Right now I'm reading a novel called The Big Why by Michael Winter, who is a Canadian author. In this book he tackles one of my favorite themes in all of literature: People all alone in a very, very cold climate getting very bad ideas. It's about Rockwell Kent, the early 20th-century illustrator. There are quite a lot of people in the book who go off wandering late at night in the cold and then wish they'd brought a torch and warmer clothing.
I just finished a novel called The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian, which is somewhat post-apocalyptic in nature. It's about an enormous flood. It takes place inside a children's hospital which is surrounded by miles of water. I didn't mean to read it around the anniversary of the New Orleans flood, but that's when I ended up reading it. It's a science-fiction premise, but it's largely an emotional book.Tom Drury has a new novel. One of my favorite novels on earth is his second novel, The Black Brook. I just read his fourth novel, which is called The Driftless Area. It is a noir, which is surprising. It is also full of deadpan comedy. It's about a young man who is a bartender in a rather isolated community in the Midwest and he stumbles upon an evil plot involving a suitcase full of money and a mysterious fire and a femme fatale. I really liked it.
I really like the author Meg Rosoff, who had a book called How I Live Now about a strange war in England. Some children find themselves alone in a house, running out of food--in very desperate circumstances. I like children's books with desperate circumstances.
I have a child of picture-book age. He likes a book called Scaredy Squirrel [by Melanie Watt], about a squirrel who never wants to leave his tree. Part of the book talks about the disadvantages of never leaving the tree, and one of the disadvantages is "same old nuts, same old place," which my 3-year-old son has taken to be his personal motto. So, when he arrives at school in the morning, he says, "same old nuts, same old place."
The End, the 13th book in Lemony Snicket's mock Gothic "A Series of Unfortunate Events," has recently been released. Click here to read Yvonne Zipp's review.
Click here to read about what Handler is watching and listening to.
Patricia Leigh Brown's review of The End for the New York Times includes a brief primer for readers unfamiliar with this publishing phenomenon.
Visit the official Lemony Snicket site here.