Friday, February 6, 2015

Jamie Mason

Jamie Mason was born in Oklahoma City, but grew up in Washington, DC. She’s most often reading and writing, but in the life left over, she enjoys films, Formula 1 racing, football, traveling, and, conversely, staying at home.

Her new novel is Monday's Lie.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Mason's reply:
I’m deep into Karen Abbott’s Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy and it’s every bit as good as I’d hoped it would be. Abbott is one of my favorite non-fiction writers going. I was hooked on her methods by American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life And Times of Gypsy Rose Lee. It was a book club assigned read, and I didn’t care one whit about Gypsy Rose Lee -- until about a paragraph and a half into that book.

Karen Abbott’s M.O., thus far anyway, is to take a slice of underreported history and show us what we’ve missed. The research makes it chewy, but the words make it delicious. She seems as interested in the language of her work as she is in the facts and the amazements of the stories she chooses to tell. It’s riveting.

This latest one, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, reveals the escapades of four female Civil War spies, two Union, two Confederate. Each woman’s background and personality are so vividly drawn that their adventures seem almost inevitable, because, well, of course they would do that. What else would they do? You feel like you know them.

It’s wonderful.

I just came off one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read: Josh Stallings, All The Wild Children. It’s an unusual stream-of-conscious timeline that reveals Stallings’ take on his tumultuous upbringing. But again, it’s the insights and the language that moved me, and both of these elements raise this story beautifully above a wallow. In the end, it kind of wrecked me, but I can only thank him for it.

So, I’ve had a good run of books lately. Up next, I’ve got a read-a-thon that’s the result of a contest I ran in the lead up to the release of Monday’s Lie. I gave away five copies (or will have done by the time this article runs) and the winners will each assign me a book that I’ll read in the week before my launch to keep my mind off my nerves. I hope they give me good ones!

Then for my own reading, the next on the pile is Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. I’ve heard so much good about this book. Can’t wait!
Visit Jamie Mason's website.

The Page 69 Test: Monday's Lie.

My Book, The Movie: Monday's Lie.

--Marshal Zeringue