The Magic Room

A cynical take on the bridal business would be easy to write, but that wouldn't be Jeffrey Zaslow's style. In The Girls From Ames, he  captured the complex beauty of female relationships with insight and sensitivity. Here the Wall Street Journal columnist does the same for weddings and marriage, tenderly evoking the fantasies, expectations and personal stories of the women who step into a Michigan bridal shop's special room -- soft lighting, music, pedestal, mirrors and all -- to try on dresses for their big day.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…