Great Reads | Grapevine Magazine

Great Reads

Reviews by Kingston Writersfest

Who can help but be excited by the return of Spring? Fresh air, melting snow, and, for bibliophiles, a fresh crop of fantastic new writing. Here is a little sampling of what we’ve been reading to get us through the winter, and some warming prose to welcome us into the new season.

Men Walking on Water by Emily Schultz

Rum runners, mobsters, conmen and more than a couple of tough dames grace the pages of Emily Schultz’s latest novel.  Schultz does a masterful job of pulling back the curtains on late 1920’s Detroit in the dying days of prohibition in a novel packed to the brim with colourful characters – no two-dimensional guys and dolls here, these are real people with big personalities, big secrets, and big faults. This is a fascinating look at the impact of prohibition on the lives of cops, criminals, their families, and the community as a whole. If you enjoy Boardwalk Empire or The Wire, you’ll want to get your hands on a copy of this page-turner.

Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

Not for the faint of heart, Nick Cutter’s latest book continues his fascination with the parallel explorations of monstrous creatures and monstrous men. The story flips between 1980 and 1965, drawing the reader deeper into the mysteries of a trio of mercenaries with shady, cursed lives, and the strange and isolated community of Little Heaven. The novel is full of shocks, surprises, and is not shy with the gory details, but it’s a cut above the usual horror fiction you might be accustomed to. If you like your scares smart, Cutter’s your man.

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

In Moonglow, Chabon uses the deeply personal – a fictionalized memoir of a man known only as ‘my grandfather’, to paint a vivid picture of life in Mid-Century America. Through charming, delicious prose, the story unfolds in short dreamlike sequences, as Chabon relays (with admitted embellishment) his grandfather’s reveries. These stories – of love, war, loss, rakish and reckless behavior, held close to his chest for most of his life, are finally confessed, to the reader’s delight, through a tongue-loosening combination of painkillers and  knowledge of impending death. A compelling and well-crafted piece of history and prose you’ll want to savor over a series of quiet afternoons. 

Juliet's Answer: One Man's Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak by Glenn Dixon

When Glenn Dixon is spurned by love, he does something some might find counter-intuitive. Rather than run from or renounce that passionate emotion, he books a flight to Verona, Italy and enters a world normally occupied by women as he answers letters from the love-lorn as one of Juliet’s secretaries. Glenn teaches us about the real history of the world’s more famous star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, about the intricacies of Shakespeare’s play, and the secrets of beautiful, historic Verona, and in the process bares his own heart in a way that is touching and authentic.

More upcoming books we’re excited about:

Blind Spot by Teju Cole

A multi-media travel diary full of evocative prose and over 150 captivating photos from around the globe, written and photographed by Teju Cole, the award-winning author of Open City and photography critic for The New York Times Magazine.

Only Child by Andrew Pyper

A return to his roots in gothic-style fiction, Pyper crafts a tense and surprising psychological thriller full of family secrets, monstrous beings, and strangers with suspicious pasts and curiously intimate knowledge of his protagonist’s life.

Comma by Jennifer Still

While sitting at the bedside of her brother, who fell into a month’s long coma, award-winning poet Jennifer Still was moved to write a series of poems, inspired by her brother’s handwritten field guide of prairie grasses. The result is an entirely unique conversation, a call and response in which she borrows from and alters his written words to reflect on their relationship.

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