Comedy lovers appreciate any scrap of info on the late, great Harold Ramis, famous for “Ghostbusters”, “Stripes” and other classics. His daughter, Violet Ramis Stiel tells intimate and loving stories of her father and his achievements in “Ghostbuster’s Daughter.”
“Rough Magic,” by Lara Prior-Palmer travels the spectacular road of “Wild.” Follow this nineteen-year-old as she competes in a 1,000 kilometer horse race across Mongolia.
For foodies, Ruth Reichl is akin to a god. Her latest book, “Save Me the Plums” does not disappoint. Read it and fall in love with the author all over again.
A therapist who goes to therapy? What an intriguing concept! Lori Gottliebb’s “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” is a terrific idea that fully delivers on its promise.
Give me a love story with the addition of nature, and survival, and walking, anyday of the week. Raynor Winn’s “The Salt Path,” set along the English coast, delivers a heavy dose of piercing poignancy. Breathtaking.
Running is such a good metaphor for life, and Kate Arnold mines the track to perfection in “Running Home.” Delving into a life well-lived, but maybe not as examined as she thought, Arnold makes her every thought feel universal.
Examining an extremely broken system, Shane Bauer’s “American Prison” follows the author as he secures a job as a guard in Louisiana. What transpires is chilling and disturbing.
With the rise of a Starbucks on every corner, it’s difficult to remember that coffee shops began as cultural, and even political institutions. Shachar M. Pinsker’s “A Rich Brew” tells the European history of the cafe, a place to gather, argue and wrestle with opinions and thoughts. A place that helped give birth to modern, Jewish culture.
“Midnight in Chernobyl,” Adam Higginbotham’s true account of one of the world’s greatest disasters, painstakingly recounts the story of a nuclear power plant that changed the world’s perception around nuclear energy. Chilling.
Get inspired with Lynne Olson’s “Madame Fourcade’s Secret War,” the tale of a young, female spy in France, during World War II. The daring and courage displayed are truly astounding.
Novelists can now dig into the story structure secrets of one of the most popular screenwriting bibles of recent years with “Save the Cat! Writes a Novel.” Author Jessica Brody adapts the original work by breaking down recent bestsellers and classics into the essential “beats” that shape successful stories.
The history of the West includes many glossed over travesties, including the brutal work of the Chinese in helping build the railroad. Gordon H. Chang helps rectify that fact with “Ghosts of Gold Mountain.”
Louise Penny’s books work equally well serially, or as stand alones. Her latest, “The Kingdom of the Blind,” follows the iconic Armand Gamache as he solves crimes in wintry Quebec.
Westerns and cowboys have always felt distinctly American to me, so imagine my chagrin on reading Jane Harper’s Australian saga, “The Lost Man.” A modern tale of murder feathered with an outback as deadly and brutal as any old Death Valley.
Strap on your seat belt and get ready for “Freefall.” Jessica Barry’s empowering thriller, ripe and ready to pick for the #MeToo era.
“The Hunting Party,” by Lucy Foley, picks up the thread dropped by writers like Ruth Ware. Focusing on a group of friends, a lodge and a murder, this “locked-room” mystery does not disappoint.
“The Current,” by Tim Johnston is that rare genre book that reads so beautifully, with superb characters and deep insight into the human condition, that you get full credit for reading a true work of literature. And it’s a blast.
I just discovered Kate Moretti with “In Her Bones” and I can’t wait to dive into more. Personal and plotted to perfection, the suspense keeps on coming as the pages turn.
Everyone’s favorite psychopathic avenger with a love for trivia, Serge Storms, is back and pondering retirement in “No Sunscreen for the Dead.” Tim Dorsey’s latest finds his zany antihero settling scores with conmen taking advantage of retirees. Meanwhile, a plot involving retired spies, Russia and data mining heats up.
“Captive Audience,” by Lucas Mann combines the unlikely material of his marriage with his wife and his marriage to reality television. With unusual insight, the cultural criticism strikes a deeply personal cord.
Exploring the general anhedonia, after the 2016 election, James Sturms’s “Off Season” parallels a world adrift with a relationship adrift. As it turns out, coming to terms with America likely starts with coming to terms with oneself.
A heady mixture of the picturesque and the sublime, Uwe Johnson’s “Anniversaries” follows a mother and daughter of the course of a year in 1967. With the format following a chapter for each day of the year, the details that emerge, both great and small, create a singular whole.
A completely deconstructed mystery, JonMcGregor’s “The Reservoir Tapes” takes every trope from the genre and turns it sideways. Lyrical and moving, this book delves into the poetry of grief.
Complex and moving, Stefan Merrill Block’s “Oliver Loving” takes place over the fullness of time with a heavy dose of hindsight. More nuanced as the story unfolds, this novel will resonate with just about anyone.
Just when you thought Jane Austen couldn’t possibly have more to give, along comes Soniah Kamal’s “Unmarriageable.” Freshened up by taking place in modern day Pakistan, this update of “Pride & Prejudice” is completely satisfying.
“The Falconer,” by Dana Czapnik tells of boys and basketball and the pain of adolescence. The sex scene is one of the most realistic depiction of intimacy between awkward teenagers ever.
The suburban dream turns into a nightmare in “The White Elephant,” by Julie Langsdorf. Funny and all too real, this tale of neighbor vs. neighbor offers insight into modern American life.
The perfect book to take on a Greek vacation, “Honestly, We Meant Well,” by Grant Ginder, follows the Wright family on their well-earned jaunt. It’s also a great book to read if you’re not going on a Greek vacation, sometimes virtual trumps reality.
The cool book to read on the metro, Halle Butler’s “The New Me” channels all the current feminist rage into one neat place. Smart and biting, with a dollop of melancholy, Butler’s take on modern life is nearly as chilling as a thriller.
“The Guest Book,” by Sarah Blake is one of those novels that works on multiple levels. This tale of three generations of the Milton family, and their cottage in Maine, roves back and forth in time, resonating soundly at each moment along the way.
In Esi Edugyan’s “Washington Black,” a young slave is taken under the wing of an amateur scientist who changes the course of his life. Simultaneously a globetrotting adventure and a deeply felt, nuanced examination of race, privilege and the limitations of empathy – with some gorgeous prose, to boot – it’s nothing short of masterful.
Peter Heller’s “The River” is another twist in the writer’s storytelling abilities, an evolution from murder to dystopia to adventure, all brilliant. Read it quickly and lose yourself in nailbiting tension.
Was Joanne Ramos poking through the files in my brain when coming up with her stellar book “The Farm?” Set in upstate New York at a fancy retreat, the story starts with a terrific setting, and then careens around twists like a Maserati hugging the PCH.
Part memoir, part book of cartoons, Patricia Marx and illustrator Roz Chast’s “Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It?: A Mother’s Suggestion” is the perfect gift for just about anyone who has a mother. The laughter you’ll emit, through your tears of recognition, will be well earned.
Extraordinarily beautiful, Phaidon’s “The Turkish Cookbook,” by Musa Dagdeviran, trumpets the diversity of the cuisine. Recipes range from little known gems, to popular favorites, like pistachio baklava.
Phaidon’s cookbooks are always a delight, and Enrique Olvera’s “Tu Casa Mi Casa” is no exception. Focusing on simplifying recipes for the home cook, easy dishes, like Escabeche(spicy, pickled vegetables), will have you mixing up your routine in no time.