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Kate Tuttle

Writer & Critic

Kate Tuttle

Writing on books and authors, race and politics, family and childhood.

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Cool books for hot days

The Boston Globe's Summer Reading list for 2018. My editor asked me to suggest ten books, including both new and older titles. These are all perfect for reading on the beach, in the park, at the lake, or wherever you find yourself.
Boston Globe Link to Story
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A tale of a dying man’s birthday, unapologetic in its Mexican-ness

As a writer, Luis Alberto Urrea is both prolific and versatile, with 16 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. The son of an American mother and a Mexican father, he grew up part of a sprawling family that encompasses multiple nations and languages — a background that may have contributed to his seemingly effortless flexibility as a storyteller.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Nancy Balbirer Finds Wisdom in Having a “Terrible Time”

In her first memoir,Take Your Shirt Off and Cry: A Memoir of Near-Fame Experiences, Nancy Balbirer shared some of the more extraordinary tales of her life as an actor, writer, and downtown New York fixture. Just a year after the book was published in 2009, Balbirer began a year of worry, change, and wrenching pain as she was losing her marriage and her beloved beagle, Ira, who was dying.
DAME Magazine Link to Story
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Into the tossed, uncharted waters of turning 40

At the start of Pamela Druckerman’s new book, “There Are No Grown-Ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story,” she recalls the moment she became aware that all the waiters in Paris, where she lives, began to call her “madame” rather than “mademoiselle.”. It was unsettling and, she admitted, discouraging. “I realized I was being a little bit ridiculous,” Druckerman said.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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1962 Orly plane crash inspires novel

Hannah Pittard can’t remember when she first heard about the 1962 plane crash at Orly Field. The disaster, which killed 106 Atlantans on a chartered art tour to France, serves as the starting point for Pittard’s fourth novel, “Visible Empire,” which goes on to trace the grief and loss that rippled through a city just beginning to grapple with its own history.
Atlanta Journal Constitution Link to Story
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The Things Meg Wolitzer Knew Before We Did

The Female Persuasion is Meg Wolitzer’s tenth novel, and by any measure it’s big (more than 450 pages) and immersive, spanning decades in the lives of its characters, pondering everything from love and sex to work, politics, and professional disillusionment. At its center is a pair of women and the relationships they have with each other, their families, friends, and lovers.
DAME Magazine Link to Story
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Michelle McNamara's terrific, obsessive 'I'll Be Gone in the Dark'

It was August 1980, in Orange County. A man looking for his son and daughter-in-law walked into their house, "decorated in late-seventies style. Sword fish on the wall. Tiffany chandelier. Ropy plant hangers." The young couple was nowhere to be seen. The man went into the bedroom, pulled back the comforter, and found them.
Los Angeles Times Link to Story
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A Sobering Meeting With ‘The Recovering’ Author Leslie Jamison

When Leslie Jamison’s book of essays, The Empathy Exams, came out in 2014, it established her as one of the stars of a new wave of women writing nonfiction that felt urgently relevant. The essays blended personal writing and journalism; Jamison’s point of view was powerful and flexible, encompassing both an expansive humanity and a jeweler’s eye for the strange and unsettling.
DAME Magazine Link to Story
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The women who wielded a pen like a weapon: Michelle Dean's 'Sharp'

In the 1987 movie "Broadcast News," a male colleague, angry at having to admit that Holly Hunter's character, a television producer, is right about something, shoots this line at her: "It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room." Hunter responds, huskily and urgently, a tear forming in her eye, "No, it's awful."
Los Angeles Times Link to Story
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A memoir of a troubled mind

Sandra Allen had just begun graduate school as a student of creative nonfiction when she got a phone call from a number she didn’t recognize. “It was my uncle, a self-described hermit who lived alone in the desert,” Allen said. Her sparse memories of him came from family vacations on a Minnesota lake.
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Talking with Morgan Jerkins

Morgan Jerkins’s first book, “This Will Be My Undoing,” is an essay collection that ranges from intimate stories about childhood, religion, and sexuality to broader cultural criticism on topics of race, gender, politics, and power. When asked whether she always knew the book would be so energetic and ambitious, the 25-year-old author said, “Yes!
The Boston Globe Link to Story
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Is the Solidarity of Sisterhood a Myth?

Today’s cultural conversation around gender and power, turbocharged ever since allegations of sexual assault and harassment took down Harvey Weinstein, has been a long time coming. The #MeToo movement, pioneered by Tarana Burke, grew into a juggernaut on social media, a communal reckoning that both demanded men be held accountable for their actions, and invited women to share their stories of being sexually harassed and assaulted.
DAME Magazine Link to Story

About

Kate Tuttle

I'm currently serving as President of the National Book Critics Circle. My reviews and articles about books have appeared in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Salon, Atlantic.com, and elsewhere. Native Kansan, longtime Cantabrigian, falling in love with Decatur, Georgia.

Feel free to email me at kate.tuttle@gmail.com.