In the past two years, I’ve enjoyed the work of the writers and scholars whose sites comprise my blogroll. This weekend, as the kolbolds and bugbears on Capitol Hill flay all meaning out of the word “stimulus,” there is something you can do to support hard-working writers: you can buy their books.
So everyone is blathering on about “infrastructure,” but what really happens when shady politicians bicker over pet projects? Let Steven Hart enlighten you. Read his timely and terrific book The Last Three Miles: Politics, Murder, and the Construction of America’s First Superhighway.
In September, when Germans marks the 2,000th anniversary of the battle of Teutoberg Forest, you’ll want to have read Adrian Murdoch’s book about it, Rome’s Greatest Defeat. If you’re looking for highly readable introductions to Late Antiquity, check out Murdoch’s other books, The Last Pagan and The Last Roman.
Olen Steinhauer is a novelist to watch. His police procedurals set in Communist Eastern Europe beautifully evoke a sad, broken world, and his forthcoming spy thriller, The Tourist, has garnered lots of advanced praise.
Last year, Leslie Pietrzyk won over my mom, who called Leslie’s novels “much better than that stuff Oprah is always trying to get us to read.” Pears on a Willow Tree focuses on women in a Polish-American family; A Year and a Day tells the story of a girl dealing with a family suicide.
C.M. Mayo’s historical novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, is due out in May, but if you plan to head south of the border before then, you’ll want her much-praised Mexico: A Traveler’s Literary Companion.
K.A. Laity is just too prolific. Check out her books about folklore, fiction, film, and religion.
Cartoonist Alexis Fajardo loves a good epic. His all-ages graphic novel Kid Beowulf and the Blood-Bound Oath is now available, and you can already pre-order its sequel, Kid Beowulf and the Song of Roland.
Let’s not overlook the scholars. The inimitable Scott Nokes is the co-editor of Global Perspectives on Medieval English Literature, Language, and Culture, a quirky collection of articles about Chaucer, Boethius, C.S. Lewis, and the Popol Vuh.
Do your plans include a pilgrimage to 14th-century Canterbury? If so, then get to know Will McLean, who regularly blogs about historical recreation. He co-authored the recently reissued Daily Life in Chaucer’s England.
If you’re eager to dig more deeply into the question of how Karl became Charlemagne, look to Matthew Gabriele. He’s the co-editor of the excellent The Legend of Charlemagne in the Middle Ages: Power, Faith, and Crusade.
Charlemagne understood that resourceful people could prosper despite difficult times. “There’s a lot of opportunities,” he famously opined, “if you know when to take them, you know?” Why not put a few bucks in the pockets of these authors and prove the old king right?