Tom Miller, A Place to Rest (2022)— “Like most writers, I’m a voracious reader. Moreover, neither my wife nor I watch television, so most evenings find us relaxing with a book. I’m also an eclectic reader, enjoying fiction and nonfiction and lots of genres including history, biography, mystery, historical fiction, and literary fiction. Since I’m a writer, a good bit of my reading is for research. And, I usually have a novel waiting for when I need a break. So, my very long answer to what I’m reading, interpreted broadly to include everything I’ve read since New Year’s Day, is, a lot. Lately, I’ve been working on a sequel to my post-World War II novel A Place to Rest. The sequel continues the story from 1964 through 1975, and two of my characters end up in Vietnam--one as a war correspondent, another as a soldier. So, I’ve been reading Vietnam-related books: the indispensable Graham Greene novel, The Quiet American, that foretells the mistakes that America will make in Vietnam was at the top of the list. I first read it as a college sophomore in 1965 and have revisited it several times since. It never disappoints. Since the war correspondent in my novel is a woman, I’ve read a couple of books chronicling the work of women correspondents in Vietnam: You Don’t Belong Here by Elizabeth Becker and Joyce Hoffman’s On Their Own. Between their covers, I’ve found a model for my war correspondent in the real-life Kate Webb, a young Aussie journalist who arrived in Saigon in 1967 at twenty-three-years-old with a couple hundred dollars in her pocket, no job, and an improbable dream. She went on to become UPI bureau chief in war-torn Cambodia where she was captured by the North Vietnamese and survived twenty-four days in captivity before being released. I’ve also re-read (for the first time in fifty years) David Halberstam’s classic account of America’s descent into the morass of Vietnam, The Best and the Brightest. For entertainment, I read Don Winslow’s City on Fire, the first of a trilogy about a New England crime family. Winslow, as usual, is provocative and irresistible. I read Maggie Shipstead’s novel Great Circle about a female aviation pioneer who disappears while on a circumnavigation of the earth. (Yeah, I thought Amelia Earhart too.) I’m a pushover for a missing person mystery, and Shipstead delivers, although I’m not so sure about the surprise ending. And, finally, I read Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I know. Taylor Jenkins Reid? I’m not a literary snob. I’ve already admitted to enjoying mystery and historical fiction. Right? But I don’t do romance. Often. I only read this because I had read and thoroughly enjoyed Reid’s earlier Daisy Jones & the Six, which I somehow stumbled upon. Malibu Rising is an entertaining look at modern celebrity but no more. I don’t really recommend it. But if you’re going to the beach next summer and don’t have anything to pass the hours on the beach, you could do worse.”
Tom Miller’s most recent novel, A Place to Rest, was published in 2022 by Legacy Book Press.
Rebecca Hendrickson, Lessons from the Mountain (2022)— “I am currently reading The Only Woman in the Room by Heather Terrell. It is based on the true story of actress, Hedy Lamarr, and is so far a very captivating story that is a great read for anyone interested in a story of women's empowerment and the history of World War 2 in Austria. I wouldn't be able to put it down except for the fact that this tired, working mother can't keep her eyes open long enough to read it one sitting!”