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Recently, another librarian and I were batting around title ideas for a new book discussion group when I had to stop and double-check the names for two authors. Was I remembering their names correctly? Surely they didn’t BOTH share “Moriarty” as a last name. I mean, that’s kind of unusual, isn’t it?
Turns out, my memory was correct – Liane Moriarty and Laura Moriarty both wrote novels in the last few years that I have loved and would recommend in a heartbeat to book discussion groups. What Alice Forgot (Liane Moriarty) is a funny story about amnesia and marriage (really), and The Chaperone (Laura Moriarty) is a rich, thoughtful historical novel that covers most of the 20th century and takes you from 1920s New York City to modern-day Kansas. Both feature well-drawn characters, fine writing (Liane a little more spritely, Laura a little more literary), and questions about morality and responsibility, particularly when it comes to love, friends, and family.
The Moriarty experience made me recall other times I’ve been confused by name-alike authors.
There is the Lipman/Lippman Quandary:
Laura Lippman is a mystery writer who knows how to plumb the psychological meaning of why people commit crimes. I’d Know You Anywhere is up there in my pantheon of perfect reads.
As far away from crime as you can get, Elinor Lipman (okay, spelled with one “p” instead of two) knows her way around smart romantic comedy. The Pursuit of Alice Thrift is achingly funny, sweet, and screwball, one of my favorites. (Also my favorite? Absolutely everything else she’s written.)
And I won’t ever forget the Rice Confusion:
Anne Rice is best known for her dark vampire tales (Interview with the Vampire and more): sexy, thrilling, and definitely of the R-rated variety. In contrast, Luanne Rice’s works are gentle, a summer breeze on a quiet beach, with a contemplative tone and women’s relationships as their central focus.
In the case of Rice/Rice, if you pick up one thinking it’s the other, you are almost guaranteed to be disappointed. But trust me: any Moriarty you pick up? Guaranteed satisfaction.