Litstack Recs | Thunderstruck & Other Stories & A Fort of Nine Towers

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Thunderstruck & Other Stories, by Elizabeth McCracken Early on in Elizabeth McCracken’s extraordinary story collection, Thunderstruck, a grieving mother instructs her seventeen-year-old son to seal up the room of his dead sister. This, she imagines will somehow purge the house of the evil that caused her daughter’s lymphoma. “Don’t touch […]

Litstack Recs | Sophie’s Choice & Hearts of Oak

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Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron In 1979, John Gardner wrote in his review of Sophie’s Choice, “guilt is everywhere,” a jolt in an otherwise positive review. He called the book a “splendidly written, thrilling, philosophical novel on the most important subject of the 20th century.” The assertion must have seemed […]

Litstack Recs | Middlemarch & The Expanse Series

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Middlemarch, by George Eliot The first thing I knew about Middlemarch, George Eliot’s classic novel, was the ending. The year after the BBC’s series based on the book appeared, it came to public television in the States, and one evening, I caught the final scene. I’d seen none of the […]

Litstack Recs |The Refugees: Stories & The Orphan Master’s Son

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The Refugees: Stories, by Viet Thanh Nguyen If you’re a fan of The Sympathizer, the debut novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2016, you’ll find much of what you loved in the author’s second book, a collection of short stories. Where The Sympathizer explores the […]

Litstack Rec | Earn It & Class A

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Earn It! by Cinders McLeod This is the perfect book for young readers on your list, because it’s never too soon to learn financial literacy. Knowing how money works, and having the skills to make informed decisions about personal money matters, is said to be a concept best started early. […]

Litstack Rec | Brooklyn & Miranda and Caliban

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Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin Toibin’s 2009 novel, which won that year’s Costa Award, is a lovely and haunting story set in 1950s Dublin and New York. It tells of Eilis Lacey, born and raised in Enniscorthy, in Ireland’s County Wexford, and her immigration to the United States as a young […]

Litstack Recs |Epilogue: A Memoir & The Grind

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Epilogue: A Memoir, by Will Boast Both a remembrance and a elegiac account of the loss of a family, Boast’s 2014 memoir (a recipient of The Rome Prize) tracks the tragic early death of his mother Nancy, the untimely death of his younger brother Rory, and the family secret left […]

Litstack Rec |An Unnecessary Woman & John Saturnall’s Feast

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An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine “I like outsiders,” Aaliya Sohbi tells us, “phantoms wandering the cobwebbed halls of the doomed castle where life must be lived.” The narrator of Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman, is herself an outsider, a reclusive, seventy-two-year-old bibliophile who lives alone in the Beirut apartment […]

Litstack Recs | #StayHome Summer Reads & The Resisters

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The summer of 2020 is unlike those past—no traveling, no baseball games, limited beach and park time, if any, and none of the barbecues and gatherings under the sun that so define our idea of summer. With that in mind, here are some summer-themed reads, escapes reminiscent of summers past […]