When Mystery & Suspense magazine asked me to write an article about political mysteries for July posting, I immediately thought of one of my favorite novels, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carré, who died in December. I pulled the novel off my bookshelf, thinking I would skim a few pages to refresh my […]

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I was doing an interview the other day to promote my new book, my first mystery, when the host asked me what I like to read. I should have expected the question—it’s a standard for authors—but I froze. There is such a huge variety in what I read that I didn’t know where to start. […]

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Reading The Library Book a year into the pandemic is a bittersweet experience, to say the least. Libraries aren’t at the top of what I most missed this past year—seeing friends and family in person has to take that spot—but losing the hustle and bustle of a fully functioning, stimulating, creative gathering place for book […]

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Whenever I love a novel, I have mixed feelings about reading that author’s next work. On the one hand, I can’t wait, but on the other, I feel a certain amount of trepidation, fearing there is no way the new work can live up to the older one. I needn’t have worried, though, about Sigrid […]

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Reading for Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day 2021 couldn’t land at a more auspicious time. The divisions in the country, including the just concluded impeachment trial, put a bigger spotlight on past presidential actions even as current-day crises (Covid, the economy, climate change, inequality) make it more important than ever to get future presidential actions right. That’s all the more […]

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Rediscovering William Kelley

Book clubs come in many shapes and serve many purposes. Some are purely social, an excuse to get together and catch up on life, and, oh, by the way, what did you think of this month’s book. Others are dead serious, brought together by interest in a specific subject or genre. Sometimes friendships develop, sometimes […]

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Lily King’s Writers & Lovers scored a place in many “Best Books of 2020” lists, and deservedly so. It’s funny and witty and real and poignant in ways that will hit home with anyone who picks it up. And it will give you much to think about when you put it down. The narrator of […]

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Obama’s Promised Land

I have very mixed feelings after reading this. Obama is a superb writer, able to keep the narrative moving as he artfully mixes the story of his administration with the personal, historical, and social currents of the years covered. Though I was working in journalism and professionally following many of the events described, I never […]

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The Way It Ought To Be

It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, but most important, it will help  you understand. I enjoyed reading This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel more than any other book this year; it’s that good. Frankel has a perfect ear for dialogue, a great sense of humor, a considerable amount of insight […]

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Review of Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

It impresses me that 75 years after its end, World War II, it continues to inspire great literature — A Woman of No Importance, The Splendid and the Vile, D-Day Girls, to name just a few. Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight isn’t quite a World War II novel, but it’s pretty close. It begins in 1945 as […]

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Mark Willen