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 […]

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 […]

Euphoria, by Lily King

In one of the multiverses (and now I’m betraying my begrudging enjoyment those movies), I would have definitely lived the life of Margaret Mead.  She was born in Philadelphia, close to where I grew up, went to school at Columbia, where my father did, and traveled to foreign lands to learn about cultures and peoples […]

Case Histories: A Novel (Jackson Brodie, 1), by Kate Atkinson

You know something is about to go horribly wrong from the first line of this crime fiction book, even though the line reads innocuously enough—“How lucky were they?”—which is a tribute to Atkinson’s deft skill.  I won’t spoil this intricately-weaved set of stories except to say that style-wise, Atkinson does something in the books that […]

Interred with their Bones, by Jennifer Lee Carrell

Okay, so I teach Hamlet (check out David Tennant’s Hamlet, if you haven’t yet!) and couldn’t help but try out this book, which is basically the Da Vinci Code and National Treasure on Shakespeare.  Yes, it reads a bit like a movie, something I usually stay away from, but the story is just good romping […]

Orphan Train Girl, by Christina Baker Kline

This book opened the door to historical fiction for me, and I’m never looking back.  It might be the laziness in me, but I genuinely enjoy learning about the past through fictional stories.  The Maine setting is a bonus, as I’ve never been, but always hoped to, and now feel as if I have.  The […]

How to Be Good, by Nick Hornby

Oh, to be British! And to be funny! Both of which I will inevitably try and joyfully fail at doing. Some of my favorite lines: “Bollocks” (p. 5 and throughout) Is there a more dismissive word in the English language? I think not. Something about the air blasted through the lips and the flippant tongue […]

The Year of Fog, by Michelle Richmond

If books let us live out various vicarious lives, this one guided me through one of my deepest fears—the disappearance of my child.  The writing was a bit stilted at times, but the story was brutal and kept me going, even when I wanted to put it down.  Setting it in San Francisco was a […]