From The Week: Michael Koryta recommends 6 books for spooky season

The Night Country by Stewart O’Nan (2003).

O’Nan dazzles by capturing the everyday and the human heart, so this tale — narrated by the ghost of a teen who died in a car wreck on Halloween night — might seem like a departure. What makes it work is how precisely he maintains that insight into the everyday and the human heart. O’Nan writes of autumn in New England: “It’s the best time of year up here, the only season you want from us, our pastoral past — witch hunts and woodsmoke, the quaintly named dead in mossy churchyards.”

The Week


The New York Times: When Baseball Comes Back, It Should Look Totally Different


Audra Melton for The New York Times

People turn to baseball because they want to feel a connection — to the players, to the suspense. “Sports is always somewhat fresh,” Stewart O’Nan, a novelist, said. “The great thing about baseball is, most games you’re going to see something that you’ve never seen before. It’s also a way to forget about the world. It’s a release from the things that are weighing on you.”


Henry, Reviewed from New Zealand

Reviews don’t get much farther flung than New Zealand.

I seemed to have been lately reading novels with quirky introverted characters; The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker to name just two. They are the sort of stories to be read at leisure. So what better time, in the midst of the 2020 Covid 19 Lockdown, to read something in a similar vein.

Henry Maxwell is a retired gentleman once a soldier and an engineer, always a husband, father and grandfather. The year is 1998 and we share this with Henry in his 75th year. As each chapter captures a moment in the year, we experience the smaller details of Henry’s life.

These everyday minutiae are poignantly shared; from the humour of trying to stop Rufus the dog from killing patches of grass with his peeing, to the joy of receiving a perfect Father’s Day present from his children.



Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Local authors suggest books to read in strange, unsettling times

Here are Stewart’s reading suggestions:

Stewart O’Nan is the author of “Emily Alone” and “Henry, Himself.” He loves “Pittsburgh” by Frank Santoro, calling it “a gorgeous moving graphic memoir of growing up in Swissvale.” He also likes “Shopping Mall” by Matthew Newton, describing it as “a more analytical book-length personal essay exploring the shopping mall as a shared American experience, focusing on the author’s personal relationship with our own Monroeville Mall. Both make present worlds we as Pittsburghers know that have since vanished.”

If you can’t obtain those titles, Mr. O’ Nan wrote, “I’d recommend reading the big book on your shelf that you’ve tried to read several times but just couldn’t get through. ‘Ulysses,’ ‘Moby Dick,’ ‘Invisible Man,’ ‘A Little Life.’ Now’s the time, now that you have time. Don’t let that book beat you!”