Out Loud  / new fiction

Written by Jan Kline four months ago

Us, by David Nicholls


Sad and funny is one of my favorite combinations in a novel, and this one has the perfect balance.

Written by Jan Kline two years ago

Hearts as Idiots: Two Versions


I’ve just finished two very different books, but realized that they had a common thread after all: the places you end up by listening to your heart (or possibly your ego, libido, or a combination of all the above). The

Written by Jan Kline two years ago

This Beautiful Life, by Helen Schulman


This novel answers the question “how far can an inappropriately shared video go on the internet?” Take a group of teenagers partying in a house with absent parents, add alcohol, a spurned 8th grade girl, and a smart phone, and

Written by Jan Kline two years ago

The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer


For me, this novel was a perfect summer read, and not because it was a lightweight piece of fluff, either. It starts in an summer arts camp in the Berkshires in the mid-1970s. This is a classier camp than I

Written by Jan Kline two years ago

NW, by Zadie Smith


I loved the characters in this book, and cared what happened to all of them. My problem was that the elliptical style — and my uneasy grasp of NW London slang — left me groping occasionally to figure out what

Written by Jan Kline two years ago

Arcadia, by Lauren Groff

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This book should quickly clear up any romantic notions you might have about how idyllic it might have been to live on a commune in the 60s. True, it’s fiction, but the numerous ways it could go wrong (winter, infidelity,

Written by Jan Kline two years ago

The love song of Jonny Valentine, by Teddy Wayne


If you’d told me I’d like a novel narrated by a Justin Bieberesque 11-year-old pop star, I would have called you nuts. But I found this tragicomic novel by Teddy Wayne, author of 2011’s Kapitoil, very affecting.

Written by Jan Kline two years ago

Telegraph Avenue, by Michael Chabon


The prospect of a fat new Michael Chabon novel always makes me clear the reading decks for action. Telegraph Avenue sounded especially appealing, with its Bay Area setting, musical subject matter (two of the four main characters are co-owners of

Written by Jan Kline two years ago

Six Recent Reads

In the past few months I’ve been reading like there’s no tomorrow. Here’s my attempt to catch up the blogging to the reading. The Boy in the Suitcase, by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis. This was a book club read,

Written by Jan Kline two years ago

Three Good Ones

Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan McEwan’s latest is set in England in the early 70s. Serena Frome, a lover of fiction, gets talked into majoring in math at Cambridge by her mother, but ends up writing book reviews for a