The Art Forger (B.A. Shapiro) — Perfect book club book! The characters and their motivations interested me, and I learned a lot about art forgery.
The Last First Day (Carrie Brown) — A quietly beautiful book about a headmaster and his wife as they face retirement and the end of their long career at a private school.
The Lowland (Jhumpa Lahiri) — Lahiri writes once again about Indian immigrants in the United States. This is a beautifully written story of two brothers who take very different paths in life — and the woman they both marry. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Sister Mother Husband Dog (Delia Ephron) — Loved, loved this collection of essays.
The Obituary Writer (Ann Hood) — Two women living 50 years apart turn out to be connected in a surprising way.
Mother, Mother (Koren Zailckas) — A psychological thriller about a sociopathic mother — in the vein of Gone Girl.
The Maid’s Version (Daniel Woodrell) — The story of a dance hall fire in a small town in the Ozarks and its impact over several generations by a very underrated writer.
The Death of Santini (Pat Conroy) — Pat Conroy can’t stop writing about his relationship with his abusive father, and I can’t stop reading about it.
The Most of Nora Ephron (Nora Ephron) — This big book includes not only Nora Ephron’s wonderful essays, but the entire screenplay for When Harry Met Sally, her recent play Lucky Guy, AND Heartburn — the whole novel. Have I mentioned that Heartburn is one of my favorite books? It’s comic perfection.
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage (Ann Patchett) — Before she was a novelist, Ann Patchett was a nonfiction writer. This collection of 22 personal essays covers the highlights of her life — from her relationship with her father, to her second marriage (that’s the happy one), to opening her own independent bookstore. It’s a masterpiece.
The Novel Cure: From Abandonment of Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You (Ella Berthoud & Susan Elderkin) — Exactly what the title says: a comprehensive listing of books that will help you with any problem. Fun reading!
Dollface (Renee Rosen) — A wonderful story of Roaring Twenties Chicago — told from the point of view of the women involved with the gangsters.
Big Brother (Lionel Shriver) — Hard to believe this is written by the same author as We Need to Talk About Kevin. What happens when the brother you haven’t seen in years shows up to live with you and your family — with a 200+ pounds of excess “baggage”?
Tell the Wolves I’m Home (Carol Rifka Brunt) — Debut novel about a 14-year-old girl who loses her beloved uncle to AIDS.
The Engagements (J. Courtney Sullivan) — This multilayered novel combines the story of four interconnected marriages, the history of American advertising, and the diamond business.
Letters from Skye (Jessica Brockmole) — I love epistolary novels! This one starts just before World War I and ends during World War II.
& Sons (David Gilbert) — A big, fat novel centering on A.N. Dyer — a reclusive writer reminiscent of J.D. Salinger. If you like Jonathan Franzen, you’ll like this. There’s a lot going on — a novel within a novel, lots of characters, and even a touch of science fiction.
Where’d You Go Bernadette (Maria Semple) — Funny, clever, and quirky; perfect beach reading.
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (Daniel James Brown) — The subtitle certainly describes the book,but doesn’t tell you what you need to know: this is a classic sports underdog story and much more. My favorite book of the summer!
Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery (Robert Kolker) — I’m a sucker for well-written true crime, and this book was one of the best of that genre.
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (Sheri Fink) — The author is a physician and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who’s written a gripping account of the life-and-death decisions medical staff at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans were forced to make during Hurricane Katrina.
Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites (Kate Christensen) — Some of my favorite memoirs (Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking, Ruth Reichl’s Tender at the Bone) have to do with food. This one joins the list.