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Adult Fiction

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.

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.

We the Animals

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A semi-autobiographical work of fiction, We the Animals tells the history of a family and the Boy Who Left.

Mr. Chartwell

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How one feels about depression being personified by a large black dog that plagues Winston Churchill is likely dependent on how one feels about depression, dogs and the famous Prime Minister.

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

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Commencement Commencement (Vintage Contemporaries) is an enjoyable jaunt through life in a women’s college and the years afterwards, until it goes completely off the rails.

A Word About #FridayReads

Shortly after Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes last year and roasted his fellow celebrities, there was a disquieting feeling among his fans that maybe he wasn’t as interested in speaking Truth to Power as much as he was a bit of a jerk.

That’s how I’m feeling these days about Jennifer Weiner.

The Mistress Contract

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A pseudo-academic treatise disguised as a conversation between a man and his long-time mistress, The Mistress Contract is a book you'll either love, hate or go "what IS this?"

The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman

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Take two sisters, the setting of Silicon Valley, a handkerchief-twisting “will they or won’t they romance?” and the mystery of a collection of cookbooks. Add a heaping cup of literary references and a dash of Judaism, and you have The Cookbook Collector: A Novel

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