Other People’s Rejection Letters, edited by Bill Shapiro

Rejection letters are never fun . . . unless they are written to someone else!  This rejection collection includes letters by and to famous and not-so-famous people, ranging from the amusing to the disturbing.  While many names have been redacted to protect the innocent, the Postscript section at the end of the book sheds light on some of the recipients, including background on the letters and how the people moved on after the rejection.

The Penguin Who Knew Too Much: A Meg Langslow Mystery by Donna Andrews

This is the eighth book in the Meg Langslow series, all of which have birds in the titles and in the stories.  It all started with Peacocks.  The books do not have to be read in order.  Some have more laughs than others.  This one is laugh out loud funny.  You get exposed to Meg’s ever-growing extended family.  A body is found in her home while she and her fiancé are planning their wedding.  To add to the mix, a zoo-load of animals is being dumped off at their home.  Just sit back and enjoy.

Day After Night by Anita Diamant

Just when I thought I had heard of most of the twists and turns related to the Holocaust, another facet is discovered.  This novel, based on a true situation, tells the story of four young women who go to Israel after World War II.  They were placed by the British in Atlit, an internment camp for “illegal” immigrants.  We learn about life at the camp, the different paths which brought the women to Atlit, and their life afterwards.  It is a richly told story by the author of The Red Tent.

King of the Mild Frontier: an Ill-advised Autobiography by Chris Crutcher

Chris Crutcher often writes about dysfunction, and he does so well with it because he writes what he knows.  He didn’t have a terrible childhood per se, but he had major anger-management issues, an alcoholic mother, and a hard-working father who tried to keep up appearances no matter what — not to mention a trickster of an older brother who got Chris into a whole lot more trouble than he would have managed on his own.  As an adult, Crutcher worked as a child and family therapist, and he did his best to help other people work past their anger to fix the messes they’d made of their lives.  I liked hearing how the young Chris was already fond of speaking his mind and speaking out against injustice, and I really appreciated learning about some of the real-life people he had worked with who affected him so much that he incorporated their stories in his novels.

This autobiography was often hilarious, but sometimes brought me to tears.  Between the candid writing style and the fact that Crutcher narrated the audiobook himself, I sometimes felt like he was sitting in the passenger seat and telling me his stories in person.  The only thing I didn’t like was that it was over so quickly!  Still, I can appreciate the fact that this book will be an easier sell to reluctant readers for this very reason.  If you’ve read any of Crutcher’s books, you’ll surely recognize the people who’ve inspired him.  And if you haven’t yet read his books, this autobiography will surely entice you!