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Author Event Whiplash

I went to see Bonnie Jo Campbell at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square this Wednesday and Chris Colfer at Anderson’s in Naperville on Thursday.

The Beginner's Goodbye

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There are two main reasons I love Anne Tyler: one is rather facile, which is that I get a childlike delight when she mentions Sinai Hospital or Cold Spring Lane and I say aloud “yay Baltimore!” The other is because Tyler floats above the “women’s literature/literary fiction” brouhahas, allowing for beautiful portrayals of marriage, siblings, and grief.

Canada by Richard Ford

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Who are the children of bank robbers? That provocative question is answered, with varying levels of satisfaction, in Richard Ford’s Canada.

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell

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When I read anything, I almost always, without any conscious thought, create the scene from what already exists in my head. So Anne of Green Gables takes place on an area of Eaglesmere, PA that I visited a lot as a child (as does The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie); The Ladies Auxiliary is set in an Orthodox neighborhood in Baltimore; Sharp Objects is set in Naperville, etc.

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

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To understand Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots , or to even talk about it, I think it has to be clear what it is, and is not.
It is a fascinating coming-of-age story. It is not reflective of the Orthodox community as a whole. I’m not even sure it’s reflective of much more than one woman’s experience in the Hasidic Satmar sect that lives in Willamsburg, Brooklyn.

Life is But a Dream by Brian James

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Let’s assume that there is a dearth in the young adult market representing schizophrenic teenage girls.  I can buy that. But I can absolutely say that there is no need for yet another book involving a naïve, mentally ill girl who finds happiness with a guy with anger issues.

The Family Markowitz by Allegra Goodman

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Allegra Goodman was writing about dysfunctional Jewish families before it was cool. This 1996 novel opens with Rose Markowitz reflecting on her life, ultimately deciding to decree in her will that her fortune will go The Girls’ Orphanage in Israel. That’s after she sends away her second husband’s only child away while the husband lies on his deathbed.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

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If your family was killed and you had a choice of whether to wake up from a coma, what would you choose?
Three years ago, that’s the situation that cellist and high school student Mia faced. In the haunting If I Stay , she reflects on her life while listening to those around her, including her boyfriend Adam. Ultimately, Mia chooses to wake up.

Death Comes to Pemberley

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It takes a fair amount of chutzpah to think “Gosh, Pride and Prejudice sure was great, but what it really could have used was a dash of murder.”

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