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THE BEAUTY IN BREAKING by Michele Harper

The Beauty In Breaking is a memoir by Michele Harper about her life as a Black female emergency medicine doctor. She grew up with an abusive father in Washington, DC, managed to overcome the chaos and stress of her upbringing, and went to Harvard and then on to medical school. Her short marriage ended in divorce just as she began her career as an ER doctor in central Philadelphia. The Beauty In Breaking mostly covers the start of her career, looking at individual patients who taught Harper about what it means to help and heal patients while facing the prejudice

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THE BEAUTY IN BREAKING by Michele Harper

The Beauty In Breaking is a memoir by Michele Harper about her life as a Black female emergency medicine doctor. She grew up with an abusive father in Washington, DC, managed to overcome the chaos and stress of her upbringing, and went to Harvard and then on to medical school. Her short marriage ended in divorce just as she began her career as an ER doctor in central Philadelphia. The Beauty In Breaking mostly covers

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HOW LUCKY by Will Leitch

Will Leitch’s new novel How Lucky is about a man in his 20s named Daniel who has SMA (spinal muscular atrophy), which causes the deterioration of muscles over time and, usually, death within a decade or two of onset. Daniel, who has beat the odds just by being alive at his age, can only move one hand and his mouth, barely, but lives by himself in an apartment in Athens, GA thanks to a revolving

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GOOD COMPANY by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s novel The Nest, which came out in 2016, featured a family with four siblings each angling to get at an inheritance they have been depending on, but which has disappeared (review here). It’s a relatively light novel that takes on parenting, relationships, publishing and New York, but by the end of the book, you’ve grown to care about the characters and wish them well in getting out of their predicaments. Her next

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BRAT: AN 80s STORY by Andrew McCarthy

The pandemic has made us nostalgic. Whether it’s the Friends reunion, an impulse to bake family recipes or TikTok sensation Whitey singing 80s ballads to middle-aged moms, it’s all about a desire to conjure happier memories during a time when we aren’t making new memories (or wanting to remember what we’re living through). Andrew McCarthy’s new memoir Brat: An 80s Story hit at just the right time, aimed at stressed-out Gen Xers eager to revisit

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THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME by Laura Dave

When The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave came out earlier month, I had a serious case of FOMO. I kept seeing it everywhere and hearing all the raves, and I wanted to get my hands on it ASAP. Thankfully, a kind friend read it and passed it on to me, so I was able to satisfy my curiosity quickly. It’s the story of a newly married wife, Hannah, whose husband Owen disappears

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THE ENSEMBLE by Aja Gabel

I was drawn to Aja Gabel’s novel The Ensemble because I liked the premise: four people spend decades together as members of a string quartet, bridging San Francisco and New York and back to San Francisco, spanning life events like marriages and parenthood, knowing each other more intimately than spouses thanks to the intensity caused by proximity and interdependence. And for the most part, that’s what I got from it, though it was not quite

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WHAT COMES AFTER by Joanne Tompkins

What Comes After by Joanne Tompkins is a propulsive character-driven novel that also includes a murder-suicide mystery. When this debut novel opens, we learn that two high school boys – Daniel and Jonah – are dead, and that Jonah killed Daniel in an uncharacteristic fit of violence. Daniel’s father Isaac and Jonah’s mother Lorrie, next door neighbors, are trying to navigate their own painful interactions and move on from the tragedy. A pregnant teenager, Evangeline,

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GOOD NEIGHBORS by Sarah Langan

Good Neighbors by Sarah Langan is a suburban gothic, vaguely apocalyptic novel set in the near future in Long Island. During a blazing hot summer, a sinkhole opens up in a park across a crescent-shaped street with 20 or so families. The sinkhole’s appearance coincides with rising neighborhood tensions and the leveling of accusations of sexual assault against the husband of one family on the block. Over the course of the summer, the sinkhole will

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OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN by R. J. Hoffmann

You know how with some books, when you open the first page, you have an immediate sense of dread? Like you just know that you’re in for a tortured ride that may or, more importantly, may not end well? That’s what happened to me with Other People’s Children, a debut novel by R. J. Hoffman. It’s about three women – Carli, a pregnant teenager; Marla, her abusive mother; and Gail, an infertile wife – all

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WHO GETS IN AND WHY by Jeffrey Selingo

I don’t usually read horror books, but I made an exception for this one: Who Gets In And Why: A Year Inside College Admissions by Jeffrey Selingo. I have two high school juniors and am already mired in the fun process of watching my daughters try to get into college. Who Gets In And Why is an in-depth look at how we got to this point in time, where the most selective schools in the

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TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE by Carola Lovering

When Too Good To Be True by Carola Lovering opens, we learn that a couple, Burke and Skye, have just gotten engaged. They haven’t known each other that long, but Skye is head over heels for Burke and is sure that he’s the guy for her, even if her friends and family are a little wary of him. Soon after, we are introduced to Burke’s diary entries, where he chronicles meeting Skye and getting involved

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DO STAND SO CLOSE TO ME by Jeffrey Lee Campbell

The memoir Do Stand So Close To Me by Jeffrey Lee Campbell may have a narrower audience than most books I review on this blog, but here goes. In 1987, while in his early 20s, Campbell moved to New York City from North Carolina to try to make it as a guitarist. Through a series of lucky breaks, Campbell landed a coveted gig as the guitarist for Sting’s band for the Nothing Like The Sun

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RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE by Karma Brown

Is a book set half in the present and half in the 50s historical fiction? The 50s don’t seem long enough ago to be considered “historical”, right? I am going to call Recipe For A Perfect Wife by Karma Brown contemporary fiction. It’s about two women who live in the same house in a Westchester suburb: Nellie, a housewife in the 50’s trapped in a marriage to a difficult, volatile man, and Alice, a young

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CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45 by Lisa Unger

After my very slow reading March, I decided to kickstart April with a thriller to get myself back in the reading game. I’ve had Confessions On The 7:45 by Lisa Unger on my nightstand since Christmas, tempted by this irresistible plot: a woman takes a train home from the city one night, confessing to a stranger that she saw her husband having sex with their nanny on their webcam. A few days later, the nanny

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WE RUN THE TIDES by Vendela Vida

We Run The Tides by Vendela Vida has many things I like in a novel. Coming-of-age story? Check. Elusive friendships? Definitely. 80s setting? In San Francisco? Even better. In the end, though, it wasn’t quite what I expected. I liked it, but it was sort of a strange book. Why I picked it up: We Run The Tides has been on my radar since I picked it for our Winter Preview show on the podcast.

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