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COVER STORY by Susan Rigetti

Cover Story by Susan Rigetti is one of those books that is best to go into without knowing too much. It’s about the friendship between two women – an NYU student named Lora Ricci and a contributing editor at ELLE named Cat Wolff – and the ways in which their lives become interdependent. Cat lives at the Plaza and says she is a wealthy Russian heiress, but who is she really? And what does she want from Lora? As Cover Story progresses, the two become more entwined… and the deception between them deepens. Why I picked it up: Because Susie

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COVER STORY by Susan Rigetti

Cover Story by Susan Rigetti is one of those books that is best to go into without knowing too much. It’s about the friendship between two women – an NYU student named Lora Ricci and a contributing editor at ELLE named Cat Wolff – and the ways in which their lives become interdependent. Cat lives at the Plaza and says she is a wealthy Russian heiress, but who is she really? And what does she

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OUT OF THE CORNER by Jennifer Grey

There is no way I wasn’t going to read Jennifer Grey’s new memoir, Out Of The Corner. I’m an 80s girl, I loved Dirty Dancing, and I love memoirs. So, duh. But I wasn’t expecting it to be as interesting and captivating as it turned out to be. Why I picked it up: See above. Jennifer Grey is best known for playing Frances “Baby” Houseman in Dirty Dancing, for dating Matthew Broderick, and for the

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EVENTIDE by Kent Haruf

After saying I was going to for several years, I finally picked up Eventide, the second book in the Kent Haruf trilogy that started with Plainsong (which I loved and reviewed here). Eventide picks up after Plainsong ends, with little character overlap with its predecessor other than the two older McFaron brothers and Victoria, the pregnant teenager who they took in. Like Plainsong, Haruf’s novel tracks the lives of ordinary people in a small town

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LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE by Lauren McBrayer

Lauren McBrayer’s debut novel, Like A House On Fire, is about Merit, a married fortyish woman with two young kids and a husband, who goes back to work… and falls in love with Jane, her (female) boss, making her question everything she thought she knew about herself and her life. It sits at the sweet spot between contemporary fiction and romance, with a surprising amount of heft. Why I picked it up: I was offered

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THESE PRECIOUS DAYS by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett’s latest essay collection, These Precious Days. covers a lot of ground: the impact her three fathers had on her life; her decision not to have children; her paring down of physical possessions during the pandemic; her discovery of and love for Kate DiCamillo’s books; the process of designing book jackets for her books. The longest in the collection. which is also the title essay, went viral when it came out in January 2021

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TAKE MY HAND by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez is historical fiction set in the 1970s Alabama (a 70s setting is historical fiction? ugh) about Civil Townsend, a young Black nurse assigned to provide family planning and gynecologic care two young Black girls living in poverty. Civil is dismayed to learn that she is injecting the girls with untested birth control when they are not even sexually active yet, and she takes a personal interest in their family,

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JUST LAST NIGHT by Mhairi McFarlane

Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane sits at the intersection of rom com and meatier fiction – a place occupied by authors like JoJo Moyes – and is engrossing and sad enough to keep you reading, with the promise of a happy ending. Just Last Night is the story of four college friends – Eve, Susie, Ed and Justin – whose close friendship has survived into their mid-30s, despite many life changes and some buried

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THE FORTUNATE ONES by Ed Tarkington

The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington is a novel about Charlie Boykin, a boy who grows up working-class with his single mother in Nashville and ends up attending a fancy private boys school as a scholarship student. While there, he develops formative friendships and relationships that fundamentally transform him and alter the course of his life. The Fortunate Ones is an engrossing, readable coming-of-age story that covers class, racism, identity, politics, and loyalty. I’ve heard

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MERCY STREET by Jennifer Haigh

Jennifer Haigh is one of my all-time favorite authors. She’s a must-read, automatic buy for me (though I haven’t managed to finish Heat and Light, despite starting and liking it). Haigh is a fantastic storyteller, especially skilled at eliciting empathy for her characters, especially when they are deeply flawed. Her latest novel, Mercy Street, deserves the same praise. The book, which looks at abortion through the lens of four people connected to a women’s clinic

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CHORUS by Rebecca Kauffman

My first five star read of the year! Rebecca Kauffman’s Chorus is right in my wheelhouse: literary fiction, family dynamics, multiple viewpoints, shifting timeline. It’s about a family of 7 kids living on a Virginia farm with a depressed mother who takes her life when the kids were mostly young (this is not a spoiler). Chorus tells the story of this family from the standpoint of each of the kids, filling in moments big and

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GROUNDSKEEPING by Lee Cole

Groundskeeping, a debut novel by Lee Cole, is an introspective coming-of-age-ish novel about Owen, a twenty-something man who has returned to live in Kentucky after his life in Colorado has gone awry. He moves into a small house with his sickly grandfather and MAGA-flag bearing uncle (he is somewhat estranged from his parents) and gets a job as a groundskeeper at a nearby college. He enrolls in a writing class, one of the benefits of

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A NOVEL OBSESSION by Caitlin Barasch

A Novel Obsession is a debut novel by Caitlin Barasch about Naomi, a twentysomething woman who wants to be a writer, but doesn’t really have a story to write about. She becomes obsessed with her boyfriend Caleb’s ex-girlfriend, convinced that her obsession will provide the perfect plot for her breakout novel. And so, she embarks on a cat-and-mouse game that finds her following and ultimately befriending the ex, Rosemary, learning all that can about the

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WIN ME SOMETHING by Kyle Lucia Wu

Win Me Something by Kyle Lucia Wu is about Willa Chen, a woman in her mid-20s living in Manhattan. The daughter of a white mother and Chinese father, Willa has never really fit in anywhere. After her parents divorce and have new families with other partners, Willa’s feelings of loneliness and dislocation are exacerbated. She floats along through her college and early adult years, feeling untethered and uncommitted to anything. When she happens upon a

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THE GOLDEN COUPLE by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Psychological thriller power duo Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen are back with a new book – The Golden Couple – that offers the same twisty ride as its predecessors (like The Wife Between Us). This time, DC couple Marissa and Matt have hit a speedbump in their marriage and sought the guidance of an unconventional therapist named Avery, who is helping them rebuild their relationship. Avery has a reputation for using extreme measures to guide

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GEOGRAPHY OF AN ADULTERY by Agnés Riva

French author Agnés Riva’s new novel, Geography Of An Adultery, traces an extramarital affair through the locations outside Paris where the man (Paul) and woman (Ema) meet up: his car, her kitchen and entryway, a remote church, a hotel. These locations limn the physical boundaries of their relationship, highlighting the lack of freedom they have to be together, but the emotional limitations they face ultimately doom the secret pair. The book, which is told through

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