Excerpt from What To Read by Mickey Pearlman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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What To Read

The Essential Guide for Reading Group Members and Other Book Lovers

By Mickey Pearlman

What To Read
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  • Paperback: Mar 1999,
    351 pages.

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A Note to the Reader
How to Organize
How to Read
When to Read
Where to Read

My Family, Myself
Family Feuds
Life Is (Definitely Not) a Bowl of Cherries
Let's Talk About Me
Memoirs by Women
Memoirs by Men
The Writer's Life
Ain't Love Grand?; Pass the Aspirins
Watch Your Mouth!
Think About Health
The Impact of Illness
Fairy Tales for Grown-ups
More Fairy Tale Time
What an Adventure!
War Is Hell ... Continued
Evil Lurks
Keep It Short
Fathers, Sons, and Brothers
Mothers and Daughters
Questioning the Miraculous
Go West
New York Stories
Southern Comfort
My Kind of Place
Save the Planet
Native American Ideas
A Jewish View
Mi Vida Latina
African-American Images
An Asian Ethos
Gay Writes
Don't-Miss Nineteenth-Century Novels
Early Twentieth-Century Writing
Other Lands, Other Voices
It's a Mystery to Me
Mysteries by Women
Mysteries by Men
One to Beam Up, Mr. Scott
Science Fiction by Men
Science Fiction by Women
Who's on First?
Be a Sport
Stop Kidding Around
Books for Younger Children
Books for Older Children
On the Beach
Author Index
Title Index


Family Feuds

1. Shadow Play Charles Baxter
Multilayered novel of life in Five Oaks, Michigan, where love and social responsibility collide. Beautifully written, almost melodic, with a clear moral vision (as is First Light, his first novel). 352 pp.; 1993

2. Mystery Ride Robert Boswell
The mystery ride in this novel is marriage. (The title is from a Bruce Springsteen song.) Boswell returns here to his best material, dysfunctional families, found also in his memorable second novel, Crooked Hearts, set in Yuma, Arizona.
333 pp.; 1993

3. The Runaway Soul Harold Brodkey
Set in the 1930s, this is the story of Wiley Silenowics, an adopted child who is raised in the household of his cousins and their daughter, Nonie. Many years in the writing.
848 pp.; 1993

4. Before and After Rosellen Brown
When a New Hampshire teenager kills his girlfriend, his parents are forced to examine their own moral truths as well as their relationship. A gripping, beautifully written novel.
354 pp.; 1992

5. My Antonia Willa Cather
Turn-of-the-century farm life as lived by Slavic and Scandinavian immigrants on the open prairies of Nebraska and the finest work by one of America's greatest writers. Shimerda emerges from this novel as the most memorable American mother in twentieth-century literature. 372 pp.; 1919

6. The Beans of Egypt, Maine Carolyn Chute
The grotesque and the normal come together here and in its successor, Letourneau's Used Auto Body Parts. This is life below the poverty line. To quote Chute's publisher, Egypt, Maine, is "a kingdom of blood and dirt and sweat and sperm." 244 pp.; 1984

7. Mrs. Bridge Evan Connell
If you've seen the movie, you'll always picture Joanne Woodward in this sympathetic portrayal of a housewife and mother of three in Kansas City between the two world wars. Of course, in the movie, Mr. Bridge was Paul Newman, so how bad could things have been? 254 pp.; 1959

8. Ragtime E. L. Doctorow
The bestselling story of immigrant Jews on the lower East Side of New York and their evolution into citizens with money and stature. Doctorow is one of America's best writers. 236 pp.; 1975

9. Geek Love Katherine Dunn
Olympia Binewski, an albino hunchback dwarf, narrates this novel about her carnival

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Copyright Mickey Pearlman 1999. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of the publisher, Harper Collins.

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