Reader’s Choice

‘Lab Girl’ Written by Hope Jahren

Hope Jahren announces at the start of her award-winning memoir “Lab Girl” (2016) that “people are like plants; they grow towards the light.” As she rolls out the story of her rural Minnesota childhood, we understand how she chose science…

‘Vinegar Girl’ Written by Anne Tyler

If this review were for The New York Times, I’d surely have been reading Anne Tyler’s “Vinegar Girl” (2016) with a keen eye on noting similarities and differences to the original work, since it is based on Shakespeare’s “The Taming…

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Written by J.D. Vance

Like thousands of others, I picked up J.D. Vance’s New York Times bestselling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy” (2016) to better understand why the white working class in the middle of the country carried a newcomer to politics and government service, of…

‘Commonwealth’ Written by Ann Patchett

“Commonwealth” (2016) is Ann Patchett’s seventh novel, but she facetiously calls it her “autobiographical first novel,” alluding to the debut novel a 20-something might write where it’s unabashedly stolen from her own life. If you’ve read other books by Patchett,…

“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),…