What Book Should I Read Next?

Girl Power: The Primal Roar

This post contains two novels and the memoir of Ani DiFranco, a Grammy-award-winning musical artist and feminist icon. The primal roar of the latter is probably self-explanatory. I grouped the two novels with this title because The Whisper Network deals with feminism and the #MeToo movement: Man of the Year reveals the heart of darkness lurking inside some of our most prominent citizens.

No WallsNo Walls and the Recurring Dream
Ani DiFranco
Hardback, $28 
On Street: May 7, 2019 / Viking (Penguin RH)

You may know Ani DiFranco as a political activist, philanthropist, entrepreneur or as “the Little Folksinger”. She has definitely forged her own way, paying her dues by appearing at small clubs and festivals. After releasing her first album at the age of 18, she rejected the mainstream recording industry and created her own label, “Righteous Babe Records”. It wasn’t easy. As an emancipated minor, she recalls having to sleep in a bus station in Buffalo, New York, and her fierce independence has antagonized some people. But through it all, DiFranco has followed her dreams.

Why it’s Worth Choosing

  • Girl power
  • Who could possibly be a better storyteller than a folksinger?
  • This memoir of her life so far is told in Ani DiFranco’s voice: Funny, frank, passionate, and raw.

WhisperThe Whisper Network
Chandler Baker
Hardback, $26.99
On Street: July 2, 2019 / Flatiron Books (Little Brown UK)

On this blog, I usually don’t quote from the book, even after publication. So what compelled me to open up this hardback and harvest a quote? This author is the young Julie Andrews of writing–she can easily span four octaves, sounding gorgeous in every register. The book opens with a group narrator:

“Before that day, our lives raced along an invisible roller coaster track, a cart fastened to the rails, through engineering and forces we couldn’t wholly grasp, despite our superabundance of academic degrees. We moved with a sense of controlled chaos.

“We were connoisseurs of dry shampoo brands. It took us four days to watch a complete episode of The Bachelor on our DVRs. We fell asleep with the heat of laptops burning our thighs. We took two-hour breaks to read bedtime stories to toddlers and tried not to calculate the total number of hours spent working as mothers and employees, confused as to which came first. We were overqualified and underutilized, bossy and always right. We had firm handshakes and hefty credit card balances. We forgot our lunches on the kitchen countertops.

Each day was the same. Until it wasn’t. ”

Why it’s Worth Choosing

  • Finding out you’re not the only feminist who belongs to Bachelor Nation.
  • For those who adore a smart whodunnit–this one’s been described as “furiously funny and just plain furious”.
  • In her day job, Chandler Baker kicks butt as a corporate attorney, so she is an expert on corporate law.

Man YearMan of the Year
Caroline Louise Walker
Hardback, $26
On Street: June 11, 2019 / Simon and Shuster

Recently I joined a Facebook discussion about Time magazine’s “Man of the Year”, as someone was outraged that Adolph Hitler was chosen in 1938. According to Time, this is not an honor. Instead, it spotlights the person who most influences world events–for better or for worse.*  (The magazine has since changed the name of this selection to “Person of the Year”, by the way.)

This novel tips its hat to the spirit of Time‘s award, as Dr. Robert Hart–Sag Harbor’s Man of the Year–begins a desperate downward spiral, destroying the lives that stand in his way. Only the women in his life can clearly see the truth: his devoted office manager, his friend, and his beautiful new wife. The trouble is that Nick, the troubled college roommate of Robert’s son and a current houseguest, starts getting a little too close to the good doctor’s wife…and the lies Robert tells start slipping out of control.

*To drive this point home, the 1938 cover artist depicted Hitler as a tiny little man with his back to the reader, playing a massive organ with his murdered victims spinning on a St. Catherine’s Wheel. Underneath the stark illustration ran the cutline, “From the unholy organist, a hymn of hate.”




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