This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell
May03

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

This Must Be the Place This book made me cry—ugly cry—and the truth is I rarely cry when I read a novel. In fact, I can remember only one other book in the past five years that’s made me cry this hard. Paradoxically, what first drew me into This Must Be the Place was its humor—it has plenty—particularly, the self-deprecating way Daniel Sullivan, one of the main characters, describes his often-reclusive life with Claudette Wells....

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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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Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
Sep21

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson In the endnotes of Another Brooklyn, where she discusses the writing of the book, author Jacqueline Woodson says, “Long before I began to sketch out the lives of August, Gigi, Angela, and Sylvia, I was thinking about what it means to grow up girl in this country…” The thinking paid off. Another Brooklyn is one of the most powerful books I’ve read about “growing up girl.” Woodson’s spare,...

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The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith
Aug10

The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith

The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine: No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Book 16 By Alexander McCall Smith She made up her mind. There are some decisions that require a great deal of thought, and others that require little, or even none. Sometimes, in the case of this last group, you know in your heart, and straightaway, what you must do. Don’t you love it when a book series endures, offering the comfort of familiar characters and setting...

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Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Apr20

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

When I saw Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum mentioned on Facebook, the premise alone made me want to read it: What if the person you need the most is someone you’ve never met? It’s not just the premise that’s intriguing, though. I’ll tell you three other things I loved about this Young Adult novel: (1) It deals with honest emotion about death and grieving and the courage to move on—emotions that readers of any age will be able to...

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The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain
Feb03

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain Translated from French by Emily Boyce and Jane Aitken A hand grabbed her bag strap, a hand that had come out of nowhere… Within the first few pages of The Red Notebook we know things are not going to go well for Laure, a Parisian gilder. Late one night she is mugged and her bag is stolen—she can’t even get into her apartment—and she checks into a hotel. Sometime in the middle of the night she slips...

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Voracious by Cara Nicoletti
Sep23

Voracious by Cara Nicoletti

Voracious by Cara Nicoletti Every once in a while you find a book that melds together several of your interests. Cara Nicoletti’s book Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books does just that for me, mixing literature and cooking to create a beautiful feast. In the preface, Nicoletti (a butcher, former pastry chef, and the blogger behind Yummy Books) shares that she fell in love with cooking through reading—that...

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Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor
Aug12

Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor

Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor One of the things I like most about being a part of the online writing community is the opportunity to see how other writers work. It’s especially fascinating when a writer posts a photo of her workspace. That’s how I felt while I was reading this book—like I was invited into Emily Dickinson’s private writing world. Words begin to jostle, then settle, in my mind; they play out before me as if already...

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Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
Apr22

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

One of the reasons I love to read is that it gives me an opportunity to see inside the lives of other people, of other cultures—I love books that take me outside myself and my ordinary surroundings. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed is that kind of book. In this young adult novel, Pakistani-American high school senior Naila is in love with Saif—even though she’s been told her whole life that an arranged marriage is in her future....

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Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
Feb04

Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Two years ago my daughter gave me a book of cartoons by Roz Chast (The Party, After You Left). To be honest I had never heard her name, but I immediately recognized her signature cartoons—she is a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker and her cartoons have appeared in many other places. And I loved her work. Now Chast brings her distinctive style to her first memoir about caring for her aging parents. Can’t We Talk About Something More...

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Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub
Oct08

Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub

  DIARY OF THE FALL by Michel Laub Translated by Margaret Jull Costa   Lately I’ve been fascinated with nonlinear stories—in fact I’ve been searching them out. That’s how I stumbled onto Diary of the Fall written by Michel Laub and translated by Margaret Jull Costa. This story of three generations of men—all diarists—is told through the eyes of a single narrator: a forty-something (unnamed) man, who relives and retells the...

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