Pam Jenoff is the internationally bestselling author of The Kommandant’s Girl and several other novels. Her latest novel, The Winter Guest, was released on August 26. Pam was a former diplomat with the State Department, political appointee at the Pentagon, and attorney. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.
True confession #1: I don’t actually have books by my bed – or anything to put them on. We moved into our house three weeks before the twins were born. It’s been four years since then and with three preschoolers we’ve yet to hang a picture or buy furniture. The bed is just mattress, box spring and frame, and there isn’t enough light to read. So I’m just as liable to be found reading on the sofa or in the tub or in the big comfy chair by the bedroom window, if I can manage to clear all of the piled clothes from it.
True confession #2: I don’t hang onto books. I get them from the library, or buy and read and pass them on. I just don’t have the space. The house is overflowing with books that have pictures and rhyme. So I grab books anywhere I can, but I don’t necessarily have them for long.
With the disclaimers done, the books in my metaphorical stack by the bed include:
The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal. I’ve actually been reading all of the books in MacNeal’s Maggie Hope series. This is the fourth and latest installment about a young American woman doing work for the British government during the Second World War. I tend to read books set in the same period in which I am writing to see how they capture the time and place and MacNeal just nails it.
Fugitive Colors by Lisa Barr. I met Lisa on tour for the Jewish Book Council last year and she is a remarkable woman so I had high expectations for her book – Fugitive Colors has far surpassed them. It is the story of artists in Paris and Berlin on the eve of the Second World War, and it is explosive and vivid.
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica. Mary is a debut author from my publisher, Mira, and her book has been getting such fabulous buzz as the next Gone Girl. I met her at Book Expo this year and she and Heather Gudenkauf were just such terrific women. (Heather is the author of Little Mercies, which is also fabulous; I’m only not including it here because I already finished it.)
The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy. This book, which goes between World War II Germany and the present day, is next up on my list. Sarah and I were both authors in the anthology Grand Central: Original Postwar Stories of Love and Reunion (read an excerpt from her story here), which came out in June and when we met at the launch in New York City, it was sisterhood at first sight with her and Jenna Blum and the others. I’m trying to work my way through books by the other nine Grand Central authors and I’ve heard great things about this one.
Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. Okay, admittedly this is an outlier, but I do love books on writing craft. Snyder’s work is aimed at screenwriters but his advice on plot is so strong that I’ve heard great things about it from many novelists.
And finally, there are a number of books not yet “by my bed” because I haven’t been able to get my hands on them yet., but I’m quite excited to read Lucky Us by Amy Bloom, Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland and Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian.
What new releases are you looking forward to reading?