Casey Cep’s Furious Hours (2019)

Furious Hours

Harper Lee is famous for her beloved classic To Kill A Mockingbird-just last year it won The Great American Read and was so universally popular that it always led the public’s voting for favorite book by a wide margin for the entire duration of the vote.

However, Lee is perhaps just as famous for the fact that To Kill A Mockingbird is her only book. Sure, publishers released her Go Set a Watchman a few years ago, but in truth, that was just the very early draft of To Kill A Mockingbird and not a new book.

That’s not to say that Lee never tried to write another book, however.

According to Casey Cep’s debut Furious Hours, Lee worked for years on a true crime manuscript about a bizarre case of murder and insurance fraud in 1960s/1970s Alabama. . . .

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Jeff Guinn’s The Vagabonds (2019)

The Vagabonds

In the 1910s and 1920s, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were two of the most famous men in America. They were also friends who regularly vacationed with each other. In his latest book, Jeff Guinn chronicles the quirky friendship between these two prickly historical figures, as well as their numerous road trips across a changing, modernizing America.

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Peter Heller’s The River (2019)

The River

Jack and Wynn have been best friends since their college freshmen orientation. In many ways, they couldn’t be more different–the former an engineering major, more pragmatic, raised on a Colorado ranch; the latter an art major, more optimistic, raised in a comfortable, well-to-do Vermont home. Still, they’re bonded by a love of the outdoors, of canoeing, of fishing, and of reading.

It’s no surprise that they decide to spend August on a canoe trip in northern Canada–their goal a small village on Hudson Bay after an approximately 150 mile-long trip. Things take an unexpected turn when they realize a large wildfire rages near the river. Then, they hear a couple arguing one day in the fog. The next day, a lone man paddles up the river. . . .

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Shawn Levy’s The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont (2019)

The Castle on Sunset

“If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont”–Harry Cohn

“If you want to be seen, go to the Beverly Hills Hotel. If you don’t want to be seen, go to Chateau Marmont.”–pretty much everyone who was anyone in Hollywood since the 1930s

Need a relatively quiet place to write a screenplay or stay while you film a project in town? Check into the Chateau Marmont!

Need a private place to stay after your spouse kicked you out of the marital home? Check into the Chateau Marmont!

Need a discrete place to stay for, ahem, extracurricular activities that could endanger your reputation? Check into the Chateau Marmont!

(Obviously I missed my calling writing ad copy for this place. . . .)

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Nita Gould’s Remembering Ella (2018)

Remembering Ella

One of the more infamous crimes in our local area is the gruesome 1912 murder of Ella Barham in rural Boone County, which is just next door to us here in Berryville. I must confess, I had never actually heard of the crime until I read this book. Author Nita Gould has family ties to the case–Ella is a cousin, though one who died long before Gould was born. As Gould quickly learned when she started researching the case, local oral tradition of the case is unreliable and contradictory, so she instead turned to the extensive news coverage of the crime and court files to detail the murder of the vivacious eighteen-year-old and the subsequent arrest and trial of one of her neighbors. Thank you to Julie for ordering this book for me!

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Mary Doria Russell’s Doc (2011)

Doc

Doc Holliday probably needs no introduction. He’s one of the more mythic figures of the American West–the well-educated, consumptive, Georgia-born dandy, dentist, and gambler/gunfighter who tag-teamed with the Earp Brothers for the Gunfight at the OK Corral in the Arizona boomtown of Tombstone.

Most pop culture depictions of Holliday offer the legend called Doc. Though Mary Doria Russell chose that nickname as the title for her book, her focus is much more on the John Henry Holliday lurking underneath the legend.

This book was suggested to me by Leslie, one of my undergraduate English professors. Last year, she recommended The Hunting Accident to me, and recently, she asked me if I was familiar with Russell’s work. I quickly remedied that oversight, and I am so glad I did. Thanks for the wonderful recommendation, Leslie!

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Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers (2018)

Nine Perfect Strangers

I’ve been meaning to read Liane Moriarty for awhile. Her books seem right up my alley, so to speak, and Mary-Esther recently suggested that I give Moriarty’s most recent book a try. Since I was home sick for a protracted amount of time, I thought, “What better way to feel better about myself than reading about somebody else’s hellish experience at a health resort?”

And although the book did not, in point of fact, heal me of my own bronchitis, it was a wonderfully engaging page-turner–one I enjoyed very much. So much so that I’ve already requested a bunch of Moriarty’s other books from the library.

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