Category Archives: Reading

Ten Books for Ten Moods


If you read as I do (unceasingly, never sticking to any one genre, and always with a backup book (or ten) just in case, you’re always seeking books to match your current mood, yes? Pride and Prejudice won’t do when you’re in a Frankenstein mood.

There are times nothing will work except dark and broody-moody, to be accompanied by rough dark bread and almost unbearably smelly cheese. The next week, I may be in need of adventure so intense that eating while reading is almost unbearable. (Notice I said ‘almost’ unbearable. The only instances that really make me stop eating are break-ups, and I refuse to leave my beloved just to lose twenty pounds . . . of that I am almost positive.)

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Reads (and Listens) for July 2018

“A capacity, and taste, for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others. ” Abraham Lincoln

Reading keeps me sane. Highlighted here are some recent reads, some not-so-recent, but all ones that made an indelible impression on my heart and mind.

The One Man

The One Man kept my up long past midnight, pushed  my heart into my throat—Andrew Gross made real every cliche used in book blurbs. Yes. I could not put it down.

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My Recommended Reads (and Listens) for June


Reading is my life blood—between pleasure reading and research, I usually have three or four books going at a time. Including, of course, an audio book for when I’m driving, cleaning, or folding laundry. This month, the books that kept me awake were:

For depth and dignity: HUNGER by Roxane Gay. I can’t get enough time to inhale this book as fast as I want; which may be good, as this book requires thought (though it’s clear as water to read.) Totally up to the hype and more.

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Madelyn & Madeline: When A Character Pops Out Of Your Book

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There’s a reason more people understand the Holocaust from The Diary of Ann Frankthan from The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Story. Since the cave man days we’ve learned more history through storytelling than textbooks. I know I have.

Writing a novel that includes social, health or political issues carries great responsibility. We want our audience to learn as they’re immersed in the story; those of us writing hot-button issues are impassioned. We want to write a compelling story. And then there is the third, equally important point of the triangle. We must be unflinchingly honest and also empathic with the characters carrying our banners. We must represent for the people who experienced in real life what we put on paper.

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JESSE, A MOTHER’S STORY: A Ferocious and Raging Love

I started Jesse, A Mother’s Story twice.

The stark beauty of this memoir hit me the moment I began. Marianne Leone’s narrative, written with an unrelenting immediacy, yanked me into her world.

Leone’s son Jesse owned me from his first moment on the page. By the end of the prologue, Leone had so engaged me that I put it aside. Because I knew how it would end. Because I was a coward. I’d already fallen in love with the family and I needed to build up courage to continue.

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Halloween nears. Winter approaches. In the Northeast we face snow shoveling, icy roads, and bleak grey skies. Our rewards? Sundays curled on the couch with a great book. I could offer lists of classics you can finally settle into, uber-literary masterpieces to read with your dictionary at your side, or I can tell the truth. There’s nothing like a ‘gotta know’ book to get you through a blizzard. (Think Gone Girl … those books you absolutely must finish, cause (as Stephen King says in On Writing) you ‘gotta know’ how it ends.

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From Metal Sculptor to EMT to Novelist: “An Unseemly Wife”— A Fascinating Look At E.B. Moore


Nichole Bernier talks to E.B. Moore about publishing her debut novel at 72: “The Amish life is exotic to behold and comforting, a little like going to a habitat zoo to watch the slow march of elephants cropping grass with their trunks and blowing dust over their backs.”


When I first moved to Boston and began attending literary events, I noticed a striking woman who seemed to be at all of them. She was statuesque and ageless, with long white braids piled on top of her head, blue eyes twinkling and, at the same time, penetrating behind wire-rimmed glasses. Reserved, but appeared to know everyone. Usually in jeans, wool socks, sneakers, and a sensible Oxford blouse. Extraordinarily good posture. Who was she?

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Can You Define ‘Women’s Fiction’?


How good does a female athlete have to be before we just call her an athlete? —Author Unknown

When did women’s fiction come to be? In 1956, the New York Times reviewed Peyton Place. It was called lurid, an expose, and earthy.” Grace Metalious is compared with Sherwood Anderson, Edmund Wilson, John O’Hara and Sinclair Lewis. I have no doubt that today (in our more feminist times?) she would be classified as a writer of ‘women’s fiction’ I’ve hit the caste system of novels before, from commercial versus literary fiction, to racial reading divides, to micro-indignities. Even name-calling. I thought perhaps I’d give it a rest this year, but alas my (woman’s? human?) hackles have once again been raised. A dear friend, whose soon-to-release book (okay, you pulled it out of me, it’s Robin Black and the book is Life Drawing) deserves everything from the NYT bestseller list to a National Book Award, has received excellent early reviews. (Life Drawing “might be the nearest thing to a perfect novel that I have ever read.”—The Bookseller, UK.)

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