Reading Matters

Need something enticing after ‘A Little Life’

It could take me months to recover from my recent reading of “A Little Life,” by Hanya Yanagihara. The nearly 800-page novel, which came out last year, gripped me. Every book since has seemed watery and thin. The story of four male friends, who graduate from a prestigious school in New England, and settle in New York City to plunge into their careers, is like a trip through a redwood forest – thick, textured and savagely beautiful.

Now for something else enticing. One that sounds promising is a biography of my favorite country singer. “Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark” is by Tamara Saviano and due in October from Texas A&M Press. Much of the book will focus on Clark’s relationship with his wife Susanna and his best friend, the late Townes Van Zandt.

A Hickory reader, Mary Ellen Snodgrass, read an advance copy of Susan Rivers’s “The Second Mrs. Hockaday,” a Civil War novel set in South Carolina. Rivers, who lives in a “small, rural town in South Carolina,” earned an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. The novel concerns a teen bride left to run a 300-acre plantation. Snodgrass wrote “gush-gush” in the subject line of her email. The debut novel, based on a true incident, is due in January from Algonquin Books.