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On the Bookshelf – Recent Reads

On the Bookshelf – Recent Reads

Authors without websites from locations around the world.

American Literary Icon who passed away in 2023 – Russell BanksAmerican Spirits

An American treasure whose stories focus on the locales and people in the Adirondacks of upstate New York.  Check out this recent PBS video tribute and a 1995 feature on CBS Sunday Morning which gives an interesting perspective on what young people cared about…30 years ago.

From the 1990’sHenning MankellFaceless Killers

Terrific series taking place in Southern Sweden and featuring Wallender, a main character played deftly on the PBS series by Kenenth Branaugh.

New book from old favorite – Tim O’BrienAmerica Fantastica 

An American Master returns: the author of The Things They Carried and In the Lake of the Woods delivers his first new novel in two decades.

First time author – Nilima RoaA Disappearance in Fiji

What is told as a mystery is really an amazing history lesson of British colonialism, and Indian and native culture in the Fiji Islands off the coast of Australia in 1914.

Joan Osborne

Joan Osborne

also see: Trigger Hippy

Joan Elizabeth Osborne is an American singer, songwriter, and interpreter of music, having recorded and performed in various popular American musical genres including pop, soul, R&B, blues, and country. She is best known for her recording of the Eric Bazilian song “One of Us”, from her debut album Relish. Wikipedia

Recent Video showing her heart and feeling....Great American Cities

News from her website:

Joan Osborne is back with Nobody Owns You, out today on Womanly Hips Records and produced by Ben Rice (Valerie June, Norah Jones). While the Grammy-nominated singer’s highly praised 2020 release Trouble and Strife took a frank and honest look at our socio-political landscape, Nobody Owns You finds Osborne in a very personal place, contemplating life’s major questions. The introspective collection highlights Osborne’s songwriting prowess, and offers inspiration, optimism and hope, surrounded by a rootsy and deeply soulful sound.

As the writer and co-writer on all twelve new songs, Osborne shares her profound personal beliefs but still has much to say regarding the current climate in the US. The first offering off the album is “Great American Cities,” a rebuttal of right wing TV pundits disparaging America’s urban centers.

Osborne shares, “I go to these cities all the time, and while they have issues like anywhere, they are full of life and energy and creativity and joy. This song came from my desire to celebrate America’s big cities and challenge the disinformation that’s being put out about them.” Listen to Nobody Owns You HERE.

 

Suzanne Redfearn

Suzanne Redfearn

Brand new in 2024 – Where Butterflies Wander  — The moving story of a family grappling with grief and a woman with the power to help them through it–or stand in their way. (Goodreads)

Told uniquely by six characters, each have a voice worth hearing. – Ed.

A 2020 favorite – Hadley & Grace —  Two women. Three kids. One unforgettable journey.
One of the characters in the story is based on a special resident of Laguna Beach, Ca. — see article about Skipper Carrillo

Suzanne Redfearn is the award-winning author of Six novels: Hush Little Baby, No Ordinary Life, In an Instant, and Hadley & Grace, Moment in Time, and Where Butterflies Wander. In addition to being an author, she’s also an architect specializing in residential and commercial design. She lives in Laguna Beach, California, where she and her husband own two restaurants: Lumberyard and Slice Pizza and Beer.

 

visit site

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

Lukas Nelson

“In case you didn’t know, Willie Nelson has a son. His name is Lukas Nelson.

Lukas Nelson has long been better known for being the son of a country music legend than for the music he’s made, but that’s changing.

With the release last summer (2023) of their eighth album, “Sticks and Stones,” Nelson and his band, Promise of the Real, are affirming their identity as musicians who can play just about anything, from rock to country.

“I’m discovering more who I am in every album. And this album is completely who I am,” Nelson says in an interview on his website. (Michael Shapiro, The Press Democrat)

Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Dynamic Duo and Supurb Solo…..don’t miss

The Golden Couple

GREER HENDRICKS 

is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller The Wife Between Us. Prior to becoming a novelist, she spent two decades as an editor at Simon & Schuster. She obtained her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Allure, and Publishers Weekly. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.

Visit Greer Hendricks Site

SARAH PEKKANEN 

is the internationally and USA Today bestselling author of eight previous solo novels and the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller The Wife Between Us. A former investigative journalist and award-winning feature writer, she has published work in The Washington Post, USA Today, and many others. She is the mother of three sons and lives just outside Washington, D.C.

Visit Sarah Pekkanen Site

Read: Gone Tonight

Randall Bramlett

Randall Bramlett

Jesup, Georgia native, multi-instrumentalist Randall Bramblett may be known as Southern Rock Royalty for playing on stage with rock heroes like Bonnie Raitt, The Allman Brothers Band, Steve Winwood (16 years), Widespread Panic. And respected for his songwriting – Bettye LaVette, “The Great Lady of Soul” just released an album of 11 of his songs in June 2023. He also penned the title track for the Grammy nominated Blind Boys of Alabama’s album Going Home, adding to a long catalog of songs covered by Raitt, Gregg Allman, Bonnie Bramlett, Hot Tuna, Delbert McClinton and more. But it’s Bramblett’s own career as frontman, creating 12 albums, where his artistry is in full display.

“One of the South’s most lyrical and literate songwriters.”  Rolling Stone 
“Randall Bramblett is the William Faulkner of Southern music”  Hittin’ the Note
“He’s a soulful, poetic badass if ever there was one.”  Marc Cohn

The video featured above is an old one, but a favorite song. (ed.) For more recent video click onto his website below.

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Band of Heathens

Band of Heathens

Performance Video — Heaven Help Us All

When The Band of Heathens decided to dub their sixth studio album of original material Stranger (its first since 2017’s Duende), the veteran band, formed in Austin, TX nearly 15 years ago, had no idea how prophetic that title would turn out to be. Although the name references the famed existential Albert Camus novel and Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi classic Stranger in a Strange Land, it also touches on the “strangers” who make up the band’s loyal fan base, who supported the band during this period with all touring canceled.

As co-founder Ed Jurdi acknowledges, it is certainly an unusual time to release a new album. “The strangest,” he says. “Maybe no time stranger. Since we started, there have been sweeping, revolutionary changes in the music business, but, in this global pandemic, we’re just a microcosm.”
“We’re really fortunate that we have been able to turn directly to our fan base during the pandemic,” adds fellow co-founder Gordy Quist. “The last few months we’ve spent four nights a week live-streaming personal private concerts to fans, and one night a week publicly live-streaming with the whole band Zooming in from their respective homes in California, Texas, North Carolina and Tennessee. At first it seemed very strange until
these walls started coming down and we realized how connected we are by the fabric of music.”

Extending the metaphor of Stranger even further. The Band of Heathens traveled to another city, Portland, OR, with a brand-new producer, Tucker Martine [The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket, Modest Mouse, Camera Obscura], and the result is something different – a more airy, intimate atmosphere, with added emphasis on songcraft and intricate arrangements set in a spacious sonic landscape that reinvents the band’s sound. These are songs stripped of pretense, but teeming with the emotion borne of personal experience, as has been The Band of Heathens’ method from the very start. Stranger moves off into a new place, but still echoes the group’s artful songwriting and multi-layered narrative observations.

The Stranger was released in 2020 and is a top ten roots rock album riding high in the charts.

 

S. A. Cosby

S.A Cosby

Location – Rural Virginia

S.A. Cosby is the New York Times national best selling award-winning author from Southeastern Virginia. His books include MY DARKEST PRAYER, BLACKTOP WASTELAND, Amazon’s #1 Mystery and Thriller of the Year and #3 Best Book of 2020 overall, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, Winner of the LA Times Book Award for Mystery or Thrillers and a Goodreads Choice Awards Semifinalist and the winner of the ITW award for hard cover book of the year, the Macavity for best novel of the year, the Anthony, The Barry , a honorable mention from the ALA Black Caucus and was a finalists for the CWA Golden Dagger. He is also author of the best selling RAZORBLADE TEARS which was also nominated for numerous awards as well

His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, and his story “Slant-Six” was selected as a Distinguished Story in Best American Mystery Stories for 2016. His short story “The Grass Beneath My Feet” won the Anthony Award for Best Short Story in 2019. His writing has been called “gritty and heartbreaking” and “dark, thrilling and tragic” and “raw ,emotional and profound ” (Amazon)

His latest release (2023) is All the Sinners Bleed.

For more about the book

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California Honeydrops

California Honeydrops

The Honeydrops have come a long way since guitarist and trumpeter Lech Wierzynkski and drummer Ben Malament started busking in an Oakland subway station, but the band has stayed true to that organic, street-level feel. Listening to Lech sing, it can be a surprise that he was born in Warsaw, Poland, and raised by Polish political refugees. He learned his vocal stylings from contraband American recordings of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Louis Armstrong, and later at Oberlin College and on the club circuit in Oakland, California. With the additions of Johnny Bones on tenor sax and clarinet, Lorenzo Loera on keyboards, and Beau Bradbury on bass, they’ve built a powerful full-band sound to support Wierzynski’s vocals. More like parties than traditional concerts, their shows feature extensive off-stage jamming and crowd interaction. “The whole point is to erase the boundaries between the crowd and us,” Wierzynski says. “We don’t make setlists. We want requests. We want crowd involvement, to make people become a part of the whole thing by dancing along, singing, picking the songs and generally coming out of their shells.”

 

 

James Grippando

Location – Miami

James Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author with more than thirty books to his credit, including those in his acclaimed series featuring Miami criminal defense attorney Jack Swyteck, and the winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. He is also a trial lawyer and teaches law and literature at the University of Miami School of Law. He lives in South Florida with his wife, two cats, and a golden retriever named Atlas, who has no idea he’s a dog. 

Nearly three years since starring in his last book, On January 9th, 2024, Jack Swyteck returns to bookstores in Goodbye Girl, the brand new thriller from New York Times bestselling author James Grippando.

Jack Swyteck, a Miami criminal defense lawyer, first appeared in Grippando’s 1994 debut, The Pardon. Since then, he’s gone on to anchor seventeen books to date, including Grippando’s 2021 thriller, Twenty. That book, heartbreakingly timely, featured a tragic plot about a school shooting in Florida that claimed the lives of twenty innocent people. Swyteck ended up in the middle of things after his wife and daughter were present when the carnage started, and then later, after the lead suspect enlists his help in an effort to calm anti-Muslim fervor and clear his name. Now, several years later, Jack Swyteck is finally set to return.

Goodbye Girl, the eighteenth book in Grippando’s series, is said to feature a nail-biting new plot that follows a mega-star artist who takes to social media and encourages her fans to illegally download her music for reasons that reach back decades and promises to have more than a few twists and turns. The Real Book Spy

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