Could This Debut Novel Be the Next “Book Thief”?

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When Random House told us months ago that they were really excited about a new novelist named Gavriel Savit and his first book, Anna and the Swallow Man, we were intrigued. When they said, “If you liked The Book Thief, you’ll love this,” we were skeptical. That’s quite a comparison. Could it possibly be true?  Read the rest of this entry »

Can’t Look Away: Good Books about Bad Things

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In his song “Honest With Me,” Bob Dylan sings, “Some things are too terrible to be true.” But what about the things both terrible and true? Read the rest of this entry »

Mary Karr and Rodney Crowell Pair Up for Literary “Kinship”

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Attention, fans of memoir and music: There’s still time to get your tickets to Kinship: An Evening with Mary Karr and Rodney Crowell, coming up on February 6. It’s the annual fundraising party presented by The Porch Writer’s Collective, and we’re going. Join us? Read the rest of this entry »

Could This Be the Best Elizabeth Strout Novel Yet?

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(photo by Dario Lasagni)

The first time I met Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout in person was last fall, at the Texas Book Festival. She and another of my favorite writers, Elizabeth McCracken, were discussing the art of storytelling in the sanctuary of a Methodist church, the only venue large enough to hold everyone who had come to see them. It had been a while since I’d been inside a church, I admit, and as I sat in that pew among hundreds (thousands?) of other book-lovers, listening to these two brilliant, kind, funny people discuss how they create their stories, I thought, Now this is a church I would attend regularly: The Church of The Elizabeths. Read the rest of this entry »

The Time Travel Book for People Who Don’t Like Time Travel Books

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Well, no wonder Passenger debuts at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list today. It has just about everything you could possibly ask for in a young adult novel, and then some. As the glowing Times review says, it “succeeds as an adventure, as a romance and as a comparison of cultural norms. This is the sort of book that gracefully walks the fine line between excitement and instruction.” Yes, please. Read the rest of this entry »

New Year, New List: Our Favorite Books

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Remember how the Internet freaked out a couple years back about Esquire magazine’s list of books all men should read (and then last year Lit Hub published the clever 80 Books No Woman Should Read)? Now there’s a new list from Esquire80 Books Every Person Should Read. “What can we say?” the magazine explains, “We messed up. Our list of 80 Books Every Man Should Read, published several years ago, was rightfully called out for its lack of diversity in both authors and titles. So we invited eight female literary powerhouses, from Michiko Kakutani to Anna Holmes to Roxane Gay, to help us create a new list.” Nice save. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Ann: When Breath Becomes Air

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(Image via PaulKalanithi.com)

Paul Kalanithi was finishing his residency in neurosurgery at Stanford when he found out he had a very aggressive form of lung cancer. He decided to use part of the little time he had left to write a book, and that book, When Breath Becomes Air, is going to be published today. Read the rest of this entry »