This spring we have been blessed by the publication of two new novels about families. "The Nest," by Cynthia D’Apprix Sweeny, is a debut for this 55-year-old former copywriter. "Miller’s Valley," is the latest entry from veteran writer Anna Qunidlen, and it may be her best yet.
“I write to center myself, to encourage myself, to commune with the ecstasy and render meaning to things that may appear random," says the word-keeper. "It is where I learn from my habits, successes, disappointments, heartaches, and heartbreaks.”
We librarians are expected to check out your books and answer your reference questions. But we’re often called upon to perform other tasks. For example, breaking up fights between moms in our play area.
"Sisters in Law" is an enjoyable, as well as informative, read. Women with little knowledge of the extent of women’s inequality in America until only 40 years ago owe it to themselves to read it. Anyone who already admires Ruth Bader Ginsburg will learn much about her brilliance and her achievements.
No matter how long it has been since we have left home, we still long for our mothers, even those who haven’t suffered the kind of deprivation described by Elizabeth Strout.
The one thing all these stories have in common is an enduring sense of Jewish identity. All of us have found that even as we encounter and embrace a diversity of traditions, we remain Jews. You can have a Christmas tree in your house, put on a Santa suit and distribute holiday gifts to the homeless, or delight in the gigantic illuminated rotating Frosty the Snowman on your neighbor’s roof and still be Jewish.
In her fifth collection, Rebecca Foust has managed rhythm and rhyme in ways that speak of someone who knows the rules so fully that she has permission to depart from them.