Stanley and Vera reunite at each year’s National Spelling Bee, forming a bond over their shared victory and their mothers’ quirks and ambitious goals for their lives. They seem destined for success, sure to cross paths again at Harvard—until Stanley proposes a deal.
Canadian author Leah McLaren walks a fine line in A Better Man, and following along as she navigates it is part of what makes her novel worth reading. A Better Man is a deft blend of comedy, wisdom and character, and it’s one of the most entertaining books of its kind you’re likely to find.
In 1993, Mardi Jo Link was a 31-year-old wife and mother of two and a bar waitress with a college degree. Just before sunrise on an October Michigan morning, Link and three friends set off on what would become an annual get-the-hell-out-of-Dodge adventure to the isolated refuge of Drummond Island on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In 1993, Link was the newest member of the sorority, but she eventually became the chronicler of the highs and lows of the annual island weekend.
In this month's cooking column you'll find new cookbooks featuring everything from classic American fare to meals made for enjoying outdoors to the best in New England home cooking.
Ah, alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems (to misquote “The Simpsons”). In Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, Sarah Hepola reveals the ugly side of addiction with humor and honesty. She writes gracefully of blackouts, junk food binges and unnerving sexual encounters. Along the way, she touches on loneliness and cats and hangovers and alternative weeklies. Although she claims that alcohol made her fearless, her true bravery emerges in this memoir’s witty candor.
Mazie Phillips-Gordon was a real person. Born in 1897, she ran the ticket booth at New York’s Venice Theater from 1916 to 1938. You may not think that’s such a big achievement, but then you probably haven’t read the Joseph Mitchell New Yorker essay about her that inspired Jami Attenberg’s entertaining new novel, Saint Mazie.
Elizabeth Hoyt is one of romance’s hottest authors right now, and the eighth book in her Maiden Lane series captures every tender, charming reason for her popularity. Dearest Rogue is a sexy, sweet and emotionally satisfying historical read.
It’s difficult to imagine anything more traumatic than a child’s death. But when the deceased child is a twin, the living sibling can be a constant reminder of what’s lost.
Janis Heaphy Durham walked into the bathroom of her home one year to the day after the death of her beloved husband, only to stare in amazement at what appeared to be a handprint on the mirror. This was just one of many strange things that had happened since Max’s premature death from esophageal cancer at age 56. Was Max trying to contact her from beyond the grave? In her gripping new book, The Hand on the Mirror: A True Story of Life Beyond Death, Durham reveals her own awakening to possibilities beyond the material world.
In the poem she wrote for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, “Praise Song for the Day,” Elizabeth Alexander asked, “What if the mightiest word is love?” In The Light of the World, her memoir about the sudden death of her husband in 2012, the poet, essayist and playwright renders her own exquisite response.