BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid Carrie Soto is a very famous very accomplished professional tennis player who retired in the late 80s-early 90s. Then in 1995 a younger tennis player is trying to break Carrie’s record for number of slams won. Carrie cannot have this, so she comes out of retirement to defend her title. Her whole life has been nothing but tennis, her dad is also a famous tennis player who is her coach. She has a reputation of being a bitch in the tennis world, not making any friends and being an all around asshole. I like that she learns to change as she is training and trying to defend her title. She learns to hate her reputation but isn’t sure what to do about it or if she even should do anything about it. Well done. Taylor Jenkins Reid has quickly become one of my favorites, you can't miss with her.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet This one was a re-read for a book club, though I read it last year for a book club. It made for excellent discussion, like we talked about this book more than we talked about other stuff like book clubs often do. Desiree and Stella are twins, and are light skinned black twins. Once they are old enough to move out of home Stella learns that she can pass for white and disappears into the white world leaving Desiree behind. Desiree has no idea what came of her twin and desperately misses her, while Stella is passing as a white wife and mother in upper class circles, all the while keeping this secret that she is really black. This was super illuminating about passing in all areas of life with race, obviously, but there was a transgender character as well who was also passing. Incredibly interesting and well done.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed Run Hide Repeat by Pauline Dakin

Run, Hide, Repeat by Pauline Dakin I had listened to this podcast before reading the book, and man is it fascinating. It’s the memoir of Pauline Dakin, she’s now a reporter in Canada, but as a child her family moved around a lot, often in a hurry and seeming to be fleeing from something. She had learned over the years as she got older that they were fleeing the mafia, of which her father was a part. It was just her, her mom and her brother. Her mom befriended a minister named Stan who was helping them to escape from the “O” otherwise known as organized crime. When she was in her 20s her mom and Stan read her in, that Stan was part of an elite organization part of the Canadian government that was fighting organized crime. Of course she believed it, why would anyone lie to her about something like this. But then things started to kinda not make sense, and she began to wonder whether this elite crime fighting organization was all a delusion on Stan’s and her mother’s part. Then she began to doubt everything she’d ever known and will ever be told by then. An absolutely riveting read.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.