Bedtime Stories: April 2024

  • April 30, 2024

What are book lovers reading before lights-out? We asked one, and here’s what he said.

Bedtime Stories: April 2024

Tim Wendel:          

As I hit the road to promote my new historical novel, Rebel Falls, I’ve loaded several titles on my iPad. These include James by Percival Everett. I’m about a hundred pages in, and the shifts in voice — depending on who Jim is speaking with — are a great twist.

While I don’t read many mysteries, I’m an unabashed Tana French fan. I once recommended her work to one of my grad students at Johns Hopkins. A week later, the student arrived to class looking bedraggled, telling me, “I hate you, professor.” She had read several of French’s novels. Unable to put them down, she hadn’t gotten much sleep.

I’m wary about something similar happening to me with French’s new one, The Hunter. But a few nights of little sleep is worth the risk.

I’m intrigued with Howard Mansfield’s I Will Tell No War Stories: What Our Fathers Left Unsaid About World War II. His books consistently offer insights about our culture and how major events are remembered. So, I just downloaded his latest.

Also, I find myself in that netherworld between promoting the new book and sketching out the next one. As a result, I’m deep into Rick Rubin’s The Creative Act: The Way of Being. In it, the record producer details how to move ahead and strive to do your best work. One of his pearls of wisdom: “The best art divides the audience. If everyone likes it, you probably haven’t gone far enough.”

Also, I just finished Lauren Fleshman’s Good for a Girl: A Woman Running in a Man’s World. With the Paris Summer Games on the horizon, I’ve returned to this memoir several times, as it provides a better understanding of what the top women athletes go through to compete in world-class events like the Olympics.

And, finally, my wife and I recently returned from a river cruise in Germany. During that stretch, I read The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann. It’s an absorbing tale about British sailors marooned off the southern tip of South America in the 1700s. And it’s funny how things sometimes fall together. During our recent trip, we talked about making our next trip a true adventure. So, in 2025, we’ll participate in a scientific expedition to Antarctica. But not before I download some more e-books.

A writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University, Tim Wendel’s books include Summer of ’68, Castro’s Curveball, and Rebel Falls. Based on true events, Rebel Falls follows a woman spy caught up in the clandestine war in Niagara Falls in 1864.

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