The Crows of Beara by Julie Christine Johnson

Reading is magical. It can take you into a world, a life, a moment that you would never otherwise experience. The Crows of Beara transports you so fully into a place – a village on the southwest coast of Ireland, in a landscape scoured by wind and made jagged by stone – that you can feel the rain dripping from the leaves.

Annie Crowe, the novel’s main character, feels it too. The wild beauty of the area calls to her, even as she prepares to do a job that could threaten the Beara peninsula’s ecology and doom its most endangered residents, a type of crow whose natural habitat can be found there and almost nowhere else.

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History in the Margins


My favorite history blog is History in the Margins, by Pamela Toler. She writes about historical events that I never knew – or that I thought I knew – and makes me see them through her fresh, witty perspective. (Have you watched the PBS series “Mercy Street”? Pamela wrote the book.)

I’ve been reading her blog for years, so I was thrilled when she invited me to write a guest post about the women who served in the Vietnam war.  Enjoy! And while you’re at it, take a stroll through History in the Margins.

Bookish tidbits

Photo: allposters.com

A few quick items:

So cool

So cool that my interview with the writer Martha Toll about Her Own Vietnam was one of the top 5 posts last month in the Washington Independent Review of Books. Here’s how they describe it:

“Martha Anne Toll conducted a thoughtful Q&A with Kanter, one that touched on everything from women warriors’ emotional scars to the rise of feminist presses.”

Here’s the interview, in case you missed it.

Damn, they’re good

File this under “These writers are getting a lot of acclaim and don’t need any help from me, but damn, these books are good.”

The Listening Cure

Ericka Taylor

I’m delighted to welcome guest blogger Ericka Taylor, reflecting on audiobook snobbery and other revelations discovered while listening to Her Own Vietnam.  

The Listening Cure

By Ericka Taylor

The first time I read Her Own Vietnam, I had nothing but praise for the book. Page by page, I’d grown appreciative of the expertly-drawn characters whose strengths and failings made them as real as anyone I passed on the street. The story was compelling, and nicely balanced scenes from the present day with ones that took place during the Vietnam war. The writing was excellent. Plus, the novel exposed me to the trauma experienced by women veterans of Vietnam and the lack of support available to them when they returned home. Her Own Vietnam had more than fulfilled its role for me as a reader. What more could I ask?

Well, it turns out that this book is the gift that keeps on giving. Listening to the recently-released Audible version of Her Own Vietnam cured me of an audiobook snobbery I was only partly aware that I had.  Continue reading