TLC Book Tour – Kathleen McCleary

House and Home, by Kathleen McCleary was published by Hyperion Books on July 1, 2008. This is the author’s first novel. She is a former senior editor for USA Weekend and has had her writing published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, More, and Health as well as on My review of House and Home is HERE. To read more reviews and other book tours for this author, check out the schedule on TLC Book Tours.

Kathleen McCleary was born and raised in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. She now lives northern Virginia with her husband, two daughters and two cats, but enjoys spending several months a year in Oregon.

Visit the author’s website to read more about Kathleen and her novel House and Home.

Kathleen McCleary has graciously agreed to write a guest post today (which appears below) and tells us a bit about the books on her nightstand. Thank you, Kathy!


What’s On My Nightstand

by Kathleen McCleary

Writers are all readers, by definition. I spent much of my childhood holed up in the library, reading and daydreaming. One of the hardest things about writing fiction, for me, is tearing myself away from reading it in order to devote time to writing it. I always have an enormous stack of books on my bedside table. So here is what I’m reading (or hoping to read) right now:

  • A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle. Okay, I’m as susceptible as the next guy to Oprah’s recommendations.
  • Exiles, by Ron Hansen. This received such a glowing review in The Washington Post that I bought it the next day. Exiles tells the story of a shipwreck in 1875 that prompted Gerard Manley Hopkins to write passionate, magnificent poetry. The book is beautifully written and surprisingly hard to put down. I love it.
  • The Town in Bloom, by Dodie Smith. Smith wrote one of my all-time favorite novels, I Capture the Castle. My bookseller aunt picked this 1965 book out for my daughter, an acting buff, because it’s about an 18-year-old girl trying to make it in the theater in 1920’s London. Smith is terrific at creating life-like characters.
  • Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger. It looks great; I haven’t started it yet.
  • The Summer Book, by Tove Jansson. Another find from my bookseller aunt (visit her at Crawford Doyle on Madison Avenue in New York City), this is a simple, beautiful, lyrical book that offers an amazing depiction of the relationship between a six-year-old girl and her grandmother as they spend the summer on a tiny island in the Gulf of Finland.
  • Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! Loving Your Kid Without Losing your Mind, by Michael J. Bradley. What can I say? I have one teenager and one about-to-be teenager. I need all the advice I can get, and this book has been amazingly helpful.
  • The Third Angel, by Alice Hoffman. Like most writers, I’m a big Alice Hoffman fan. She has such a mastery of her craft, and makes it seem so effortless, like listening to Vladimir Horowitz play the piano.
  • Kristin Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Undset. I read this classic when I was in my twenties, and want to re-read it now that I’m older. I loved it then.
  • The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner. Anyone who’s read my novel is probably aware that I’m more than a little obsessed with place and its influence on our lives. How our homes, towns, states, affect us and change us is endlessly fascinating to me. This book is great. I rarely read non-fiction but I breezed through this.
  • Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy. Yes, this actually is on my nightstand. Again, I read it when I was too young to fully understand or appreciate it, so I’m reading it again, in the new translation. It is awe-inspiring. An example, from the scene in which Vronsky sees Anna for the first time, when they pass each other on a train:

“As he looked back, she also turned her head. Her shining grey eyes, which seemed dark because of their thick lashes, rested amiably and attentively on his face, as if she recognized him, and at once wandered over the approaching crowd as though looking for someone. In that brief glance Vronsky had time to notice the restrained animation that played over her face and fluttered between her shining eyes and the barely noticeable smile that curved her red lips. It was as if a surplus of something so overflowed her being that it expressed itself beyond her will, now in the brightness of her glance, now in her smile…”

What’s on your nightstand? Have you read any of the books on mine?

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  1. What a great idea! I loved reading about the books on Kathleen’s nightstand. Thanks for featuring this on the tour. Great review, too!

    • Typ0 on September 17, 2008 at 03:57

    Great idea for a post! I have recently taken to rereading the classics I didn’t fully appreciate the first time around. So my TBR stack includes everything from “Lolita” to “Pride and Prejudice.”

  2. I have this book on my TBR pile and am really excited to read it! I’ve heard so many great things about it!

    • Maggie B on September 17, 2008 at 12:24

    I re-read Anna Karenina a few years ago and enjoyed it so thoroughly. It remains the standard by which I judge the experience of reading any other novel. Well, neck in neck with Lolita, maybe. What is it about those Russians?

    I have never watched Oprah or paid attention to her book club selections but I did come across one of her Eckhart Tolle web interviews lately which led me to read his books. As a result, I am now reading Thomas Merton, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas as well as Lao Tsu. It reawakened a dormant passion for the poetry and writings from the mystical traditions of all religions. Tolle is quite an interesting writer, but probably only for certain people at certain times. I am happy I did not dismiss him because the Oprah brand seems lightweight to me (i.e. “The Secret”).

    I’m looking forward to checking out some of your suggestIons, especially the books by women, which I am trying to focus on more.

    • Suey on September 17, 2008 at 17:02

    A New Earth has been on my nightstand for months and months now… as has War and Peace (kinda like Anna right? Same author and all…) ARGGHH! I need to finish them both!

    • Wendy on September 19, 2008 at 07:23

    LH and Typ0: I loved that she shared those with us as well 🙂

    S. Krishna: Hope you will enjoy it! I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts.

    Maggie: I agree – the Russian writers lure me in too. I’m not a huge Oprah fan, but I’ve read quite a few of her book club selections and liked them.

    Suey: I have the new translation of War and Peace to read – one of these days I’ll do it!

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