Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
This novel is about a renowned middle-aged concert pianist diagnosed with ALS (a.k.a. Lew Gehrig’s Disease). The novel chronicles, in brutal detail, the devastation to his body—which his untouched mind witnesses with horror—and the effect of his illness on his relationships with his ex-wife and estranged daughter. Described as “the Oliver Sacks of fiction,” Lisa Genova is a neuroscientist interested in exploring the impact of neurological diseases on individuals’ lives.
Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro
Maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong places, but my experience with contemporary “Christian fiction” is that although pleasant, few of these books grapple with the problems encountered by serious believers. Maggie, the protagonist of Jamie Quatro’s Fire Sermon is no Hallmark-card Christian. Despite her long-term marriage, she finds herself aching for a relationship with fellow poet James. Maggie and James long for each other for years, exchanging e-mails and furtive phone calls and meeting at literature conferences. Maggie’s struggle—and what it means not only for her marriage but also for her religious beliefs—burns at the center of this short, unusual novel.
High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of An American Classic by Glenn Frankel
This book explores the making of the classic Western High Noon, and the toxic political environment that inspired its screenwriter, Carl Foreman. Frankel takes a multi-faceted view, talking about the blacklist and the hearings before the House Un-American Activities Committee, Hollywood during its Golden Age and then its post-war years, biographical sketches of Gary Cooper, Carl Foreman, and other players, and then the story of the making of the film itself. It’s fascinating reading on several levels.