Reader's Place: September 2019


Nanaville: adventures in grandparenting, by Anna Quindlen, 2019.

Before mommy blogs were even invented, Anna Quindlen became a go-to writer on the joys and challenges of motherhood in her nationally syndicated column. Now she's taking the next step and going full Nana in the pages of this lively and moving book about her grandchildren, her children, and her new and remarkable role



A dangerous man, by Robert Crais. 2019.

Joe Pike is on hand when two men abduct bank teller Isabel Roland. Joe chases them down, and the two men are arrested. But instead of putting the drama to bed, the arrests are only the beginning of the trouble for Joe and Izzy. A twisted family story that involves corporate whistleblowing, huge amounts of cash, the Witness Relocation Program, and a long line of lies is revealed. But what of all that did Izzy know? Is she a perpetrator or a victim? And how far will Joe go to find out?



The Nickel boys: a novel, by Colson Whitehead. 2019.

Two boys are sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, in reality a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back."



City of girls: a novel, by Elizabeth Gilbert, Elizabeth. 2019.

In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand.



The comfort food diaries: my quest for the perfect dish to mend a broken heart, by Emily Nunn. 2017.

Nunn did what most of us would probably do in the wake of multiple personal tragedies she drank, she inappropriately Facebooked, and she turned to food and friends for comfort. But Nunn takes a different, far more relatable approach to her healing process. She visits friends and family, cooks for them, allows them to cook for her, and slowly comes to learn that accepting the smallest acts of human kindness in times of greatest need is not only one of her issues, but it is a universal one.


Compiled by Ina Rimpau