Category Archives: Fiction

Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong

Her life at a crossroads, a young woman goes home again in this funny and inescapably moving debut from a wonderfully original new literary voice.

Freshly disengaged from her fiancé and feeling that life has not turned out quite the way she planned, thirty-year-old Ruth quits her job, leaves town and arrives at her parents’ home to find that situation more complicated than she’d realized. Her father, a prominent history professor, is losing his memory and is only erratically lucid. Ruth’s mother, meanwhile, is lucidly erratic. But as Ruth’s father’s condition intensifies, the comedy in her situation takes hold, gently transforming her all her grief.

Told in captivating glimpses and drawn from a deep well of insight, humor, and unexpected tenderness, Goodbye, Vitamin pilots through the loss, love, and absurdity of finding one’s footing in this life.  –MP

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby. The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt that is now aching almost incessantly in her mind. Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her.   -GR

The Identicals by Elin Hiderbrand

Synopsis: Harper Frost is a laid-back, easygoing no-care in the world girl. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She likes a beer and a shot and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything fashionable. She’s inherited her father’s rundown house on Martha’s Vineyard, but she can’t hold down a job, and her latest romantic disaster has the entire island talking.

Elin Hiderbrand serves up another beach book that should be a nice addition to your light-summer reading list. Martha’s Vineyard is the perfect setting for this prissy-prance novel about a bohemian that threatens to overturn the Island’s last lingering social mores.  Exactly what this new comer brings is, well the crux of the book, but suffice it to say she plans a no-side-stepping girl-whirl on the upper crust socialites who call Martha’s Vineyard the last untouched Hemmingwayish type beach oasis left in America.  -Robin Wessler

It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is cool too) by Nora McInerny Purmort

It's Okay to LaughThis book is a satirical look at life through the rainy eyes of a dozen tears. The young head-strong Nora McInerny Purmort bounced from boyfriend to boyfriend and job to job like a bad check. Her life was little more than homage to the hamster on the wheel. Then she met Aaron, a charismatic art director and her kindred spirit. They made mix tapes (and pancakes) and had rumbling conversations into the wee hours of the morning. They finished each other’s sentences. They just knew what they knew. When Aaron was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer, they refused to let it limit their love. They got engaged on Aaron’s hospital bed and married after his first surgery. They had a baby when he was on chemo. They shared an amazing summer filled with happiness and laughter. A few months later, Aaron died in Nora’s arms in another hospital bed.

His wildly creative obituary, which they co-wrote together, ignited a flame of sentiment and touched the world. Now, Nora shares hysterical, moving, and painfully honest stories about her life journey with Aaron. It’s OK to Laugh explores universal themes of love, marriage, work, (single) motherhood, and depression through her refreshingly frank viewpoint. It’s okay to look back at life in the review mirror. A love letter to life, in all of its messy glory, and what it’s like to still be kickin’, It’s OK to Laugh is like a long chat with a close friend over a cup of coffee (or chardonnay). –Evelyn Casey

3 Stars

Where’s Warhol? by Catherine Ingram and Andrew Rae

What do these movies have in common?

Funny Face

New York Stories

Beetlejuice

The Big Lebowski

Ghost World

WarholStumped? They all suggest that contemporary art — some of it, anyway — is a lie, a con job, or just a form of time-wasting practiced by the deluded. Lebowski’s Maude Lebowski, Ghost World’s Roberta, Beetlejuice’s Delia Deetz and Gregory Stark, the performance artist in Martin Scorsese’s section of New York Stories, are all either frauds or dupes. And that type is hardly limited to these movies. You can find it all over TV: in The Simpsons, Broad City, Comedy Bang! Bang!, Girls …

It’s not too surprising that this trope is so common, or that it should span decades. For many Americans, it seems to go without saying that the art world is a haven of emptiness and perfidy. Or, actually, it doesn’t go without saying: It gets said, and said a lot.

How, then, do you explain the instantaneous, bubbly appeal of Where’s Warhol? At a glance it’s clear this book will entertain virtually everyone who picks it up — art fan or no. It feels as buoyant as the silver balloons that drift across its cover. Its concept hardly needs explanation: Just like in Where’s Waldo, the bestselling kids’ series it emulates, Where’s Warhol challenges you to find one person amidst a crowded landscape. The difference is that these landscapes, real or imaginary, are all related to art history or pop culture: the Bauhaus, Studio 54, the excavation of Pompeii, a dinner party hosted by Salvador Dalí. And instead of looking for a goofy fellow in a striped hat, you’re seeking a too-cool fellow in a silvery wig and sunglasses.

The book’s focus on Andy Warhol is the key to its charm. It just wouldn’t be the same if it were Where’s Wassily? or Where’s Willem? There’s something about Warhol that seems fundamentally approachable, fundamentally democratic. Even before he attained the status of icon (that most democratic form of stardom) Warhol concentrated on subjects ordinary people know intimately: consumer products, Jackie O. –NPR

3 Stars

The Girl from Summer Hill by Jude Deveraux

Girl from Summer HillFollowing a bad breakup with a boyfriend jealous of her career success and a falling out with her too-demanding-to-be-borne-a-moment-longer boss, chef Casey Reddick has decided against getting involved in relationships for the foreseeable future. Her attention turns to other things. She is charmed by the town of Summer Hill, Virginia, and by the little guest house on the Tattwell plantation that the owner’s cousin is letting her stay in. All Casey needs is peace and quiet and a great kitchen in which she can cook to her heart’s content, and she’s good to go. Then one morning, she discovers a strange naked man showering on her front porch. He is unaware she is living there.

Tate Landers is a megastar in Hollywood and the owner of Tattwell, and he is back in Spring Hill for the first time in a long while. His cousin Kit is putting on a production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at the local theater, and in a moment of weakness and familial love, Tate promised he would play Mr. Darcy. The last thing he needs is a woman he thinks is a reporter spying on him from the guest house, especially when he’s showering. However, it just so happens that woman turns out to be his new leading lady. At times, quaint and charming, and at others romantic – this book manages to have some fun without taking itself too seriously.  –Beth Frasider

3 Stars