Time Travel Thursday is hosted by Budget Tales Book Blog. This is where I take a look back at what I was reading this time last year (or the year before or the year before that…) and compare it to what I am reading now.
Books I was Reading on This Day in 2022:
The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora
An electrifying debut novel from the acclaimed author of The Wonder Garden, The Paper Wasp is a riveting knife-edge story of two women’s dark friendship of twisted ambition set against the backdrop of contemporary Hollywood In small-town Michigan, Abby Graven leads a solitary life. Once a bright student on the cusp of a promising art career, she now languishes in her childhood home, trudging to and from her job as a supermarket cashier. Each day she is taunted from the magazine racks by the success of her former best friend Elise, a rising Hollywood starlet whose life in pictures Abby obsessively scrapbooks. At night Abby escapes through the films of her favorite director, Auguste Perren, a cult figure known for his creative institute the Rhizome. Inspired by Perren, Abby draws fantastical storyboards based on her often premonitory dreams, a visionary gift she keeps hidden.
When Abby encounters Elise again at their high school reunion, she is surprised and warmed that Elise still considers her not only a friend but a brilliant storyteller and true artist. Elise’s unexpected faith in Abby reignites in her a dormant hunger, and when Elise offhandedly tells Abby to look her up if she’s ever in LA, Abby soon arrives on her doorstep. There, Abby discovers that although Elise is flourishing professionally, behind her glossy magazine veneer she is lonely and disillusioned. Ever the supportive friend, Abby becomes enmeshed in Elise’s world, even as she guards her own dark secret and burning desire for greatness. As she edges closer to Elise, the Rhizome, and her own artistic ambitions, the dynamic shifts between the two friends–until Abby can see only one way to grasp the future that awaits her.
The Paper Wasp is a thrilling, unexpected journey into the psyche and imagination of a woman determined to fulfill her destiny from one of our most unique and incisive writers.
See my review of this book here.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.
See my review of this book here.
What I’m Reading Now:
Your First Novel by Anne Rittenberg and Laura Whitcomb
Your Expert Guide to Writing and Publishing a Novel
In this revised and expanded edition of Your First Novel, novelist Laura Whitcomb, seasoned literary agent Ann Rittenberg, and her knowledgeable assistant, Camille Goldin, team up to provide you with the essential skills needed to craft the best novel you can–and the savvy business know-how to get it published. Complete with updated references, analysis of new best-selling novels, and the same detailed instruction, Whitcomb will show you how to:
– Practice the craft of writing, using both your right- and left-brain
– Develop a flexible card system for organizing and outlining plot
– Create dynamic characters that readers love–and love to hate
– Study classic novels and story structure to adapt with your ideas
Featuring two new chapters on choosing your path as an author and understanding the world of self-publishing, Rittenberg and Goldin dive into the business side of publishing, including:
– What agents can–and should–do for your future
– Who you should target as an agent for your burgeoning career
– How the mysterious auction for novels actually goes down
– Why you should learn to work with your agent through thick and thin
Guiding your first novel from early words to a spot on the bookshelf can be an exciting and terrifying journey, but you’re not alone. Alongside the advice of industry veterans, Your First Novel Revised and Expanded also includes plenty of firsthand accounts from published authors on their journeys, including Dennis Lehane, C.J. Box, Kathleen McCleary, David Kazzie, and more.
Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert by Patricia Cornwell
From New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell comes Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, a comprehensive and intriguing exposé of one of the world’s most chilling cases of serial murder—and the police force that failed to solve it.
Vain and charismatic Walter Sickert made a name for himself as a painter in Victorian London. But the ghoulish nature of his art—as well as extensive evidence—points to another name, one that’s left its bloody mark on the pages of history: Jack the Ripper. Cornwell has collected never-before-seen archival material—including a rare mortuary photo, personal correspondence and a will with a mysterious autopsy clause—and applied cutting-edge forensic science to open an old crime to new scrutiny.
Incorporating material from Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed, this new edition has been revised and expanded to include eight new chapters, detailed maps and hundreds of images that bring the sinister case to life.
Starvation Heights by Gregg Olsen
In 1911 two wealthy British heiresses, Claire and Dora Williamson, came to a sanitorium in the forests of the Pacific Northwest to undergo the revolutionary “fasting treatment” of Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard. It was supposed to be a holiday for the two sisters. But within a month of arriving at what the locals called Starvation Heights, the women were emaciated shadows of their former selves, waiting for death. They were not the first victims of Linda Hazzard, a quack doctor of extraordinary evil and greed who would stop at nothing short of murder to achieve her ambitions. As their jewelry disappeared and forged bank drafts began transferring their wealth to Hazzard’s accounts, Dora Williamson sent a last desperate plea to a friend in Australia, begging her to save them from the brutal treatments and lonely isolation of Starvation Heights.
In this true story—a haunting saga of medical murder set in an era of steamships and gaslights—Gregg Olsen reveals one of the most unusual and disturbing criminal cases in American history.
Then vs. Now