A Tender Story of a Darling Mother and Her Beloved Son

After a long illness, my mother died when I was twenty. When your mother dies when you are young, every day is Mother’s Day. When someone hurts your feelings, you think of how she’d comfort you, if she were here. You fall in love, you fall out of love, you marry, you have children, you get a promotion, you are laid off, and you think of her. Unless you can’t forgive her for leaving too soon, you will idealize her love and kindness for all time to come.

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13 Compulsively Readable Novels of Obsession

It’s hard to look away from stories that teeter on the edge and then finally devolve into complete obsession.  As readers we must learn to never underestimate the power of a character determined beyond reason. Cut-throat and wildly unpredictable, these literary stars are sure to hook you deep into the throes of their delusional escapades.

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A Haunting Novel That Tests the Boundaries of Good and Evil

On my shelf is a tattered, well-loved movie tie-in edition of Stephen King’s The Green Mile. I don’t remember when I got this copy, and I don’t remember my first time reading this stunning novel. Instead, this haunting story of a Depression-era death row where good and evil mix and miracles happen seems to be an ever-present fixture in my life, requiring regular rereading, as it continues to stand as one of my favorite books.

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A Clear-Sighted and Honest Novel Spanning Generations

Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich’s wonderful novel-in-stories, which won her the National Book Critics Circle Award, is possibly my favorite among all her work. My copy of Love Medicine is underlined and dog-eared because of the many times I’ve reread it. I recommend this book often to friends and students because there is much here to enjoy as a reader and learn from as a writer. It was a great influence on me as I wrote my own novel-in-stories, Before We Visit the Goddess.

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What Really Happens When We Go Into Space

It’s a rare gift to be able to accessibly present real science to the public. It’s even rarer to find someone who does so with the enthusiasm and humor that Mary Roach brings to the table. We all know that humans have evolved to survive the environment on Earth. In Packing for Mars, Mary Roach asks: What happens when we go into space—a place without air, food, water, or anything else we need? This thought fascinated Roach so much that she spent two years finding out, traveling and interviewing and researching all possible aspects of it.

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12 Contemporary British Novels We Can’t Live Without

As a lifelong Anglophile, I have worshipped at the altar of Austen, Brontë, and Dickens ever since I received my first copy of Pride and Prejudice in the fourth grade. But British literature goes far beyond the country manors and moody moors of the nineteenth century. Here are twelve fantastic novels from some of the most exciting contemporary novelists across the pond that every self-respecting Anglophile should read.

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