J. L. Witterick

Based on a true story, J. L. Witterick's My Mother's Secret finds a mother-daughter duo simultaneously sheltering an array of guests in conflict, unbeknownst to one another: not only two Jewish families in hiding, but a fleeing Nazi soldier as well. The clever mother Franciszka and witty daughter Helena prove exhilarating heroes, and their story an enlightening look at Sokal, Poland during a decisive moment in world history. This week Witterick celebrates some strong female protagonists akin to her own, and deep insights into war-torn states.


The Hunger Games
By Suzanne Collins

"I loved the pace of this story. Collins makes you feel like you know the characters intimately, despite the use of very little description. What a talent! I read this book five times so I could learn from her style for my own writing."



The Breadwinner
By Deborah Ellis

"This is a classic for me. I was inspired by the resourcefulness of the main character, Parvana, a girl who finds a way to provide for her family despite the overwhelming unreasonableness of her surroundings. Reading this story, you cannot help feeling empathy for the plight of women and children in Afghanistan."


I Am Malala
By Malala Yousafzai

"Anyone who survives a gunshot to the head and then writes a book to speak for change through peaceful means deserves to have her story read. I was so impressed by this girl. She reminds us that greatness comes in all shapes, sizes, and ages."


Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
By Laura Hillenbrand

"The title of this book, by the author of Seabiscuit, does a good job of describing the essence of the story. I am drawn to stories of struggle and triumph, so this story naturally appeals to me. Although the book is factual in nature, Hillenbrand provides many insights into human behavior -- even suggesting that war can make a hero of someone who may never have been one otherwise."


July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).