Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Julia Buckley

Julia Buckley is a Chicago mystery author. She writes the Writer's Apprentice Series and the Undercover Dish mysteries, and is soon to launch a new series with Berkley Prime Crime.

Buckley has taught high school English for thirty years; she lives near Chicago with her husband, four cats, and a mischievous Labrador named Digby. She has two grown sons. She is a lifelong reader and a writer since around age six, when she started a notebook of poems.

Buckley's newest Writer's Apprentice mystery is A Dark and Twisting Path.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
Probably the best book I read in the last few months was A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. The book, about a Russian Count who "Lives under house arrest for a poem deemed incendiary by The Bolsheviks" (Amazon Book Review) made wonderful fodder for the book club I started on my block, and Count Rostov was loved by all for his quick wit, his gentility, and his romantic soul. What amazed me about this second book by Amor Towles was that it was so many things at once, and yet it was never distractingly digressive. And while the main character, Alexander Rostov, is strong enough to command the reader's attention throughout, Towles offers a whole universe of eccentric supporting characters whose stories are laugh-out-loud funny in some cases and desperately sad in others. I am thrilled to hear that it has been adapted for film and that Kenneth Branagh will play the lead role.

Another powerful book I read recently was written by a thirteen-year-old Japanese boy with such severe autism that he cannot speak, but he found a way to communicate with the world in The Reason I Jump. I'm quoting my own Goodreads review here, in part: "[He used] an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences and thoughts that he is unable to say out loud," but he was able to think about his own thinking and behavior in order to attempt to explain it to other people. This meta-cognition would be remarkable for anyone, but for someone so young, and with such challenges, it is awe-inspiring.

One of the most powerful passages, for me, was this revelation: "The truth is, we'd love to be with other people. But because things never, ever go right, we end up getting used to being alone... whenever I overhear someone saying how much I prefer being on my own, it makes me feel desperately lonely."

While these two books had little in common, starting with the fact that one is fact and one is fiction, they both provided one thing: a main character who helped me to see the world in a different way, and whose isolation made me question the ways that we judge the quality of our lives.
Visit Julia Buckley's website and blog, Mysterious Musings.

My Book, The Movie: A Dark and Twisting Path.

--Marshal Zeringue