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Cutting for Stone
Recently in San Francisco I attended a reading by Abraham Verghese, who has written my favorite book of the year: CUTTING FOR STONE. I'd gotten it fro ...more
Mar 2009
May 22, 2009
Labor Day
There is a metaphor at the heart of this book, that of the creation of an upper crust for a peach pie and the difficulties encountered when the hands ...more
Jul 29, 2009
Jun 30, 2009
Life After Life
How do writers tell a story? How do they choose the minute details to make time's arrow chart a straight path? Take a fork in the road, make a mistake ...more
Mar 20, 2013
Mar 15, 2013
Station Eleven
Mandel has said that her inspiration for writing this book was to make us thankful for the world as we know it. There have been many books published l ...more
Oct 2014
Sep 26, 2014
The Arsonist
Once I started, I had to finish, breaking one of my cardinal rules: life is too short to stay with books that are not your cup of tea. In order to be ...more
May 14, 2014
May 05, 2014
As a writer, Dave Eggers has the ability to find the small story within the larger one, as exemplified by his "Voice of Witness" series, out of which ...more
Jul 30, 2009
Jul 28, 2009
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
When i picked up this massive book, I thought it would take me weeks maybe months to finish, as I'd planned to dip into it now and then between other ...more
Dec 07, 2012
Dec 04, 2012
The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion
Some feel that Southerners are the best storytellers. Like the Irish, they know the value of a tale that has an intriguing premise, a lot of history, ...more
Nov 09, 2013
Nov 03, 2013
This Is How You Lose Her
Several years ago I lived out a fantasy abetted by Junot Diaz, of which he was unaware. I was sitting in a cafe reading the searing conclusion to A Br ...more
Sep 14, 2012
Sep 13, 2012
Bad Monkey
Carl Hiaasen has been writing the same book for twenty years, and I can't get enough. Bad Monkey denotes a return to form. He's written some YA novels ...more
May 11, 2013
May 07, 2013
Life Drawing
Not since the first sentence of Toni Morrison's Paradise have I read such a tantalizing first sentence, one that remained in the back of my mind throu ...more
Apr 24, 2014
Apr 22, 2014
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Richard Flanagan gives an enigmatic title to his justifiably award-winning novel, which is explained deep within its pages. The lives of men thrown to ...more
Jun 18, 2014
Jun 13, 2014
In Paradise
Auschwitz. The very name strikes at the marrow. In 1996, fifty years after the war ended, Peter Matthiessen along with over 100 people, spent a week l ...more
May 19, 2014
Mar 03, 2014
A Treacherous Paradise
Henning Mankell is credited for being the first author of Scandinavian crime thrillers to reach an international audience (although he has credited Ma ...more
Jul 30, 2013
Jul 24, 2013
For every war there is a definitive work of fiction that defines it. My (admittedly personal) shortlist includes All Quiet on the Western Front, The N ...more
Mar 18, 2014
Mar 17, 2014
Claire of the Sea Light
Edwidge Danticat has always been a writer of powerful beauty, but here, she surpasses herself. At the center of this luminous novel is Claire, and thr ...more
Sep 04, 2013
Sep 02, 2013
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Anthony Marra hits the ground from the first page and doesn't let up. This beautiful novel is one of the best debuts I've read, and while it evokes me ...more
Jan 07, 2014
Apr 06, 2013
The Orphan Master's Son
Jun Do is the Orphan Master's Son, growing up without an identity with a martyr's name. He is trained as a tunnel soldier, experiences life as a kidn ...more
Feb 16, 2012
Feb 10, 2012
U is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone, #21)
There is a character in Sue Grafton's 21st book of her Kinsey Millhone series who is taking a class in creative writing. His teacher specifically chid ...more
Jan 03, 2010
Dec 30, 2009
Watch Me Go
This is more than just a pinewood noir, but an examination of love and redemption set against the background of the racetrack. There is a poignant qua ...more
Dec 02, 2014
Nov 29, 2014
The Last Enchantments
I recently read a comment by a reviewer I respect that men have given up reading literary fiction, that such practice went out of fashion some time in ...more
Dec 27, 2013
Dec 18, 2013
The Farm
My pleasure in this book was intensified by seeing the author in person. Smith's reputation was built on a well received trilogy of thrillers set in R ...more
Jun 13, 2014
Jun 10, 2014
Joseph Anton: A Memoir
Ir's no surprise that Rushdie has written so literate a memoir, what surprises is the content. I must admit i've never been a huge fan of his fiction ...more
Oct 10, 2012
Oct 02, 2012
The Woman Upstairs
Every person is a composed trinity -- who we think we are to others, who we are to ourselves, and who we really are to other people. Eleanor Rigby li ...more
Apr 21, 2013
Apr 17, 2013
Little Man, What Now?
Little Man, What Now? tells the story of a couple so ordinary they are immediately recognizeable to today's reader, even though the book was written i ...more
Jul 30, 2010
Jul 27, 2010
Every Last One
Anna Quindlan, like Jodi Picoult, writes deftly of normal families caught in moments of crisis. Unlike Picoult, who takes her subjects from headlines ...more
May 25, 2010
May 24, 2010
The Children Act
This autumn has seen the appearance of so many good books, it is hard to know where to begin and what to pick up next. If you're facing such a dilemma ...more
Oct 10, 2014
Oct 02, 2014
Above the East China Sea
Ten years ago, Sarah Bird's Yokota Officer's Club was one of my favorite books. She returns to the world she knows well, that of being a military depe ...more
Jul 16, 2014
Jul 15, 2014
This is Where I Leave You
My marriage ended the way these things do: with paramedics and cheesecake. So begins Chapter 3 of this book. Tropper has been compared to Michael Chab ...more
Jul 17, 2009
Jun 24, 2009
Ever since reading Three Men on Their Way to a Dance, I've looked forward to any new book by Richard Powers, because even if it's on a subject I know ...more
Feb 15, 2014
Jan 08, 2014
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