Alexandra Cooper series by Linda Fairstein
Dec07

Alexandra Cooper series by Linda Fairstein

Alexandra Cooper series by Linday Fairstein I love memoirs, I love literature, I love poetry. I also love Linda Fairstein’s Alexandra Cooper legal/mystery series.  I read the first book in the series, Final Jeopardy, on a whim, and was surprised by how connected I felt to the protagonist, Alex Cooper, and to the other main characters. I have been working my way through the series since that first volume, and am now on one of the last...

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Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Oct05

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Sweetbitter “You will develop a palate,” Sweetbitter begins, and the rest of the novel, structured into four parts which trace the seasons of a year, describes that process in visceral detail.  I never lived in New York.  I was never a waitress.  Nevertheless, I followed Tess’s first year of adult life with a combination of ardent fascination and deep, sometimes uncomfortable empathy. We meet Tess when she has just arrived in New...

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Grace Without God by Katherine Ozment
Jun15

Grace Without God by Katherine Ozment

Grace Without God Katherine Ozment’s GRACE WITHOUT GOD is a beautifully-written exploration of an increasingly-central American question: what is the meaning of life without the organizing principle of religion?  Ozment begins her book standing by the window with her eight year old son, watching a procession of Greek Orthodox worshippers in the street.  “What are we?” he asks, and Ozment finds herself at a loss for words.  “We’re...

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The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky
Apr13

The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky

Paul Lisicky’s The Narrow Door,  which is subtitled “A memoir of friendship,” is, initially, an intimate, lovely memory of Denise Gess, who was his closest friend for more than 25 years.  The Narrow Door is about more than that, though: in its beautiful pages, filled with a poet’s lambent prose, Lisicky spelunks into the depths of the human heart, exploring the fundamental isolation and loneliness that exists at the heart of even our...

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Feb24

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I had a feeling that Paul Kalanithi’s memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, would be a powerful read.  In fact I called it a “once in a decade” book, before I even read it.  I wasn’t wrong. I don’t think there’s a lot I can say to augment the rhapsodic reviews this book has rightly received, but I still wanted to add my voice to the loud chorus of people celebrating Kalanithi’s courage, his...

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The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey
Oct07

The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey

The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey Jessica Lahey’s The Gift of Failure is both an inspiring call to action and a cold splash of water for today’s parents. The Gift of Failure makes a point I’ve read about elsewhere but never as compellingly: the struggles and failures of childhood and adolescence are not just an incidental part of growing up but in fact essential to the process of maturation. By protecting our children from these...

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The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Jul01

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan’s novel, The Royal We, is sheer delight from start to finish.  As an American who lived in England for several formative adolescent years (ages 12-16), an unabashed Royal-watcher, and a longtime fan of the authors’ site, Go Fug Yourself, I anticipated this book for many reasons.  The Royal We did not disappoint. The story opens with a brief, suspense-setting moment as Bex, the American who is set to...

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The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber
May20

The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber

Raising a child who’s not spoiled, and all matters of money, comes down ultimately to perspective. In the Opposite of Spoiled, Ron Lieber takes a clear-eyed, direct, and ultimately deeply reassuring look at the ways in which we teach our children about money and choices. Lieber urges parents to take some of the emotion out of the topic of money, and to speak openly about it with our children from their early days.  Communication,...

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The Unspeakable by Meghan Daum
Feb25

The Unspeakable by Meghan Daum

Meghan Daum’s The Unspeakable is so named because it addresses topics that people are afraid to talk about: the ambivalence about one’s mother, the lack of desire to have a child, the compulsion to be an “honorary dyke,” and the complete disinterest in all kinds of leisure activities.  Daum’s essays are funny and thoughtful, introspective without ever being navel-gazing, and I closed the book wishing there were ten more. Every single...

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Elements of Style by Erin Gates
Oct15

Elements of Style by Erin Gates

  Today, Great New Books team member Lindsey Mead shares one of her favorite recent reads, and we are giving away one signed copy of ELEMENTS OF STYLE: DESIGNING A HOME AND A LIFE by Erin Gates to one lucky reader (see details below).   Elements of Style: Designing a Home and a Life by Erin Gates   I named Erin Gates’ Elements of Style my most-anticipated book of 2014, and I have been eagerly awaiting its arrival all...

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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Aug06

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr All the Light We Cannot See is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Anthony Doerr’s masterful novel, set in World War II, is simultaneously about the smallest things – mazes, the tiniest wiring inside radios, and hidden mollusks – and about the most enormous ones – war and peace, identity, love, and light and darkness. All the Light We Cannot See tells two interwoven...

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Perfectly Miserable by Sarah Payne Stuart
Jun18

Perfectly Miserable by Sarah Payne Stuart

  Today, Great New Books team member Lindsey Mead shares one of her favorite recent reads, and we are giving away one copy of PERFECTLY MISERABLE: GUILT, GOD AND REAL ESTATE IN A SMALL TOWN by Sarah Payne Stuart to one lucky reader, thanks to Sarah’s publisher, Riverhead (see details below). Perfectly Miserable by Sarah Payne Stuart Sarah Payne Stuart’s memoir, PERFECTLY MISERABLE, is a hilarious and deeply touching story...

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Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck
Feb19

Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

  Today, Great New Books team member Lindsey Mead shares one of her favorite recent reads, and we are giving away one copy of FALLEN BEAUTY by Erika Robuck to one lucky commenter, thanks to Erika’s publisher, NAL / Penguin (see details below). Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck Erika Robuck’s new novel, Fallen Beauty, is a fascinating, entertaining look at the life of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.  The book, which is fiction,...

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Divergent by Veronica Roth
Oct16

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I loved The Hunger Games trilogy, and I dove into Veronica Roth’s Divergent hoping that I would find the same combination of page-turning plot, provocative premise, and strong female protagonist.  I was not disappointed on any count.  Divergent’s post-apocalyptic setting is reminiscent of The Hunger Games in many ways, though different in others.  Recognizable as the former Chicago, Divergent’s world has been split into five factions,...

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All That Is by James Salter
Aug21

All That Is by James Salter

  James Salter’s Light Years is one of my very favorite novels, ever, so to say I was eager to read his new book, All That Is, is an understatement.  And it did not disappoint.  Salter is often called a “writer’s writer,” a description with which I agree.  The sheer craft of his writing regularly awes me.  The sentences, the words, the descriptions: extraordinary. All That Is follows the life of Philip Bowman from his return from...

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