Author: Betty Hafner

“M Train” Written by Patti Smith

Punk rock star and multi-talented artist Patti Smith’s National Book Award winner “Just Kids” covered the early days of her New York City life, highlighting her deep friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe before his death from AIDS. “M Train” (2015),…

‘A Man Called Ove’ Written by Fredrik Backman

No one assigns the book I review each month; I’m happily on my own. I always hope to choose a book I can excitedly promote to other readers. (There’s no red pencil-wielding English teacher in me, eager to point out…

‘The Vacationers’

What characterizes a good summer read? I’m no expert on that since I’m generally indifferent to the season when I make my choice. But this year after a string of heavier topics, I decided on Emma Straub’s “The Vacationers” (2014).…

‘When Breath Becomes Air’ Written by Paul Kalanithi

You may have seen Kalanithi’s story featured on TV—a brilliant young neurosurgeon is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and shares his story with the world. Or you may have read his New York Times op-ed that went viral in…

‘The Japanese Lover’ Written by Isabel Allende

At first glance, Isabel Allende’s newest novel, “The Japanese Lover,” has three things going for it. First, its title suggests secret trysts, and if we’re lucky, exotic lovemaking. Then, its lush cover leads us to wonder what kind of adventure…

‘A Spool of Blue Thread’ Written by Anne Tyler

It has always been an easy question for me to answer—“Who’s your favorite author?” Without a moment’s hesitation I say, “Anne Tyler.” Yet afterwards I sometimes ask myself if it’s only because I’ve been reading and savoring her books since…

“Mary Coin: A Novel” Written by Marisa Silver

The cover of Marisa Silver’s novel “Mary Coin” (2013) broadly hints at the story inside. It shows a distressed woman’s face, darkened by the sun, and a child’s head on her shoulder. You’ll most likely recognize it from Dorothea Lange’s…