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."


April 17: "In less than three years, both GM and Chrysler would be bankrupt, and a resurgent Ford would wow Wall Street..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.