Steve Harvey

Here's an interesting article about taking relationship advice from Steve Harvey, whose best-selling books have attracted attention all over the world, including that of my Australian cousin, who made me mail the book to her because it was so hard to get a hold of in her country. … [Read more...]

Bringing in the New Year

Grace Lin, author of the Newbury Honor Book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon,  has a great book for the Lunar New Year. This year, the New Year is Thursday, February 3. Get ready for it by reading Bringing in the New Year! … [Read more...]


  With the constant barrage of true life memoirs flooding bookstores it was only a matter of time before Paul Auster tackled this subject within his own fiction. Auster has built a career out of crafting easily readable stories that have the pacing of thrillers. At the same time, his stories  also comment on the elaborate machinery … [Read more...]

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Surely you've heard of this book by now, after her Wall Street Journal  article, the explosion of heated debate on the web, the death threats and the author appearances. But don't be so quick to jump in the fight until you've actually read this book. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother  by Amy Chua is a page-turning memoir by Chinese American … [Read more...]

Faithful Place

Tana French's superb crime novel Faithful Place was recently nominated for the prestigious Edgar Award for best mystery of the year. With her third novel, French continues her tales of the detectives who work in the Dublin undercover squad. What sets this novel apart from other police procedurals is French's focus on character. Detective Frank … [Read more...]

National Book Critics Circle Nominations

Yesterday in New York City the National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for their annual awards. In the fiction category the finalists include Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, To the End of the Land by David Grossman, Skippy Dies by Paul Murray and Comedy in a Minor Key by Hans … [Read more...]

New Starbucks Opens in Rest Room of Existing Starbucks


This is just one of the brilliant headlines to grace the cover of The Onion, a satirical newspaper that has been an enormous part of my cultural education. Thank you to Scribner and all the writers at the Onion for compiling "21 years of greatness, virtue, and moral rectitude" in one fantastic book. This belongs on the coffee table of anyone … [Read more...]


Have you ever left a banquet and returned home with these parting gifts from your generous host: a place setting of solid silver, a slave, a gazelle, a gold sofa, and a horse in silver armour? These parting gifts were the norm for Cleopatra's lavish parties. The excesses of the Ptolemies were the envy of the world. Cleopatra reigned at a … [Read more...]

Thomas Bernhard

I had been aware of Thomas Bernhard in only the vaguest possible way until I read the New York Times Book Review's (fairly) recent feature on the Austrian author, who died in 1989. While well-regarded (and awarded) in Europe, a growing series of English translations from Vintage --- of which the above image is an example --- have generated renewed … [Read more...]

The Complete Persepolis

The Complete Persepolis  by Marjane Satrapi is a memoir in graphic novel form. Satrapi grew up with her two parents in Tehran during the bloody Islamic Revolution and then spent her turbulent adolescence on her own in several schools in Vienna (she is no stranger to expulsion). When she returns to Tehran, she finds she doesn't fully belong … [Read more...]