Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


summer reading

The Shakespeare Manuscript
by Stewart Buettner
What would happen if a new play by Shakespeare was discovered? This is a page-turner for mystery fans and theater buffs, and particularly meaningful for me was that the book was written by my college art history professor. I read it on trains as we traveled up and down the UK this summer. I was so engrossed I had to remind myself to look out the window every now and then to catch the landscape. This was published as an e-book/print on demand title.

Caller Number Nine
by Debbie Duncan
Set in 1967, this middle grade novel harkens back to the author's own experience at age 13, when she repeatedly dialed the local radio station on her pink princess phone. Duncan really did win a trip for two to Hawaii with a D.J. heartthrob. Debbie is in my writers group and I'm thrilled to see how she created a completely new character and introduced many of the issues in the 60s: Vietnam, feminism, and civil rights. Caller Number Nine is recently published as an e-book and I designed the cover and various interior elements. I even wrestled with Smashwords conversion.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter
by Kim Edwards
I'm working on my own middle grade with a theme of family secrets, so I was drawn to this title. During a severe winter storm, a doctor must deliver his own twin babies. His wife is heavily sedated. Their son is healthy, but their daughter is born with Down syndrome. The doctor attempts to spare his wife the heartache of caring for a special needs child, and tells her their daughter died at birth. He orders the nurse to place the girl in an institution, however the nurse secretly decides to raise the baby girl as her own in another city. The two families live in stark contrast to each other as years pass. I loved this book and it reinforced my own experience that family secrets have consequences.

Cutting for Stone
by Abraham Verghese

Here's another book with a similar theme. Twin brothers are born of a secret union between an Indian nun and a British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother's death and their father's disappearance, they are bound by an extraordinary connection and both share a fascination with medicine. The story is set in Ethiopia on the brink of revolution. I was also intrigued to learn that the author lives here in Palo Alto. He is both a doctor and accomplished writer, having taken a time out of his medical career to attend the Iowa Writer's Workshop. The writing is beautiful.


Stephanie said...

Cutting for Stone has been on my "to read" list forever, I need to read it finally.... The Shakepeare one looks like my kind of read too:)

Lauren said...

I read Cutting for Stone earlier this summer- spring? What a story with rich detail and memorable characters! I have wanted to read The Memory Keeper's Daughter and now it is on my must read list! Congratulations to your Debbie in your writer's group!

David LaRochelle said...

Ack! My list of books to read keeps getting longer and longer!
CALLER NUMBER 9 particularly speaks to me because when I was younger I spent many hours on the phone trying to be the correct caller (and I was frequently successful too; my phone-in prizes include front row seats to a Kenny Rogers concert for my mother and a trip to Disneyland for my sister's family). Is this book available only as an e-book?
Abraham Verghese's first book, MY OWN COUNTRY, was one of my book club's all time favorites. If CUTTING FOR STONE is even close in quality, I know I will be a fan of this new one.

Christy said...

Hi David,
Yes, CALLER NUMBER 9 is in e-book format only, but I'm pretty sure you can view e-books on your computer--don't need a special device. Good to know about MY OWN COUNTRY; I will definitely read that now. You'll love CUTTING FOR STONE.

Christy said...

Also, David, why am I not surprised that you spent hours dialing in phone contests and were also a winner many times over? That persistence is a great life skill, and I bet the prizes were a-okay, too!

Mark said...

I love Shakespeare themed/inspired books so I will definitely add your recommendation to my list, Christy. Thanks!

Edie Hemingway said...

Cutting For Stone is high on my list!