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...

Read More
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Oct26

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

A Gentleman in Moscow Did you love The Grand Budapest Hotel, with its quirky characters and old world charm? Do you like stories about small physical spaces made large by imagination and the resilient characters inhabiting them? Do you think it’s interesting to watch an aristocrat come down in the world while also moving up in a spiritual, if not a literal, sense? Are you a fan of Russian history? If you answered yes to any of the...

Read More
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
Sep14

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours It’s true. What is not yours is not yours. No matter how much you want it, you can’t have it, if it isn’t yours. Helen Oyeyemi’s collection of short stories, What is Not Yours is Not Yours, explores the longing we all have for the things and people that are not ours despite our best (and worst) efforts. Oyeyemi has made a name for herself since her first book, Icarus Girl, was published while she was an...

Read More
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Jul20

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic The few times I have been in London, I have felt a sense of magic in the air. Maybe it was due to the fact that my head is full of English folklore and my favorite stories belong to England – Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books, Susannah Clarke’s masterful Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, and of course, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. It was my love for London and English fairy...

Read More
Untangled by Lisa Damour
May11

Untangled by Lisa Damour

Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood, by Lisa Damour My grandmother liked things to be neat. When she saw my long hair in knots, she would bribe me to sit still so she could run a comb through it. I really didn’t want to stop playing to get pretty, but the promise of chocolate was sufficient enough incentive for me to sit, relatively happily, through that and other unofficial lessons in...

Read More
The Tsar of Love and Techno
Feb17

The Tsar of Love and Techno

Anthony Marra’s The Tsar of Love and Techno is my favorite book so far this year. If you like historical fiction with interlocking plot lines and poetic turns of phrase, this is the book for you. The Tsar of Love and Techno is an admittedly opaque title for a collection of interconnected short stories about Stalinist Russia, the USSR, and the modern conflict in Chechnya. But don’t let that put you off. Marra is a brilliant storyteller...

Read More
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Nov04

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff Books about marriage always make me feel one of a few ways – grateful for the one I have, anxious about the one I don’t, and curious about what would have happened to me had I never married in the first place. Lauren Groff’s unputdownable Fates and Furies made me feel all of these things and more, revealing in glittering detail how marriage can bring out the best, the banal, and the absolute worst in...

Read More
H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Aug05

H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

One of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson is about grief. It’s not the subject of grief that I particularly like, but the way she compares it to different things that steal from us without our consent. Grief is a mouse that burrows into our hearts; grief is a thief that we catch in the act of taking what isn’t his; grief is a juggler, and we are his props being tossed against our will. In Helen Macdonald’s beautiful H is for Hawk,...

Read More
The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits
May13

The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits

I was a faithful diary-keeper. I wrote in it every day and I thought some of my words were profound. But in my 30s, when my parents moved out of my childhood home and delivered my diaries back to me, I cringed as I turned the pages. Worse, perhaps, I didn’t even remember some of the events that I once spent pages detailing. As I placed the books into the trash, I wondered, Who wrote these diaries? If it was me, it wasn’t me any...

Read More
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Feb18

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Anyone who has ever had and tried to keep kept a best friend from early childhood knows that there are good days and bad. There’s the initial spark of attraction followed by days, decades and months of joyful connection and jealous retreat, of recalibration and reevaluation. Questions and longings nag both parties often at different times: Who calls the shots? Who is happier? Who needs whom more? I have read many books about female...

Read More