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Tova's Picks

Neverhome
Neverhome
Astrid Sees All
Astrid Sees All
Northern Spy
Northern Spy
Broken
Broken (in the best possible way)
What Could Be Saved
What Could Be Saved
Writers & Lovers
Writers & Lovers
My Dark Vanessa
My Dark Vanessa
The Postscript Murders
The Postscript Murders
Moonflower Murders
Moonflower Murders
Invisible Girl
Invisible Girl
We Begin at the End
We Begin at the End
White Ivy
White Ivy
The Plot
The Plot
The Last Thing He Told Me
The Last Thing He Told Me
Tangerine
Tangerine
The Dry
The Dry
The Goldfinch
The Goldfinch
A Tale for the Time Being
A Tale for the Time Being
Beautiful Ruins
Beautiful Ruins
The Undoing Project
The Undoing Project
Kitchen Confidential
Kitchen Confidential
A Little Life
A Little Life
Timmy Failure
Timmy Failure
Fierce Kingdom
Fierce Kingdom
Lock In
Lock In
When You Reach Me
When You Reach Me
This Boy's Life
This Boy's Life
The God of Small Things
The God of Small Things
Tenth of December
Tenth of December
Being Mortal
Being Mortal
All Our Wrong Todays
All Our Wrong Todays
Sunburn
Sunburn
A Walk in the Woods
A Walk in the Woods
The New York Trilogy
New York Trilogy
One Hundred Years of Solitude
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Exit West
Exit West
Himself
Himself
Half a King
Half a King
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime walk
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Faithful Place
Faithful Place
The Sense of an Ending
The Sense of an Ending
Bad Feminist
Bad Feminist
In Cold Blood
In Cold Blood
I, Claudius
I, Claudius
Divergent
Divergent
Freakonomics
Freakonomics
The Dinner
The Dinner
Into the Wild
Into the Wild
Interpreter of Maladies
Interpreter of Maladies
Euphoria
Euphoria
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
A Doll's House
A Doll's House
Little Fires Everywhere
Little Fires Everywhere
The Women in the Castle
The Women in the Castle
The Age of Miracles
The Age of Miracles
Station Eleven
Station Eleven
Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Where'd You Go, Bernadette

 

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Neverhome - Laird Hunt

Neverhome by the sublimely talented Laird Hunt, is a powerful portrait of a heroic and complex woman who chooses to fight in the Civil War in her husband's stead. Deeply evocative, Neverhome is like holding a mirror to Cold Mountain. Written in spare poetic prose, this haunting novel leaves a lasting impression,and is not to be missed!

 

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Astrid Sees All - Natalie Standiford

I thoroughly enjoyed this animated coming of age novel set in the 1980s club scene in the East Village. Standiford brings to life not only the captivating Phoebe Hayes, but also the grungy, gritty & exhilarating bygone days of 1980s NYC. Intoxicating nostalgia at its best.

 

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Northern Spy - Natalie Standiford

This gripping espionage thriller is set in Northern Ireland, and features two sisters, Tessa and Marian, and their relationships with the IRA and MI5.

As the book builds to its climax, Flynn Berry illuminates a complex world in which there seem to be no good choices. Thought-provoking, engaging, and richly atmospheric, Flynn Berry has written another winner.

 

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Broken (in the best possible way) - Jenny Lawson

With her trademark forthright, self-deprecating humor, Lawson treats the reader to an intimate look at the challenges she faces every day, as she shares her struggles, joys, fears, laughter & tears in this candid memoir. Both hilarious and heartbreaking, this is Lawson's most personal and heartfelt book.

 

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What Could Be Saved - Liese O'Halloran Schwarz

In 2019 Laura Preston, an American artist in Washington D.C. learns that her brother Philip, who went missing as a child in Bangkok over 40 years earlier, may be alive. Thus begins Liese O'Halloran Schwarz's spectacular & spellbinding new novel. Part mystery, part social commentary, and part family drama, this gripping & suspenseful tale of love and loss, privilege and prejudice, unfolds in alternating timelines across 2 countries. The writing is beautiful, the characters well drawn, and the story is completely engrossing. A wonderful, unforgettable read!

 

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Writers & Lovers - Lily King

A sublime novel of a young woman coping with loss & looking for love, as she struggles with life as a writer. Intimate, heartfelt and genuine, this book is a gem! I literally could not stop reading, and now can hardly wait to put it into other readers' hands. Another home run for Lily King!

 

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My Dark Vanessa - Kate Elizabeth Russell

When she was fifteen years old Vanessa Wye has a relationship with her charismatic teacher, Jacob Strane, who was in his forties. Their involvement reverberates throughout Vanessa's life. As an adult events cause her to re-evaluate the affair, her memories, and the roles they each played. Desire, consent, abuse and manipulation all play a part in this powerful, unsettling and timely novel.

 

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The Postscript Murders - Elly Griffiths

This fun, charming, bookish mystery (centering around mystery authors) is a delight. Light, sweet & funny, this mystery is perfect for readers of The Thurday Murder Club.

 

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Moonflower Murders - Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz has done it again! With Moonflower Murders, he has crafted another superlative, page tuning, cunning, book-within-a-book mystery chock full of clues (& red herrings), featuring the appealing former editor Susan Ryeland from Magpie Murders. Terrifically engaging, smart & fun, it's practically impossible to put down. Don't miss it!

 

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Invisible Girl - Lisa Jewell

Another immersive, spellbinding page-turner from the superlative bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and The Family Upstairs. Populated with intriguing characters, multiple perspectives and chock full of suspense, the pages seem to turn themselves!

 

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We Begin at the End - Chris Whitaker

Rich in atmosphere, populated by multi-faceted, flawed, endearing characters and driven by a complex, thrilling plot, this stand out novel will keep you turning the pages long into the night.

 

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White Ivy - Susie Yang

White Ivy is the coming of age story of Ivy Lin, an ambitious, complex young Chinese American woman. Susie Yang does a terrific job interweaving the societal pressures and expectations Ivy bears, as well as her feelings of both being suffocated and unmoored. She brings a complicated & conflicted character to vibrant life, while telling a riveting & spellbinding story that I loved reading. An eloquent & accomplished debut!

 

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The Plot - Jean Hanff Korelitz

Unable to produce anything worth reading for years, failed author Jake Bonner is teaching a writing course at less than prestigious MFA program, when one of his more obnoxious students brags to him about how the plot of the novel he is working on is a sure-fire hit. Time passes and the book has not been published, so after making inquiries, Jake decides to write the book himself. It is an instant bestseller rocketing to the top of the NYT list, an Oprah pick, etc.: every author's dream-come-true... and then Jake's troubles begin.

This mesmerizing, enthralling, immersive page-turner is terrific fun & has the potential to be the sensation it describes, as well as being a good natured send up of the writing & publishing industry.

Read it! You won't be sorry!

 

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The Last Thing He Told Me - Laura Dave

Propulsively engaging story about the developing relationship between Hannah and her stepdaughter Bailey in the wake of her husband Owen's disappearance. Partly an examination of the depth of love between parents and children and partly a page-turner of a mystery, this is one to read before it becomes a TV series!

 

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Tangerine - Christine Mangan

Exhilarating & portentous, this bewitching novel focuses on the reunion between 2 women in Tangier in the 1950s, whose close & troubled relationship is colored by an incident from their past. This thrilling, propulsive & beautifully written novel will have you reading long into the night!

 

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The Dry - Jane Harper

Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to his childhood home for the funeral of his former best friend. There he finds that as Faulkner put it, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." This outstanding debut mystery set in Australia is riveting. I loved it.

 

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The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

This Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, follows the life of Theo Decker, from the time he is 13 years old. A novel ultimately about the human condition and how art informs life; beautifully and precisely crafted, it is itself a work of art. Don't miss it!

 

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A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki

 

 

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Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter

This bittersweet story of love lost and found, moves back and forth between present day Hollywood and a coastal town in Italy in 1962. The supremely talented Walter tells an intricate, moving tale of love, desire, deception, loneliness and ambition played out by a unique, yet familiar, cast of characters: the single-minded movie mogul, the narcissistic Hollywood actor, the innocent ingenue, the undiscovered writer, the struggling innkeeper, etc. Languid and passionate, humorous and heartbreaking, this old fashioned story is charming, engaging and extremely satisfying.

 

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The Undoing Project - Michael Lewis

 

 

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Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain

 

 

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A Little Life - Hanya Yanagihara

This is a super intense, heartbreaking, unforgettable novel about four young men (mostly in New York) and their relationships with each other as they age. This novel involves terrible trauma and abuse and is not for the faint of heart. However, it is an indelible work and the characters are so real and vibrant, I half-expect to see them coming around the corner on any given day.

 

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Timmy Failure - Stephan Pastis

 

 

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Fierce Kingdom - Gin Phillips

 

 

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Lock In - John Scalzi

 

 

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When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead

 

 

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This Boy's Life - Tobias Wolff

 

 

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The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy

 

 

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Tenth of December - George Saunders

A book of short stories that is reworked until each piece is a sparkling gem.

With stories ranging from realistic to fantastic, this collection is complex and creative. By turns hilarious, hopeful and heartbreaking Saunders brings his characters vibrantly to life with only a few expertly drawn strokes.

 

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Being Mortal - Atul Gawande

 

 

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All Our Wrong Todays - Elan Mastai

 

 

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Sunburn - Laura Lippman

 

 

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A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson

 

 

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A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson

 

 

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One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

 

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Exit West - Mohsin Hamid

This gorgeous, heartbreaking, magical novel of migration is told with an intimate and economical use of language in which not a word is wasted. Hamid weaves a resonant, timely & enchanting tale.

 

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Himself - Jess Kidd

 

 

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Half a King - Joe Abercrombie

 

 

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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon

 

 

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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk - Ben Fountain

 

 

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Faithful Place - Tana French

Faithful Place is the third book involving Dublin murder squad characters (preceded by In the Woods and The Likeness) by the masterful Tana French. This one features Detective Frank Mackey as he returns after 2 decades, to Faithful Place, the home of his youth. There he ends up investigating the disappearance of his childhood sweetheart, whose abandonment of him 22 years earlier has colored his whole adult life. Dark and spellbinding, forceful and gripping this carefully crafted, impeccably rendered thriller is one of Tana French's best.

 

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The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes

Not a word is wasted in this sensational Booker Prize-winning novel that tells the story of a complacent middle-aged man (Tony Webster) who is forced to reevaluate events from his past & as a result, his understanding of himself. As soon as you finish it you will want to go back to the beginning again as your understanding of people and events morph. Spare & melancholy & superbly crafted!

 

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Bad Feminist - Roxane Gay

 

 

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In Cold Blood - Truman Capote

 

 

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I, Claudius - Robert Graves

 

 

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Divergent - Veronica Roth

 

 

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Freakonomics - Steven Levitt

 

 

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The Dinner - Herman Koch

Koch skillfully skewers Dutch political and social mores while at the same time telling a story that is both laugh-out-loud funny and breathtakingly disturbing. The story takes place during a 5 course dinner, opening up like a set of Matryoshka dolls, each chapter filled with twists and surprises, leaving the reader stunned and unsettled. I feel a twinge of heartbreak (and disgust) whenever I think about it! (Will appeal to readers of Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap & Yazmina Reza's God of Carnage).

 

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Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer

 

 

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Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer

 

 

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Euphoria - Lily King

 

 

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman

 

 

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The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

 

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A Doll's House - Henrik Ibsen

 

 

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Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere by the masterful Celeste Ng is, if possible, more incisive, illuminating, smart, thought-provoking and timely than her exquisite debut, Everything I Never Told You. A skillfully nuanced glimpse into a suburban family, their reach and carelessness, and the debilitating & blinding effects of privilege. Socially and psychologically astute, with unforgettable characters, this one is not to be missed.

 

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The Women in the Castle - Jessica Shattuck

This gorgeous novel of women at the end of WWII takes its place in the sweet spot between All the Light You Cannot See and The Nightingale. Beautifully, and lyrically written this compelling novel of 3 women, their stories, and their secrets, is unforgettable.

 

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The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker

In this richly atmospheric tale, the earth slows on its axis, throwing the planet into disarray: the days and nights get longer, birds fall from the sky as gravity loses hold, and social unrest ensues. Our narrator for this apocalyptic turn of events is eleven-year old Julia. The dreamlike, radiant quality of the prose makes it easy to read this as a metaphor for the upheaval of Julia's life as she teeters on the cusp of adolescence and her world begins to spin unreliably on its axis as well. Her parents' marriage unravels, her beloved grandfather begins to exhibit strange compulsions and she finds it hard to fit in with her peers. Haunting and addictive, this is a remarkable and stunning debut.

 

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Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

In this spellbinding novel, Emily St John Mandel has created an unforgettable, terrifying and beautiful world. The bulk of the story takes place in the wake of a flu pandemic which has decimated the world's population, resulting in a bleak future for the few who survive. Moving back and forth in time from the death of a famous actor on stage, to the fate of a travelling musical troupe twenty years later, this frightening (and heartening) novel is terrifyingly good! At once brutal, magical & dreamlike it begs to be read, recommended and discussed!

 

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Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple

A hilarious send up of the absurdity of yuppy culture set in Seattle and centered on a family of 3, (mom is an architect, dad is a microsoft mogul & 15 year old Bee is a precocious misfit). Told in letters and diary entries this farcical literary page-turner will have you laughing out loud.

 

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