Therese Walsh is the author of two novels, including her latest, The Moon Sisters (Crown, Random House) available in paperback and for Kindle and Nook. A self-professed foodie and amateur photographer, she’s also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Writer Unboxed, mother of two, and chief treat-giver to a Jack Russell Terrier. Find out more about her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.
I might be a book hoarder. I just want to get that out there, so we understand one another. I have so many books beside my bed, that if I tried to list them all, we’d be here for a long while. I would put you to sleep. You would wake again, your face tattooed with the imprint of the table you fell against or maybe a pattern of squares from your computer’s keyboard. This would be unfortunate, and I do believe you’d resent me for it. Therefore, because I like to be liked, I’ll tell you just a few of the books beside my bed. I’m going to share the first sentence of each of the profiled books here, too, because I think first sentences are important.
The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft – Kathryn and I are online friends, meaning we got to know one another over Facebook. We had the opportunity to meet “IRL” (In Real Life) several months ago when she visited my local indie bookstore for a reading and signing, and we bonded over dessert. It was a no-brainer that I pick up her novel, which is not to say that I did it only because she is a friend. The novel is utterly compelling. First sentence: My muscles still won’t respond. A mind-over-matter book, The Art of Falling is about a dancer’s recovery of self, following an accident.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton – This one caught my eye several months back. I loved the simplicity of the cover, the gold feather; I loved the title. I don’t know this author but I hear her talking my language via some of the descriptions in the flap copy of this hard cover beauty. Words like twins and dark and mute and mythology make me purr, in a readerly way, and then there’s this. The protagonist is born with bird wings. First sentence: To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale.
Conversion by Katherine Howe – I was fortunate enough to receive an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of this novel, which was released July 1. I began reading it, then immediately set it aside. Not because it was bad; just the opposite. I knew as soon as I read the first graph that it would consume me, and I needed to wait until I had a clear weekend when it wouldn’t matter if I shut down to the world. This is a YA novel about the second coming of witches in a Massachusetts high school. First graph: How long must I wait?
Where the Moon Isn’t by Nathan Filer – Interestingly, though its title here in the states was Where the Moon Isn’t, it appears to have been re-released under its U.K. title, The Shock of the Fall. Who knows why? It doesn’t matter. This book is told from the perspective of a boy who is likely schizophrenic in the years following the loss of his brother. As an author who writes about loss, this one grabbed at me. Filer is a wordsmith and knows how to instill a work with Voice. I can appreciate already why he won the 2013 Costa Book of the Year. The first chapter, entitled “The Girl and Her Doll,” starts with this sentence: I should say that I am not a nice person.
Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman – This is my newest acquisition—a psychological thriller that is both character-rich and suspenseful, and that won the Mary Higgins Clark Award and a star from Booklist. The novel, Jenny’s acclaimed debut, is the story of a woman in the wake of her husband’s death. His apparent suicide takes on shades of conspiracy the deeper she digs for answers. The first sentence is a powerhouse: My husband wasn’t in bed with me when I woke up that January morning.
Do you have to sleep with one eye open for fear you’ll be smothered under your pile of books? What are you reading?