Furious Hours by Casey Cep (2019)
This month‘s book is about a famous American writer and her struggle to write a second book after a very successful first one. Here’s the blurb from the back cover:
‚Reverend Willie Maxwell, a rural preacher, was notorious. Accused of murdering five members of his family in the 1970’s, he was shot dead in front of 300 mourners at a victim’s funeral, and the state of Alabama is consumed. America’s most famous author, Harper Lee, wants this true-crime tale for herself. But, as she watches the Reverend’s killer stand trial, and she burrows deep into this town, the story slips through her fingers. This is the story Harper Lee wanted to write. This is the story of why she couldn’t‘.
The book is called Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee. It was published in 2019, was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize and won the 2020 ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction. Its author, Casey Cep, has a degree in English from Harvard University and an MPhil in theology from the University of Oxford, which she attended on a Rhodes Scholarship. She is a staff writer at The New Yorker and this is her first book.
Reading Circle Members recommended the following books:
- Ernest Gaines – A Lesson Before Dying: a deep and compassionate novel about a young man who returns to 1940s Cajun country to visit a black youth on death row for a crime he did not commit. Together they come to understand the heroism of resisting.
- Irvine and Mariam Yalom – A Matter of Death and Life: a joint journal of Mariam’s last year of life. Despite the sad facts, a heartwarming and sometimes funny tale.
- Colm Tóibín – Nora Webster: the story of how an Irish mother of four children finds a way to live again after the early death of a much-loved husband.
- Gwen Strauss – The Nine: The true story of how a band of captured female French and Dutch resistance fighters escaped from a death march at the end of the Second World War.
- Anthony Beevor – Stalingrad: the harrowing account of the epic turning point in World War 2.
Stand by Your Man by Tammy Wynette
My Home’s in Alabama by Alabama