It’s that time of year – when bookstores, both the bricks and mortar kind and the cyber variety, suddenly burst with announcements of the hot new reads. Every season, WVFC offers up a selection of works that speak to us, for all sort of reasons. Please note in comments what you think, and perhaps suggest some we’ve missed. — Ed.

Diana Athill, Somewhere Towards the End, (Norton, $24.95).  Celebrated cerebral editor of Naipaul, Roth, and other luminaries shares her wisdom. She talks here to the Guardian UK  about the book, turning 90, and life as “a pioneer of the confessional memoir.”

Paule Marshall, Triangular Road, A Memoir, (Basic Books, $23.00).  Famed novelist Marshall’s memoir
of self-discovery, includes an affectionate tribute to the
inimitable Langston Hughes, who entered Marshall’s life during a
crucial phase and introduced her to the world of European letters
during a whirlwind tour of the continent funded by the State
Department. In the course of her journeys to Europe, Barbados, and
eventually Africa, Marshall comes to comprehend the historical enormity
of the African diaspora, an understanding that fortifies her sense of
purpose as a writer.

Cloris, My Autobiography
, (Kensington, $24.00), She curses on T.V. She Dances with the (other) Stars and makes out with Jack Black at the Super Bowl. What will Cloris Leachman surprise us with for her autobiography? No one knows yet (not even Amazon, apparently).  But given her willingness to do and say…. anything, we’re anticipating a major media rollout.

Paula Deen, The Deen Family Cookbook (Simon and Schuster, $26.00), Paula Deen with Melissa Clark. Nothing is more important to Paula Deen than her family, and nothing
makes that big family happier than sitting down to a meal together. In Paula Deen’s The Deen Family Cookbook, Paula and the Deens, Hiers, Groovers, and Orts share their recipes and memories.

beloved Aunt Peggy makes an Old-Fashioned Meat Loaf that’s as good in
sandwiches the next day as it is for dinner. Baby brother Bubba Hiers
brings his Beer and Onion Biscuits to the table, and his daughter,
Corrie, makes a simple but luscious Lemony, Buttery Baked Fish that’s
perfect for a weeknight dinner. (Her Carrot-Pecan Cupcakes with Cream
Cheese Frosting are pretty tasty, too!) Son Jamie makes Huevos
Rancheros, perfect for brunch, or try Bobby’s Whole Wheat and Honey
Pancakes. Husband Michael Groover knows his way around a grill: try his
Company’s Coming Grilled Steak and Veggie Supper for easy entertaining,
and finish the evening with his Irish Coffee.

Appassionata, A Novel Eva Hoffman, (Other Press, $25.00).  Eva Hoffman was born in Krakow, Poland, and emigrated to America in her teens. She is the author of Lost in Translation, Exit Into History, Shtetl, The Secret, and After Such Knowledge,
and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Award, and an
award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In this novel, a pianist and exile bond in troubled times.

Home Safe, Elizabeth Berg (Random House, $25.00).   Berg’s
bestselling novels include The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted, The Art of Mending,
The Year of Pleasures, We Are All Welcome Here, The Handmaid and the
Carpenter, Dream When You’re Feeling Blue
, and others. Her novel, Open House, was an Oprah’s Book Club selection in 2000. Berg lives near Chicago, Illinois.
Widow discovers late husband had a double life.

Lisa See, Shanghai Girls. (Random House, $25.00. See’s Snow Flower and the
Secret Fan
was called by Amy Tan “achingly beautiful, a marvel of imagination.” In Shanghai Girls, two sisters living in Shanghai in the mid-1930s, May and Pearl, are
beautiful, sophisticated, and well-educated, but their family is on the
verge of bankruptcy. When the
sisters leave China and arrive at Angel’s Island (the Ellis Island of
the West) to marry “Golden Men” who’ve promised to save their home, they are detained, interrogated, and humiliated for
months. Eventually, the
sisters make a pact that no one can ever know. 

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  • susan swartz March 4, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    And as readers and writers in that large demographic of bookish Boomer women, I suggest that real women buy real books. That is, from a living, not a virtual, book store – a bell-jingling, coffee-brewing, pet the cat and browse your heart out book store. In your home town.

  • Harvee Lau March 4, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I recommend The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee, set in 1941-45 and in the mid-50s in Hong Kong.

  • Elizabeth W. March 4, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Book lists are my favorite sign of impending spring! Shanghai Girls and Apassionata look especially interesting.