Category Archives: New Books Network Podcasts

Davis, Susanne – Gravity Hill

“Jordan Hawkins sat on a metal stool inspecting amber beer bottles as they spun by her lamp. Built out of sky blue sheets of metal and plopped in the middle of a paved lot, Glass and Company offered the highest paying factory jobs in Connecticut’s eastern corner. Twenty-four hours a day, florescent light shone over the lines and the furnace blasted dry heat over the workers, finding moisture and sucking it back up into the air.”

Toll, Martha Anne – Three Muses

“John felt calm, bathed in a pleasant sense of mystery. With only three days in Paris, he knew not to tether himself to the World Congress on Psychiatry and Mental Health. At dawn he started toward the Seine, righted by balanced, elegant architecture and the singsong of blue-coated shopkeepers splashing water to ensure a clean start to the day. Whatever he had expected, the city held not the faintest echo of his German past.”

Stern, Steve – The Village Idiot

“There are many tales, mostly untrue, about the friendship between the artists Chaim Soutine and Amedeo Modigliani. My favorite involves a boat race. This was in 1917, when you could stand in the streets of Paris and feel the muffled percussion from the guns on the Western Front. German zeppelins were often seen overhead. The black-market price of a pack of Caporals or a couple of kilos o coal was extortionate; a pot -au-feu cost fifteen sous.”

Sommers, Larry: Price of Passage: A Tale of Immigration and Liberation

Anders Gunstensen jumped up from his straw pallet, struck a match, and re-lit the oil lamp. What was the time now? How soon could he start for North America? He teased open the gold case of the watch Grandfather had given him. At that moment Uncle Torgus burst into the barn with a great bang of the door. “Anders, you oaf-wasting my lamp oil in the middle of the night!” The old man swayed left and right. He smelled of hard spirits.

Smith, Howard Jay: Meeting Mozart

“Mozart. Corporal Jake Conegliano, US Army Intelligence, was sound asleep and dreaming of Mozart when he first heard a knocking on the door of his quarters. Not just any Mozart but The Marriage of Figaro. Yes, Figaro, with the count pounding on his wife’s bedroom door while her suspected lover scurried off to hide in her closet. What had started as gentle taps grew ever louder until Jake awoke enough to realize the door banging was not from any opera.”

Schaeffer, Brad – The Extraordinary

“I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever see Dad again. The dream starts off the same. The darkness; the scrape of blowing, twisted branches on the window, like the tapping fingernails of a giant. It wakes me and I try to open my eyes, but all is black. I hear the rain falling. A rushing of sound as if my bed’s in a cave hemmed in by a waterfall pouring past the only exit to the outside world. I must walk through it.”

Buchanan, Laurie – Iconoclast

“Toni stops to pour herself a cup of station house coffee-wretched, but welcome. Welkaing down the hallway to her cubicle, she makes one more stop. To the casual observer, it looks like she’s dropping a block of yellow Post-it Notes on Officer Accardi’s desk. Toni smiles at Emilio and nods as she sets them down. “Hey, thanks, Toni,” he says, fanning the little stack. Emilio sees that they’re blank-nothing is written on them. But the message is loud and clear. It’s the pre-arranged signal that sets everything into motion.”

Berlowitz, Judith- Home So Far Away

“I was getting ready to leave for a meeting, but a letter from Mama’s older brother is an important event in our home, so I gathered with everyone else at the kitchen table around steaming cups of tea as Mama read aloud from Onkel’s thick missive, slowly deciphering his archaic, cursive German kurrentshrift. What interested me most, of course, was the political intrigue: after a putch in 1923, Spain now finds itself in the hands of General Miguel Primo de Rivera, right beside the king, who is referring to the dictator as his own Mussolini. And he evidently says that with pride!”