Lucia Silva, Portrait of a Bookstore
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset: Even if you're not usually into historical fiction, you may fall in love with this story set in 14th-century Norway. The Medieval epic, originally published in three volumes in 1920s, is a guilty pleasure -- almost like a soap opera -- but it won the Nobel Prize.
The Zero: A Novel by Jess Walters: An amazing combination of really haunting prose, with a thriller of a plot and political satire, Walters' novel never feels contrived. It's a reflection of our collective conscious after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Company They Kept: Writers on Unforgettable Friendships edited by Robert B. Silvers and Barbara Epstein: Culled from pieces published in The New York Review of Books, this is a fabulous collection of writers documenting their intellectual, romantic and platonic relationships. Great escapades, beautiful homages.
Love in a Fallen City by Ilene Chang: Chang is one of great writers of 20th-century China, and this collection features short stories written mostly in the 1940s, but newly compiled. Written with a great sense of place and character, Chang's stories follow characters caught between ancient traditions and modern longings.
Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney: A collection of writers has been assembled to pen definitions of landscape terms. What results is like a dictionary or encyclopedia of American geographic formations: wonderful definitions of different styles, great digressions, quotes from other writers. A delight to browse.
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