Red Fern Book Review

Red Fern Book Review

Latest book reviews, book recommendations and news from the publishing world.

Episodes

October 14, 2021 27 min


Join Amy in her discussion with bestselling thriller writer Robyn Harding. Robyn's latest novel, The Perfect Family, is a twisty, addictively page-turning suspense novel about a perfect family's perfect facade. Robyn shares her favourites books, shows and podcasts and explains how miscommunication can make for a great story.

Books and Resources discussed

The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Lisa Jewe...

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Susan Matheson is in the house to discuss the best books of the season! This fall many big name authors, from Colson Whitehead to Amor Towles, have new books on offer. Susan goes a bit deeper and selects books that might not be on your radar.  Amy has also launched a monthly newsletter! Subscribe and ask questions, learn about extra titles, get a sneak peek at future episodes and participate in reader giveaways. To subscribe: https...

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September 23, 2021 21 min


Amy explores two darker novels that are not exactly thrillers or are they? The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz is the story of a washed up academic who steals a student's story.  One of the most hyped books of this past summer, this novel takes plenty of twists and turns and explores the question of who owns a story. When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain follows troubled missing person's detective Anna Hart as she reckons with...

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September 16, 2021 27 min

Bestselling author Eileen Garvin drops by the podcast to discuss her debut novel The Music of Bees. The book explores how three lost people unexpectedly come together through their love of honey bees.  We discuss the natural world, character development and how Eileen's love of beekeeping  and the small town of Hood River, Oregon, served as an inspiration. Eileen also shares a slew of books and podcasts, old and new.

Books and ...

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September 9, 2021 21 min

The summer is over and The Red Fern Book Review is back! In the first episode of Season 2, Amy explores two memoirs, both by feisty, young, creative women. The first memoir, Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad , explores a woman's journey through illness, recovery and re-entry into everyday life. Finding Freedom: A Cook's Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch by Erin French follows a young c...

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June 9, 2021 28 min

For the season finale, I am joined by best selling author and ER physician Daniel Kalla to talk about his new release Lost Immunity. This edge-of-your-seat medical thriller looks at an outbreak of bacterial meningitis that is sweeping the city of Seattle. The city's Chief Public Health Officer Lisa Dyer is out to save the day with an experimental vaccine that could save the community ... until the vaccine is tampered with. We t...

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June 2, 2021 32 min

Book blogger Susan Matheson is back with a curated list of summer reads just for Red Fern listeners. The books are all transportive but also imbued with social commentary that is fitting for our time. Find out which of us is willing to abandon a book without finishing and find out about a docuseries perfect for family trips.  Be sure to check out Susan's companion blog for even more titles!

Books and resources discussed:

Wind of ...

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May 25, 2021 31 min

Amy's old reporter buddy Myriam stops by the podcast to share her loves of languages and books. Amy and Myriam discuss part medical, part psychological novel Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal.  Translator Jessica Moore has received accolades for her translation of this taught, luminous novel and Myriam explains why.  Myriam also reviews the sci fi novel Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan. While she loved this book, it ended up ...

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May 16, 2021 27 min

Music teacher and facilitator Cynthia Friesen drops by the podcast to chat about music, memory and healing. The phone rings, the doorbell chimes, but Amy's dogs are eerily silent this episode. Cynthia and Amy remember Bevelry Cleary and Cynthia recommends an app for calm and focus.

Books and Resources discussed:
Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary
VIBE: Calm, Focus, Sleep (App)
The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow
The Da Vinci C...

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Join host Amy Mair as she explores three novels by English authors: The Midnight Library, Klara and the Sun and Hamnet. The Midnight Library is reminiscent of childhood classics A Wrinkle in Time and The Phantom Tollbooth. Klara and the Sun is a sci-fi exploration of memory, machines and loneliness while Hamnet explores the connection between the death of Shakespeare's son and the making of Hamlet.  Amy also investigates book m...

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April 25, 2021 26 min

Whistler Public Library Program Coordinator Jeanette Bruce is in the virtual house to discuss  two favourite reading genres: short fiction and fantasy. Short stories keep us engaged and fantasy takes us away from the here and now. Sign me up! My mom calls with an update on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist and I learn about a brand new pasta shape from a podcast for serious cooks.

Books and resources discussed:
This is a Robb...

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April 15, 2021 24 min

Amy's husband Geoff drops by the podcast to discuss two contemporary novels or should we call them memoirs? You be the judge.  The Topeka School by Ben Lerner is a literary novel based on the author's own experience growing up in Topeka, Kansas. This complex and satisfying story jumps time periods, tenses and narrators to look at the importance of language and what it means to a white, American male growing up in the late 1...

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April 4, 2021 17 min

Host Amy Mair dives into the elegant and sometimes sordid world of fine art with My Rembrandt, a quirky and compelling documentary about a Dutch aristocrat and his race to find the first new Rembrandt in 40 years, An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro. She concludes the episode with a national story about the debate over a Flemish still life and Nazi-looted art acqui...

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March 23, 2021 27 min



Spring is here and with it a new season of books! Longtime book blogger Susan Matheson unpacks her top picks of the season. The much anticipated follow up novel by Imbole Mbue, a literary thriller by historical novelist Paula McLain and a memoir from 1980s Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy are topics of discussion. The rich period drama The Luminaries on Amazon Prime and Sibling Revelry, Kate and Oliver Hudson's fun podcast about fam...

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March 14, 2021 28 min

Join host Amy Mair and Simon Fraser University professor Reema Faris as they explore cultural heritage, identity and memory through the memoir What the Ocean's Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home by Sonja Boon. Reema shares her research on women and reading and recommends a best selling historical novel involving books, World War II and Paris. Need we say more? Amy reviews a new podcast with Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue...

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March 7, 2021 21 min

The Green Light (not to be confused with Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey!) is that mysterious light at the end of the dock in The Great Gatsby that represents Jay Gatsby's hope for the future.  In this episode, host Amy Mair looks at two American novels and examines why, it seems, everyone is reading and writing about the classic Jazz Age tale.  Spoiler alert: the copyright has expired!

Jenny Offill's Weather examines c...

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February 26, 2021 26 min

Attending festivals and large events in person may be in our distant future, but one of the largest literary events in North America has found a way to pivot with new programming and a virtual lineup. Join me in my discussion with the Vancouver Writers Festival Artistic Director Leslie Hurtig and find out about what special events she has in store for this spring.  Hello, Ethan Hawke fans! Learn about some new first-time authors an...

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February 18, 2021 22 min

A poisoned aristocrat. A fledgling reporter. A scandal to die for. Join host Amy Mair as she meets up with mystery writer Lisa Zumpano to discuss her historical mystery series.  A self-professed Anglophile, Lisa reveals what it takes to be a self published author and how to get all the historical details just right. Righty-ho!

Books and resources discussed:

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Mark Daws...

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February 10, 2021 25 min

Host Amy Mair joins with Jill Schmelke to discuss the critically acclaimed memoir Uncanny Valley by Anna Weiner as well as the historical novel Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. They discuss health, working out (or not) and how sometimes a heavy book can be just the thing to get through hard times.

Books and resources:
Uncanny Valley by Anna Weiner
Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
Cobra Kai, Netflix
Followers: A Novel by...

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February 1, 2021 15 min

Host Amy Mair looks at two food memoirs: Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl and The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery, and Paris by Jackie Kai Ellis. Both books are about strong, creative women who took risks and made big changes in their respective industries and in their lives.

Other books and resources:
SmartLess podcast with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr...

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