By November 1, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Authors You Should Try: Adam Langer

If asked to name authors who more people should be reading, Adam Langer would be one of the first names from my mouth. He’s a Chicago-born author and playwright, now living in New York City, a marvelous choice for book groups. crossing-california

Books with interesting characters in varied relationships are the easiest for groups to discuss, and Langer’s pen spins out fascinating characters with seeming ease. His first novel, Crossing California, follows three families, the Wasserstroms, Wills, and Rovners in late 70s Chicago. These characters jump right off the page and Langer captures the time and place with great facility as well. His second novel, The Washington Story, (named for Chicago mayor Harold Washington) follows the same characters through the mid 1980s. By the time you finish the second novel, they’ll feel like old acquaintances. In particular, Langer is good at capturing the volatile world of young people: he’s both funny and poignant, sometimes in the same sentence.

ellington-boulevardIf you prefer New York to Chicago, try Ellington Boulevard, which follows a clarinetist and his dog through eviction from an Upper West Side apartment, but mixes in out-of-work actors, a broker, an editor, and graduate students. There are even lyrics to a musical, supposedly written by two of the characters, at the end of the book.

Or if you prefer nonfiction, Langer’s new book is a memoir, My Father’s Bonusmy-fathers-bonus-march March, that chronicles his physician father’s fascination with the Bonus March of 1932, when WWI veterans came to Washington in pursuit of better compensation for their sacrifices.

No matter which of these tickles your fancy, give Langer a try. His work is easy to access, full of laughter, but worthy of careful examination as well.

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About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

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