Category Archives: Recent Reading Recs

A place to share recommendations on worthy reads.

The Summer Before The War

A loving portrait of English village life a century ago. Not a lot to set the pulse pounding, it would seem, but this one snuck up on me. Among the attributes that kept me engaged were snappy dialogue, sympathetic portrayals … Continue reading

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The Underground Railroad

Colson Whitehead’s moving account of the multidimensional sufferings inflicted by the American system of slavery amounts to a searing indictment of the origins of U.S. society. Through vivid portrayals of numerous victims and perpetrators, he demonstrates the durable effectiveness of … Continue reading

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The Sellout

Verbal pyrotechnics abound in this romping satire on being black in contemporary America. Author Paul Beatty runs circles around every stereotype you’ve heard of and perhaps a few you haven’t. Bubbling up from underneath the cleverness are fundamental questions of … Continue reading

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The Stager

The Stager, by Susan Coll, is a tale of contemporary family dysfunction and ambition (and lack thereof) that manages to be both whimsical and hard-edged. And it’s set in Bethesda! It verges into the experimental and meta at times but … Continue reading

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The Imperfectionists

Through a cleverly interlaced collection of stories, author Tom Rachman traces the demise of an international newspaper in Rome. Disappointments in the lives of the staff track with the tragic arc of the paper’s decline, in narratives that abound in … Continue reading

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Highs in the Low Fifties

A compelling and deeply moving — and hilarious — memoir by Marion Winik about her life and loves as a single woman in Baltimore. Incredibly generous and brave candor about her passions, hopes, and setbacks. A binge-read.

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The Black Count

by Tom Reiss. An amazing biography of Alex Dumas, the father and real-life hero of the author of The Count of Monte Cristo. The French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon from the perspective of the son of a slave … Continue reading

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Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

With sparkling wit and warm, touching sensibility, Helen Simonson explores family strains and cross-cultural love in a tradition-laden English village. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is a wonderful read.

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Fobbit

Fobbit provides a tactile, farcical, infuriating angle on life in a military outpost in the Iraq war. Presented as comedy but  powered by deep outrage, David Abrams cleverly and viscerally illuminates key pieces of the Iraq puzzle.

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Superbly crafted by Moshin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist depicts the post 9-11 transformation of a young Pakistani professional in the financial industry in New York.

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