Louise Erdrich

Art of Conversation by Rebecca Howard

I discovered Emily Bronte in 1992.  I wasn’t the first to discover her and I won’t be the last, but my initial reading of Wuthering Heights during my 17th year was as marvelous a discovery as any.  See, Wuthering Heights was written for me.  Sure, you’ve read it, too, but I daresay it’s a different book for me than it is for you and that’s why people continue to read it and

The Voices in My Head by Rebecca Howard

There are characters in fiction that occupy my head, and I suspect you have these too.   Serious readers take their fiction seriously and rightly so.  Fiction can shine a light on different facets of reality and speak to emotional, spiritual and universal truths.  I love it when an author creates such developed and distinctive characters that they remain with you for weeks, months, and even years after you complete a novel.  There are the classic characters, of course, that many people would cite as being indelible—Heathcliff, Pip, Elizabeth Bennett, Jay Gatsby, Atticus Finch, the list goe

Christmas in July, New Year's in August by Laura Raphael

Every late December or early January, I peruse my reading list from the year just ending or ended and pick my favorites. Here at the library, we even share our lists. It’s always one of the reading-related highlights of my year: both considering and choosing what stayed with me the most, and discovering what my colleagues considered and chose.

It’s not the end of the year yet (not even close), but if we can have Christmas in July, why not New Year’s in August?

With that in mind, here’s my list of favorite fiction reads for 2013 – so far:

Gift Me, Please by Laura Raphael

Photo of Laura Raphael

I am one of those aunts who gives mostly books for Christmas and birthdays – on par with underwear and socks as Worst. Gifts. Ever. in the cultural mythology of gift-giving. Fortunately, our niece and nephew love to read, and they are generally happy to get books from us every year. (Indeed, on more than one Christmas, one or both of them have chosen to read a new book than playing with whatever Nerf Blaster/Teeny Little Puppy/My New Helicopter toy they’d just received.)

Breaking the First Rule of Book Club by Rebecca Howard

Photo of Rebecca Howard

I want to talk about book clubs.  I’ve been involved with several over the years and have found them to be deeply rewarding—each in their own ways.  There are a few dangerous pitfalls that book clubs have to strive to avoid, though.  In no particular order, here they are:
1) The book club becomes a wine club
2) The book club becomes a whine club
3) Not everyone reads the book
4) One individual (who typically has not read the entire book) dominates discussion
5) The same person selects titles each month

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