• READING IN COMMON

Lucky Us

Two sisters of humble beginnings span the globe during WWII, in search of love's elusive embrace.

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  • READING IN COMMON

The Arsonist

Tensions flare in a New Hampshire town swollen by summer residents.

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  • READING IN COMMON

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932

Espionage, obsession, and betrayal in the demimonde of pre-WWII Paris.

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  • READING IN COMMON

Living with a Wild God

A tenacious journalist takes up a bold new investigation into the potential existence of divine forces and the mystical nature of faith.

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  • READING IN COMMON

Boy, Snow, Bird

Ancient stories entwine with twenty-first-century themes in Helen Oyeyemi's fiction.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

Eugénie Grandet

Balzac's incisive story of wealth, desire, and fraud has never been more timely.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

Brown Dog

The adventures of Jim Harrison's "wonderful backwoods nitwit" are collected in one rollicking set of linked tales.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

Charmers Return

An annual rundown of books as diverting as they are thought-provoking.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

Compassion is the central theme in these essays from the author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

The Two Hotel Francforts

The sensitively mapped tale of an affair on the eve of war is cloaked within a comedy of manners.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

Someone

A girl grows in Brooklyn, in the latest from the author of Charming Billy.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

Dreams of My Russian Summers

The power of memory and longing is undimmed in this classic memoir.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

Ten Things I've Learnt About Love

A long-estranged father and daughter, on a collision course.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

The Faraway Nearby

An unclassifiable writer looks at how stories take us on unexpected journeys.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

An Interview with Elinor Lipman

The charming writer of I Can't Complain on self-esteem, second chances, and happy endings.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

The Interestings

Old friends at the top and bottom of the art world meet in the middle.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

A wry take on "self-help" skewers our globalized economy.

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  • READING IN COMMON

Schroder

A prisoner's letters reveal the harrowing and often triumphant life of a fraud.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

The Inventor and the Tycoon

Two unlikely collaborators project the dawn of film technology.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

Charmers

A short list of books that are equal parts entertainment and provocation.

 

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  • READING IN COMMON

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

A technological adventure story lurks on these shelves.

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  • READING IN COMMON

This Is How You Lose Her

A cheater's guide to love is also a poignant study of what keeps us from understanding ourselves.

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  • READING IN COMMON

There but for the

A dinner party attendee's refusal to leave occasions reflection among his fellow guests.

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  • READING IN COMMON

How to Be a Woman

A British writer's memoir attacks sexism with humor and a take-no-prisoners attitude.

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  • READING IN COMMON

Workers' Compensations

Why a writer's luminous memoir makes inspiring reading for recent graduates -- and their families.

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  • READING IN COMMON

Conversation Pieces

Finding the balance between pleasure and challenge when selecting that group read.

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About the Columnist
Heller McAlpin is a New York-based critic who reviews books for NPR.org, The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, and other publications.

July 28: Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin eloped on this day in 1814.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).