Shake off your post-Oscars disappointment (or ease yourself down from your post-Oscars euphoria) with some reviewer-vetted great reads:
New York Times:
- Michiko Kakutani on Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton: "Though Ms. Hamilton’s brilliantly written new memoir, 'Blood, Bones & Butter,' is rhapsodic about food -- in every variety, from the humble egg-on-a-roll sandwich served by Greek delis in New York to more esoteric things like 'fried zucchini agrodolce with fresh mint and hot chili flakes' -- the book is hardly just for foodies. Ms. Hamilton...is as evocative writing about people and places as she is at writing about cooking, and her memoir does as dazzling a job of summoning her lost childhood as Mary Karr’s 'Liars' Club' and Andre Aciman’s 'Out of Egypt' did with theirs."
- Janet Maslin on The Adults by Alison Espach: "Although 'The Adults' is quite a good novel, it is easily underestimated. On the surface this is the coming-of-age story of a disaffected girl in wealthy, leafy Connecticut, and please, please try not to start yawning. The book is better than its title. Its sweep is larger than might be expected, its fine-tuning more precise. And the girl, Emily Vidal, is a lot more interesting than the sum of her spoiled suburban parts."
- Scott Hutchins on The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier, one of Amazon's Best Books of February: "All across the world, human pain — physical, and maybe spiritual — has been made visible. Brockmeier devotes his considerable gifts of description to the illuminated wounds of his characters, using lush, quiet prose to detail their cancer, abuse, self-mutilation and just plain old age...'The Illumination' is a hymn to such suffering, and though the novel isn’t always as dynamic as it might be, on this point it never fails to be deeply felt and precisely observed."
- Zoe Slutzky on The Night Season by Chelsea Cain: "The world that Cain creates is as dark and ominous as ever. The novel's greatest menace is the weather, which transforms Portland’s familiar topography into something less than welcoming. Flooded and obscured by rain, the city becomes wild, unknowable: 'The thin wisps of trees lining the sidewalk shuddered, bare-leaved, in the wind. The whole world glistened wet and black, like the Pacific Ocean at night.' When the storm nearly levels its downtown, the sudden shifts in perspective are vertiginous, and thrilling. This is the mood that Cain has mastered: the dread of knowing something is off, but not being able to see it clearly. It is what presses her readers onward, pulses rising along with the waterline."