'The Woman Upstairs' by Claire Messud

In her new novel, The Woman Upstairs, Messud takes the heart of a woman whose heart has been long-dormant, opens it up, layer by pumping layer, and by novel’s end, sets that heart on fire…. read more

'The Selected Letters of Willa Cather’ edited by Andrew Jewell and Janis Stout

In one of Willa Cather’s letters to her beloved brother Roscoe she writes, “As for me, I have cared too much, about people and places–cared too hard. It made me as a writer, but it will break me in the end.” Losing those near to her very nearly did break Cather, but it is our great fortune that she let herself care as much as she did…. read more

'The Twelve Tribes of Hattie' by Ayana Mathis

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie does not feel like a debut novel. The quality of the writing, its quiet intensity, the certainty of the narrative voices speaks of a polish and talent that has been practicing for years…. read more

Ayana Mathis: The Power of the Tribe

Last month, Oprah Winfrey selected Ayana Mathis’ debut novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, as her second pick for the newly launched Oprah Book Club 2.0. Since then, the book has taken off. Mathis has since been profiled twice in the New York Times, and has spent the last two weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Mathis sat down with Lambda Literary to talk about her writing process, how the legacy of Toni Morrison informed her writing, and the many unexpected forms that love can take…. read more

‘The End of Your Life Book Club’ by Will Schwalbe

Will Schwalbe has accomplished something incredible with The End of Your Life Book Club. He’s created a touching memoir that simultaneously provides an accounting of a bittersweet period of his life and celebrates the life-long good works of his amazing mother…. read more

Watch the Book Trailer for Will Schwalbe's 'The End of Your Life Book Club'

Will Schwalbe’s debut memoir The End of Your Life Book Club (Knopf) is described by Publisher’s Weekly as an “astonishing, pertinent, and wonderfully welcome work.” The book tells the moving true story of Schwalbe and his mother, who form a book club “that brings them together as her life comes to a close.”… read more

'The Fan Who Knew Too Much: Aretha Franklin, the Rise of the Soap Opera, Children of the Gospel Church, and Other Meditations' by Anthony Heilbut

The lingo heard in gay circles today (“the children,” for instance, as code for not-so-covertly gay members of the church) derived decades ago from the gospel underground, where drug and sexual abuse, promiscuity, and perhaps mental illness were prevalent. Lots of backstabbing and cut-throat showmanship went down, too, and Heilbut tells it all…. read more

'History of a Pleasure Seeker' by Richard Mason

History of a Pleasure Seeker—Mason’s fourth novel at the age of 34—is extremely well-written, extremely well-paced and so intricately plotted that it’s no surprise to learn that Mason clearly outlines his novels before he even begins to haggle with his first sentence… read more