EXCLUSIVE: 6 Best-Selling Authors Share What They’re Reading

The Authors Luncheon, one of the biggest literary events in the nation, raises funds for Arizona kidney programs while celebrating writers past and present.

This year’s event will feature six renowned authors: Adriana Trigiani, Grace Lin, Sheila Johnson, Susan Casey, Bonnie Garmus and David Baldacci. We have the exclusive on what books they’re currently reading and recommending.

Adriana Trigiani, author of “The House of Love

Recommends: “The Wager” by David Grann

David is a brilliant historian who writes page-turners that I can’t put down. This novel takes place on the high seas. There’s mystery, murder and a mutiny. The survivors have differing accounts of what happened aboard this British man-of-war in the 1700s. Spectacular work!  

Grace Lin, author of “Chinese Menu

Recommends: “Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch” by Julie Abe

I’ve been reading “Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch” with my daughter’s book club and it is so much fun! In the spirit of my favorite Miyazaki films, it is about an apprentice witch who, with only a drop of magic in her blood, wants to prove she has what it takes to officially become a witch. And, of course, there is more — including an ominous “Culling” that threatens all. Filled with magical details, adventure and heart, the book is a delight and I have a group of 5th graders who will attest to it as well.

Sheila Johnson, author of “Walk Through Fire

Recommends: “King: A Life” by Jonathan Eig

Like it or not, we’ve become a nation unwilling to grasp even basic things like objectivity, nuance and human frailty in our heroes (and therefore, we’ve become almost cultish in our devotion to them). That’s why, now, I relish human flaws. That’s also why I’m reading Jonathan Eig’s new bio of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with delight. It humanizes my childhood hero in a way that’s as enlightening as it is honest. And it reminds me, a Chicago girl who grew up around plenty of flawed Black men, that no one’s born an icon — not even King. Such a distinction, like so many things worth having, is a matter of choice. And achieving it always relies on overcoming one’s flaws, however deep, and achieving great things despite them.

Susan Casey, author of “The Underworld: Journeys to the Depths of the Ocean

Recommends: “Time Is a Mother” by Ocean Vuong

I haven’t run into anything Vuong has written that hasn’t been extraordinary and this book of poetry is no exception. Plumbing the depth and experience of grief, he carefully reveals the loss of a loved one, a culture, an experience, with simplicity and justice.

Bonnie Garmus, author of “Lessons in Chemistry

Recommends: “American Mermaid” by Julia Langbein

Langbein is a standup comedian with a PhD in art history, and that combination of hilarity and brilliance is infused throughout her book. “American Mermaid” is a sharp, funny, and utterly original story that I can’t put down.

David Baldacci, author of “Simply Lies

Recommends: “The Half Has Never Been Told” by Edward E. Baptist

I read this book while writing a courtroom drama set in 1968. It is a powerful story that brings a fresh angle and unique perspective to the role slaves played in making America an economic superpower, a seismic shift in this country’s global trajectory that enriched many, except the African Americans who were the single biggest contributor to this creation of wealth. For anyone interested in learning a part of American history that is never taught in schools in this country, this book is an excellent place to start.

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