Recommendations 4/11/2021: Your Reading Companions

A heartfelt thank you.

A heartfelt thank you to all who responded with condolences over our losing Oscar, the best four-legged reading companion anyone could hope for. The pictures of your own reading companions put a grin on my face over and over again.

In fact, there were so many, and they are so good that I figure we should make it a weekly feature. As long as people keep sharing pictures of their little buddies, I’ll post one or more of them here each week.

To kick us off, I’ll feature a handful from the first bunch:

Keep ‘em coming folks. You can share your photos by replying to this email, or sending directly to


Houskeeping and Book Links

I’ll have some bonus books content again next week, but we’re still stumbling a little at Biblioracle HQ, so just the furry creatures and some things that grabbed my attention over the past seven days.

Thanks again to everyone who shared their perspectives on the evolution of children’s book covers. They greatly helped shape my own thoughts in this week’s column.

In my take on Brian Alexander’s The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town, I lamented that the book hasn’t garnered more attention. Things improved on that front this week with this review in the New York Times.

This article on the proliferation of online celebrity book clubs and book TikTok culture interested me. There’s a good chance I’ll be digging deeper and writing about it in coming weeks.

There’s a lot of coverage, with some fascinating divergences, of the new Philip Roth biography by Blake Bailey. Laura Marsh offers perhaps the most challenging critique of Roth and the biography at the New Republic. Cynthia Ozick calls the biography a “narrative masterwork” at the New York Times.

Let’s not forget, though, that yours truly is the owner of Philip Roth’s clock radio. No word yet on how it features in the biography.

All links to books on these posts go to The Biblioracle Recommends bookshop at Affiliate income for purchases through the bookshop goes to Open Books in Chicago. We inched up week-to-week to $23.90 in earnings for the year.

And of course, if you want a recommendation, the Biblioracle is always open for business. Just click this box right here for instructions:

Want a recommendation? Click here!



1. The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford
2. City of Bohane by Kevin Barry
3. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
4. Infinite Country by Patricia Engel
5. Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor

Kip K. - Fort Wayne, IN

This one’s a bit of an epic, so it requires some commitment, but I think it’s a great fit for Kip’s list, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James.

1. This is Happiness by Niall Williams
2. Broken Man on a Halifax Pier by Lesley Choyce 
3. Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
4. The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Trumbull
5. We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Sarah G. - Roselle, IL

A bit of a risk here in that my recommended book has some magical realist elements, and that’s not necessarily indicated by Sarah’s list, but the emotional tenor of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender feels like a good match.

1. The Topeka School by Ben Lerner
2. Moo by Jane Smiley
3. The Bartender's Tale Ivan Doig
4. Anxious People Fredrik Backman
5. Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis

David M.- Elmhurst, IL

The penetrating wit of Lorrie Moore’s A Gate at the Stairs feels like a good book for David. It’ll also be one last taste of the Midwest as he tells me he’s leaving Chicago to move to NYC. Best of luck!

Thanks again for all the well wishes and have a lovely rest of your Sunday.