Browse archive by date:
  • Galley Talk: Stephan Talty’s 'Black Irish'

    How did I miss Stephan Talty’s nonfiction? It clearly prepared him to unleash a powerful arsenal of prose and plot into his first novel.

  • Galley Talk: 'The Rithmatist'

    Megan O'Sullivan, the owner of Main Street Books in Cedar City, Utah, has high hopes for The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson's first novel for teens.

  • Galley Talk: 'The Memory of Love' by Linda Olsson

    It’s no surprise that Linda Olsson’s The Memory of Love (Penguin, Feb.) jumped to the top of my “must-read” list—this terrific author has written two of my favorite books, Astrid & Veronika and Sonata for Miriam.

  • Galley Talk: 'Raising Cubby,' by John Elder Robison

    It’s not often that you read a memoir in which the hero is an educational method.

  • Galley Talk: 'Schroder,' by Amity Gaige

    Amity Gaige’s deeply layered Schroder (Twelve, Feb.) drew me in with the intense beauty of the language and the doomed journey of its unreliable narrator.

  • Galley Talk: 'Eleanor & Park'

    Hannah Moushabeck, children's department director at Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Mass., shares her impressions of Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

  • Galley Talk: 'The Death of Bees,' by Lisa O'Donnell

    Told in a powerful rotating first-person style, the narrators in Lisa O’Donnell’s The Death of Bees (Harper, Jan.) circle in on this story like prey, drawing in the reader.

  • Galley Talk: 'A Thousand Morons,' by Quim Monzo

    The stories in Quim Monzo’s A Thousand Morons (Open Letter, Dec.) are charged with humor, heart, and a playful sense of irony, as each story toes the fine line between absurdity and realism.

  • Galley Talk: 'Just One Day'

    Lauren Mayer, children's book buyer for University Book Store in Seattle, has high hopes for Gayle Forman's Just One Day.

  • Galley Talk: Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World, by Matthew Goodman

    When I was young, I couldn’t get enough of Nellie Bly’s muckraking exposés and refusal to be held back because she was a woman.

  • Galley Talk: 'The Good House,' by Ann Leary

    The Good House by Ann Leary (St. Martin’s, Jan.) absorbs through your skin.

  • Galley Talk: 'We Sinners,' by Hanna Pylväinen

    From the first sentence, I absolutely could not put down We Sinners (Holt, Aug.) until I turned the last page. The saga of a dysfunctional family is not a new subject: numerous authors have tackled it to much critical acclaim, but what separates We Sinners from those novels is distance. It’s easy to hide behind cynicism, satire, and disdain, but Hanna Pylväinen is understated, honest, and, most of all, full of compassion. In the mundane specifics of the Rovaniemis, there are the grand universals of all families: the mistakes, the misunderstandings, the betrayals, and—coloring it all—the inescapable love. Characters who could be painted in grand strokes as villains or angels are small, fragile, and very human. We Sinners brilliantly, unforgettably reconfigures Tolstoy’s adage about happy and unhappy families: “happy and unhappy, every family is.”

  • Galley Talk: Cascade, by Maryanne O’Hara

    Maryanne O’Hara’s Cascade (Viking, Aug.) is a tightly woven story about the choices a young woman makes and the far-reaching consequences of those decisions. The story begins in Cascade, a small Massachusetts town that’s being considered as the site for a reservoir, necessitated by Boston’s need for water. The year is 1935 and across America the Depression retains a hold on its citizenry. These issues coupled with a young woman coming-of-age form the plot’s triangle. Desdemona Hart Spaulding is an aspiring artist whose story, like the postcards she paints and the Shakespearean plays her father loved, is complicated. The swirling eddy of human feeling—humor, sadness, betrayal, infidelity, love, ambition, and duplicity—are all well represented and compel the reader to understand and not judge as Dez follows her heart and her art. With an artist’s eye, O’Hara has vividly captured the conflicting emotions that churn behind the human face.

  • Galley Talk: 'Flat Water Tuesday' by Ron Irwin

    Ron Irwin’s powerful debut, Flat Water Tuesday (St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, June), is making the kind of waves a scull isn’t supposed to.

  • Galley Talk: The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier

    I read Nichole Bernier’s The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D (Crown, June) straight through on a weekend. This fabulous debut asks the question, what would you do if your best friend left all her journals when she died to you, and not her husband? How would this choice affect your relationships with everyone involved?

  • Galley Talk: Witness the Night by Kishwar Desal

    Kishwar Desai’s unflinching fiction debut, Witness the Night (Penguin, May), speaks volumes to the heart and mind. Set in a small town in Northern India rooted in Punjabi culture, the book employs an unusual narrative structure incorporating diary entries and e-mails alongside the first-person account of social worker Simran Singh

  • Galley Talk: Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

    Clear your schedule: you won’t want to stop reading this one once you start! Rosamund Lupton has done it again; if you loved her first novel, Sister, then you’ll truly appreciate the style of storytelling perfected here.

  • Galley Talk: Midnight in Peking

    Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China (Penguin, Apr. 24), Paul French’s compelling true crime/world history work, centers on the murder of Englishwoman Pamela Werner in a Peking on the verge of falling to the Japanese in WWII.

  • Galley Talk: The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac by Kris D'Agostino

    In The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac (Algonquin, Mar.), Kris D’Agostino has written a dysfunctional family classic that removes the melodrama found too often in the genre.

  • Galley Talk: Blue Monday by Nicci French

    Crime novels are so much more interesting when the main character is flawed. I whipped through Blue Monday (Viking/Pamela Dorman, Mar.) with its alternating fast-paced action and thoughtful conversations.

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