“If You Knew Suzy” by Katherine Rosman

After her mother’s death, Katie Rosman is left reeling. Her mother, Suzy, was only 60 years old, and the diagnosis of lung cancer came as a shock to the nonsmoker. After Suzy’s death, Rosman, a journalist, decides to investigate her mother’s life in order to understand how she faced her own death.

“The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

“The Color of Water” by James McBride

James McBride, the eighth of twelve children, always wondered why his mother looked so different from his siblings, his stepfather, and everyone else in their predominantly black neighborhood. He badgered her for details all of his life, and when he became a journalist, he began recording her responses.

Readathon Spring 2013

This is one of my favorite weekends of the year–Spring Readathon! I’ve got a stack of books that I hope to finish today and tomorrow. Unfortunately, I have work-work to do, but I should still get some serious reading-work done too. Here’s what’s on the menu: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (already started) Look at Me by Jennifer Egan (already started) Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich Orphan []

Top Ten Books About India

I recently returned from a two-week trip to India. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to write a few articles about my time there, but suffice to say it is a rich, complex, and utterly beautiful country.

Nonfiction Book Group at One More Page

I’m excited to announce that I am now the leader of the Nonfiction Book Group at Arlington’s One More Page Books & More, one of my favorite places in the world. We’ll meet on the second Monday of every month, beginning tomorrow at 7 pm. My first selection is Boomerang: Travels in the Third World by Michael Lewis. I know this is late notice, but I would love to see supporters of my blog attend the group. Even if you haven’t read the book–I’ll bring []

“This Boy’s Life” by Tobias Wolff

Toby Wolff is used to running–driving from Florida to Utah to Seattle to escape his mother’s boyfriend; moving to Concrete, WA, with his stepfather; dreaming of high school in Paris, France. But when he stops to face himself, he finds only scattered shadows of an identity.

Top Ten NBCC Picks I Want to Read

The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) recently announced its 2012 finalists for outstanding books. While there are a handful of titles I’ve been planning to read, there are also several books I’d never even heard of–which is surprisingly common with the NBCC annual picks. Here are the titles I’m most looking forward to reading: 10. The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande When Reyna Grande’s father leaves his wife and three children behind in a village in Mexico to make the dangerous []

“Doomsday Book” by Connie Willis

Doomsday Book tells the story of young Kivrin, an undergraduate at Oxford, who wants to travel back in time. Such technology is typically forbidden to undergrads, and doubly so for the generous and uncharted fourteenth century. But she manages to finagle a trip and heads back to 1320 for the chance at some first-hand historical reporting. Back in 2054, things start falling apart as soon as Kivin is gone.

“S.E.C.R.E.T.” by L. Marie Adeline

It’s been a long time since Cassie Robichaud has felt desired. She was estranged from her alcoholic husband when he crashed his car and died five years ago, and they never really had a healthy relationship in the first place. Since then, her romantic life has sputtered and died.