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Friends Like Us

by Lauren Fox |

REVIEWED BY ROBIN MICHELI

NOVEL

This contemporary tale would seem to have all the makings of chick-lit fluff: Willa, the insecure-but-witty narrator, is struggling through her 20s with no career direction and no luck in love. When her short, nerdy pal from high school shows up looking handsome and improbably tall, he is-of course-attracted to her beautiful best friend. The book is funny, breezing along as it nails its Gen-Y characters, but it’s weightier than fluff. In fact, it’s a strikingly wise exploration of the bonds people forge and break. Fox delivers on plot, but it’s her insight, emotion, and eye for universal truths that make Friends Like Us memorable.

The House I Loved

by Tatiana de Rosnay |

REVIEWED BY LISA KAY GREISSINGER

FICTION

In her quietly elegant 11th novel, the bestselling author of Sarah’s Key again explores the idea of home as both sanctuary and embodiment of history. The setting is 1860s Paris, where houses are being razed under a plan to transform the city from medieval village to modern capital. Unable to save the family’s ancestral residence, the elderly Rose Bazel hides in the basement writing to her late husband. Her letters, poetic and honest, reveal a world soon to be destroyed by progress. A mesmerizing look at how the homes and neighborhoods we occupy hold not only our memories but our secrets as well.

Rez Life

by David Treuer |

REVIEWED BY ERIC LIEBETRAU

NON-FICTION

In his nonfiction debut, Ojibwe novelist Treuer shows that America’s 300-plus Indian reservations are about far more than casinos. Occupying 2.3 percent of the nation’s land, they provide important structure and support for their 2 million residents, embracing modernity while constantly fighting to keep cultural traditions alive. Treuer’s poignant, penetrating blend of memoir and history illustrates that despite long-standing problems, including poverty and high rates of alcoholism, reservations remain strong, proud bastions of Native American life.