The Book I Gave up on Twice: The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer

I am a total fanboy of Meg Wolitzer’s novel The Interestings, as evidenced by the review I wrote back then. And while I can readily admit that The Interestings is not without flaws, I’m still dazzled by what it achieved: an astonishingly true-to-life examination of how a group of friends progresses over time. The Female Persuasion‘s publication was like … More The Book I Gave up on Twice: The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer

The Secret Love Life of Eleanor Roosevelt: White Houses, by Amy Bloom

Eleanor Roosevelt’s relationship with Lorena Hickok has been a source of controversy since the days it was happening in real-time. Were they secret lovers? Merely close friends? The topic has been endlessly debated. White Houses assumes that they were lovers, which seems reasonable, and purports to tell the story of their relationship. And it does, but … More The Secret Love Life of Eleanor Roosevelt: White Houses, by Amy Bloom

Living and Dying in Times of Crisis: The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai

“It’s always a matter, isn’t it, of waiting for the world to come unraveled? When things hold together, it’s only temporary.” Simply put, The Great Believers is a novel about the fragility of life; how tenuous our grasp on it–and each other–is. It is also beautiful, honest, and funny. I am not ashamed to admit that … More Living and Dying in Times of Crisis: The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai

Why Stories Matter: Harbor Me, by Jacqueline Woodson

Harbor Me is a timely intermediate novel about the importance of stories, of empathy, and of understanding. It’s about how the things that make us different can bind us together and make us all better–if only we’re willing to connect with each other. Six kids of varied backgrounds are put in a room together one … More Why Stories Matter: Harbor Me, by Jacqueline Woodson

Living and Dying the Native American Life in America: There There, by Tommy Orange

My favorite reading experiences either teach me about something I didn’t know much about or shine a light on parts of our culture I am unfamiliar with. Part of the urgency of reading Junot Díaz, for example, is that the stories he tells are usually left on the margins if they get told at all. … More Living and Dying the Native American Life in America: There There, by Tommy Orange

The Nine: Jeffrey Toobin on the Evolution of the Supreme Court

In the current political climate, The Nine isn’t a particularly pleasant read for more liberal audiences, but it is something of an essential one. On the day when Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, now is actually the perfect time to get to know the ways the court has evolved since Kennedy was appointed under Reagan … More The Nine: Jeffrey Toobin on the Evolution of the Supreme Court

When We Rise: Cleve Jones and His Life in the Gay Rights Movement

It may seem surprising that more than half of Cleve Jones’ memoir is taken up with his life before activism–before, that is, his work with Harvey Milk or creating the AIDs Memorial Quilt–but that is the whole point. Admittedly, it does feel as though the first part meanders as Jones moves around, travels, parties, hooks up, … More When We Rise: Cleve Jones and His Life in the Gay Rights Movement