Category Archives: book

Thirst by Benjamin Warner c. 2016 (283 pages—Bloomsbury)

NOTE: THIS SUMMARY CONTAINS SPOILERS. This book is classified as “cli-fi” (fiction about climate change), although the mysterious catastrophe—a sudden loss of power and water (singed trees, dry riverbeds)—is not explicitly linked to climate change in the novel. Eddie and … Continue reading

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Why We Write edited by Meredith Maran c. 2013 (228 pages—Penguin Books)

Joan Didion: “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means” (NY Times Book Review) William Goldman qtd. by David Baldacci: “Write everything as if it’s the first thing … Continue reading

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“Ghosts and Empties” by Lauren Groff c. 2018 (pages 1-14 in Florida)

A privileged mother of two takes walks at night and considers the ease at which she moves through a world rife with problems. A haunting story about family, love, and loneliness. Sentences Worth Studying “I have somehow become a woman … Continue reading

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“Freedom” by Rachel Cusk * c. 2018 (pages 170-184 in The Pushcart Prize XLII–originally published in The Paris Review)

Quiet and profound, this story is set during a single salon visit. In it, Cusk expertly explores issues of authenticity, aging, and loneliness. Sentences Worth Studying “It was growing dark outside, and the rain against the salon’s big windows looked … Continue reading

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My Antonia (and other works) by Willa Cather c. 1994 (508 pages—Random House)

An American classic set in Nebraska at the turn of the century (late 1800s, early 1900s). The narrative frame focuses on Jim Burden, a lawyer living in NYC, giving his friend a copy of a manuscript that he has written … Continue reading

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A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl by Jean Thompson c. 2018 (320 pages—Simon & Schuster)

NOTE: This summary contains spoilers. Set in the Midwest, this novel centers on three generations of women, each with her own set of problems, and each feeling similarly stuck. Evelyn (Laura’s mother) was pushed out of her role as a … Continue reading

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The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel c. 2018 (354 pages—Algonquin)

Warning: This summary contains spoilers. The Optimistic Decade is set in the Bush Sr. era, with some flashbacks to the Reagan years. The main characters are teenagers and young adults, all of whom are engaged in a timeless rite of … Continue reading

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