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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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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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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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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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.

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Fiction is at its most powerful when it lets us walk in someone else’s shoes, teaching us to empathize with the kind of people who might otherwise never cross our paths. In An American Marriage, Tayari Jones does this while exploring one of the most disturbing and seemingly intractable issues in America: the incFiction is at its most powerful when it lets us walk in someone else’s shoes, teaching us to empathize arceration of innocent people, especially people of color, by a justice system with inherent biases.

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Mark Willen