Riffing on other people’s work is a trademark of nearly every type of art, including literature.

Romantic for a second and hard for years, the Walls’s life together was dazzling. They were unbreakable, even when they broke each other.

What unfolds after the initial chapters is an empty tale, a meaningless love triangle in which one of the members is dead, superimposed over the backdrop of communist Albania during the twilight of the Hoxha years.


In these poems, many of which code-switch between English and Chinese, language is the most powerful force, for both harm and healing.

“This is the first time I’ve written to you / and I know now why they call me little witch.”

I think that writing, like any art form, is just a way of teaching ourselves to better understand and appreciate the millions of stories, thoughts and emotions that make up the world. And the facets that make up somebody’s life, the decisions that they make, have just as much to teach you as the words that they choose to write down.

A meditation on writing, on friendship and on what writing can do to a friendship, Patchett’s first work of non-fiction is gut wrenching and beautiful, even beautifully gut wrenching.

To start off a mysterious crime novel by directly identifying the sinister killer is a bold move. Yet Harry Dolan’s latest book, “The Man in the Crooked Hat,” thrives on such twists.

Daily Arts Writers rank the best books of 2017.

But early texts such as Julian’s provide us with one of the most straightforward keys to better understanding people’s lives during the Middle Ages and what was important to them.