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Books of Stories Centering Black American Life (02/24)
Diane Oliver's Neighbors and Other Stories is a collection delving deep into the corners of Black American life in the 1950s and '60s that were not and are still not usually part of the public conversation. Historical and academic writing that discusses the situations of marginalized people often does not touch on the intricacies of their...
A Moby-Dick Reading List (02/24)
Whether you love Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, hate it or have never read it, you may find yourself unable to escape it. Even for a classic, it shows surprising reach, having inspired and influenced numerous authors, artists and scholars, historical and contemporary. Published in 1851, it continues to be deconstructed, reconstructed, ...
Books by Filipino Authors for Young Readers (01/24)
Not that long ago, it would have been difficult to find many young adult or middle-grade novels featuring a Filipino or Filipino-American protagonist, let alone Filipino settings and customs as we see in My Heart Underwater. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. 

In 2005, Melissa de la Cruz, best known for her Descendants, Alex...
Revenge Westerns (12/23)
Revenge is an arduous task, and tales of retribution are especially suited for the western setting. In the popular imagination, the American West is lawless and brutal, besotted with everyday bloodshed, and so revenge seems like an appropriate goal. Nearly every writer of westerns has a vigilante or two somewhere in their lineup. It's a ...
Novels by Cree Writers (11/23)
Jessica Johns, the author of Bad Cree, is a member of the Sucker Creek First Nation in Northern Alberta. The Cree, or ininiw, who also refer to themselves as nêhiyawak (Plains Cree), nihithaw (Woodland Cree) and nèhinaw (Swampy Cree), are the largest group of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and live in areas stretching from ...
Imagining Life on Mars: A Reading List (11/23)
Kelly and Zach Weinersmith's A City on Mars discusses what a space colony on that planet might look like. Science fiction authors, though, have been imagining life on the Red Planet for well over a century (some coming closer to reality than others).

The concept of intelligent life on Mars was likely sparked in the late 19th ...
Novels Exploring Terminal Illness in Middle Age (11/23)
In her novel We All Want Impossible Things, Catherine Newman chronicles the final days of Edi's life from the perspective of her lifelong friend, Ashley. Though terminal illness and death can be tragic at any age, facing these realities at the stage of life Edi is in comes with a particular set of challenges, such as knowing she will miss...
Female Frenemies in Literature and Reality (11/23)
In Rachel Hawkins's novel The Villa, childhood best friends Emily Sheridan and Chess Chandler decide to spend the summer together amid the splendor of Villa Aestas in Italy. Although the two women have fallen a bit out of touch over the years, this summer offers a chance for them to reconnect while combining work and play. But when ...
Captivating Fantasy Worlds to Explore Next (09/23)
A trip to Elsewhere in the young adult debut Hotel Magnifique is enough to give anyone the itch to travel. The question is, where to next? Here are some suggestions of fantasy worlds to explore once you've checked out of Emily J. Taylor's wondrous hotel.

Battle Magic (2013): Tamora Pierce's worldbuilding is famed, with fans ...

Books Addressing Young Peoples' Experiences During World War II (09/23)
The Second World War has been written about extensively from many different points of view. However, the history of this war is filled with unheard stories of individual heroes who played a significant role in their own way. Here are six books, some memoirs and some fiction based on true stories, that recount the tales of these unsung ...
Novels About Trying to Do Good (09/23)
In Lydia Millet's Dinosaurs, independently wealthy Gil grapples with the guilt brought on by his privilege and financial abundance. He tries to find ways to give back to those around him, through volunteer work and other means. A character's choice to actively attempt to do good deeds, or to change the world for the better, is one rich ...
Books About Native Residential School Experiences (08/23)
Recent years have seen increased awareness of the ongoing trauma created by historical residential schools for Native children in North America, which were operated by government bodies and churches beginning in approximately the mid-1800s, and lasting until the 1960s in the United States and the 1990s in Canada. Hundreds of thousands of ...
Novels About Poets (08/23)
In Jean Thompson's novel The Poet's House, main character Carla discovers a new world when she meets Viridian, a well-established poet. Viridian soon brings Carla into her circle of writer friends and the drama that pervades the group, changing her life forever.

Novels about poets and poetry can provide an interesting opportunity for ...
Books about Magical Libraries (07/23)
Mark Lawrence's fantasy novel The Book That Wouldn't Burn centers on an incredible library, where the knowledge of millennia is guarded by magical assistants and dangerous labyrinths. For book lovers, reading about magical libraries can have a special appeal—a place that, in the real world, already feels enchanted and full ...
Books About Female Friendship (07/23)
Sex and the City, Girls Trip, Booksmart. Films that center female friendships feel good to watch. There is no real question as to why; these films weed out most of the realities of friendships we may not like, merge all the qualities of them we want to preserve, and play it all out in front of us, looping in a lighthearted plot to keep us...
Novels Exploring the Moral Dilemmas of Parenthood (07/23)
The protagonist in Sunyi Dean's novel The Book Eaters repeatedly finds herself compelled to carry out cruel acts against others in order to protect her young son. This moral dilemma is central to the character's development and forces readers to consider a difficult question: If a parent does bad things for the good of their child, can ...
Novels Set in Rural and Remote Australia (06/23)
Location is key for Hayley Scrivenor's debut novel Dirt Creek, which is set in a rural Australian town in the southeastern state of New South Wales. The tight-knit atmosphere is pervaded by suspicion after the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl, and the ensuing mystery takes place during a particularly hot summer. Below, we'll take a ...
Fiction by Indian Diaspora Authors (06/23)
Sindya Bhanoo, author of the story collection Seeking Fortune Elsewhere, writes about South Indian immigrant and diaspora communities and the connections people in them maintain (or lose) with family in India. Bhanoo, who lives in Texas, was born to immigrant parents in the United States. The Indian diaspora is the largest in the world ...
Young Adult Novels Exploring Sexual Abuse Against Boys (05/23)
Despite its prevalence, sexual assault remains a largely taboo subject, particularly in cases where men and boys are victims. Toxic masculinity and societal pressure push many to suffer in silence, afraid of being perceived as 'weak' and the repercussions this could have throughout their lives. The mental impact of this decision is ...
Fictional Pandemics (04/23)
Emily St. John Mandel's Sea of Tranquility features a character Mandel seems to have based loosely on herself: an author named Olive Llewellyn who is famous for writing a novel about a pandemic. Pandemics are a common trope in novels, particularly in the speculative or science fiction genre, with authors considering different imagined ...
Young Adult Novels Written in Verse (04/23)
Novels written in verse for a young adult audience can be an excellent way to encourage reluctant readers of poetry to embrace the unique power of the form. While retaining a focus on character and narrative, the loose approach to structure and hints of more experimental language can increase the pace and heighten the emotional intensity ...
Adult Novels Focusing On Children During World War II (03/23)
Unsurprisingly, stories featuring the circumstances of child or teenage protagonists during World War II tend to appear prominently in the category of young adult literature, with classics like Lois Lowry's Number the Stars existing as staples of historical fiction in schools and libraries all over. But as is the case with Jennifer Rosner...
Feminism and Water Imagery in Literature (02/23)
In Sara Freeman's debut novel Tides, after undergoing a harrowing loss, the protagonist Mara takes to the road, leaving everything and everyone she loves behind. She doesn't know where she will go, but if asked, she knows she will say, 'without hesitation, [t]he sea.' She is drawn to a town — any town — by the sea because her ...
A COVID-19 Nonfiction Reading List (01/23)
Between autumn 2020 and spring 2021, lots of COVID-themed books started to appear on bookstore and library shelves in the UK, where I live. It felt like nonfiction was quicker to respond to the pandemic than fiction. Some of my favorites were too niche for US publication because they focus on the UK’s National Health Service (...
Contemporary Korean Literature in Translation (11/22)
From Parasite to BTS to Squid Game, there's no shortage of brilliant Korean media and entertainment that has had international reach lately. Books are no exception, with Sang Young Park's Love in the Big City, translated into English by Anton Hur, being just one example. Here is a sampling of some other exciting novels that have been ...
Contemporary New England Fiction Writers (11/22)
The stories in Lily King's Five Tuesdays in Winter include settings in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, three of the six northeastern states of the USA that are collectively known as New England (the others being New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island). Below we've highlighted some other contemporary authors who reside in and/or set...
Young Adult Fantasy Novels Featuring Black Girls (08/22)
An exciting addition to young adult fantasy, Liselle Sambury's Blood Like Magic is a thrilling story of a Black teenage girl discovering her magical powers in a genre that has been disproportionately filled with white main characters for a long time. There are now plenty of fantastic young adult books out there where Black girls are no ...
Reading About Dictionaries and Lost Words (06/22)
Pip Williams was prompted to write The Dictionary of Lost Words, a novel including historical detail about words omitted from the Oxford English Dictionary, by reading Simon Winchester's 1998 book The Professor and the Madman and wondering where women were in the story of the dictionary. Below is some background on Winchester's book as ...
Grief Memoirs (06/22)
Carol Smith's Crossing the River recounts the death of her young son, Christopher, in combination with stories of other people who have experienced loss. In an interview with Hippocampus Magazine, Smith recalls memoirs about grief that have been influential for her. Below are some of the books she mentions, along with other significant ...
Overcoming Childhood Sexual Assault: Survivors' Stories (05/22)
In her debut memoir, Ashley C. Ford reflects on the lasting impact of her childhood, most notably the sexual assault she suffered at the age of 14. The process of dissecting trauma through literature is certainly not easy, but doing so can bring catharsis to writers and readers alike.

With assault affecting everyone differently, ...
HarperVia (04/22)
In 2019, HarperCollins, the world's second-largest book publishing group, announced a new imprint for international literature: HarperVia. With a planned 24 releases per year, HarperVia focuses on works from around the globe. Staff in the US and UK work to streamline the acquisitions process: Rather than waiting for a manuscript to be ...
Novels About Inheritance (04/22)
In Housebreaking by Colleen Hubbard, protagonist Del finds herself in the position of having inherited her family's home and being tasked with what to do with it. Inheritance, whether of a home, money, information or an object of unique value, has long proven to be a fertile plot point in fiction. The revelation of an inheritance can ...
Contemporary YA Literature by Indigenous Authors (02/22)
Darcie Little Badger's second young adult book, A Snake Falls to Earth, contains cultural elements from the Lipan Apache tribe, of which both the author and the book's main character, Nina, are members. The book references the animal people who appear in the Lipan Apache creation story, and it is inspired by traditional Indigenous ...
When Dystopia Meets Mystery (01/22)
With his novel Leave the World Behind, Rumaan Alam explores how a group of isolated strangers react to an unspecified threat that is sweeping across New York. By hinting at the disaster's cause and effect, but depriving both his characters and his readers of concrete answers, he is able to tap into our inherent fear of the unknown.

...
Books That Address Infertility (10/21)
In Flesh & Blood, author N. West Moss writes of her struggles with infertility, detailing her emotional reactions to miscarriages and an illness resulting in a hysterectomy. The feelings, experiences and circumstances surrounding an inability to conceive are multifaceted and varied, and so are the works of literature that have addressed ...
Graphic Works of Nonfiction (09/21)
Although the term 'graphic novel' implies works of fiction, lists of popular graphic novels are often dominated by memoirs and other nonfiction. You can find one such list here, and a short history of the genre here.

Since there is no widely used or non-cumbersome term for these books ('graphic works of nonfiction' probably coming the ...
Books Narrated from Beyond the Grave (07/21)
Yu Miri's Tokyo Ueno Station is told from the viewpoint of Kazu, a ghost who wanders the grounds of the train station in which he lived out his final years. Though the book makes unique use of this framing device to explore its particular themes of poverty and homelessness, it is certainly not the only novel to feature a narrator who ...
Books About Choosing (or Not Choosing) Motherhood (05/21)
Over the past couple of decades, it's become more socially acceptable to talk and to write about the complexities of motherhood. It's also become less taboo to acknowledge—as Rose does in The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas—that motherhood is not the right choice for every woman. The following books articulate, ...
Books Set Across Centuries (04/21)
Katy Simpson Smith's novel The Everlasting is set entirely in Rome, but it takes place across multiple centuries, introducing us to separate storylines in 2015, 1559, 896, and 165. Here are some other noteworthy books that are set in one location spanning multiple centuries.

The Kingsbridge Series by Ken Follett
Originally published...

Young Adult Novels That Address Gentrification (03/21)
In Like Home by Louisa Onomé, Nelo fights the forces of gentrification and change in the neighborhood that she loves so dearly. Gentrification has become an increasingly popular topic in recent young adult novels, and there are now a variety of titles offering different points of view on the subject.

This Side of Home by Ren&#...
Locked Room Mysteries (02/21)
In Eight Perfect Murders, bookseller Malcolm Kershaw is contacted by the FBI regarding his list of favorite mystery novels with seemingly unsolvable murders. The oldest book on Malcolm's list is The Red House Mystery, written in 1922 by A.A. Milne (of Winnie-the-Pooh fame). Milne's book is a locked room mystery, also known as an ...
Older Characters in Fiction (11/20)
The elderly are often underrepresented in popular culture, and where these characters do exist, they are often one-dimensional. The most effective depictions of elderly people demonstrate that age does not limit one's ability to have an interesting inner life, new adventures, and/or the chance for romance. In short, they resist the notion...
Women in Translation (11/20)
Translated fiction is something of a rarity in the English-speaking world. It's been widely reported that only about three percent of books published in the United States were originally written in a language other than English – a statistic that led to the creation of the University of Rochester's Three Percent database, a valuable...
Literary Sequels (08/20)
2019 has been a year of literary sequels: bestselling authors expanding on fictional worlds they created, in some cases decades after the original book was published. Find Me by André Aciman is one such example, published 12 years after Call Me By Your Name. But it's hardly a new phenomenon—here are some of the most ...
19th Century Literary Companions (06/20)

In Sara Collins' historical novel The Confessions of Frannie Langton, the titular protagonist, a slave, tells her master's wife, 'Books were my companions…And I am grateful I could learn something, no matter how I came to do so. It was a way to know that lives could change, that they could be filled with adventures. There were times...

Young Adult Epistolary Novels (05/20)
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Epistolary novels have a long tradition in literature, and even young adult novels like Sarah Henstra's We Contain Multitudes have gotten in on the act. Given their younger audiences, however, authors writing for teens often incorporate new technologies or other clever twists on the epistolary form. Check out a few of these examples of YA...

Posthumous Cancer Memoirs (03/20)
Once or twice each year, I find a superb memoir in which the author comes to terms with mortality after a diagnosis of incurable cancer. Sometimes when I look up more information about the author I'm relieved to learn they're still alive (e.g. Kate Bowler, Clive James and Christian Wiman). But sometimes I see an end date to the life span,...
Young Adult Dystopian Novels (02/20)
In Tehlor Kay Mejia's debut novel We Set the Dark on Fire, men marry two wives – one Primera, who is logical and controlled, and one Segunda, who is beautiful and passionate. However, when Dani, a young Primera, joins the resistance as a spy, she becomes determined to invert the whole system. Dystopian novels, while often set in ...
Recent Reinterpretations of Pride and Prejudice (02/20)
Unmarriageable might be the first version of Pride and Prejudice set in Pakistan, but it's hardly the only creative retelling of this classic novel. Fortunately for fans of Jane Austen, several other imaginative reworkings of her beloved novel have been published recently - perhaps a Jane Austen book club could tackle any or all of these ...
An Organ Donation Reading List (01/20)

Readers curious to learn more about organ transplantation after finishing surgeon Joshua D. Mezrich's memoir on the subject have a wealth of options to choose from; here are five recommendations, two fiction and three nonfiction:


Fiction:

The Tell-Tale Heart by Jill Dawson
Fifty-year-old Patrick is a philandering professor with a ...

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