The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close
Apr19

The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

The Hopefuls Lately, I’ve been thinking about whether or not we can ever be truly objective when reviewing a book. Of course, we can recognize excellent writing, a devastating plot, or how complex the characters are. But when it comes to really loving a book, I find that it’s always because the book rings true about something I wasn’t sure we were allowed to talk about. That’s what I loved so much about Jennifer Close’s new book, The...

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My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
Apr12

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry This is the story of an “almost eight-year-old” girl named Elsa and her best friend: her grandmother. Elsa and her grandmother share the bond of being different, and her grandmother creates a wonderful fantasy world for Elsa to escape to when needed. When Elsa’s grandmother dies, Elsa is left with her grandmother’s stories, both real and imaginary. Through a series of letters that Elsa’s...

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Life, Incorporated by Halley Bock
Apr05

Life, Incorporated by Halley Bock

Life, Incorporated “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” – Lao Tzu My book recommendation is a little different than what you normally see here but I think everyone can gain some valuable insight from what author Halley Bock has to say in her recently published book, Life, Incorporated. Halley (pronounced like my own name, rhymes with Sally) had been a high-level executive for the majority of...

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A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
Mar29

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

A Piece of the World Immortalized in Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World, in which she crawls across a field toward her family’s Maine farmhouse, Christina Olson lived a quiet, private life. She was hampered and eventually crippled by a degenerative muscular disease, but insisted on living independently (with the help of her brother, Alvaro) for as long as she could. Christina Baker Kline delves into Christina’s story – her...

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This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
Mar22

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel I read Laurie Frankel’s This Is How it Always Is without knowing anything about the story. I absolutely love it when this happens. Somehow books are always better in my mind when I have no expectations. I would love for readers to approach this story in the same way so I am going to do my best to review this book without giving away too much. This Is How it Always Is is a family story. A love...

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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Mar15

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, written by, none other than Amy Krouse Rosenthal, is the kind of book most readers could complete in one sitting. Instead, I only allowed myself a few pages a day. I enjoyed Rosenthal’s voice and world-view so much that I didn’t want it to end. I began reading Rosenthal’s unusual memoir weeks before her New York Times Modern Love essay, “You May Want...

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Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Mar08

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen I’ve only seen Bruce Springsteen live, in concert once, during the 1988 Amnesty Internatonal Human Rights Now! Tour. Four friends and I took a three-hour bus ride into Philadelphia on September 19th and climbed the crumbling steps of JFK Stadium to the nosebleed section. But the seats didn’t matter. All you needed that night were your ears and your heart. Tracy Chapman lifted us up and then crushed us,...

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A Country Between by Stephanie Saldana
Mar01

A Country Between by Stephanie Saldana

A Country Between Stephanie Saldana’s A COUNTRY BETWEEN is a love letter to her first son, Joseph, and a chronicle of the years she and her growing family spent living on Nablus Road in Jerusalem. Nablus Road, the “seam” between Palestinian Jerusalem and Israeli Jerusalem, is full of characters and personality, and Saldana beautifully evokes their years living there. She describes a “one-street village with thousands of visitors who...

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Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Feb22

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett A bottle of gin. A gun. A tablet of Benadryl. A book. In Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth, these everyday objects take on resonant meanings for the blended family that is born in the wake of an adulterous kiss at a gin-and-orange soaked party. Fix and Beverley Keating are picture perfect, for a few pages, at least. He is a police detective in LA and she is a beautiful housewife. They are raising two children in...

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Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Feb15

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly I am always on the lookout for a great new book – whether it’s at the bookstore, through a Goodreads email, or when friends talk about books they love. This time around for my recommendation here at GNB, I have gone back and forth on several books, especially one that is an important recent book, which I read, but honestly did not love. For weeks I have scoured shelves and lists to find a book to...

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Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce
Feb08

Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce

Pull Me Under Pull Me Under starts with a premise we can all imagine in today’s world. A 12-year-old Japanese-American girl, bullied relentlessly by a classmate “releases her inner black organ” and kills her tormenter with a letter opener. (I haven’t given anything away—we are told this on the first page of the book.) I noticed at a young age—four years old, five—a dark presence in my chest, a blackness, clinging to the back of my...

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Favorite Childhood Books: GreatNewBooks Team Post
Feb01

Favorite Childhood Books: GreatNewBooks Team Post

For fun, the ten of us on the GNB team — Lindsey Mead, Nina Badzin, Jess Vealitzek, Hallie Sawyer, Stacey Loscalzo, Katie Noah Gibson, Julia Munroe Martin, Jessica Flaxman, Pamela Hunt Cloyd, and Jennifer King — thought we would enjoy opening up the conversation of Favorite Childhood Books to share here at GreatNewBooks.org with you! We worked hard to each try and pick our favorite book from growing up. Between the ten of...

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Upstream by Mary Oliver
Jan25

Upstream by Mary Oliver

Upstream by Mary Oliver As I read Mary Oliver’s latest essay collection, Upstream, I wondered what this brilliant poet thinks of the latest election, inauguration, and state of the world. Is she staying deep in her beloved woods, ignoring it all, or would she like to be marching with us (and what on earth would her sign say)? After finishing the last essay, I decided that if Mary Oliver had to spend a few days in DC, it wouldn’t be...

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The Ancient Minstrel by Jim Harrison
Jan18

The Ancient Minstrel by Jim Harrison

The Ancient Minstrel by Jim Harrison My stepdad turned me onto Jim Harrison, who is best known for writing Legends of the Fall, which I’ve never read, incidentally. (I loved the movie, though.) Harrison, who died last year, reminds me of a cross between John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway. In fact, he reminds me of a well-known Steinbeck character, Doc. He was an avid outdoorsman, a sensitive poet, a nature and animal lover, but also...

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The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Jan11

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend The first line of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend describes the main character, Sara, as “so ordinary it was almost scandalous.” Indeed, it is Sara’s plain appearance and simple life that make her journey in Broken Wheel, Iowa, such a delight to follow. The novel, written by Swedish author Katarina Bivald and translated into English by Alice Menzies, tells the story of Sara, who travels from...

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