Our regular contributors looked back over the last twelve months to pick a favorite book and interview from the year. A few were released in December 2019.  Here are their top five picks. Enjoy a re-visit. Click the links to the full interviews. Happy New Year everyone!

1. Interview: Risk Sentiment and Empathy Drive Poisssant’s Lake Life

July 1, 2020
Written by 

Lake Life

David James Poissant

(Simon & Schuster, 2020)

Lake Life, David James Poissant’s debut novel, begins with a tragic accident that brings up long buried family secrets and forces members of the Starling family to examine their relationships. It is a story of love and loss that looks at what it means to be in a family. Told over three days, in alternating points of view of six characters, the books sheds light on the challenges of an affair that threatens the longtime marriage of Richard and Lisa Starling, the unexpected pregnancy that upends the world of their son Michael and his wife Diane, and the ongoing negotiation between their son Thad and his partner Jake over their open relationship. In beautiful prose, the novel takes readers inside these relationships and reveals the tenderness, betrayal, beauty and pain that come with love.

2. Interview: Traumatized Syrian Refugees Must Find Each Other – and Themselves

December 1, 2019
Written by 

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

Christy Lefteri

(Ballantine Books)

Nuri and Afra and their young son live on a lovely hill overlooking Aleppo. Nuri and his cousin, Mustafa, tend bees in the fragrant fields of flowers nearby. Then war comes. They try to hang on, but their lives are devastated by destruction and death. Mustafa fleas first and Nuri’s challenge becomes to join him in England. Nuri and Afra survive the horrors of flight and refugee camps. Yet, making it to England is not enough to heal their wounds.

3, Interview: The Journey of Liu Xiaobo: His Fight to Free the Soul of China

October 1, 2020 4:04 am

Video intreview by

The Journey of Liu Xiaobo

Edited by Joanne Leedom-Ackerman

(Potomac Books/University of Nebraska Press)

In the early hours of June 4, 1989, a young activist persuaded thousands of Chinese protesters to leave Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to avoid being crushed by tanks from the People’s Liberation Army.

4. Irish Fairy Tales edited by J. K. Jackson

Irish Fairy Tales

Edited by J.K. Jackson

(Flame Tree 451)

Fairy stories, especially from the rich tradition of Ireland where the supernatural grew from the legends of the Celts, are the magic stories of everyday folk seeking solutions to the challenges of the day. This spritely new collection brings together the fables and stories of banshees, kings, trembling farmers, tricksters and beloved princesses. ‘Smallhead and the King’s Sons’ (a Cinderella story) and ‘The Haughty Princess’ (recalling Grimm’s ‘Kings Thrushbeard’) are amongst the many delightful tales of hope and reckless determination.

Fairy tales bring the myths of ancient times into the Victorian and Modern eras, where superstition and the supernatural still exist. Rooted in the past, such fairy stories bring morals and lessons for the young, and wise words for the old. They are a reminder of the power of the natural world and offer suggestions for our inner fears of the dark and the shadows. These tales provide a link between the myths and legends of the Celts, and the modern tales of dark monsters, of vampires and bewitchment, of the dark voices hidden in the earth, and the stars.

5. Interview: Winning CHOCOLAT Characters Continue in THE STRAWBERRY THIEF

April 1, 2020 4:01 am

Written by

The Strawberry Thief

by Joanne Harris, MBE


The Strawberry Thief, Joanne Harris MBE, Orion – Joanne Harris (MBE) is a best-selling English author known for her novel, the Chocolat (1999) which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Book Award and made into an Oscar-nominated film, starring Juliette Binoche and Judy Dench.