Moonglow by Michael Chabon

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

Highly acclaimed author Chabon can certainly turn a phrase, stretch out a cliff hanger escapade, and craft a metaphor that tips into the poetic. I wish he had restrained himself a bit in this semi-autobiographical novelization of his fascinating and enigmatic grandfather. The book could have been a good 25% shorter. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the […]


Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles

Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles

I so enjoyed Jiles’s more recent book, News of the World [2016], that I was eager to read one of her earlier works. This one is a good read though not a great one. It’s a coming-of-age story centered on young Jeanine Stoddard, the middle sister of three girls in a Texas family during the […]


The Bride Test

The Bride Test

The Bride Test is a wonderful romance, written by Helen Hoang, that sensitively deals with autism and immigration issues. Ms. Huong is herself on the autism spectrum and so can share with deep personal insight how that feels. She is also the daughter of a Vietnamese war refuge so she has insight into the Veitnamese […]


The Altruists by Andrew Ridker

The Altruists by Andrew Ridker

Sardonically titled, the only true altruist dies in the beginning, setting her husband and two adult children spiraling downward. Each is in crisis, searching for how to live. All are blind to themselves but quick to point out hypocrisy and self-indulgence in others. It makes for challenging relationships. Written with mocking humor, we watch the […]


Improvement by Joan Silber

Improvement by Joan Silber

Silber’s lively writing style is a pleasure to read in her patchwork novel about how actions of others and acts of fate can improve us, or, in some cases be disastrous. Rayna, single mom, loves Boyd, a good guy with a record. Rayna’s aunt Kiki has a colorful past but now settled, worries about Rayna’s […]


kaddish.com by Nathan Englander

kaddish.com by Nathan Englander

Larry is the fallen-away son in a very Orthodox Jewish family. When his father dies, the clan gathers at his sister’s house to sit shivah, the seven-day mourning period. The whole scene is just torture for poor Larry, who professes no patience for what he considers mere superstition. When he is informed that as the […]


The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

Gentler than I expected, this is the story of a morally upright German woman whose husband was one of a band of conspirators who tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Hitler. She promised at the time to take care of the wives and children if their husbands did not survive the attempt. Marianne lives with her children […]


The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

I don’t often read novels in verse. They aren’t my thing, but Elizabeth Acevedo’s debut novel, “The Poet X,” is making think I have been missing out.  Acevedo tells the story of Xiomara who feels ignored at home and school, but is also the target unwanted attention from both her classmates and mother. The boys […]


The Lost Man by Jane Harper

The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Jane Harper has again offered American readers another gripping and complex tale of life in the Australian outback. The harsh Queensland outback is almost a character in this story of the outwardly happy family no one really knows about. Harper’s recurring motif is how treacherous and unforgiving this environment is. The land is populated with […]


The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted

A beautiful story of three terribly hurt people — a man, a woman, a child – in rural 1960’s Australia. Where does healing come from? Sometimes we have to have the heart to create a family (and a bookstore) where none existed before. Don’t miss this gorgeous wrenching story of grief and healing.