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Red Fern Book Review

Author: Amy Mair

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Latest book reviews, book recommendations and news from the publishing world.
23 Episodes
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Geoff is back living out his lifetime loves of surfing and music through fiction. The first book discussed is Paul Theroux's Under the Wave at Waimea.  Set in Hawaii, this epic novel follows the life of aging surfer Joe Sharkey as he grapples with a fatal accident that forces him to face down his past. The second book, The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton, is a  rock novel set in the 1970s. Cleverly written as an oral history, this book by first-time author Walton examines gender inequality, race and pop culture through the lens of the music industry. The audio version of this book features several voice actors and makes for a compelling listening experience that blurs the line between fiction and reality.Book and resources discussed:100 Foot Wave, HBOUnder the Wave at Waimea by Paul TherouxThe Mosquito Coast by Paul TherouxThe Mosquito Coast, Apple TVThe Great Railway Bizarre by Paul TherouxDaisy and the Six by Taylor Jenkins ReidCrossroads by Jonathan FranzenThe Corrections by Jonathan FranzenGreat Circle: A Novel by Maggie ShipsteadThe Broom of the System by David Foster WallaceInfinite Jest by David Foster WallaceFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/Newsletter: https://redfernwriting.com/newsletter
The Perfect Family

The Perfect Family

2021-10-1527:56

Join Amy in her discussion with bestselling thriller writer Robyn Harding. Robyn's latest novel, The Perfect Family, is a twisty, addictively page-turning suspense novel about a perfect family's perfect facade. Robyn shares her favourites books, shows and podcasts and explains how miscommunication can make for a great story.Books and Resources discussedThe Perfect Family by Robyn HardingThe Guest List by Lucy FoleyLisa Jewell, authorJennifer Hillier, authorLiz Nugent, authorChevy Stevens, authorThe Hunted by Roz NayGirl in Ice by Erica FerencikThe River at Night by Erica FerencikThe Dropout: Elizabeth Holmes on Trial, podcastSuccession, HBOFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/Newsletter: https://redfernwriting.com/newsletterFollow Robyn Harding:Instagram: @rhardingwriterFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRobynHarding/
Fall Reading List

Fall Reading List

2021-10-0832:37

Susan Matheson is in the house to discuss the best books of the season! This fall many big name authors, from Colson Whitehead to Amor Towles, have new books on offer. Susan goes a bit deeper and selects books that might not be on your radar.  Amy has also launched a monthly newsletter! Subscribe and ask questions, learn about extra titles, get a sneak peek at future episodes and participate in reader giveaways. To subscribe: https://redfernwriting.com/newsletterBooks and Resources discussed:Lincoln Highway: A Novel by Amor TowlesRules of Civility by Amor TowlesA Gentleman in Moscow by Amor TowlesThese Precious Days by Ann PatchettGoing There by Katie CouricTaste: My Life Through Food by Stanley TucciWhen I Ran Away: A Novel by Ilona BannisterExtremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran FoerExtremely Loud & Incredibly Close, movieBrothers on Three by Abe StreepSparks Like Stars by Nadia HashimiIsland Queen by Vanessa RileyRed Island House: A Novel by Andrea LeeFreckles by Cecilia AhernP.S. I Love You by Cecilia AhernP.S. I Love You, movieMy Biggest Mistake by Terry O'ReillyUnder the Influence with Terry O'Reilly, podcastFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/Newsletter: https://redfernwriting.com/newsletterFollow Bedside Table Books:Instagram: @bedside_table_booksWebsite: https://bedsidetablebooks.com/
Amy explores two darker novels that are not exactly thrillers or are they? The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz is the story of a washed up academic who steals a student's story.  One of the most hyped books of this past summer, this novel takes plenty of twists and turns and explores the question of who owns a story. When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain follows troubled missing person's detective Anna Hart as she reckons with her past and tries to solve the case of several missing girls in Northern California. Paula, best known for the historical novel The Paris Wife,  draws upon her own history to create this moody and atmospheric book. Books and Resources Discussed:Hacks, HBOThe Moth, podcastThe Plot by Jean Hanff KorelitzWhen the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLainThe Paris Wife by Paula McLainCircling the Sun by Paula McLainBel Canto, Ann PatchettState of Wonder, Ann PatchettThe Dutch House, Ann PatchettFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
The Music of Bees

The Music of Bees

2021-09-1727:07

Bestselling author Eileen Garvin drops by the podcast to discuss her debut novel The Music of Bees. The book explores how three lost people unexpectedly come together through their love of honey bees.  We discuss the natural world, character development and how Eileen's love of beekeeping  and the small town of Hood River, Oregon, served as an inspiration. Eileen also shares a slew of books and podcasts, old and new. Books and resources discussed:The Music of Bees by Eileen GarvinBrood: a Novel by Jackie PolzinWhere Angel Fear to Tread by E.M. ForsterThe Bedside Book of Birds by Graeme GibsonWatership Down by Richard AdamsThe Writer's Library by Nancy PearlSugar Calling, Cheryl Strayed, The New York Times,  podcastPoetry Unbound, podcastFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/Follow Eileen Garvin:Instagram: @eileengarvin
The summer is over and The Red Fern Book Review is back! In the first episode of Season 2, Amy explores two memoirs, both by feisty, young, creative women. The first memoir, Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad , explores a woman's journey through illness, recovery and re-entry into everyday life. Finding Freedom: A Cook's Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch by Erin French follows a young chef as she battles through numerous obstacles to create one of the most sought after restaurants in the world. Also reviewed: HBO's The White Lotus and the historical comedy podcast Edith!Books and Resources discussed:Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika JaouadFinding Freedom: A Cook's Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch by Erin FrenchThe White Lotus, HBOEdith!, podcastFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
Lost Immunity

Lost Immunity

2021-06-1028:48

For the season finale, I am joined by best selling author and ER physician Daniel Kalla to talk about his new release Lost Immunity. This edge-of-your-seat medical thriller looks at an outbreak of bacterial meningitis that is sweeping the city of Seattle. The city's Chief Public Health Officer Lisa Dyer is out to save the day with an experimental vaccine that could save the community ... until the vaccine is tampered with. We talk about dialogue, side characters and learn about his upcoming book set in Alaska with Nordic noir vibes.Books discussed:Lost ImmunityThe Far Side of the Sky
Summer Reads!

Summer Reads!

2021-06-0332:14

Book blogger Susan Matheson is back with a curated list of summer reads just for Red Fern listeners. The books are all transportive but also imbued with social commentary that is fitting for our time. Find out which of us is willing to abandon a book without finishing and find out about a docuseries perfect for family trips.  Be sure to check out Susan's companion blog for even more titles!Books and resources discussed:Wind of Change, podcast, Cooked MediaThe Shell Seekers by Rosamunde PilcherThe Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloughSilas Marner by George EliotThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoevskySlumdog Millionaire, movieThe Reading List by Sara Nisha AdamsDijnn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa AnaparraFinding Freedom by Erin FrenchThe Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine: A Cookbook by Erin FrenchFrom Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by Tembi LockeHot Stew by Fiona MozleyThe Music of Bees by Eileen GarvinUnder the Wave at Waimea by Paul TherouxThe Mosquito Coast, limited series, Amazon PrimeFollow Bedside Table Books:Instagram: @bedside_table_booksWebsite: https://bedsidetablebooks.com/Follow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
Mend the Living

Mend the Living

2021-05-2631:16

Amy's old reporter buddy Myriam stops by the podcast to share her loves of languages and books. Amy and Myriam discuss part medical, part psychological novel Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal.  Translator Jessica Moore has received accolades for her translation of this taught, luminous novel and Myriam explains why.  Myriam also reviews the sci fi novel Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan. While she loved this book, it ended up dividing her book club! The podcast The Play's The Thing, a love note to all things Shakespeare, and Netflix docuseries Abstract: The Art of Design are also discussed.Books and resources discussed:Mend the Living by Maylis de KerangalMachines Like Me by Ian McEwanThe Play's The Thing podcastAbstract: The Art of Design, Netflix docuseriesFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
The Prague Sonata

The Prague Sonata

2021-05-1727:54

Music teacher and facilitator Cynthia Friesen drops by the podcast to chat about music, memory and healing. The phone rings, the doorbell chimes, but Amy's dogs are eerily silent this episode. Cynthia and Amy remember Bevelry Cleary and Cynthia recommends an app for calm and focus.Books and Resources discussed:Ramona and Her Father by Beverly ClearyVIBE: Calm, Focus, Sleep (App)The Prague Sonata by Bradford MorrowThe Da Vinci Code by Dan BrownPossession by A.S. ByattThe Plot by Jean Hanff KorelitzYou Should Have Known by Jean Hanff KorelitzThe Undoing, HBOAdmission by Jean Hanff KorelitzAdmission, movieAwesome Music Project: Songs of Hope and Happiness by Robert Carli and Terry StuartDo Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine ThienBach: The Goldberg Variations album by Glenn GouldMend The Living by Maylis de Kerangal, translated by Jessica MooreMachines Like Me by Ian McEwanBedside Table Books blogLost Immunity by Daniel KallaFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
Join host Amy Mair as she explores three novels by English authors: The Midnight Library, Klara and the Sun and Hamnet. The Midnight Library is reminiscent of childhood classics A Wrinkle in Time and The Phantom Tollbooth. Klara and the Sun is a sci-fi exploration of memory, machines and loneliness while Hamnet explores the connection between the death of Shakespeare's son and the making of Hamlet.  Amy also investigates book matching making service Page 1 Books.Books and Resources:Page 1 BooksThe Midnight Library by Matt HaigKlara and the Sun by Kazuo IshiguroThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo IshiguroMunro Books, Victoria, B.C.How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham ThammavongsaGone Girl by Gillian FlynnHamnet by Maggie O'FarrellI am, I am, I am by Maggie O'FarrellThe Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
Whistler Public Library Program Coordinator Jeanette Bruce is in the virtual house to discuss  two favourite reading genres: short fiction and fantasy. Short stories keep us engaged and fantasy takes us away from the here and now. Sign me up! My mom calls with an update on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist and I learn about a brand new pasta shape from a podcast for serious cooks.Books and resources discussed:This is a Robbery, NetflixChristopher Kimball's Milk Street RadioMoccasin Square Gardens by Richard Van CampHow long 'til Black Future Month by N.K. JemisinThe City We Became by N.K. JemisinThe Swan Suit by Kathrine FawcettThe Little Washer of Sorrows by Katherine FawcettThe Crooked Thing by Mary MacDonaldLove After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indiqueer Speculative Fiction, edited by Joshua WhiteheadJohnny Appleseed by Joshua WhiteheadChop Suey Nation: The Legion Cafe and Other Stories from Canada's Chinese Restaurants by Ann HuiArmchair Books, Whistler, British ColumbiaWhistler Public LibraryFollow Jeanette Bruce:Instagram: @liljablesTo read Jeanette's book reviews: Armchair BooksInfo on the next Whistler Community Book Club, May 26 at 7 p.m.: Chop Suey Nation Follow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
Amy's husband Geoff drops by the podcast to discuss two contemporary novels or should we call them memoirs? You be the judge.  The Topeka School by Ben Lerner is a literary novel based on the author's own experience growing up in Topeka, Kansas. This complex and satisfying story jumps time periods, tenses and narrators to look at the importance of language and what it means to a white, American male growing up in the late 1990s.  A Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan Hawke is a page turner that examines the cult of celebrity and the inner workings of the theatre.  Amy professes her love for the musical ensemble Brooklyn Duo and NPR meets true crime podcast Criminal.Books discussed:The Topeka School by Ben LernerA Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan HawkeOther resources:Brooklyn Duo, musical ensembleCriminal podcast with Phoebe Judgefavourite episodes:Episode #15 He's NeutralEpisode #84 MasterpieceMaudie, 2016 movie with Ethan Hawke available on Amazon PrimeFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
My Rembrandt

My Rembrandt

2021-04-0517:57

Host Amy Mair dives into the elegant and sometimes sordid world of fine art with My Rembrandt, a quirky and compelling documentary about a Dutch aristocrat and his race to find the first new Rembrandt in 40 years, An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro. She concludes the episode with a national story about the debate over a Flemish still life and Nazi-looted art acquired by the Art Gallery of Ontario.Books and Resources discussed:My Rembrandt, Apple TVAn Object of Beauty by Steve MartinBorn Standing Up by Steve MartinShopgirl by Steve MartinThe Goldfinch by Donna TarttThe Art Forger by Barbara ShapiroNew York Times Magazine article on Jan Six XI (contains spoilers to My Rembrandt)The Globe and Mail article on debate over Still Life with Flowers by Jan van KesselFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
Spring Book Preview!

Spring Book Preview!

2021-03-2427:02

Spring is here and with it a new season of books! Longtime book blogger Susan Matheson unpacks her top picks of the season. The much anticipated follow up novel by Imbole Mbue, a literary thriller by historical novelist Paula McLain and a memoir from 1980s Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy are topics of discussion. The rich period drama The Luminaries on Amazon Prime and Sibling Revelry, Kate and Oliver Hudson's fun podcast about family, are also discussed.Top Spring Book Picks:Dusk, Night, Dawn by Anne LamottWhen the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLainBrat: An '80s Story by Andrew McCarthyThe Secret Keeper of Jaipur: A Novel by Alka JoshiHow Beautiful We Were by Imbolo MbueThe Elephant of Belfast by S. Kirk WalshOther books/resources discussed:Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne LamottOperating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne LamottThe Paris Wife by Paula McLainLove and Ruin by Paula McLainCircling the Sun by Paula McLainStories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob LoweThe Henna Artist by Alka JoshiBehold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue419: A Novel by Will FergusonFollow Bedside Table Books:Instagram: @bedside_table_booksWebsite: https://bedsidetablebooks.com/Follow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
Join host Amy Mair and Simon Fraser University professor Reema Faris as they explore cultural heritage, identity and memory through the memoir What the Ocean's Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home by Sonja Boon. Reema shares her research on women and reading and recommends a best selling historical novel involving books, World War II and Paris. Need we say more? Amy reviews a new podcast with Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue and digital newsletter The Sunday Paper by Maria Shriver.The Sunday Paper, Maria ShriverDouble Date with Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue, podcast What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home by Sonja BoonThe Paris Library by Janet Skeslien CharlesReema Faris:Website: Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, Simon Fraser UniversityFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/SFU.GSWS/Follow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
The Green Light

The Green Light

2021-03-0721:50

The Green Light (not to be confused with Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey!) is that mysterious light at the end of the dock in The Great Gatsby that represents Jay Gatsby's hope for the future.  In this episode, host Amy Mair looks at two American novels and examines why, it seems, everyone is reading and writing about the classic Jazz Age tale.  Spoiler alert: the copyright has expired! Jenny Offill's Weather examines climate change and modern-day American life through the eyes of Brooklyn librarian, wife and mother Lizzie.  Nick, by Southern Gothic writer Michael Farris Smith, is the backstory to The Great Gatsby character and narrator Nick Carraway.  Amy also explores a fun video texting app that has gotten her through Covid and looks at the man of the hour: Stanley Tucci.Books and resources discussed:Marco Polo, video texting appStanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, CNNWeather by Jenny OffillNick by Michael Farris SmithJay the Great by Benjamin FrostFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
Virtual Book Club

Virtual Book Club

2021-02-2626:06

Attending festivals and large events in person may be in our distant future, but one of the largest literary events in North America has found a way to pivot with new programming and a virtual lineup. Join me in my discussion with the Vancouver Writers Festival Artistic Director Leslie Hurtig and find out about what special events she has in store for this spring.  Hello, Ethan Hawke fans! Learn about some new first-time authors and how Leslie finds the time to incorporate reading into her everyday routine. I also reveal a favourite crowdsourced photography site and share a memorable new essay by beloved author Ann Patchett.Books and resources:Instagram: @accidentallywesandersonAccidentally Wes Anderson by Wally KovalVancouver Writers Festival"These Precious Days" by Ann Patchett, Harper's MagazineUncommon Type by Tom Hanks Libro.fmRu by Kim ThuyThe Return of the Trickster by Eden RobinsonA Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan HawkeButter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca EkwuyasiReal Life by Brandon TaylorFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
An Unfortunate End

An Unfortunate End

2021-02-1822:45

A poisoned aristocrat. A fledgling reporter. A scandal to die for. Join host Amy Mair as she meets up with mystery writer Lisa Zumpano to discuss her historical mystery series.  A self-professed Anglophile, Lisa reveals what it takes to be a self published author and how to get all the historical details just right. Righty-ho!Books and resources discussed:Anxious People by Fredrik BackmanA Man Called Ove by Fredrik BackmanMark Dawson's Self Publishing FormulaThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldMiss Marple series by Agatha ChristieFollow Lisa:Instagram: @lisazumpanoauthorwebsite: lisazumpano.comFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreviewFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
A Light in the Dark

A Light in the Dark

2021-02-1025:57

Host Amy Mair joins with Jill Schmelke to discuss the critically acclaimed memoir Uncanny Valley by Anna Weiner as well as the historical novel Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. They discuss health, working out (or not) and how sometimes a heavy book can be just the thing to get through hard times.Books and resources:Uncanny Valley by Anna WeinerTattooist of Auschwitz by Heather MorrisCobra Kai, NetflixFollowers: A Novel by Megan AngeloThe Healthy Brain by Aileen Burford-MasonThis is Your Brain on Food by Uma NaidooLiar's Poker by Michael LewisStation Eleven by Emily St. John MandelFollow Nourish MeInstagram: @nourishmenutritionwebsite: https://nourishme.caFollow Red Fern Book Review:Instagram: @redfernbookreview.comFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/redfernbookreview/
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