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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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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It’s Okay to Laugh by Nora McInerny Purmort
Aug31

It’s Okay to Laugh by Nora McInerny Purmort

In her memoir It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too), Nora McInerny Purmort tells the story of meeting Aaron, the love of her life, and how they planned their life together, parenthood included, in the face of his brain cancer diagnosis. The first sentence provides the context for everything that follows in the book: “You are holding a book by another youngish white woman who had a pretty charmed life until her father and husband...

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In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
Jun22

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

In Other Words  As a long-time fan of Jhumpa Lahiri’s fiction, I suspected I’d enjoy her first memoir, In Other Words. Although the description of the book as Lahiri’s experience moving to Italy so she could learn how to speak and write in Italian (her third language after Bengali and English) may not sound thrilling at the outset, I savored the sentences on each page. Lahiri herself describes the book as “a sort of linguistic...

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The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
Apr06

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

The Hired Girl If you enjoy historical fiction and realistic young adult novels, you will likely enjoy The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz. Set, for the most part, in Baltimore in 1911, The Hired Girl tells the story of Joan, a young Catholic girl who yearns to escape the farm life in Pennsylvania under her father’s strict rule. Joan is allowed to attend school, where she thrives, until her mother dies and she is needed at home to...

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And Again by Jessica Chiarella
Jan20

And Again by Jessica Chiarella

And Again I knew I would read Jessica Chiarella’s novel And Again when it was described as being in the spirit of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles. Those two books, which I devoured and chose for my book club, share an “atmosphere,” for lack of a better word, that I indeed recognized in And Again. The atmosphere is one of an unknown future with unsettling changes to life as we know...

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The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
Oct14

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman If you like detailed historical fiction and a strong female protagonist, then Alice Hoffman’s newest novel should be high on your list. The Marriage of Opposites revolves around the circumstances that brought the Impressionist painter, Camille Pissarro, into the art world, but the main character through a majority of the story is Pissarro’s mother, Rachel Pomie Petit Pizzarro. Hoffman uses...

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Unabrow by Una LaMarche
Jun24

Unabrow by Una LaMarche

When it’s my turn to pick a book to review at Great New Books. I feel pressure (self-inflicted) to choose something “serious” or “heavy,” something worthy of deep contemplation, or at least an emotional tear. It was for that reason that I almost didn’t want to share Unabrow: Misadventures of a Late Bloomer by Una LaMarche, one of the most enjoyable essay collections I’ve read this year. Picking a book that was so fun and indulgent...

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Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
Apr08

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Better Than Before, the title of Gretchen Rubin’s book about how habits are set and changed, was reason enough to like the concept before I even read a page. Rubin didn’t call the book You’re Perfect Now or Get Control of Your Life. She implied with Better Than Before that her only aim was to provide tools that could help readers make some improvements. I think she succeeds in that goal. Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, has a...

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Small Victories by Anne Lamott
Jan21

Small Victories by Anne Lamott

  SMALL VICTORIES by Anne Lamott The first time I read Anne Lamott’s work was in 2007 when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I’d only taken one creative writing class in college in the late 90s; otherwise, I was on my own. From what I’d heard, Anne Lamott was a good place to start. Bird by Bird, Lamott’s book of practical and inspirational advice for writers, made me a fan of her style. Lamott’s essays, including the ones in her...

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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Oct01

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

  THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY by Gabrielle Zevin I enjoyed Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry so much that I recommended it not only for Great New Books, but for my neighborhood book club as well. In that book club we are passionate readers of all different ages and backgrounds, and we rarely unanimously like a book. A.J. Fikry passed that rare test. And we are not alone. The novel has been a New York Times...

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Jul16

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

  ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell I loved Rainbow Rowell’s young adult novel Eleanor & Park, and every adult I know who’s read it loved it, too. Once again we have a case of a book intended for teen readers grabbing the hearts of adults. Do we grownups love this book because it’s set in 1986? Do we love the unlikely protagonists? Or are the unusually well-drawn adult characters that we don’t often see in a book for...

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Visible City by Tova Mirvis
Apr09

Visible City by Tova Mirvis

Today at Great New Books, GNB team member Nina Badzin shares a recent favorite book, and we have the pleasure of hosting a giveaway of that book, VISIBLE CITY by Tova Mirvis (details below). Thank you to Tova and her publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for the copy for the giveaway. VISIBLE CITY by Tova Mirvis When I started reading Visible City by Tova Mirvis, I had two positive preconceived notions about the novel. First, I was...

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A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
Feb12

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

  Today, Great New Books team member Nina Badzin shares one of her favorite recent reads, and we are giving away one hardcover copy of A HUNDRED SUMMERS to one lucky commenter, thanks to Beatriz Williams’s publisher, Berkley / Penguin (see details below). A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams There couldn’t be a better time to discuss Beatriz Williams’ excellent historical novel A Hundred Summers than in the middle of the...

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The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
Dec04

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

  THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by Liane Moriarty In The Husband’s Secret, we first meet Cecilia Fitzpatrick and get a glimpse of her busy life in Sidney as a mom of three girls, one of the top Tupperware salespeople in Australia, and the head of the parent association at her daughters’ Catholic elementary school, St. Agnes. The seemingly straightforward premise of the book quickly unfolds. While Cecilia’s husband, John-Paul, is...

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