Here are 10 must-read books — a wide range of fiction plus a poetry collection and a memoir — by Dayton area authors.
All of these books can be purchased at or ordered through Books & Co. at The Greene, Barnes & Noble locations, and independent bookstores such as Sam and Eddies Open Books in Yellow Springs, Book Bums in West Chester or Jay & Mary’s Book Center in Troy. They may also be ordered online via www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, or www.indiebound.org. Cover prices listed are for the print versions of the books; prices vary depending upon vendor and format. Authors’ websites also include links for purchasing books.
Description: Sharp, witty, and touching, these stories range from the political to the personal with a variety of characters caught in difficult (and sometimes hilariously absurd — such as an air guitar competition) situations that leave the reader both laughing and on-the-edge-of-the-seat. All of the tales, though, have in common the question: when ensnared in situations that may not be of our own making, how do we choose what to do? And how do those choices set the course for the rest of our lives?
Author: Erin Flanagan, author of two collections of short stories, with numerous stories published in a wide range of literary magazines, including “Prairie Schooner,” “Colorado Review,” and many others. Erin is a professor of creative writing at Wright State University, and lives in Dayton. www.erinflanagan.net
Published: 2013, by Bison Press
Cover Price: $19.95
Description: If you like your heroes to actually be anti-heroines, you’ll cheer for Nyx, former government-sponsored assassin turned resilient bounty hunter, set in a far-future dystopian world riddled by war and environmental issues. One reviewer, on the blog www.iO9.com (which covers ‘science, culture and the world of tomorrow’) says Nyx makes Hans Solo “look like a Boy Scout.” “God’s War,” the first novel in the series featuring Nyx, was shortlisted for two prestigious science fiction awards, the Nebula and the Arthur C. Clarke.
Author: Kameron Hurley, an award-winning author, advertising copywriter for LexisNexis and blogger. Her essay on the history of women in conflict “We Have Always Fought” was the first blog post to win science fiction's top prize, a Hugo Award. It was also nominated for Best Non-Fiction work by the British Fantasy Society. Kameron lives in Dayton. www.kameronhurley.com
Published: 2011, NightShade Books
Cover Price: $14.99
Description: Cam, a small-town veterinarian, is a “fixer.” She lives to fix animals, relationships and situations. But when she discovers that her moody husband is having an affair, Cam realizes she must fix her own heart. She draws inspiration and hope from the animals she tends and treats; those she heals end up helping to heal her. The novel was an Indie Next pick, a Midwest Connections pick, and chosen by the Women’s National Book Association as one of the 10 Great Group Reads for National Book Group Month in October 2010.
Author: Katrina Kittle, a well-known Dayton author who has written other award-winning literary novels for adult readers, including “The Kindness of Strangers” as well as a young adult novel, “Reasons To Be Happy.” Kittle is also known for teaching creative writing craft through several venues, including WordsWorth, OnLiten and the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, and consults other writers as part of Write Sisters Consulting. www.katrinakittle.com
Published: 2010, William Morrow
Cover Price: $14.99
Description: Those who enjoy light romance will revel in this story about a personal assistant who, in spite of being determined not to, falls in love with her boss. Reviewers call the story, the first in a series, charming, funny and sweet.
Author: Jessica Lemmon, who calls herself a "den mother" to two rescue dogs, lives in Miamisburg. After working for several years in direct sales, she decided to turn to creative writing. www.jessicalemmon.com
Published: 2013, Grand Central Publishing
Cover Price: $6
Description: One of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2007, this novel explores the relationships of three close friends who all work together in the same small medical practice. The story explores the nuances of work relationships, and what happens when they go awry.
Author: Martha Moody, a Centerville author who has written several other novels, including the runaway bestseller, “Best Friends,” her debut novel, and “Sharp and Dangerous Virtues,” a dystopian novel set in near-future Dayton. Moody is also a former physician and leads English-learning camps in an Arab village in Israel. www.marthamoody.net
Published: 2007, Riverhead
Cover Price: $14
Description: This collection of poetry explores what it means to experience, survive and grow from suffering, whether personal, spiritual or environmental. Ultimately, the collection is hopeful and inspiring.
Author: Julie L. Moore, who lives in Cedarville, has had numerous poems published a wide variety of literary journals as well as in anthologies, and has twice been nominated for the prestigious Pushcart literary prize. She is Writing Center Director and Associate Professor of English at Cedarville University. www.julielmoore.com
Published: 2013, Cascade Books
Cover Price: $13
Description: Set in the near future, this novel explores what happens when a new virus runs rampant, giving most sufferers run-of-the-mill flu symptoms, but rendering 1 percent “locked in” — that is, unable to move or respond, yet fully aware. In the aftermath, a rookie and a veteran FBI agent team up to investigate a murder that appears to be related to the disease, yet turns out to be much, much bigger.
Author: John Scalzi, who lives in Bradford, is the Hugo-award winning author of numerous best-selling novels, three of which are in development for television series, including “Red Shirts.” He also blogs frequently at www.whatever.scalzi.com
Published: 2014, Tor Books
Cover Price: $24.99
Description: At its heart about the importance of pursuing dreams — and helping others do so — this historical literary novel set in 1953 Ohio follows Donna and her little brother Will as they seek to escape the strictures of their hometown and family life, and eventually take the trip of a lifetime to Alaska.
Author: Sharon Short, a Centerville native and resident, is also the author of two mystery series, the recipient of several literary awards (including an Ohio Arts Council award), was the John E. Nance Writer-in-Residence at Thurber House in 2014, and is the Executive Director of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop and Dayton Daily News’ Literary Life columnist. www.sharonshort.com
Published: 2013, Penguin Plume
Cover Price: $16
Description: Though set during the 12 days before Christmas, this tender memoir is a good year-round read, exploring how the kindness and gifts of anonymous "true friends" helped the author and her children start on the path to healing after the sudden passing of the author’s husband just before Christmas.
Author: Joanne Huist Smith, a Dayton native and resident, was an award-winning journalist for the Dayton Daily News, covering the lives of people and issues of the community, until her retirement from the newspaper in 2014. www.13thgift.com
Published: 2014, Crown Publishing Group
Cover Price: $15
Description: Fans of dark, sinister tales will enjoy this novel; think of it as Stephen King meets Franz Kafka. Two sisters go on a weekend getaway at a cabin by a river… and then they hear a baby crying. What should be a simple rescue mission turns harrowing, both in the real world and in the minds of the sisters.
Author: Tim Waggoner, the author of more than 30 novels, three short story collections, and numerous articles on creative writing. A resident of Centerville, he teaches creative writing at Sinclair Community College and in Seton Hill University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. www.timwaggoner.com
Published: 2014, Dark Regions Press
Cover Price: $10.95