1. The “Glow of Warmth” From Twice-Told Tales
    October 2018

    Why are novels that recast plots from well-known classics—from mythology to Shakespeare to famous Victorian novels—so popular? Perhaps because of what social psychologists call the “mere-exposure effect” or the “familiarity principle.” Studies have shown that people feel the”glow of warmth” in the presence of something that is familiar. Here are six novels for which I felt that “glow of warmth”—not only because they were familiar plots—but because they were excellent books on their own! My favorite in this genre is Kamila

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  2. Delightful Delightful Reads
    October 2017

    As those of you who have perused my website may know, “Delightful Reads” are intelligent, well-written, well plotted novels with convincing characters. They hit that sweet spot between being too superficial and too difficult. Delightful Reads come in two flavors: “Light but Literate” and “Serious but Not Pedantic.” Although they are hard to find, I have been—well, delighted—to have come across several recently published books that perfectly exemplify my “Light But Literate” genre—truly “Delightful” Reads. Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong.  A lighthearted and lovely

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  3. Capturing the Immigrant Experience
    September 2017

    As Franklin Roosevelt once famously reminded the DAR: “Remember, remember always that all of us . . . are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” Here are some wonderful—but very different kinds of—novels that can help us understand what it is like being an immigrant, ranging from an introspective and highly individualized view to a panoramic and global viewpoint. One person’s story: Chemistry by Weike Wang. Short, intense, and funny memoir-like novel about a Chinese graduate student dealing with intense parental

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  4. In a Summer Season
    by Elizabeth Taylor

    Kate Heron, a wealthy, charming woman marries an attractive man ten years her junior.   Opening paragraph: “After all, I am not a young girl to be intimidated by her,” Kate decided, as she waited outside her mother-in-law’s house.  When she had reached the stage of thinking that if there were any intimidating to be done she might even do it herself, one of Edwina’s foreign girls opened the door. . . .Facing her, as she turned the stairs, was

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