I've said before that I always pay close attention to what Ann Patchett recommends in her Parnassus Books posts because she makes a compelling case for them. Today's is no different, except that the book in question is Joan Wickersham's The Suicide Index, a work which - on the face of it - could be a hard one to 'sell', but as I've read it and admired it I was especially interested to see what Ann had to say about it. Do read Ann's post and note her suggested leap of faith vis-à-vis recommendations.
On the subject of recommendations, I'm pleased to see Kate Clanchy's novel Meeting the English up for another award: it has been longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. I was very taken with the book when I read it last year - as you'll see here - so good luck to Kate.
Another book for which I have a high regard is Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning The Luminaries, which is out in paperback today. "Highly original, meticulously constructed, thematically convincing, this is a richly evocative mystery," I said in my review, and here's my summary of what Eleanor had to say about the book when she came to Edinburgh last summer.
If you fancy having a crack at writing historical fiction yourself, there is a masterclass on the subject taking place in London next month. Sarah Dunant and Celia Brayfield "will share their knowledge and experience of creating or recreating historical characters, of evoking period settings, of finding inspiration in archives, constructing a compelling narrative without sacrificing accuracy and finding voices for characters that are true to their time and place"; but if you can't attend the event, there is a book on the subject.