Books

Ann Patchett

All families have their issues, some more than others, and Ann Patchett turns those of the Conroys into a story spanning whole lifetimes.

Salman Rushdie talked about topics ranging from writing methodology to age to immigration at Rackham Auditorium Thursday.

Compared to his prior novel, which was placed only in New York City, the Booker Shortlister falls over a much larger space, with characters traveling during much of the story. In writing his earlier novels, Rushdie remembered telling himself, “Next time, you need to leave town.” It was too restricting, being contained to one space. And so he did.

Emily Yang

The titular character of Adelle Waldman’s 2013 novel The Love Affairs Of Nathaniel P is performing a kind of lower-stakes version of Lily Bart’s social weighing; instead of two distinct, relatively fixed systems, Nate is evaluating a string of women for compatibility, never quite being able to settle on what he actually wants from them.

Jia Tolentino

That’s what “Trick Mirror” feels like: Relief, because finally someone has taken up the Herculean task of articulating all the complication of being alive right now.

John Lanchester

There is a 10,000-kilometer-long concrete wall surrounding the entirety of the United Kingdom. The world has been shredded by The Change, a climatic disaster that has caused oceans worldwide to swell.

Oyinkan Braithwaite

Do great novels have to be groundbreaking? Probably not. “My Sister” can be a sufficient piece of fiction without offering anything revolutionary.

Emily Yang

It’s unsurprising that there are a lot of novels about writers and their social circles, and often about the process of writing a novel.

Elena Mudd

Reading her essays makes you feel like you could learn anything, because hey, Jia did. Knowing yourself is a more crucial asset than anything else these days, and allows for a bigger worldview. Tolentino’s talent is capturing this perspective in words, inspiring her readers to take the same leap.

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Young adult literature has two lives: The first is during adolescence, when the stories being told connect directly with their target audience. YA helps people through their teenage years, offering relatable characters and exciting adventures, teaching empathy and resilience.

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Though we find ourselves circling back to the original themes we encountered in “Over the Wall,” there’s never a moment where it feels redundant or trite, given the more complex plot line and the entanglements of other characters.