Wieland or the Transformation
I’m a retired professor of American literature (Queens College, City University of New York) and a true-crime historian who has been writing nonfiction books about some of our nation’s most heinous serial killers and mass murderers for over thirty years.
Maniac recounts one of the most horrific American crimes of the 20th century and explores the reasons why it has so completely faded from public memory. In the spring of 1927, a madman named Andrew Kehoe, previously a respected member of the small farming community of Bath, Michigan, rigged the town’s proud new public school with hundreds of pounds of explosives, which he detonated on the last day of classes, killing 38 schoolchildren and several teachers: the worst school massacre in U.S. history and the deadliest domestic terrorist attack before Timothy McVeigh’s. He then drove his car, loaded with shrapnel and dynamite, to the crime scene and blew himself up along with several more victims: the first (and only) suicide car bombing in U.S. history.
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We think you will like Life After, Three Women, and The Hours if you like this list.
From Ashley's list on the best suspense novels with emotionally intelligent characters.
The sole survivor of a train wreck, Autumn Manning lives crippled with guilt. When she meets the husband of one of the women who died in the wreck, sparks fly, and Autumn’s guilt only increases. And, while very likely the saddest book I’ve recommended thus far, Life After paints a beautiful, cathartic picture of grief that few authors have. Grief is part of life, but people don’t like to talk about what happens to our hearts/psyches when it descends. While Life After may elicit a few tears, it is a stunning, beautiful book that I highly recommend.
From Chisa's list on the best books about finding joy in dark-ass times.
This book is wildly imaginative for non-fiction. It’s an account of the sex lives of (yup) three women and the very complex desires that fuel them. All were just trying to snatch a little joy for themselves, carnally speaking. And I have to believe that sharing their stories only heightened that joy. I got to know Lisa and hear about her process for collecting the material for this book (which I helped adapt into a TV series for Showtime). I’ve never met anyone so free of judgment, and so ready to understand why people do things that others find unseemly. She is a master of empathy, and I learned how powerful that can be from her and this work.
In The Hours, Cunningham masterfully weaves together the stories of three women who will never meet, yet are connected through the influence of Virginia Woolf (one of the three) on their lives. Cunningham shows how art—in this case, Mrs. Dalloway, one of Woolf’s most brilliant novels—can have a profound influence that the artist could never have predicted and will never know. As someone striving to produce her own art (in my case, through novels about the impact of art on human lives) that speaks to me in a very deep way, and gives me hope.