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Reader name: Vicki
Hometown: Clinton, NY
Favorite genre: women's fiction
Favorite authors: Elizabeth Berg, Wally Lamb, Sara Gruen, Anita Shreve
Favorite books: I Know This Much is True, Water for Elephants, The Help, Room, The Leisure Seeker, The History of Love, The Things They Carried
Vicki, sometimes I feel like a parrot repeating the same thing over and over when it comes to book recommendations, because there are a few authors I just can't get enough of. I recommend them to nearly everyone, give their books away as birthday presents, bring their novels for book swaps . . .
Well, for today's book fortune, the parrot is going to squawk again. Based on your favorite authors and novels, I have a feeling that you love books that are about women's lives—page-turners, but still substantive and written beautifully. If that's true, I think you should check out the following novels:
I love this novel about a young woman’s search for independence and her true self. What if you discovered that the man you thought you loved wasn't actually The One? Would a debilitating accident change your passion for a significant other? (And if so, does that make you a bad person?) As an added bonus, Ann Packer does great descriptions of New York City. You won't want to miss The Dive from Clausen's Pier.
It will be a huge shame if the editors of BookPage don't soon start a Lionel Shriver fan club. Why? Because we are obsessed with her writing, and I need a place to channel my frustration that she doesn't have a new novel coming out in the next five minutes. When I recommend a first Shriver novel to someone, I always suggest The Post-Birthday World. As Trisha wrote once in an edition of BookPageXTRA: "The premise of Lionel Shriver's ninth novel sounds like a classic beach read: her heroine, children's book author Irina, must choose whether to stay with her longtime partner or embark on a new romance with a snooker star. But behind the Sliding Doors storyline is a psychologically acute, probing novel."
I think that I will have to declare 2011 The Year of Meg Wolitzer. Why? Because in the past six months, I have read (devoured) her four most recent novels: The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position and The Wife. My favorite of the bunch is The Wife, about a woman who is married to a famous novelist—"one of those men who own the world." The novel starts at the end of their marriage, when "the wife" decides to divorce her husband on an airplane en route to an awards ceremony where he will accept a major literary prize. The novel goes back in time to track their falling in love, when he was her English professor, and investigates what she gave up for their relationship (and also what she gained). It is a funny, thought-provoking, quick read.
I hope this list helps you add to your summer reading list!
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