Local Author Reading List: Liz Garton Scanlon

It’s hard enough for us parents to find time to read, let alone to decide what to read. Head to the library and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the stacks upon stacks of interesting-sounding titles (who can blame us for judging a book by its cover?) Just keeping up with book lists can seem like a chore. That’s why we here at LiveMom are introducing you to local authors, who will be giving you the skinny on what’s on their reading lists…because who better than a writer to turn you on to new and interesting books?!

Photo by Katherine O'Brien Photography
Photo by Katherine O’Brien Photography

Our very first Reading List comes to us from a Caldecott Award winning children’s author, Liz Garton Scanlon. In addition to creating award-winning book for children, Liz is also a teacher, wife, and mama to two kids. We asked Liz to share her Top 5 list of favorite books with us and we got 5 plus a few bonus recommendations! The following list are some of her favorites from the past couple of years. Enjoy!

I took her advice on #3 and was happy that I followed her instructions to not read the reviews or flap copy.

1. The Orphan Master’s Son: A Novel , by Adam Johnson — North Korea revealed through story. When I read this I felt like I was getting a global education and, at the same time, being taken on the most wildly imaginative ride of my life. It’s a literary tour de force, plain and simple, and I make everyone read it.

2. The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate — Last year’s Newbery award winning novel for young people. Pure heart and soul. I would’ve cried with every page turn except sometimes I was laughing.

3. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves: A Novel, by Karen Joy Fowler — This is ‘The One and Only Ivan’ for grown-ups. It’s maybe the most surprising thing I’ve read in awhile, partly because I was told not to read reviews, not to read the flap copy, to go in completely unawares. So that’s what I recommend to you all too.

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4.Unexploded, by Alison Mcleod This was long-listed for the Booker Prize and I almost always love the Booker Prize books. So my only question is, “Why wasn’t it short-listed for the Booker Prize?” I loved this book the way one likes watching Call the Midwife or the first season of Downton. This is the best British novel I’ve read since Black Swan Green , by David Mitchell, which is brilliant. (Did you see how I did that? How I snuck in another book?)

4. The Housekeeper and the Professor, by Yoko Ogawa — Just a little slip of a book, but a beautiful slip of a book. And, honestly, it made me fall in love with math just a little. Which is an actual miracle.

5. I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith — Hello? Why isn’t this book really, really famous and being read with all the Austen and Bronte books? Maybe because it’s too new to garner that kind of respect (originally published in 1949)? I haven’t the foggiest, but it’s delightful, I promise you, and now you know about it!

6. OK, I know it’s the top five, but I want to add, from the last few years, State of Wonder: A Novel, by Ann Patchett; Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall; The Book Thief, by Markus Zuzak, and Too Much Happiness, by Alice Munro. Because I couldn’t put any of the four of these down and they’re worth a second read, each one of them. (Which also, in my mind, means they’re worth a #6.)

Liz will be at BookPeople reading from her newest children’s book, The Good-Pie Party at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 5th, 2014.

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Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2119 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded LiveMom.com out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

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