Local Author Reading List: Amanda Eyre Ward

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?!

We were excited to learn that Amanda Eyre Ward, a local mama writer we interviewed back in 2011, has a new book coming out on January 20th. The Same Sky tells the story of two lives which intersect: Alice, an Austinite who runs a barbecue restaurant with her husband and who feels there is just something missing in her life, and Carla, a strong-willed young girl who decides to make the perilous journey from Mexico to America with her younger brother in search of a better life. BookPeople selected The Same Sky as one of its top picks for 2015 and will be hosting the launch party on Wednesday, January 28th at 7pm. You can read a Q&A about the book here and order your very own signed and personalized copy here.

We’re thrilled that at this incredibly busy time, Amanda said yes to our invitation to recommend five books to our readers. Here’s what she had to say:

Amanda Eyre Ward

My new novel deals with many different topics, so I thought I’d list the five best books I read while researching THE SAME SKY. Here goes!

Prophets of Smoked Meat

1. One of the two main characters is Alice, who runs a BBQ restaurant in East Austin with her husband, Jake. The best book I read for understanding the various styles of Texas BBQ (and the characters who smoke the meat) is The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecueby the witty and wonderful Daniel Vaughn.

Immigrant journeys2. The other main character is Carla, a young Honduran girl who travels across Mexico to find her mother in Austin. The two best books I read about the immigrants traveling the US are Enrique’s Journey by the LA Times reporter Sonia Nazario, who actually rode on the tops of trains with immigrant kids, and The Beast by Oscar Martinez, another brave and thoughtful reporter.

Saving the School

3. My favorite show is Friday Night Lights, and I wanted to investigate a troubled high school and how adults can change the lives of children in a day. I loved Saving the School: One Woman’s Fight for the Kids That Education Reform Left Behind by Austin’s Michael Brick, which reads like a novel but tells the true-life story of Reagan High School.Advertisement
Fourth of July Creek

4. My goal when writing is to create a novel that will break a reader’s heart. The novel that broke my heart this year is Fourth of July Creek: A Novel by Smith Henderson.

Migratory Animals

5. I also love reading novels set in Austin. The wise debut Migratory Animals: A Novel (P.S.) by Mary Helen Specht illuminates the lives of a group of young Austinites, and I loved it.


Looking for more ideas on what to read? Take a look at our past Reading Mama Recommendations here.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.livemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Nicole-Basham-Sara-Marzani-Photography-livemom.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 8-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau’s words, her mission is to “suck out all the marrow of life”, or in her son’s words, to cultivate in him a love of “advenchers”.[/author_info] [/author]


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About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".

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