Category Archives: Contemporary

Telegraph Avenue

Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue is about a lot of things. It’s about a particular neighborhood — Brokeland, right on the line between Berkeley and Oakland, with all its ethnic and religious and economic and sexual and historical diversity, and everything … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 9 Comments

Texts From Jane Eyre

oh my god         what this guy this publisher guy is asking me about my favorite canto in Childe Harold that’s like asking someone to pick who’s hotter his half-sister or his cousins it’s literally impossible Mallory … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | Tagged | 14 Comments

How To Breathe Underwater

This collection of stories by Julie Orringer sounds as if it’s going to be miserable. Here we have girls — mostly teenage girls, some younger — going through a familiar collection of life’s cruelties, fears, and humiliations: displacement, addiction, illness, … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 1 Comment

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Clay Jannon has lost his job in the Great Recession, and he really needs to keep a roof over his head. (Not just any roof, either: he lives in San Francisco.) So when he sees a Help Wanted sign in … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 12 Comments

The Likeness

Last year, my mystery book club (we read mysteries, rather than being shrouded in mystery ourselves) read Tana French’s In the Woods. I admit that I was a bit prejudiced against it from the beginning, since it’s a) about a … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Mysteries | 20 Comments

Mr. Mercedes

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that Teresa and I are not just Stephen King fans, we’re mild-to-moderate King evangelists. He’s a genuinely good writer, and he writes a variety of things that … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Mysteries | 13 Comments

Doll Bones

I’ve been seeing reviews of Holly Black’s books here and there on blogs I like (Jeanne likes her, for instance), and I’m fairly sure that it was Ana’s review of Doll Bones that finally tipped me over the pick-it-up-at-the-library edge. … Continue reading

Posted in Children's / YA Lit, Contemporary, Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 7 Comments

On Giving Up on Night Film After Only 50 Pages

I know better than to give in to literary hype, but I also know better than to dismiss hyped books. If it sounds like my kind of thing, I’ll give it a try, and Night Film by Marisha Pessl sounded … Continue reading

Posted in Abandoned, Contemporary, Fiction, Mysteries | 20 Comments

The Silent Wife

Teresa and I read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl at almost exactly this time last year, and we both liked it a lot. I happened to see someone’s very brief review of A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife, saying essentially that she’d … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Mysteries | 9 Comments

The Financial Lives of the Poets

Matt Prior is going out for milk at two a.m., and he’s losing everything. He’s a week away from losing his house to a foreclosure. He has no job. (His first great idea was to quit in order to start … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 13 Comments