Yep, still there

Jenny opened a plastic compact, looked into it, and then snapped it shut, as if merely making certain that she was still there.

That little bit from Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant has stuck with me for about 30 years now, and it flashes through my head every time I catch a quick glimpse of myself in a mirror. Still there! Little moments like this are just one of the 52 million reasons I love Anne Tyler like no other. My first Anne Tyler was The Accidental...

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Gimme shelter

One of the perks of having been a precocious reader was getting book recs from my mom at an early age. I can thank my mother for introducing me to Anne Tyler, John Irving, Toni Morrison, and a slew of other authors that I still love today. So I'm going to give her a pass for that fateful day when she told me I might like the book she was reading. "It's about a widow who moves in with her parents, but they don't know about her kids so she has to hide them away..." And, here come years of...

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Berthe Erica Crow!

"The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that) but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange!" These opening lines of The Westing Game still pop into my head anytime I need to remember which way the sun goes. I was probably in fourth grade when I found this gem at the school library, and it's the first book I remember really falling in love with. I read it several times back then, and once I actually took notes along the way to see if I could gather every clue of the mystery and create a...

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It may not be great but read it anyway

Oh how I wish I could go back in time right now and make my 14 year old self write a book report on The Handmaid's Tale. I remember that I got it as a birthday gift and that I loved it and that I stayed up very late finishing it, but other than the basic gist of the story, my memories end there. But what did it mean to me way back then? Did it all seem like a far fetched fantasy? Or could I possibly have already been worn out by man's relentless need to control women's bodies? If so, I...

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Unforgettable

I go through two or three books a week, so I don't always remember everything I read, even if I enjoyed it in the moment. One book I will never forget is Jill McCorkle's first novel, The Cheer Leader. I was 12 when the cover caught my eye in my hometown's local bookstore (still standing!) and I just inhaled it once I got it home. It's a perfect coming of age, first love, teenage breakdown story; billed as The Catcher in the Rye meets The Bell Jar in the 1970's South, it's funny and...

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