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Kate Chopin, The Awakening

By Patrick Rapa, Contributor

[In which a late-blooming bookworm finally gets to the stuff he really should have read already.] Not to Be Confused With: Awakenings, the Oliver Sacks memoir or the movie adaptation starring Robin Williams, or any other movies starring Robin Williams. He would have no role in a movie version of The Awakening. The Plot: Poor Edna Pontellier. By turn-of-the-last-century standards, she should be happy: She's got money, a giant house in New Orleans, a bunch of servants,… more »

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Interview: Joyce Maynard

By Elizabeth Isadora Gold, Contributor

Joyce Maynard’s After Her is a novel about two sisters, a serial killer, and Northern California’s beautiful and mysterious Mount Tamalpais. Set in the summer of 1979, the book's protagonists, Rachel and Patty, are 11 and 13. Like so many girls of that last pre-technology generation, they are growing up with a remarkable lack of adult supervision. With their spacey mother holed up in her room chain-smoking and their adored police detective father only sporadically… more »

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The First Annual, Completely Scientific, Totally Unbiased eMusic Audiobook Awards

By Patrick Rapa, Contributor

This was a stellar year for audiobooks — and a kinda star-studded one, too. Whether you wanted your heart broken or your spirit lifted, you were bound to find a new favorite in 2013. It was an amazingly varied year, which is why when we started talking about giving out awards, we realized categories like "Best Narration" or "Best Biography" just weren't going to cut it. So instead, we've asked writer extraordinaire Pat Rapa to go… more »

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Discover: Scandinavian Murder Mysteries

By Elizabeth Isadora Gold, Contributor

What is it about Scandinavia that inspires so many tales of murder? Actual crime rates in Sweden, Denmark and Norway are historically low (not counting the Vikings, of course), but ever since Stieg Larsson's blockbuster The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo captivated U.S. readers, mysteries set in far northern Europe have become as ubiquitous as Harlequin romances back when Fabio was still in business. There is and forever will be only one Lizbeth Salander, but… more »

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Interview: Adam Mansbach

By Elizabeth Isadora Gold, Contributor

I first met Adam Mansbach in college. We were DJs together, sharing a love for classic soul records which, in those pre-iPod days, were only available in dusty thrift store crates or the trash-picked piles of homeless guys who sold them on the street. Adam, like me, considered himself a writer, even starting his own magazine, Elementary, dedicated to covering what we then loftily called "Hip-Hop Culture." Did I want to write for it? Hell… more »

New + Noteworthy

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

eMusic Reviews View All

Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland

2013 | Publisher: Random House Audio

In The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri’s widely celebrated gifts are on full display. The book follows Subhash and Udayan, brothers in the Calcutta neighborhood of Tollygunge with opposite personalities: Subhash is cautious and insecure, while Udayan is arrogant and rebellious. In his early 20s, inspired by a peasant uprising, Udayan commits to the radical leftist activism that was growing in 1960s India as in many other parts of the world. Subhash follows the safer path of pursuing a graduate degree in Rhode Island, and after Udayan dies, Subhash reconsiders his original… more »

Ivy Pochoda, Visitation Street

2013 | Publisher: HarperAudio

Late one night, two New York City teenagers decide to take a rubber raft out on the Hudson River. Bad idea? You bet. The next morning, only one of them is found, the shaken, barely-alive Val, now wracked with guilt and fear over what might have happened to her friend, June. This mystery sits square at the center of Visitation Street, but Ivy Pochoda’s expansive, impressive thriller is really about a community and the people striving within it.

Switching points of view between several characters, the novel paints a broad portrait… more »

Aimee Bender, The Color Master

2013 | Publisher: Random House Audio

Adult fairy tales can curdle quickly, but Aimee Bender proves an adept hand at conjuring a believable world of magic and ogres that fits comfortably next to a more recognizable everyday world. In the stories collected here, Bender’s characters grapple with connecting (one can’t see faces; another can’t retain words and gets by with gestures and appending suffixes to nouns, so that “patience” becomes “patientness”) and the impossibility of ever truly knowing the people with whom they live.

The title story, a prequel to Charles Perrault’s “Donkeyskin,” is the most memorable,… more »

Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam

2013 | Publisher: Random House Audio

It’s sad to see Margaret Atwood’s wild, ruined Earth trilogy come to an end, but what a way to go. What started with 2003′s mesmerizing Oryx and Crake and continued in 2009′s action-packed The Year of the Flood reaches its sublime, satisfying conclusion in MaddAddam, a novel that finishes the jigsaw puzzle of where humanity went wrong and where it’s going next.

Where it went wrong has been detailed in previous books — in short: too much sex and violence, a wide wealth disparity, and corporatized science. The self-appointed… more »