raids. A friend (whose taste I trust implicitly, fellow writer Kathy Crowley) said it was a book that “sticks.”
The Quiet Americans by Erika Dreifus
I read an essay about this recently launched book, (on writer Ellen Meeropol’s blog) which described it as a book she immediately read twice. The collection includes stories of “A high-ranking Nazi’s wife and a Jewish doctor in prewar Berlin. A Jewish immigrant soldier and the German POWs he is assigned to supervise. A refugee returning to Europe for the first time and the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. A son of survivors and technology’s potential to reveal long-held family secrets.” I am drawn to stories of the Holocaust told from all the angles of the prisms
Eden Lake by Jane Roper
Eden Lake won’t be available until May 2011—but other work I’ve read by Jane has been very funny (to wit, this piece from Poets & Writers on what writers really mean in workshops.) The book’s description reads: In 1968, newlyweds Clay Perry and Carol Weiss transformed a sheep farm in central Maine into Eden Lake—a nontraditional, progressive summer camp for children. Thirty years later, at the height of the Lewinsky scandal and the dot-com boom, Clay and Carol’s marriage is long over and the camp has become a pricey playground for entitled suburbanites. When an unexpected tragedy strikes, the Perryweiss children have to decide what role Eden Lake—and all that it stands for—will play in their lives. I am obsessed with summer camp, so this book had me at hello.
The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer
I have loved every book Meg Wolitzer has written (The Position, The Ten-Year Nap) so I only had to know she had a new book coming out (in April) to be dying to read it. I know only what I’ve read on the Amazon page, but it has me totally intrigued (a sexual-distaste spreads through an entire town.)
The Memory Palace by Mira Bartók
In the realm of memoir, I was captured by Judith Bolton-Fasman’s Boston Globe review of Mira Bartók’s THE MEMORY PALACE: Bartók’s mother, Norma Herr, was a schizophrenic who felt both haunted and hunted. But Norma was also a musical prodigy whose concert career was abruptly halted after her first breakdown at the age of 19. By the time she divorced Paul Herr in 1963 she had two young daughters whom she shuttled between her parents’ home shadowed with memories of abuse to a dump of an apartment on the other side of Cleveland.
RANDY SUSAN MEYERS spent eight years as assistant director of Common Purpose, a batterer intervention program where she worked with both batterers and domestic violence victims. Previously, she was director for the Mission Hill Community Centers where she worked with at-risk youth. She is the co-author of the nonfiction book Couples with Children. Her short fiction has been published in Perigee, Fog City Review, and Grub Street Free Press. She currently teaches fiction-writing seminars at the Grub Street Writers’ Center in Boston, Massachusetts.
Buy The Murderer’s Daughters at:
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