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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

After 40 years in journalism, I thought I knew what it takes to pin down the facts in a story, to get the underlying context, and to get those telling details that put it all in perspective. But reading Working by Robert Caro made me wonder.

Read More

Imagine you and your cat live comfortably in a Manhattan apartment that measures 500 square feet. Then imagine a close friend dies and leaves you his harlequin Great Dane to take care of. Add a minor detail—you have to hide the 180-pound dog because the lease on your rent-controlled, can’t-ever-leave apartment forbids dogs of any size.

Read More

First You Write a Sentence is the best book about writing I’ve ever read, and that says a lot. As a journalist for forty years and now a novelist for ten, I live by the written word, with a passion for improvement. Joe Morgan is my soulmate.

Read More

Ten Political Novels for Trying Times

These are trying times politically and the divide in the U.S. has never been greater. But as the campaign season gets into full swing, we can all agree on: Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction. But what about fiction with a strong political theme? Can it help us understand and make sense of the world around us? You bet it can, and I’ve got just the list to prove it.

Read More

Recent Blog Entries

Reading for Presidents’ Day
  • February 14, 2021
  • 3 min read
Rediscovering William Kelley
  • February 5, 2021
  • 5 min read
Loading
Mark Willen