Author Archive: Donna Seaman

Donna Seaman is adult books editor at Booklist. Her radio interviews are collected in Writers on the Air: Conversations about Books (2005). Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Donna.

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All in the Family: Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer
By September 12, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

All in the Family: Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer

The disintegration of a Jewish family launches a Talmudic outpouring of analysis and debate over all things large and small. Family and what it means to be Jewish, subjects of infinite complexity, are novelist Foer’s preoccupation and inspiration. In his first novel in 11 years—a far longer, edgier, and more caustically funny tale than Everything […]

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Riding the Underground Railroad: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad

Riding the Underground Railroad: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad

Whitehead mixes history and myth in this reimagined vision of the Underground Railroad. Over the course of his previous five novels, Whitehead (Zone One, 2011) has conducted an imaginative, droll, and eviscerating inquiry into the blurred divide between American mythology and American history, especially the camouflaged truth about racism. In this magnetizing and wrenching saga, […]

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Andrew Carnegie Medal-Winner Discussion Guides

Andrew Carnegie Medal-Winner Discussion Guides

Last week, Andrew Carnegie Medal-winners Viet Thanh Nguyen and Sally Mann accepted their awards at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. This week, we present you with reading group discussion guides for each book, put together by members of the Carnegie Committee: chair Nancy Pearl, three former members of RUSA CODES Notable Books Council, and three Booklist editors or […]

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Tree People: Annie Proulx’s Barkskins

Tree People: Annie Proulx’s Barkskins

Proulx’s commanding epic about the annihilation of our forests is nothing less than a sylvan Moby-Dick. Barkskins are tree people, which includes not only loggers and foresters but truly all of humankind, given our reliance on these pillars of life. In her copious historical woodland saga, Pulitzer Prize–and National Book Award–winner Proulx tells the stories […]

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Protected Places: Terry Tempest Williams’ The Hour of Land

Protected Places: Terry Tempest Williams’ The Hour of Land

The longtime advocate for the environment celebrates the centennial of the National Park Service with a meditative report on her tour of a dozen parks across the country. Williams (When Women Were Birds, 2012), an ardent, often rhapsodic, always scrupulous witness to the living world and advocate for the protection of public lands, celebrates the […]

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Inheriting Pain and Wisdom: Louise Erdrich’s LaRose

Inheriting Pain and Wisdom: Louise Erdrich’s LaRose

Erdrich has perfected the meteor-strike novel—tales that begin with an out-of-the-blue, catastrophic event, and then track the ensuing shock waves. This dramatic structure shapes Erdrich’s National Book Award–winning The Round House (2012) and takes on even more intensity here. Two neighboring families live in a North Dakota community in which many of the Ojibwe are related, memories […]

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Love Your Mother: 10 Earth Day Reads

Love Your Mother: 10 Earth Day Reads

Every day is earth day for humans, and reading about the state of our planet should be part of everyone’s book choices. Environmentally oriented books include scientific inquiries into climate change, energy sources, extinction, and all the thorny social and political implications of environmental troubles. But reading “green” can also include clever and surprising ecofiction, […]

Posted in: Book Lists
Outstanding Best-Of Poetry Collections

Outstanding Best-Of Poetry Collections

National Poetry Month has reached its twentieth anniversary, a landmark celebrated with the release of a remarkable number of outstanding best-of collections, including Dana Gioia’s 99 Poems. Below we recognize retrospective gatherings by seminal poets of the past (Adrienne Rich, Delmore Schwartz, Stevie Smith) and other judicious combinations of the old and the new by shining […]

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Art and Loneliness: Olivia Laing’s Lonely City

Art and Loneliness: Olivia Laing’s Lonely City

What does visual art tell us about what it means to be lonely? A critic blends memoir and biography to find the answers. Writer and critic Laing searches for answers to the puzzles of her life in the experiences and creative endeavors of others. In The Trip to Echo Spring (2014), she explores the impact alcoholism has […]

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Resurrecting an American Writer: Constance Fenimore Woolson
By February 29, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Resurrecting an American Writer: Constance Fenimore Woolson

A new biography and a newly compiled story collection bring attention to the unjustly forgotten Constance Fenimore Woolson. Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840–94) was once so famous that debates about her intrepid fiction raged in the press on both sides of the Atlantic. But soon after her death, if she was remembered at all, it was […]

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