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

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

A Gay Multigenerational Saga: The Sparsholt Affair, by Alan Hollinghurst

I have a condition where I want to like Alan Hollinghurst’s writing more than I actually do. The Line of Beauty was fine, but my opinion of it was helped by a BBC adaptation that smoothed out a lot of the areas I found problematic in the book itself–namely that there was something inaccessible about it. … More A Gay Multigenerational Saga: The Sparsholt Affair, by Alan Hollinghurst

Sometimes Less Really is More: A Book Review of Less, by Andrew Sean Greer

If you know me at all, you know I’ve spent recent years railing against novels about white dudes who can’t get their shit together (examples here, here, and here). But the thing about hating a certain form of novel is that every once in a while someone does it spectacularly well and forces you to … More Sometimes Less Really is More: A Book Review of Less, by Andrew Sean Greer

What Makes a Mother? Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

“It came, over and over, down to this: What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love?” In Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng makes great use of the town she grew up in, Shaker Heights. A meticulously planned suburban sprawl, Shaker Heights becomes a sort of stand-in for the way life tends … More What Makes a Mother? Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng