Search Results for: station eleven

STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel

It must be really fun to write dystopian fiction. You can create worlds that are limited only by your imagination and what the human body can realistically endure. I tend to read realistic fiction, but the few times I’ve ventured into dystopian territory, I have been impressed by the creativity and originality in those works. (The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker comes to mind.)

Station Eleven falls into this category. Emily St. John Mandel’s deeply moving novel takes place fifteen years after a pandemic, the Georgia Flu, has claimed over 99% of the world’s population. All of the technology that defined the modern age – electricity, transportation by car and plane, the Internet, computers, medicine, etc. – is gone. Geographic borders have become meaningless, as people now live in very small communities, often congregating in formerly public spaces like Walmarts, airports, and restaurants. Other than traveling by foot from place to place, there is no way of knowing who else – if anyone – is still around.

Station Eleven follows a few different characters, relating their pre- and post-flu lives. The pre-flu plot centers around Arthur, an aging actor performing King Lear in a Toronto theater just as the flu is racing through America. He dies of a heart attack while on the stage. Among those who are affected by his death are Jeevan, a paramedic who tries to revive him; Kristen, a child actress performing with him; Clark, his best friend; Miranda, his ex-wife; and Elizabeth, another ex-wife with whom he had a son, Tyler. Station Eleven jumps around among these characters’ lives, ultimately following where they were when the flu hit, how they managed to survive it (or not), and where they are now, fifteen years later. Ultimately, most of them cross paths again in the new world.

Kristen ends up in a traveling theater troupe who roams from town to town through what was once the Midwest, bringing a bit of beauty to the desolation in the form of Shakespeare and classical music. Mandel does not spend time talking about how the citizens of the new world survive day to day (how did they get water? what did they do all day? how did they get new clothes? how did they survive winters living in airports with no heat?). Instead, she focuses more on the psychological impact of the flu and its destruction of culture and connection. That’s why the troupe is so important; it’s a symbol of how desperate both the performers and the audience were for lovely, fragile humanity  which they had lost in a weekend. There is a pervasive feeling of dread and danger throughout the book too, thanks to the vigilante, wild West atmosphere that replaced our ordered, law-enforcing society.

I found Station Eleven to be a thought-provoking, moving book. It took me forever to read – like 4 weeks – because I just couldn’t process too much of it at one time. I absorbed it in small chunks because it kind of exhausted me. But I know people who read it in a weekend, so don’t let that deter you.

There is one incredibly powerful image that comes to mind whenever I think about Station Eleven. When the world had finally grasped the potency of the flu, people started quarantining buildings and shutting people out in an attempt to keep the flu away. Three hundred stranded passengers in a Michigan airport, surrounded by empty planes, watched a final plane land on the runway… and just sit there, silently. No one ever emerged from the sealed plane. Ever. Who decided that those people needed to stay on the plane to protect the uninfected? Who was on the plane? How swift were their deaths? That plane just haunted me.

Station Eleven isn’t a perfect book – there are a lot of loose ends and much that goes unexplained – but I think it was incredibly impressive nonetheless. It has made me look differently at how we live our modern lives and question what’s really important and what would survive if we all disappeared.

THE GIVER by Lois Lowry

51usrhmubkl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Our mother-daughter book club pick for September was The Giver, by Lois Lowry. The Giver is one of those books I’ve always heard about but had never read, and because it was on the girls’ summer reading list for school, I made it the first book of the year. I’m glad I did.

The Giver is about a futuristic society that celebrates Sameness. There is no color, no music, no variation. Children are born, assigned to parents, grow up, and are given roles in the society based on their talents. They marry, raise their own two children, and then live out their lives until they are “released” to another land.

The book centers on Jonah, a boy who turns 12 and receives his vocational assignment: a Receiver. This means that he receives memories from an older member of the society, who passes along institutional memories from many generations back. These memories are of sensations long gone – pain, joy, love – as well as evils that have been eradicated, like disease and war. They even contain memories of nature that have basically been engineered away – snow, birds. As the Receiver, Jonah must process and absorb these memories, but he cannot share them with others unless he is asked to advise the community’s elders.

The Giver is a disturbing but thought-provoking book, and one that is great for middle school readers. It prompted discussion questions about the costs of giving up freedom in exchange for predictability and safety, and about individual responsibility in a place where most people don’t understand what is really happening. What is the role of parenting in this society, and of marriage? Would you want the responsibility of being the Receiver?

We ultimately concluded that while there are a lot of things wrong with our world today, the answer isn’t to get rid of emotion, variety and individual choice.

I can understand why The Giver was such a sensation. I am always surprised to find that I like dystopian books as much as I do – Station Eleven, The Age of Miracles, The Hunger Games. Maybe it’s time to broaden my horizons a little more? More important, the 7th graders (I can hardly believe I just typed that – we started this club when they were in 1st grade!) enjoyed it too and seemed to get a lot out of it.

2016 Summer Reading List

Thanks to the many Facebook friends who provided suggestions for the 2016 crowdsourced Summer Reading List! I asked for recommendations of books you’ve recently loved –  and you didn’t disappoint.

Here is the list. I’ve put ** next to those that were recommended by more than one person. When it’s a book I’ve read too, I’ve included a link to my EDIWTB review. Happy reading!

**A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (several votes). This has been on my TBR list for a long time.

**China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

Reliance, Illinois by Mary Volmer

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (reviewed here)

Three Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell

**Fates And Furies by Lauren Groff (reviewed here)

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

The Forgiven by Lawrence Osborne

The After Party by Anton Disclafani (reviewed here)

The Man I Love by Suanne Laqueur

THE+NEST+by+Cynthia+D'Aprix+SweeneyThe Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

**The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Barkskins by Annie Proulx

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

**Tuesday Nights In 1980 by Molly Prentiss

The Secrets Of Flight by Maggie Leffler

Undercover by Cat Gardiner

This Is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

**Some Luck, Early Warning and Golden Age by Jane Smiley (reviewed here, here and here)

Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen

The Sudden Appearance Of Hope by Claire North

Valiant Ambition by Nathaniel Philbrick

Heat And Light by Jennifer Haigh

Under The Influence by Joyce Maynard (reviewed here)

**All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr  (I really can’t believe I haven’t read this yet)

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (reviewed here)

**When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The Sympathizerows_13923264503861 by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Secrets Of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

Thursday 1:17PM by Mike Landweber

**Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (reviewed here)

City On Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Good Luck Of Right Now by Matthew Quick

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

**Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

**Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

A Doubter’s Almanac by Ethan Canin

American Housewife by Helen Ellis (reviewed here)

Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing The Way America Works by Jay Newton-Small

Dear Mr. You by Mary Louise-Parker

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

First Wives by Kate 9780525953005_custom-1a7b1faa66fe002fff8a3604f6c0f3534d546b1c-s200-c85Anderson Brower

The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley

At The Edge Of The Orchard by Tracy Chevalier

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

Ice Cream Queen Of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald

**Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (reviewed here)

The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August

It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life Of Love And War by Lynsey Addario

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks

Disrupted: My Misadventure In The Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons

Special Topics In Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Homegoing by Yaa Gaasi (I am reading this now)

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

City of Thieves by David Benioff (reviewed here)

Kingkiller series by Patrick Rothfuss

Out Of Time series by Beth Flynn

The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

A Fine Balance by Mistry Rohinton

Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

Dreamland: The True Tale Of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones

In The Kingdom Of Ice: The Grand And Terrible Polar Voyage Of The USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides

League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, And The Battle For Truth by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru

Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives In North Korea by Barbara Demick

Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox by Joanne Bamberger

S by Doug Dorst

Us by David Nicholls

Finding The Dragon Lady – The Mystery Of Vietnam’s Madame Nhu by Monique Brinson Demery

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Thanks again for all the recommendations!

2015 Reading Year In Review

2015 was not my best year in reading. Life just got the better of me. My daughters’ bedtimes (too late!) and the proliferation of tempting screens all over the house didn’t help me find more time for reading either. I tend to read in spurts, when I’m out of my routine on vacation and can enjoy guilt-free hours where I am not expected to do other stuff. Work trips when I don’t spring for airplane wi-fi also provide nice pockets of time. But in general, finding time to read is becoming more and more of a challenge. In 2016, I will do better!

I also found myself in reader’s rut a few times. I have so many books surrounding me that sometimes I didn’t know where to turn. I need to be more methodical about reading books that are recommended (and get over my bias against books that everyone else has read and loved). There is so much top quality fiction out there that there’s no need to read mediocre books.

Or maybe the problem is what Hugh McGuire expressed in this San Francisco Chronicle article: I am so addicted to the quick hits of social media and my iPhone that I have lost my ability to concentrate on long form media like books. How depressing is that?!

In 2014, I read 48 books, which I was bummed about because I wanted to hit 50. This year was even worse! I only made it to 44 books. 2016 (again!): I will reach 52! A book a week!

Here are my standout reads from 2015:

Best audiobooks were Small Mercies by Eddie Joyce (read by Scott Aiello) and Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum (read by Mozhan Marno).

Most disappointing book: In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume.

Most creative read goes to Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

For the last three years, I have tracked the Depressing Themes of the books I read, and the lists have been impressive. Here are some of the depressing subjects covered by the books I read in 2015: refusal to give dying child life-changing treatment, loss of a child, teacher in a coma, disappearing daughter, prison camp, apocalypse due to ravaging flu, infidelity, depression, suicide, the Communist revolution in China, 9/11, death of spouse, oppression of caged animals, plane crashes, Scientology, soulless startup, divorce, post-partum depression, mental illness, murder, adult autism, middle grade autism, rape, death of family in a fire, the whole second half of Fates and Furies, murder/suicide by child, disappearing mothers (x6).

The breakdown:

  • 36 fiction, 8 non-fiction
  • 7 repeat authors during 2014: Ian McEwan, Jane Smiley, Polly Dugan, Judy Blume, Hilary Liftin, Jean Kwok, Eli Gottlieb
  • 12 audiobooks
  • 11 male authors, 33 female authors

How was your 2015 in reading? What were the highlights?

Summer Reading: A Crowdsourced Recommendation List

Summer is already a few weeks in, so I am a little behind, but here is a list of summer reading suggestions collected from my Facebook friends and people who follow the EDIWTB Facebook page. There’s a mix of fiction and non-fiction, new and not-as-new, and even some YA and poetry thrown in. Wherever I’ve read the book that was recommended, I’ve linked to my review too.

Enjoy, and happy summer reading!


All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

Big Little Lies and The Hypnotist’s Love Story, Liane Moriarty (see my reviews of other Moriarty books What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret)

The Circle, Dave Eggars

Attachments, Rainbow Rowell

A God In Ruins, Kate Atkinson

Elena Ferrante’s Naples series, starting with My Brilliant Friend

The Sound Of Glass, Karen White

The House of Hawthorne, Erika Robuck

Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel

The Shore, Sara Taylor

The Collected Stories, Breece D’J Pancake

The Sunlit Night, Rebecca Dinerstein

Movie Star By Lizzie Pepper, Hilary Liftin (on sale 7/21) 

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli 

The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin

Some Luck and Early Warning, Jane Smiley (reviewed here and here)

The Girl On The Train, Paula Hawkins (reviewed here)

The Children Act, Ian McEwan (reviewed here)

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

The Narrow Road To The Deep North, Richard Flanagan

Euphoria, Lily King

The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel (reviewed here)

Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Redeployment, Phil Klay (reviewed here)

Fourth Of July Creek, Smith Henderson

Beach Town, Mary Kay Andrews

Summer Secrets, Jane Green

The Daddy Diaries, Joshua Braff

The Cake Therapist, Judith Fertig

Girl Of My Dreams, Peter Davis

The Secret Of Magic, Deborah Johnson

A Court Of Thorns And Roses, Sarah Maas

Star Craving Mad, Elise Miller (out 8/4)


Destiny Of The Republic: A Tale Of Madness, Medicine And The Murder Of A President, Candice Millard

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania, Erik Larson

The Skies Belong To Us: Love And Terror In The Golden Age Of Hijacking, Brendan Koerner

All The Truth Is Out, Matt Bai

The Real Thing: Lessons On Love And Life From A Wedding Reporter’s Notebook, Ellen McCarthy

Paper Love: Searching For The Girl My Grandfather Left Behind: Sarah Wildman – non-fiction

An Invisible Thread: The True Story Of An 11-Year-Old Panhandler, A Busy Sales Executive, And An Unlikely Meeting with Destiny, Laura Schroff

The Wright Brothers, David McCullough

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo (reviewed here)

Devil In The Grove: Thurgood Marshall, The Groveland Boys, And The Dawn Of A New America, Gilbert King

Country Driving: A Chinese Road Trip, Peter Hessler

The Three-Day Promise, Donald Chung

Young Adult

I’ll Give You The Sun, Jandy Nelson

The Stellow Project – Shari Becker

One Thing Stolen, Beth Kephart



The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, Jeannine Hall Gailey

Ohio Violence, Alison Stine

Banned For Life, Arlene Ang

Vessel, Parneshia Jones


To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Peyton Place, Grace Metalious

The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury

The Age Of Innocence, Edith Wharton

Index of Reviews

Here is an index of all of the book reviews I have published on Everyday I Write The Book.

1984, George Orwell

2 AM at the Cat’s Pajamas, Marie-Helene Bertino

29, Adena Halpern

32 Candles, Ernessa T. Carter

A Friend of the Family, Lauren Grodstein

A Good American, Alex George

A Land More Kind Than Home, Wiley Cash

A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick

A Replacement Life, Boris Fishman

A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard

A Tender Struggle, Krista Bremer

A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

A Year Down Yonder, Richard S. Peck

Abide With Me, Elizabeth Strout

Accidentally on Purpose, Mary F. Pols

After Birth, Elisa Albert

After I Do, Taylor Jenkins Reid

After You, Jojo Moyes

After You, Julie Buxbaum

Al Capone Does My Shirts, Gennifer Choldenko

All About Lulu, Jonathan Evison

All Grown Up, Jami Attenberg

All Joy And No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, Jennifer Senior

All The Flowers in Shanghai, Duncan Jepson

All The Happiness You Deserve, Michael Piafsky

All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr

All You Could Ask For, Mike Greenberg

Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes, Jules Moulin

American Housewife, Helen Ellis

American Wife, Curtis Sittenfeld

Among The Ten Thousand Things, Julia Pierppont

An Accidental Mother, Katherine Anne Kindred

An American Marriage, Tayari Jones

An Available Man, Hilma Wolitzer

And When She Was Good, Laura Lippman

Anne Frank: Her Life In Words And Pictures, The Anne Frank House

April & Oliver, Tess Callahan

Astonish Me, Maggie Shipstead

At A Loss For Words, Diane Schoemperlen

At The Bottom of Everything, Ben Dolnick

Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy

A Window Opens, Elisabeth Egan

Baker Towers, Jennifer Haigh

Beating the Lunch Box Blues, J. M. Hirsch

Because of Mr. Terupt, Rob Buyea

Before I Go To Sleep – S.J. Watson

Before The Fall, Noah Hawley

Beginner’s Greek by James Collins

Behind Closed Doors, B. A. Paris

Being Jazz, Jazz Jennings

Bennington Girls Are Easy, Charlotte Silver

Bertrand Court, Michelle Brafman

Best Boy, Eli Gottlieb

Best Day Ever, Kaira Rouda

Between Here and April, Deborah Copaken Kogan

Big Brother, Lionel Shriver

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain

Bird in Hand, Christina Baker Kline

Bloom, Kelle Hampton

Bobcat And Other Stories, Rebecca Lee

Body Surfing, Anita Shreve

Booked, Kwame Anderson

Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen

Bossypants, Tina Fey

Breaking Her Fall, Stephen Goodwin

Buffalo Lockjaw, Greg Ames

Carousel Court, Joe McGinniss Jr.

Carry the One by Carol Anshaw

Choose Your Own Autobiography, Neil Patrick Harris

City of Thieves, David Benioff

Commonwealth, Ann Patchett

Conversations With Friends, Sally Rooney

Couple Mechanics, Nelly Alard

Cost, Roxana Robinson

Crossworld: One Man’s Journey into America’s Crossword Obsession, Marc Romano

Cruel Beautiful World, Caroline Leavitt

Cutting Teeth, Julia Fierro

Days Of Awe, Lauren Fox

Dept. Of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Dervishes, Beth Helms

Did You Ever Have A Family, Bill Clegg

Digging to America, Anne Tyler

Disgrace, J. M. Coetzee

Do Not Become Alarmed, Maile Meloy

Domestic Violets, Matthew Norman

Don’t You Forget About Me, Jancee Dunn

Drives Like a Dream, Porter Shreve

Early Decision, Lacy Crawford

Early Warning, Jane Smiley

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman

Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld

Ella, Mallory Kasdan

Embers, Sandor Marai

Emotionally Healthy Twins, Joan Friedman

Esperanza Rising, Pam Munoz Ryan

Every Day, David Levithan

Everyone Is Beautiful, Katherine Center

Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng

Facebook Fairytales, Emily Liebert

Faith, Jennifer Haigh

Family Album, Penelope Lively

Family History, Dani Shapiro

Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff

Fathermucker, by Greg Olear

Father’s Day, Simon Van Booy

Flight, Ginger Strand

Flipped, Wendelin Van Draanen

Folded Notes From High School, Matthew Boren

Forever…, Judy Blume

The Forgotten Waltz, Anne Enright

Free Food for Millionaires, Min Jin Lee

From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E. L. Konigsburg

Girl in Translation, Jean Kwok

Girls in Trucks, Katie Crouch

Girls in White Dresses, Jennifer Close

Golden Age, Jane Smiley

Goldengrove, Francine Prose

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

Good Grief, Lolly Winston

Goodbye For Now, Laurie Frankel

Gossip, Beth Gutcheon

Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults, Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Green, Sam Graham-Felsen

Happens Every Day, Isabel Gillies

Happiness Sold Separately, Lolly Winston

Harmony, Carolyn Parkhurst

Hausfrau, Jill Alexander Essbaum

Her, Harriet Lane

Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir Of A Family And Culture In Crisis, J.D. Vance

History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life, Jill Bialosky

Holes, Louis Sachar

Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford

How To Party With An Infant, Kaui Hart Hemmings

How to Talk to a Widower, Jonathan Tropper

I Don’t Know How She Does It, Allison Pearson

I Liked My Life, Abby Fabiaschi

I Love You, Beth Cooper, Larry Doyle

I Think I Love You, Allison Pearson

I’d Know You Anywhere, Laura Lippman

Identical Strangers: Memoir of Twins Separated & Reunited, Elyse Schein & Paula Bernstein

I Married You For Happiness, Lily Tuck

I Will Always Write Back, Martin Ganda and Caitlyn Alifirenka

I’m So Happy for You, Lucinda Rosenfeld

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, Daniyal Mueenuddin

In The Language Of Miracles, Rajia Hassib

In The Unlikely Event, Judy Blume

Innocents And Others, Dana Spiotta

Invincible Summer, Alice Adams

Instructions for a Heatwave, Maggie O’Farrell

Is This Tomorrow, Caroline Leavitt

Jake and Lily, Jerry Spinelli

Jillian, Halle Butler

Jump at the Sun, Kim McLarin

Keeping the House Ellen Baker

Kitchens of the Great Midwest, J. Ryan Stradal

Labor Day, Joyce Maynard

Last Night at the Lobster, Stewart O’Nan

Lily’s Crossing, Patricia Reilly Giff

Little Bee, Chris Cleave

Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng

Loner, Teddy Wayne

Longbourn, Jo Baker

Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst

Lost in the Forest, Sue Miller

Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, Ayelet Waldman

Love Her, Love Her Not, Joanne Conrath Bamberger

Love in Mid-Air, Kim Wright

Love Is a Mix Tape, Rob Sheffield

Lucky Child, Loung Ung

Lucky Us, Amy Bloom

Maine, J. Courtney Sullivan

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Helen Simonson

Mambo in Chinatown, Jean Kwok

Masterpiece, Elise Broach

Matrimony, Joshua Henkin

Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

Men and Dogs, Katie Crouch

Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets and Growing Up in the 1970s, Margaret Sartor

Miss Jane, Brad Watson

Mockingbird, Kathryn Erskine

Modern Lovers, Emma Straub

Monster, Walter Dean Myers

Mothers And Other Strangers, Gina Sorell

Movie Star By Lizzie Pepper, Hilary Liftin

Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English, Natasha Solomons

Mrs. Fletcher, Tom Perrotta

Mrs. Kimble, Jennifer Haigh

My Miserable Lonely Lesbian Pregnancy, Andrea Askowitz

My Name Is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout

My Picture Perfect Family: What Happens When One Twin Has Autism, Marguerite Elisofon

My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh

News From Heaven, Jennifer Haigh

Nice to Come Home To, Rebecca Flowers

Nomadland, Jessica Bruder

Nookietown, V.C. Chickering

Not Dead Yet, Phil Collins

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout

On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan

One Day, David Nicholls

One Last Thing Before I Go, Jonathan Tropper

One More Thing: Stories and More Stories, BJ Novak

One Of The Boys, Daniel Magariel

One Plus One, Jojo Moyes

One True Loves, Taylor Jenkins Reid

Open, Andre Agassi

Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline

Our Short History, Lauren Grodstein

Pack Up The Moon, Rachael Herron

Perennials, Mandy Berman

Perfect Little World, Kevin Wilson

Perfection, Julie Metz

Perfectly Broken, Robert Burke Warren

Pictures of You, Caroline Leavitt

Please Look After Mom, Kyung-Sook Shin

Property, Valerie Martin

Rare Bird: A Memoir of Love and Loss, Anna Whiston-Donaldson

Real American, Julie Lythcott-Haims

Reading Lips: A Memoir of Kisses, Claudia Sternbach

Red Hook Road, Ayelet Waldman

Red Scarf Girl, Ji-Li Jiang

Red Thread Sisters, Carol Antoinette Peacock

Redeployment, Phil Klay

Remembering the Bones, Frances Itani

Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates

Room, Emma Donoghue

Run, Ann Patchett

Running Out Of Time, Margaret Peterson Haddix

Sag Harbor, Colson Whitehead

Saturday, Ian McEwan

Saturday Night Widows, Becky Aikman

Save Me, Lisa Scottoline

Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel

Seating Arrangements, Maggie Shipstead

Secret Daughter, Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Secrets to Happiness, Sarah Dunn

Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones

Single, Carefree, Mellow, Katherine Heiny

Sisterland, Curtis Sittenfeld

Skipping a Beat, Sarah Pekkanen

Sleepwalking in Daylight, Elizabeth Flock

Small Mercies, Eddie Joyce

So Far Away, Meg Mitchell Moore

So Long at the Fair, Christina Schwarz

So Much a Part of You, Polly Dugan

So Much for That, Lionel Shriver

Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott

Some Luck, Jane Smiley

Somebody Else’s Daughter, Elizabeth Brundage

Songs for the Missing, Stewart O’Nan

Songs Without Words, Ann Packer

Spoiled, Caitlin Macy

Spy School, Stuart Gibbs

Standard Deviation, Katherine Heiny

Startup by Doree Shafrir

State of Wonder, Ann Patchett

Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel

Still Alice, Lisa Genova

Still Me, Jojo Moyes

Stiltsville, Susanna Daniel

Summerlong, Dean Bakopoulos

Sweet Ruin, Cathi Hanauer

Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later, Francine Pascal

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, Rob Sheffield

Tampa, Alissa Nutting

Tell the Wolves I’m Home, Carol Rifka Blunt

Testimony, Anita Shreve

The Abstinence Teacher, Tom Perrotta

The After Party, Anton DiSclafani

The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker

The Arrangement, Sarah Dunn

The Arrivals, Meg Mitchell Moore

The Arsonist, Sue Miller

The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach

The Art of Not Breathing, Sarah Alexander

The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein

The Awkward Age, Francesca Segal

The Best Kind Of People, Zoe Whittall

The Big Girls, Susanna Moore

The Big Love, Sarah Dunn

The Blessings, Elise Juska

The Book of Joe, Jonathan Tropper

The Book That Matters Most, Ann Hood

The Bookseller, Cynthia Swanson

The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky, Ken Dornstein

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

The Candymakers, Wendy Mass

The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, Paula Danziger

The Chaperone, Laura Moriarty

The Children Act, Ian McEwan

The Circle, Dave Eggers

The City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau

The Comfort of Lies, Randy Susan Meyers

The Condition, Jennifer Haigh

The Confusion of Languages, Siobhan Fallon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon

The Darlings, Cristina Alger

The Daylight Marriage, Heidi Pitlor

The Divorce Party, Laura Dave

The Dogs of Babel, Carolyn Parkhurst

The Engagements, J. Courtney Sullivan

The English Teacher, Lily King

The Excellent Lombards, Jane Hamilton

The Expatriates, Janice Y. K Lee

The Female Persuasion, Meg Wolitzer

The Forever Marriage, Ann Bauer

The Forgotten Waltz, Anne Enright

The Full Ridiculous, Mark Lamprell

The Futures, Anna Pitoniak

The Girl I Wanted to Be, Sarah Grace McCandless

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins

The Girls, Emma Cline

The Girls, Lori Lansens

The Giver, Lois Lowry

The Good Father, Noah Hawley

The Graybar Hotel, Curtis Dawkins

The Great Gilly Hopkins, Katherine Paterson

The Grief of Others, Leah Hager Cohen

The Grind, Barry Svrluga

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer

The Gunners, Rebecca Kauffman

The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken, by Mari Passananti

The Heart, Maylis de Kerangal

The Help, Kathryn Stockett

The Hopefuls, Jennifer Close

The Hummingbird, Stephen Kiernan

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty

The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin

The Interestings , Meg Wolitzer

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

The Lake Shore Limited, Sue Miller

The Last September, Nina de Gramont

The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares

The Leavers, Lisa Ko

The Lemon Grove, Helen Walsh

The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo

The Lifeboat, Charlotte Rogan

The Light Between Oceans, M. L. Stedman

The Light We Lost, Jill Santopolo

The Little Bride, Anna Solomon

The Local News, Miriam Gershow

The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman

The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri

The Man of My Dreams, Curtis Sittenfeld

The Marriage Pact, Michelle Richmond

The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Kim Edwards

The Middle Place, Kelly Corrigan

The Middlesteins, Jami Attenberg

The Misfortune Of Marion Palm, Emily Culliton

The Most Dangerous Place On Earth, Lindsey Lee Johnson

The Mother-Son Running Streak Club, Nancy Shohet West

The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore

The Nest, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

The New Neighbor, Leah Stewart

The Next, Stephanie Gangi

The Nobodies Album, Carolyn Parkhurst

The Obituary Writer, Ann Hood

The Odds, Stewart O’Nan

The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate

The Opposite of Me, Sarah Pekkanen

The Other Room, Kim Triedman

The Other Typist, Suzanne Rindell

The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog, John Erickson

The Oxford Project, Peter Feldstein and Stephen Bloom

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender

The Perfect Score Project, Debbie Stier

The Post-Birthday World, Lionel Shriver

The Postmistress, Sarah Blake

The Private Life of Mrs. Sharma, Ratika Kapur

The Promised World, Lisa Tucker

The Queen Of Hearts, Kimmery Martin

The Reader, Bernhard Schlink

The Realm of Last Chances, Steve Yarbrough

The Red Book, Deborah Copaken Kogan

The Red Car, Marcy Dermansky

The Red House, Mark Haddon

The Red Thread, Ann Hood

The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid

The Risen, Ron Rash

The Secret Lives of the Four Wives: A Novel, Lola Shoneyin

The Senator’s Wife, Sue Miller

The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

The Septembers of Shiraz, Dalia Sofer

The Sign of the Beaver, Elizabeth George Speare

The Silent Wife, A.S.A. Harrison

The Singles, Meredith Goldstein

The Smart One, Jennifer Close

The Starlite Drive-in, Marjorie Reynolds

The Stars Are Fire, Anita Shreve

The Story Hour, Thrity Umrigar

The Sweetheart Deal, Polly Dugan

The Ten-Year Nap, Meg Wolitzer

The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

The Turner House, Angela Flournoy

The Two-Family House, Lynda Cohen Loigman

The Uncoupling, Meg Wolitzer

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier

The Unnamed, Joshua Ferris

The Vacationers, Emma Straub

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, Maggie O’Farrell

The War Bride’s Scrapbook, Caroline Preston

The War That Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin

The Wife Between Us, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The Wife’s Tale, Lori Lansens

The Windfall, Diksha Basu

The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Speare

The World According to Humphrey, Betty G. Birney

The Wonder Spot, Melissa Bank

The World Without You, Josh Henkin

The Wrong Side of Right, Jenn Marie Thorne

The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond

The Year of the Book, Andrea Cheng

The Year We Left Home, Jean Thompson

Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris

Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher

This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman

This Is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel

This Is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper

This One Is Mine, Maria Semple

Three Junes, Julia Glass

Three Stages of Amazement, Carol Edgarian

To Rise Again At A Decent Hour, Joshua Ferris

Tomato Girl, Jayne Pupek

Tom’s Midnight Garden, Philippa Pearce

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise Of The Unruly Woman: Anne Helen Petersen

Tracks, Eric Goodman

Trespass, Valerie Martin

Truth and Beauty, Ann Patchett

Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri

Under The Influence, Joyce Maynard

Underground Airines, Ben Winters

Unfinished Business: One Man’s Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do the Right Things, Lee Kravitz

Unraveling Oliver, Liz Nugent

Unremarried Widow, Artis Henderson

VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave, Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman, J.J. Jackson and Nina Blackwood

Waiting for Daisy, Peggy Orenstein

Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech

Watching Baseball Smarter, Zack Hample

Watching Edie, Camilla Way

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen

We, Michael Landweber

We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver

We Were Liars, E. Lockhart

Wench, Dolen Perkins-Valdez

What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty

What Happened, Hillary Rodham Clinton

What I Thought I Knew, Alice Eve Cohen

What Was Lost, Catherine O’Flynn

When Did I Get Like This?, Amy Wilson

When It Happens To You, Molly Ringwald

When Love Was Clean Underwear, Susan Barr-Toman

When Madeline Was Young, Jane Hamilton

When The Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

While I’m Falling, Laura Moriarty

Who Asked You?, Terry McMillan

Who by Fire, Diana Spechler

Who Was Milton Hershey, James Buckley Jr.

Willful Disregard, Lena Andersson

Wonder, R.J. Palacio

Yes Please, Amy Poehler

You Are One Of Them, Elliott Holt

You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried, Susannah Gora

You Know When the Men Are Gone, Siobhan Fallon

You Think It, I’ll Say It, Curtis Sittenfeld


Book vs. Movie Posts:

Little Children: Book vs. Movie

Notes on a Scandal: Book vs Movie

Revolutionary Road: Book vs. Movie

Room: Book vs Movie

The Help: Book vs. Movie

The Namesake: Book vs. Movie

The Reader: Book vs Movie

The Time Traveler’s Wife: Book vs. Movie


JAKE AND LILY by Jerry Spinelli

I am not on track for a record year of reading. Life just keeps getting in the way. Oh well!

I am almost done with the audio of Fates and Furies, which I have been listening to for several weeks. I  am in the home stretch and while I am tempted to just read the rest, I like the narrator of the second half and I want to hear it out. I have very mixed feelings about the book, and I’ve read a bunch of reviews and can’t seem to find anyone who sees it like I do. Review soon…

I am reading In The Language of Miracles too, which I think I would enjoy more if I didn’t read it for the 5 minutes before sleep every night. It’s very well-written and I want to get far enough in that I can’t put it down.

I did manage to finish a middle grade book for our mother-daughter book club last weekend. We read Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli. It’s about eleven year-old twins, Jake and Lily, who are going into sixth grade. They’ve always been very close, and have a special bond that lets them know what’s going on with each other even when they’re not together. But now they’re in middle school, and Jake is starting to want to spend time apart from Lily. He wants to hang out with other boys and do things that Lily doesn’t like to do. Jake goes along with a neighborhood bully who assembles a group of 4 to ride around on their bikes and find “goobers” (a.k.a dorks).

Lily, meanwhile, is devastated by Jake’s defection. She is left facing the summer without her best – or any – friend. She spends her days moping around and lamenting her brother’s decision to her grandfather, who finally urges her to move on make new friends.

I thought Jake and Lily was OK, but not great. There isn’t a whole lot to the story beyond what I summed up above. Lily does nothing but whine about Jake until the book is almost done. Jake’s story is more interesting, as he takes the blame for something his friend does and has to confront him about it. But in the end it isn’t a very memorable or deep book. I also thought it was a little young for 6th grade. Also – I didn’t buy the twin superpowers that Jake and Lily had, or their birthday tradition of sleepwalking to the train station.

None of the girls loved Jake and Lily (including my own eleven year-old twins), but it did prompt a robust conversation. There ended up being more to discuss than I expected. (Sometimes that’s the case with books we don’t like.)

So that’s where I am. I hope to pick up the pace going into the end of the year.