Books
The Queen’s Gambit

The Queen’s Gambit

The best stories are surprising and inevitable. The Queen’s Gambit is such a story. Fragile, and ruthless, and honest — the deep and terrifying mystery of genius.

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The Little Women

The Little Women

Katharine Weber’s novel The Little Women explores the aftermath of parental betrayal, and the cannibalizing of personal details by an author, and the life of characters on and off the page. For me, the novel expands into fascinating layers of metafiction.

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The Emperor’s Children

The Emperor’s Children

Claire Messud’s ironic, powerfully human story of three thirty-year-old New Yorkers is shattering and lush and gorgeous. Imagine Austen colliding with James and tackling the complex struggle of perception and reality in late American society. Let this book work you over.

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Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go

The narrator in Never Let Me Go tells a story unlike any you have ever read. The tension in Ishiguro’s novel is unrelenting, and even as you piece the plot together, you will not be prepared for the revelations.

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Miss Pym Disposes

Miss Pym Disposes

Josephine Tey wrote quiet stories, and Miss Pym Disposes is one of my favorite. A girls’ school, a murder, a busybody. But the friendship at the center of this book is deeper, and more frightening than the simple plot might suggest.

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Name All the Animals
Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is pure pleasure. An updating of Greek myths, the heroes are hilarious, and clever, and in constant peril. I wanted to be these kids, and reading their adventures is the next best thing.

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A Room of One’s Own

A Room of One’s Own

Money and a solitary place to work. These are still vital for the artist. A Room of One’s Own is a lovely book, and easily read. If you’re able to track down a copy of Eileen Atkins’ monologue, you’ll have a particularly delightful experience of Woolf’s treatise.

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Fun Home

Fun Home

Fun Home is a brave book, and beautifully rendered. I’ve never experienced a story like this, and the restraint is poignant.’

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Nightwood

Nightwood

I’m not entirely sure that I get Nightwood, but I love the language and the characters, and I go to the bookcase sometimes just to touch its spine and reconnect with the story.

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The Passion

The Passion

Mad and operatic. During my first reading, I remember having to remind myself to breathe. And the scene where the web-footed woman takes her gondola to the house of her married lover in order for her poor insane friend to steal back her still-beating heart is, even now, the way I conceptualize breakups. Messy, furtive, dreamy, improbable.

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The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book

Nobody Owens lives the most unusual tale of heartbreak I have ever read. Gorgeous, and unpredictable, and eerie.

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