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FICTION

Elizabeth Strout

Olive, Again

Penguin Random House

Olive, Again, the sequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge, is a wonderful book. I’d dare to say it’s even better than its predecessor. The stories in this lovely collection are loosely connected by setting—Crosby, Maine—and by character; Olive Kitteridge is at least mentioned in all 13 stories. Olive, her friends, and her neighbors somehow manage to age both gracefully and honestly in this emotional and moving book. This was one of my favorite reads of 2019, for sure.

– Marilu Morgan

Lee Goldberg

Lost Hills

Thomas & Mercer

Another must-read thriller from the prolific Mr. Goldberg. This one introduces homicide detective Eve Ronin, who investigates the grisly disappearance of a single mom and her two children while trying to earn the respect of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s good old boys. She’s competent, she’s vulnerable, and I can’t wait for Eve’s inevitable return.

– Chris Manson

NONFICTION

Gretchen McCulloch

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language

Penguin Random House

Because Internet is a fascinating deep dive into how language has evolved as a result of the Internet. Author and linguist Gretchen McCulloch explains the history and cultural context of social acronyms (like LOL), memes and emoji. She discusses the reasons why people of a certain age text…like…this, and why people of another age don’t use capital letters when they text. More than anything, McCulloch helps the reader understand that language is constantly changing to help humans better communicate. In the age of the Internet, this is happening faster than ever, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

– Marilu Morgan

HUMOR

Patricia Marx & Roz Chast

You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples

Celadon Books

The perfect Valentine’s gift for your other half— especially if you’ve been together for a stretch. Ms. Marx’s rules ring true, and the illustrations cement Ms. Chast’s reputation as one of the great cartoonists of our times.

– Chris Manson

CHILDREN’S FICTION

Alison Farrell

The Hike

Chronicle Books

This delightful story follows three friends hiking in the woods. The labeled illustrations of the surrounding flora and fauna are captivating, and the adventure story is cute and compelling. I was especially charmed by the “notes from Wren’s sketchbook”—funny and insightful drawings by one of the characters. Reading The Hike will make you and your little one want to get outside and explore.

– Marilu Morgan

 

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