Reprieve

Jane’s Pick: Reprieve by James Han Mattson Quigley House is an escape room designed like a haunted house – the twist is that it is full-contact – the actors, dressed in horror costumes interact and menace the contestants. Contestants are paired in groups of 4 and must use teamwork to get through all 6 cells…

The Swimmers

Jane’s Pick: The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka This book surprised me – I began the book thinking it would be a quirky book about a community swimming pool. And it is for a while, but then the book shifts to the personal and becomes a heartbreaking, poignant story about a mother fading into dementia and…

The Cartographers

Jane’s Pick: The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd What a magical little mystery – I loved this book! I had heard good things about it but purposely went into reading it knowing very little about the plot. Quickly, the writing drew me into the mystery – how can I resist historic public libraries, archives, and maps?!?…

Hamnet

Jane’s Pick: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell Hamnet is a fictionalized account of the death of Shakespeare’s young son Hamnet, but the story isn’t about Shakespeare at all – his name is never mentioned. He is, in turns, called the Latin tutor, the father, the husband. This is one of my favorite aspects of the book,…

The Charmed Wife

Jane’s Pick: The Charmed Wife by Olga Grushin At a glance, The Charmed Wife is a modern retelling of the Cinderella story. Cinderella and Prince Charming have now been married 13 years, and all is not so happily ever after. The Charmed Wife is such an unusual and original book and saying too much about…

Leave the World Behind

Jane’s Pick: Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam Leave the World Behind is a breathtaking book, and by that I mean I feel as if I can’t breathe right now as finish the last page. The author unfolds the narrative in a way that raised my anxiety, but, I swear – that is a…

Delicate, Edible Birds by Lauren Groff

Jane’s Pick: Delicate, Edible Birds by Lauren Groff Ortolan – a small beautiful songbird that people eat whole in one bite. Diners traditionally cover their heads with their napkin while eating the delicacy to hide the shame and gross reality of eating something so beautiful whole, crunching on bones, swallowing fat, entails, and feet –…

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

Jane’s Pick: How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny OdellI started reading this book right as the pandemic shut down our lives. To reduce my anxiety, I found myself reading this book outside in the fresh air. This book made me look around and realize that the mindset of productivity above all…

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Jane’s Pick: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-GarciaI love gothic everything, so this title made me pick it up immediately – and, wow, the book did not disappoint. The book builds slowly at first, but, please, keep on reading – as you will be rewarded with a dark and twisty tale that will have you on…

Florida

Jane’s Pick: Florida by Lauren Groff. It is a book of short stories – not quite magic realism…more like blurry dreams (well, more like nightmares) on top of harsh realities. Each story a new set of characters, but with underlying connections – most notably the extreme natural elements, flawed women and, of course, the State…