For my Must Reads list:
Foreign Bodies, Cynthia Ozick, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010
Why: To bask in Cynthia Ozick's formidable writing talent. Her works are imaginative, wickedly smart, intriguingly written, with beautifully crafted language. This new novel is a twist on Henry James' The Ambassadors. See Laura Miller's excellent review at Salon.com.
For: Serious Readers, Writing Geeks, and devotees of The New Yorker magazine (in which you may have enjoyed some of her short stories).
The Cookbook Collector, Allegra Goodman, Dial Press, 2010
Why: Sure to be an appealing read, based on her thoroughly enjoyable earlier novels (Intuition and Kaaterskill Falls). Allegra Goodman has a special talent for capturing and conveying the nuances of a place and time, and the tensions that arise between characters, communities, and the environments they inhabit - all while telling an intriguing story. From the Publisher's notes (via Powells.com), this book is a tale of two very different sisters and "...about the substitutions we make when we can't find what we're looking for: reading cookbooks instead of cooking, speculating instead of creating, collecting instead of living."
For: Serious Readers and willing-to-take-it-up-a-notch Chick Literati alike
In Case You Missed It:
The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson, Vintage, 2004
Why: This was one of my favorite reads this year, had to pass it on. The author manages to tell the true, overlapping histories of the architect of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago and a serial killer in such a way that it reads like a well-crafted crime novel. Erik Larson transports the reader to that era, depicting both the glories and the struggles of people living during an exciting, dynamic time for a great city in-the-making.
For: A good read for almost anyone, including but not limited to History Buffs, True Crime-inologists, and Chicago Enthusiasts.
The Red Pyramid, Rick Riordan, Hyperion, 2010
Why:Our fourth grader devoured the Percy Jackson books, Rick Riordan's exciting series that inspired a new generation of readers to love Greek mythology as told through a modern story.
For: Percy Jackson fans, budding Egyptologists, advanced/independent readers who enjoy intrigue and adventure, fourth grade on up.