Author

Carol Memmott

Carol Memmott has 11 articles published.

spent more than two decades as a reporter and editor for USA Today mostly covering popular culture, books and television. She has interviewed dozens of celebrities including J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Queen Latifah, Matt Damon, Kevin Costner, Stephanie Meyer, John Grisham and E.L. James. Since leaving USA Today in 2013, Carol has taught a writing course at American University in Washington, D.C. and written for numerous media outlets including The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and People. She lives in Virginia with her husband, Mark, and Linus and Fenix, two incredibly handsome rescue dogs.

Review: The Sensual Life of M.F.K. Fisher Reimagined in ‘The Arrangement’

in Fiction by

Preeminent food writer M.F.K. Fisher once wrote: “It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others.” Novelist Ashley Warlick gets to the heart of Fisher’s fervent beliefs in The Arrangement (Viking; February 9, 2016), an extraordinary novel that reimagines the love triangle that wreaked havoc on Fisher’s marriage in the 1930s. You don’t have to be familiar with Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, or her pen name, or her vast body of work to feel the irresistible pull of this story, the Indie Next pick for February. Fisher destroyed many of the letters and journals in which she…

Keep Reading

4 Women on the Hunt for a Murderer Heat Up January’s Mysteries

in Fiction by

It’s time to grab some fuzzy slippers, wrap yourself in your warmest blanket and hunker down with a mystery novel packed with dark moods, red herrings and white-hot revenge. And whether they’re victims, suspects or pursuers of justice, the women in these four novels will heat up cold January days with their desperation, determination and bravery. The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian (Doubleday; January 5, 2016) You can always rely on Chris Bohjalian, the author of 18 smartly written bestsellers, to deliver a devilishly good story. And this suspenseful crime novel, imbued with violence, bad decisions and families torn apart, may be his best one yet. The Guest Room begins with a bachelor party that investment banker Richard Chapman is…

Keep Reading

Announcing BookTrib’s Best Books of 2015

in Fiction by

The best books of 2015 immersed us in richly imagined stories about marriages, murders and general mayhem, as well as the grim reality of racism in America, memories of a life infused with music and advice on how to tap into our inner creativity. Condensing the year’s great books into a manageable list was challenging, but here’s a look at some you should read or give as gifts as 2015 draws to a close: Best novel: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Riverhead) Why it’s a winner: This sharp-edged dissection of a marriage was a finalist for this year’s National Book Award, but surely there was no book published in 2015 that so deftly cut into gritty pieces the complicated…

Keep Reading

Review: John Irving’s ‘Avenue of Mysteries’ Revisits the Seductive Highways of Childhood

in Fiction by

Here’s an interesting fact about John Irving whose new novel, Avenue of Mysteries (Simon & Schuster; November 2, 2015) uses the present as a vehicle for visiting the past: he begins every novel by writing the last sentence first. If your curiosity gets the better of you, then go ahead and read Avenue’s final words first. It only will entice you to flip back to the novel’s opening pages where you’ll begin a journey through the fantastical moments in Juan Diego Guerrero’s life. Like the protagonists in other Irving novels, Juan Diego is quirky and unique. Much of the story of Juan Diego’s childhood takes place in the early 1970s when he’s a teen. He and his younger sister Lupe…

Keep Reading

Review: Geraldine Brooks’ The Secret Chord Breathes New Life into King David

in Fiction by

In The Secret Chord (Viking, October 6, 2015), a splendid re-imagining of King David’s life, Geraldine Brooks harmonically blends historical record with her gift for breathing life into people and events that have shaped our world. Brooks won the Pulitzer Prize for her 2005 novel March which takes place in America during the Civil War. The Silent Chord draws its inspiration from events occurring in Israel during the Second Iron Age, the time when David ruled. Beyond his slaying of Goliath, his talent as a harpist and his achingly beautiful psalms, few are familiar with David’s full story. But Brooks, who says she was inspired to write The Secret Chord after her 9-year-old son began playing the harp, paints a…

Keep Reading

Review: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

in Fiction by

Fans of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and other jailhouse dramas know that no one really wants to be imprisoned. Margaret Atwood challenges that assumption in The Heart Goes Last (Nan A Talese, September 29), a dystopian tale in which the protagonists can’t wait to play dress up in their orange prison boiler suits. Atwood’s first standalone novel since the publication of 2000’s Man Booker Prize-winning The Blind Assassin continues her set-in-the-not-so-distant-future Positron e-book only series, the last of which was published in 2013. At its core, The Heart Goes Last asks a provocative question: Would you trade your freedom for job security, a nice home and three solid meals a day? It’s an easy choice for Charmaine and Stan…

Keep Reading

Elisabeth Egan’s A Window Opens Skewers Modern Family Life

in Fiction by

One of the most anticipated novels of the summer delves with humor and empathy into an everywoman’s heroic attempt to have it all. It’s no surprise that Alice Pearse, the harried woman at the center of A Window Opens (Simon & Schuster, August 25), confesses to her mother: “I’m so stressed, I feel like my head is going to explode.” This relatable, warm and funny debut from Glamour magazine books editor Elisabeth Egan gets at the heart of what it means to be everything to everybody. Like many of today’s brightly optimistic women, Alice follows Sheryl Sandberg’s advice to lean in only to discover that when she leans too far she begins to topple over. A Window Opens fits neatly…

Keep Reading

Carol Memmott Reviews: Ernest Cline Scores with Armada

in Fiction by

In 2011, pop culture enthusiasts were tripping over their lightsabers as they rushed to praise Ernest Cline’s geekfest debut novel, Ready Player One. The novel’s futuristic/retro mash-up of a plot about the hunt for a lottery ticket hidden in a virtual world is as much an epic adventure story as it is a cautionary tale about the future of humankind. If you loved Ready Player One’s hundreds of references to the nostalgia-inducing entertainment brands and gadgets of the 1980s, grab your game controller and get ready to do it all over again. Cline’s Armada (Crown) is a rollicking space cowboy adventure set in two iconic worlds: video gaming and our endless fascination with science fiction books, television shows and movies.…

Keep Reading

Beach Bums guide to good reads: June review roundup by Carol Memmott

in Potpourri by

This month we’re recommending some reads that you won’t want to wait until vacation to savor. We have great authors who write books that pull us into their world. Candace Bushnell, S.J. Watson, Sarah Hall and Wednesday Martin take us on journeys both real and imagined in new books out this month. Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir by Wednesday Martin Ph.D. (Simon & Schuster, June 2) It really is a jungle out there, and in Primates of Park Avenue, the danger lies within the ranks of the aggressive Mean Girl Moms of the Upper East Side. In what could be one of the most talked about nonfiction titles of the summer, social researcher Wednesday Martin gets down and dirty…

Keep Reading

Book Review: The rise of the Subprimes

in Fiction by

The hard-knocks imagery in the opening pages of The Subprimes (Harper; May 12, 2015) is riveting. Homeless people, tucked into ragged sleeping bags, are camped out under a “crumbling freeway, so dilapidated and overdue for resurfacing you could glimpse through the cracks the sooty undercarriages of cars passing overhead.” Above that freeway is “an elevated skyway, one of the new toll roads that whisked the wealthy from mansions to airports.” The once-blue sky above is stained with thick, brown smog. The bleak American tale that Triburbia author Karl Taro Greenfeld tells in his richly imagined and devastatingly dark new novel addresses income inequality and the ever-widening wealth gap. Today, defenders of the gap view America’s richest 1 percent as job…

Keep Reading

Book Review: Alexander McCall Smith brings Emma into the 21st century

in Fiction by

In her lifetime, Jane Austen gained neither great fame nor fortune from novels that today are considered some of the best in the world. This year marks 200 years since the publication of Austen’s “Emma,” the story of a well-meaning but misguided matchmaker who makes more mischief than marriages. Modern times demand modern celebrations, so what better way to honor this literary jewel than with a charming reimagining of Emma Woodhouse’s story, set in the 21st century. Scottish writer Alexander McCall Smith, beloved for creating irresistible female characters including Mma Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, offers, for our edification, the delicious Emma: A Modern Retelling (Pantheon, April 7, 2015). Some Janeites may consider such an endeavor an…

Keep Reading

Go to Top