Read

Stories expand our world, and exposure to good writing improves our craft.  Browse our Worth A Read book recommendations here.


Worth A Read: We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The BUZZ: This pocket-sized book, all of 48 pages, has been holding its own on bestseller lists for months. It’s the transcript of Nigerian novelist Adichie’s 2012 TEDx Talk with the same title, a personal essay about what it means to be a feminist today. The GIST: As Adichie writes in her introduction, she was hesitant to […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: A God In Ruins, by Kate Atkinson

The BUZZ: One of Amazon’s Best Books of 2015, from the award-winning author of Life After Life. The GIST: A ‘companion’ to Life After Life ( which I have not read ). This story focuses on Teddy, the beloved little brother of Ursula Todd, from that debut novel. Teddy is an old Brit reviewing his […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

  The BUZZ: Coates is an award-winning journalist and national correspondent for The Atlantic. This extended essay/memoir is his second book. The GIST: Written as a letter to his son, Coates explores what it means to be a black man in America today. He sees current racial violence as part of a history of assault that has […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Bennett Women, by Roberta R. Carr

The BUZZ: Third novel by the author of The Vernazza Effect and The Foundation. The GIST: Muriel, Susanne and Lilia represent three generations of strong, talented women. Muriel, the aging grandmother, is a gifted water-colorist. Susanne, her daughter, is a Fortune 500 CEO. Her daughter, Lilia, is an accomplished cello student. They share deep bonds, […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it Worth A Read?: Go Set A Watchman, by Harper Lee

  As our faithful blog followers know, every week we post a review of a book we consider worth a read. We don’t trash books we don’t like, so there are no negative reviews here. Each book we write about is one we consider valuable, either because of the story itself or the writing, or both. […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Worth A Read: The Rocks, by Peter Nichols

The BUZZ: Latest novel by the bestselling author of A Voyage of Madmen and Sea Change. The GIST: Lulu and Gerald are British expats living on Mallorca. She is the gorgeous, magnetic proprietor of a beloved guest house, Los Roques, and he is the urbane steward of a small olive and lemon farm. They were […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: A Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs Series), by Jacqueline Winspear

  The BUZZ: Released this year, this is the 11th installment in the award-winning Maisie Dobbs mystery series by Winspear. We reviewed Winspear’s first novel here. The GIST: When the series opens, Maisie Dobbs is in her 20’s, a British field nurse during WWI who is now setting up her own detective agency. She solves murders […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

  The BUZZ: Published in 2010, an instant bestseller. Ultimately, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The GIST: This novel’s center is the life of Bennie Salazar, a record executive in Manhattan, and that of his one-time assistant, Sasha. As if these two are the hub of a wheel, succeeding chapters introduce characters who are related […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Life Work, by Donald Hall

The BUZZ: 1993 memoir by the award-winning Poet Laureate and children’s author. Winner of the New England Book Award for non-fiction. The GIST: I read this book years ago, and felt the need to revisit it. Hall impressed me back then as a counter-cultural character, living a country poet’s existence away from his Harvard and […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: About A Boy, by Nick Hornby

The BUZZ: Hornby has a knack for writing novels that become more, and About A Boy is no exception. A decade after the film (starring Hugh Grant) appeared, NBC loosely based a sitcom on the book. This is where it all began. The GIST: Will Freeman, in his mid-thirties, is the boy who never grew up. […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Lady In Gold, by Anne-Marie O’Connor

The BUZZ:Winner of the Marfield National Award for Arts Writing, the nonfiction story behind Klimt’s masterpiece and its interesting fate, dramatized in the the movie starring Helen Mirren (as Maria Altmann) and Ryan Reynolds (as attorney E. Randol Schoenberg), The Woman In Gold. The GIST: Adele Bloch-Bauer was the wife of a wealthy Austrian industrialist. […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Sense of An Ending, by Julian Barnes

The BUZZ: Winner of the 2011 Man Book Prize. Julian Barnes is a prolific and award-winning fiction and non-fiction author. The GIST: This short novel is a powerful study of the way we rewrite our memories to suit the story of our lives. Tony Webster is now retired after an ordinary life of marriage, divorce, childrearing, and […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Dream Lover, by Elizabeth Berg

The BUZZ: Historical fiction by the bestselling author of Open House and Tapestry of Fortunes. The GIST: This memoir-like story presents the life and times of the brilliant writer, George Sand. Born Aurore Dupin in 1801, Sand fled her loveless, arranged marriage to live among the artists in Paris, leaving behind her two young children. […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: The Children’s Crusade, by Ann Packer

The BUZZ: A new novel by the award-winning author of The Dive From Clausen’s Pier. An Amazon best book of April 2015. The GIST: Spanning the decades from 1954 to present day, this is the story of the Blair family.  The pediatrician father buys a beautiful piece of property in what becomes Silicon Valley, and he […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: The Sandcastle Girls, by Chris Bohjalian

The BUZZ: Fifteenth novel by bestselling author of Midwives and Skeletons at the Feast. The GIST: Laura Petrosian is a novelist living in suburban New York who has has never given much thought to her Armenian heritage. She becomes drawn into her grandparents’ mysterious history when a friend sees a photograph of Laura’s grandmother promoting […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain

  The BUZZ: This debut novel won the National Critics Circle Award for Fiction and was a National Book Award finalist. The GIST: Soldier Billy Lynn and the surviving members of his Bravo squad are wrapping up their U.S. heroes tour with a stint at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium on Thanksgiving Day. As guests of the owner, […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: News from Heaven, by Jennifer Haigh

The BUZZ: A collection of short stories by the award-winning author of Faith and Baker Towers (PEN/Hemingway Award, Winship/PEN Award for Fiction). The GIST: These interrelated stories stem from the fallen town of Bakerton, PA. A booming coal-mining burg in the 40’s, Bakerton now struggles to keep its head above water. The mines have closed, […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris

The BUZZ: An oldie but a goodie, this gem from David Sedaris was published in 2000 and became an NYT bestseller, like all of Sedaris’ books. I picked it up at the library book sale and dug right in. The GIST: These twenty-eight semi-autobiographical essays are split into two parts. Part One starts with Sedaris’ failed speech […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, by Beth Hoffman

The BUZZ:  A debut novel that became a New York Times bestseller twelve days after it was published in 2010. The GIST:  This distinctly Southern novel tells the story of CeeCee Honeycutt, a young girl whose mother has struggled with mental illness and has recently died in a tragic accident. CeeCee has carried a heavy load […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: Mindfulness In Plain English, by Bhante Gunaratana

The BUZZ: Written almost twenty-five years ago, this classic introduction to meditation is enjoying renewed attention with the popular culture’s interest in mindfulness. The GIST: Bhante Henepola Gunaratana is a revered Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist monk and teacher. In this slim volume, he invites us to define mindfulness as a transformational way of being. A […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty

The BUZZ: The sixth novel by internationally bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret (If you can get past the dopey titles, there is substance here). Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman have teamed up to bring it to the big screen. The GIST: The story follows three mothers whose children attend kindergarten together in a beachside […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald

  The BUZZ: First published in the UK in 2014 where it became a bestseller and a winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize. A current NYT non-fiction bestseller. The GIST: Helen Macdonald’s father dies suddenly on a London street, and her world dissolves. With no partner, no job, and no home of her own, she […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: Leaving Before The Rains Come, by Alexandra Fuller

The BUZZ: Latest memoir from the author of Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight, and Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness The GIST: In her third memoir, Alexandra Fuller untangles the breakdown of her marriage to Charlie Ross, whom she met and fell in love with in Zambia. His calm, capable persona promised rescue […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins

The BUZZ: A debut psychological thriller that is already a New York Times bestseller; Amazon Best Book of the Month for January, 2015. The GIST: Lonely and bored, Rachel rides the train to London each day, passing through the suburbs. The train stops regularly at a particular crossing, and Rachel has the chance to peer into the lives […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel

  The BUZZ: Station Eleven was a 2014 National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestseller. This is Mandel’s fourth novel. The GIST: This ingenious story opens in the middle of a performance of King Lear and moves swiftly to the end of the world as we know it. By chapter three, a pandemic is well on its way to […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Rosie Effect, by Graeme Simsion

The BUZZ: Sequel to the international bestseller The Rosie Project ( both are on Bill Gates’ list of favorite books ) The GIST: Don Tillman is back. The geneticist/data worshiper from Melbourne has arrived at Columbia University with his new wife, Rosie. Living with a partner for the first time is challenging for our protagonist […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

The BUZZ:  Maya Angelou was a renowned author and poet, singer, dancer, and producer, a voice for women and blacks, and the recipient of multiple awards and honorary degrees. She published this memoir – the first of what turned out to be seven volumes – in 1969, when she was 31. The GIST:  This is the […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler

The BUZZ: Winner of The Man Booker Prize, from the bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club The GIST: Rosemary is a fifth-year student at UC Davis, undeniably bright but spinning her wheels without direction or confidence. She is a fractured person from a fractured family. Their demise wasn’t caused by divorce or a […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henriquez

The BUZZ: Appeared on numerous “best books of 2014” lists, including NPR, Amazon’s Top Ten, NYT 100 Notable Books of 2014, and the Daily Beast Novel of the Year. The GIST: The Rivera family has immigrated from Mexico to Delaware to seek help for their teenaged daughter, Mirabel, who has suffered a traumatic brain injury. The story opens with […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Simple Victories, by Anne Lamott

The BUZZ: Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace was released last month and is already a bestseller and #1 in the Kindle store for essays and spirituality. This is Lamott’s 9th work of non-fiction. The GIST: This new book from Lamott – a collection of fresh essays and some old favorites – does not […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: And Sons, by David Gilbert

The BUZZ: Bestseller by the author of The Normals, Washington Post’s Best Book of the Year The GIST: Fifty years ago, the father in this story, A.N.Dyer, wrote Ampersand, a novel of teenage boys in turmoil at prep school. It became a modern classic, establishing Dyer as beloved literary icon, adored by everyone except his […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

The BUZZ: This book, born out of a character a Swedish blogger first introduced on his blog, became a European sensation and is now an international bestseller. The GIST: Ove (rhymes with mover) is a curmudgeon. He’s grumpy about other people, other people’s habits, other people’s incompetence, and even other people’s choice of vehicles. He’s […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Dirty Life, by Kristin Kimball

The BUZZ: An Indie Next Notable Book for 2010, Amazon Best Books of 2010, Top 10 Books: Home & Garden. The real-life chronicle of Essex Farm, a Community Supported Agriculture venture in New York state. The GIST: In her early thirties, Kristin Kimball inhabited a glamorous life in Manhattan as a free-lance writer. The Harvard […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Sense of Style, by Steven Pinker

The BUZZ: A contemporary supplement to the classic Elements of Style. An intriguing scientific basis for writing rules and fundamentals by the author of The Language Instinct and The Stuff of Thought The GIST: I remember fist picking up Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style as an adolescent. Initially excited that it might help […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Children Act, by Ian McEwan

The BUZZ: Latest novel by Jerusalem Prize-winner and author of Atonement The GIST: Fiona Maye is a devoted, accomplished London barrister. She presides over family law cases that center on The Children Act which provides protection and welfare for British minors.The story begins after her husband of thirty years, a University professor, proposes open marriage. […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Other Typist, by Suzanne Rindell

The BUZZ: A debut novel and psychological thriller; a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year (2013). Keira Knightley has signed on to produce and star in the film version of the novel. The GIST: It’s the roaring 20’s, and young Rose Baker is not partaking of its fruits. Instead, she’s enjoying her unremarkable job […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Worth A Read: Lila, by Marilynne Robinson

The BUZZ: The fourth novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and National Humanities Medal honoree. National Book Award finalist. Robinson teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The GIST: Lila was a background character in the luminous novel, Gilead. The adored wife of the narrator, I wondered where she came from and how she ended up in […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches (series), by Alan Bradley

The BUZZ: This main character has her own fan club, but you’ve likely never heard of her. Bradley has taken an innovative approach to detective fiction, and this is the 6th book in the award-winning series. The GIST: Flavia de Luce is an 11-year-old genius living in an old English pile with her obnoxious older […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham

The BUZZ: Collection of essays by the award-winning writer, director and star of HBO’s Girls The GIST: Just like her TV series, Lena Dunham’s book is gritty and disturbing. I’m a fan, and find her controversial work fascinating. It borders on offensive as she has no boundaries around what might be in good taste or […]

Posted in Read, Recent, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Stone Mattress, by Margaret Atwood

The BUZZ: A book of short stories by the incomparable Atwood. She has 40 published works – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children’s books – to her credit to date. The GIST: These nine tales are deceptive. On the surface, they are straightforward, told in the crisp, witty, intelligent style Atwood is known for. The reader […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline

The BUZZ: Bestselling novel based on historical accounts of a children’s welfare program, by the author of Bird in Hand.  The GIST: In 1853, The Children’s Aid Society was founded by a wealthy Connecticut minister to help the thousands of orphaned kids living on the streets of New York City. The Society’s objective was to […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine

The BUZZ: Just nominated for the 2014 National Book Award. This is the fifth novel for Alameddine and a glimpse into the history and culture of the Middle East. The GIST: A lonely elderly woman, Aaliya Saleh, narrates her tale from her decaying apartment in Beirut. She has seen very little of the world yet […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Worth A Read: The Faraway Nearby, by Rebecca Solnit

The BUZZ: A collection of essays from the award-winning author of Men Explain Things To Me, and A Field Guide to Getting Lost The GIST: In these stories about stories, Solnit’s curious intellect contemplates people and their lives as narrative threads. The title derives from Georgia O’Keeffe’s closing in her letters to friends and loved […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Tongues of Flame, by Mary Ward Brown

The BUZZ: When this book was published in 1986, it caused a small sensation. It won the PEN/Faulkner Award for debut fiction the following year, and its celebrated, emerging author was almost 70 years old. The GIST: These short stories are distinct from each other, but all share the soul of the Deep South. Brown […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Museum of Extraordinary Things, by Alice Hoffman

The BUZZ: The 29th novel from the bestselling author of The Dovekeepers, and Practical Magic The GIST: Coralie Sardie is a motherless daughter working as the Human Mermaid in The Museum of Extraordinary Things, the Coney Island freak show run by her sinister father. She is a gentle soul, unable to free herself from his […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown

The BUZZ: This NY Times bestseller was recommended to me by four people in the same week (thanks Kim, Ann, Kerry, and Bill). I figured I had to check it out. The GIST: First, this is not a war book. It intersects with the build up of Nazi Germany, but the subject is the extraordinary […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: Quiet, by Susan Cain

The BUZZ: No. 1 on NPR’s bestseller list, No. 1 non-fiction on Goodread’s Choice Awards The GIST: Susan Cain’s TED talk is one of that series’ most popular, supporting the premise of her book that introversion is not a direct route to the sidelines. An introvert herself, Cain felt indignant at society’s view of introversion […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

The BUZZ: This is the second installment in Galbraith/Rowling’s detective series featuring Cormoran Strike. The GIST: Six months have passed since Strike and his assistant, Robin, solved the Lulu Landry case. Now, a novelist has disappeared, and his wife has hired Strike to track him down. The hunt takes the pair into a variety of […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Dinner, by Herman Koch

  The BUZZ: International bestseller by a Dutch TV producer, actor and novelist The GIST: Two brothers are out to dinner with their wives at a tony restaurant in Amsterdam.  One is a well-known politician, the other a teacher.  The fussy, expensive meal highlights the differences between them and the worlds they inhabit.  Five courses, […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

The BUZZ:  Anthony Doerr is an acclaimed novelist and short story writer; this novel, published in May, quickly became a New York Times bestseller. The GIST:  Two parallel stories intersect in this gripping story of World War II.  Marie-Laure grows up in Paris with her father, who works at the Museum of Natural History. She […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: Mastery, by Robert Greene

  The BUZZ: NYT bestseller from the author of The 48 Laws of Power The GIST: Greene has made the leap from self-help to philosophy in his fourth book.  His previous titles were a bit chilling in their blatant theme of power over others on the path of achievement and success.  He now addresses contributing […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Care and Management of Lies, by Jacqueline Winspear

The BUZZ: Winspear is best known for her popular Maisie Dobbs mystery series, so this novel (published this month) is a rare treat. The GIST: The story opens in 1914, on the eve of Great Britain’s entry into World War I. It is an in-between time, when the innocence of life in country towns is […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Worth A Read: Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

The BUZZ: NYT Bestseller by the author of Seabiscuit. Soon to be a major motion picture directed by Angelina Jolie.  Check out the trailer here. The GIST: Louis Zamperini was a juvenile delinquent who was lucky to channel his energy into running, where he excelled to the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  By age 26, he was […]

Posted in Read, Recent, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: So Long A Letter, by Mariama Ba

The BUZZ: So Long A Letter was groundbreaking when it was published in 1979, and it was the first African novel to win the prestigious Noma Award. The GIST: This semi-autobiographical work takes the form of a personal letter between friends. Ramatoulaye, a recently widowed Senegalese woman, is writing to Aissatou, divorced and now living […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Written In My Own Heart’s Blood, by Diana Gabaldon

  The BUZZ: This is the eighth book in The Outlander series. Starting in August, Outlander will be a miniseries on Starz. The GIST: Twenty years ago, a sophisticated friend of mine handed me her copy of Outlander. I was surprised that she would let anyone know that she read this book (I had seen […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple

  The BUZZ: Maria Semple has written for SNL, Ellen, Mad About You, and Arrested Development. This is her 2nd novel. The GIST: Bernadette Fox is well known in her community, but not in a good way. She seems aloof to the other mothers and doesn’t pull her weight at school; she’s a famous architect, […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce

    The BUZZ: Long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, one of Washington Post’s Best Books of the Year. Originally written as a radio play. The GIST: Reserved Harold and sullen Maureen Fry are unhappily going through the motions of retirement in their English cottage. One morning, Harold receives a letter from a woman he worked […]

Posted in Read, Recent | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Girls of Atomic City, by Denise Kiernan

The BUZZ: This New York Times and Los Angeles Times nonfiction bestseller is Denise Kiernan’s 4th in the history genre. The GIST: In 1942, a government city sprang up seemingly overnight in the Tennessee hills. It was called Oak Ridge, and its sole purpose was to purify uranium for use in an atomic bomb. Of […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion

The BUZZ: Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2013. Not sure how I missed this one last year. Optioned for the big screen by Sony Pictures. The GIST: Narrator Don Tillman is a brilliant genetics professor at a prestigious university. He decides at age 39 that it’s time to find a wife. This presents […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Worth A Read: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

The BUZZ:  This book is everywhere. John Green is a hero of the Young Adult genre (search #TFIOS on Twitter and you’ll find thousands of tweets). Green started as a vlogger on YouTube and has written five previous novels. The movie opens in theaters on June 6. The GIST:  The narrator, Hazel, is a teenager […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Worth A Read: The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson

The Buzz: Wilkerson is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. This vast historical work was one of the New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year. The Gist: From 1900-1970, 6 million individuals and families left the American South and restarted their lives in northern cities. This exodus of African Americans from the […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Worth A Read: The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman

The BUZZ: NYT Bestseller; winner of three ABIAs, including Best Book of the Year; headed into film production with Dreamworks. The GIST: After the first World War, Tom Sherbourne retreats from society to tend the Janus Rock lighthouse off the coast of Australia. A diligent and moral man, he fulfills his responsibilities carefully and consistently. […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter

The BUZZ: Beautiful Ruins is a national bestseller and New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book of the Year. This is Jess Walter’s 6th novel. The GIST: In 1962, a lovely American actress arrives at a tiny fishing village on the Ligurian coast of Italy to hide out for a while. Pasquale Tursi, the […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

The BUZZ: #1 Pick of American Booksellers Assoc., 2014. After the last four downer books I read, I was desperately seeking a story about caring, thoughtful people who at least try to do the right thing. The GIST: Thirty-nine year old A.J. Fikry owns the bookstore housed in the purple Victorian on Main Street, Alice […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Still Life, by Louise Penny

The BUZZ: This book is a treat for the I-don’t-read-mysteries readers among you as well as those mystery lovers looking for a new angle. It’s the first in the Three Pines series (9 books and counting), for which Penny has received numerous prestigious awards. The GIST: Still Life introduces us to the fictional village of […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

  The BUZZ: Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2014 The GIST: Boy, the ironically-named Grace Kelly look-alike, lives in 1940‘s Manhattan with her abusive father. He catches rats by day, and beats her at night. As her beauty grows, so does the abuse. At nineteen, fearing for her life, Boy runs away, boarding […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: The Circle, by Dave Eggers

The BUZZ: A finalist for the National Book Award, this fast-paced novel will be of interest to anyone who has used social media. In any way. Ever. The GIST: Wide-eyed Mae Holland has been hired by the Circle, the largest, hippest, most powerful technology company in the world. The Circle’s stated mission is simple: connect […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd

The BUZZ: Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection, by the bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees.  Avoid the club’s version if you don’t want O’s notes scattered throughout the book. The GIST: Based on the lives of Sarah and Angelina Grimke, sisters from Charleston who spearheaded abolitionist and feminist movements. The novel begins on Sarah’s […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: Telex from Cuba, by Rachel Kushner

The BUZZ:   Telex from Cuba was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book.  This is Kushner’s debut novel. The GIST: This novel is set in the 1950’s, in Cuba’s Oriente Province, home to American expat families running the sugar cane and nickel mining operations.  The […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: Alena, by Rachel Pastan

The BUZZ: Rachel Pastan’s third novel, a homage to the classic, Rebecca. The GIST: While in Venice at the Biennale, a young mid-western curator’s assistant meets Bernard, the wealthy, magnetic owner of a Cape Cod contemporary art museum. The two connect over a harmonious response to Giotto, and Bernard offers her a job as curator.  His […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Worth a Read: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The BUZZ: One of The New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of the Year. The GIST: Nigerian student Ifemelu comes to the U.S. to attend college and is confronted with an immigrant’s sense of dislocation and self-consciousness about her race. Far from her homeland and her boyfriend, she makes her way to Princeton […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Worth A Read: The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert

The BUZZ: The much-anticipated epic novel from the author of Eat, Pray, Love.  Finalist for the Wellcome Book Prize. The GIST: Alma Whittaker is the exceptional daughter of two shrewd, industrious parents. Born in 1800, she grows up on their new sprawling, colorful estate, White Acre, in Philadelphia.  She is expected to improve her mind […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth A Read: The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom

The BUZZ: Last spring, everyone was talking about this book, and the reviews were mixed.  I finally purchased it at Barnes & Noble one day because I was curious – and it meant I could get my parking validated.  This is Grissom’s debut novel. The GIST:  A young, white orphan is raised by black slaves […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Worth A Read: A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki

The BUZZ: Shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize The GIST: Novelist Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty freezer bag washed up on the shore near her home on a remote island off the coast of British Columbia.  Inside, a copy of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time turns out to be a repurposed blank book, […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Worth a Read: The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer

This is the first in a new feature we’re calling Worth a Read.  Each Monday we’ll provide a short book review, giving you a plot summary (no spoilers!), our impressions of the writing, and our rating of Buy (great) or Borrow (a qualified good).  We hope you enjoy it and it helps you sort your reading […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Try Something New

The joy I get out of going to a museum is experiencing visual art in all of its breathtaking and jarring forms.  I am of the gaze-first-read-description-later type; I’m less interested in who created a work than in the emotions it evokes, the mental paradigms that get shifted around, and the connection I make to […]

Posted in Read, Reading | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Crack the Code

Anne Lamott warned us this would happen.  In Bird by Bird, her classic book about writing (and living), she says: Becoming a writer can profoundly change your life as a reader.  One reads with a deeper appreciation and concentration, knowing how hard writing is, especially how hard it is to make it look effortless.  You […]

Posted in Construction, Read, Reading | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Face the Muses

With a pat on my shoulder, my artist friend handed me a book, saying, “This will help you with your problem.” I have more than one problem, so I wasn’t sure what she was referring to, but assumed it had something to do with my art, as the book was The War Of Art, by […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Paint the Desert

My non-fiction writing sometimes suffers from a lack of what I’ll call texture.  The words do their job and get my point across, but the surface I create can seem a bit matte – too serious, sometimes a little drab.  I’m trying some techniques to lighten things up, and one of them is to get […]

Posted in Groundwork, Read, Reading | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Read To Write

I often worry that I might be spending too much time reading, and not enough time writing. Perhaps I should put aside the biography I’m halfway through, or at least not start a new book until I have finished writing my children’s book. Then I come to my senses. Reading is not just a pastime […]

Posted in Groundwork, Read | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Be Very Afraid

Within days of the charter meeting of the Mandala Writers Circle, I was jetting off to visit a friend in the mountains of North Carolina, sneaking in some much needed girl time.  I tossed out something to the effect of “I won’t be able to write while I’m gone.  Too busy, no chair time” to […]

Posted in Book Reviews, Read | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *