Reading Matters

Five books I can’t wait to read

    Birds, Art, Life: A Year of Observation, by Kyo Maclear. I can hardly put this down. Maclear, who lives in Toronto, talks about her then-boyfriend, now-husband: “I did not know he would stay on, never really leaving. I did not know that between us there was anything to make a nest of.” Yes, it’s about birding. But so much more -- such as freedom vs. being caged. “The instinct for liberty may be deeply ingrained,” she writes, “but we are all captive in some way to something.” Due in January.

    The Orphan’s Tale, a novel by Pam Jenoff. Set in a traveling circus during WWII, 17-year-old Noa, forced by her parents to give up her baby conceived with a Nazi soldier, discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp. Who could blame her if she steals one of them and takes off into the snowy night?. Internationally bestselling Jenoff is a Philadelphia lawyer. Due in February.

    Lovie: The Story of a Southern Midwife and an Unlikely Friendship, non-fiction, by Lisa Yarger. Yarger discovered the story of midwife Lovie in 1996 while researching topics for an exhibit at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Lovie lived in Washington, in Beaufort County, and was the first nurse-midwife to practice in North Carolina. Yarger interviews Lovie in an attempt to “fit together the jagged pieces of her life.” Available now.

    The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson, a novel by Nancy Peacock. Former slave Persimmon Wilson, due to hang in a Texas jail cell, writes furiously trying to set the record straight. He says he is not guilty of the kidnapping and rape of his master’s wife. Peacock lives in Hillsborough amidst a nest of other writers. Due in January.

    The Wars of the Roosevelts: The Ruthless Rise of America’s Greatest Political Family, by William J. Mann. “The stories tumble out until no skeleton remains closeted,” says Kirkus Reviews. Mann is the author of “Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn,” and the Edgar Award-winning “Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood.” Available now.