The Berry Pickers, by Amanda Peters

I’m not sure if everyone has a moment in their childhood that defines who they grow to be, but I have no doubt many of us do.  For me, it was a certain night during the summer of 1980 that forever lowered my tolerance for conflict and created in me the kind of peace-making personality […]

Take My Hand, by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

You ever get that feeling you completely missed the point of a book?  I feel this way about Take My Hand, which is something I entirely blame myself for.  Perkins-Valdez wrote a beautiful novel about race and sexism and poverty in America.  And Civil, her protagonist, is a wonderfully complex character with strength and power, […]

Unsinkable, by Jenni L. Walsh

What to read when…you haven’t tired of WW2 Historical Fiction (as I have) or if you can’t get enough Titanic stories (as I can’t!).  Titanic will forever hold the heart of every story in our oceans of imagination—the hopeful beginning, the devastating plot twist, the heart-breaking, yet poignant conclusion.  Unsinkable draws from this well of […]

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride

You don’t often think that reading a book is like eating your vegetables, but in the case of James McBride’s Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, that’s exactly what it felt like.  Reading it now, just after the holidays, and after having spent the last few weeks eating leftover lasagna, turkey, and a sundry of pies […]

Miss Benson’s Beetle, by Rachel Joyce

What to read when… …you need to feel there are still adventures to be had in this world.  I promise you that Miss Benson’s Beetle will make you want to quit your job, sell all your belongings, and hop a freight for the other side of the world.  The only issue there is that I […]

Lady Tan’s Circle of Women, by Lisa See

I hope I’m not alone in this.  Women mostly don’t talk about it.  I know I haven’t.  But I believe that if you’ve had a miscarriage, or had trouble getting pregnant, or if you’ve given birth to a special needs child, then inevitably we all ask the same question.  It’s the one we’re never supposed […]

Weyward, by Emilia Hart

I finished this book last night and this morning I saved an ant who had crawled up into my kitchen sink.  Violet and her striped-leg spider, Goldie, are entirely to blame.  Normally there would have been a swift death by drowning, but thanks to this book, I carefully led the ant onto a paper towel […]

Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr

Any author who gets me to read science fiction has absolutely earned their Pulitzer Prize.  I don’t know if it’s Konstance’s mass of curls that “haloes” her head or the fact that her socks are full of holes, but I was entirely sunk by the end of the very first paragraph of Cloud Cuckoo Land.  […]

The Exiles, by Christina Baker Kline

There are only a few cardinal rules for a writer: you must not be boring (I’m looking at you, Trust by Hernan Diaz, whom I can pick on because you won a Pulitzer Prize).  You must also not have plot holes (Doerr, what were you thinking?  I haven’t finished Cloud Cuckoo Land yet, so I […]

The Dictionary of Lost Words, by Pip Williams

I think some of us always remember the first time we’re called a “dumb b*tch.”  It happened to me at 19—stalled out in the middle of an intersection, in the driver’s seat of a car I could not drive.  The car was an ’87 Pontiac Sunbird, five-speed…manual transmission.  I had been taught to drive the […]