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The first sentence of my novel Bittersweet reads, “Before she loathed me, before she loved me, Genevra Katherine Winslow didn’t know that I existed.”

“I’m grateful to every one of the best friends who offered herself as inspiration; without them, I’d have never been able to write about Genevra and Mabel, the best friend who tells of loving and loathing and everything in between,” says Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, author of Bittersweet.

“When I look back on these best friends as a whole, I can see that I have hardly known greater passion, heartbreak, loyalty, fierceness, envy, and need than I did with them.”

Tea cakes seem to remind everybody of a certain old lady. These simple round cookies get grown men to speak longingly of their grandmothers.

“For me, though,” says Alexe van Beuren, “these cookies remind me of Miss Lela McMinn, who is the voluntary grandmother to scores of children. She looks the part, too, with a cloud of snow-white hair and china-blue eyes.”

“During my time in the Deep South, I have found that the majority of sweet-faced, cheek-pinching, back-patting older women down here have backbones of pure steel. They have weathered vast losses and pains and have come through the storm shining and burnished.”

“I’m what you call an ‘armchair foodie.’ I love reading about food, and so of course Ruth Reichl is one of my favorite writers,” says Kira Walton, editor at Read It Forward.

Delicious! is full of the vivid descriptions of food and the culinary life that have made Ruth Reichl one of the most celebrated food writers ever. If you haven’t read her memoirs Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples, you must add them to your TBR pile! I’m always fascinated by non-fiction authors who try their hand at fiction. It’s such a big leap! Reichl makes it look easy. Her debut novel is charming and light – a perfect summer read.

“In the end, Dreams from My Father really is a memoir written by a man in search of his father, and himself,” says Kira Walton, editor at Read It Forward.

No matter what your political leanings, if you love good writing, you will appreciate it. It’s beautifully crafted – the kind of book that asks more questions than it answers. It asks big questions – about the legacy of race in the U.S., about what it means to be an American.

What a memoir this is! Unflinching, provocative, curious, compassionate, intelligent.

Vanessa Michael Munroe returns! The informationist, chameleon, and hunter who has built her life on a reputation for getting things done—often dangerous and not-quite-legal things.

In the wake of going head-to-head with international sex traffickers in The Doll, Munroe has retreated to Djibouti, where, while passing as a man, she finds work as an interpreter for a small, private, maritime security company. On the run, wounded, without connections or resources, and with the life of the captain as bait and bartering chip, Munroe believes that the only way to save Leo, assuming he’s still alive, is to hijack the ship back.

Anonymous death came early and often.

“The parlors and bedrooms in which honest folk lived were (as now) rather dull places,” wrote Ben Hecht, late in his life, trying to explain this persistent trait of old Chicago. “It was pleasant, in a way, to know that outside their windows, the devil was still capering in a flare of brimstone.”

Each of the thousand trains that entered and left the city did so at grade level. You could step from a curb and be killed by the Chicago Limited. Every day on average two people were destroyed at the city’s rail crossings. Their injuries were grotesque. Pedestrians retrieved severed heads.