A delightful selection of playful and compelling works.

BREAKING & ENTERING

NEW AND SELECTED POEMS

A compilation of poems spanning more than three decades.

Goldberg’s works tackle a variety of themes that touch on the Renaissance, contemporary women’s issues, fairy tales, fables, and romantic and family relationships. This compilation is divided into six sections, with each corresponding to the time frame when the poems were published. Interestingly, the book starts with the poet’s most recent body of work, then jumps back to 1986, and from there proceeds chronologically with selections from previously published collections. The first and newest section explores events of day-to-day life, moving from concrete details to more global issues: “How beautiful it is by the sea, even though / there is war in the air.” The author uses familiar references, such as Penelope in the Odyssey or Marilyn Monroe, to discuss the ways women have been perceived by men throughout time, then presents these perceptions from women’s perspectives. In “Marilyn,” the speaker notes that “So many / girls like to make themselves stupid, or lose / on purpose, like this girl in college, also blond”; she also expresses her own preference for men “who hoarded secrets” over those who don’t know “how to spar or crack / a joke.” In the sections that follow, the author effectively employs an assortment of forms, incorporating dialogue, character descriptions that resemble those in a play, and letters, among other narrative devices. The third section, which is appropriately titled “Cautionary Tales,” puts intriguing spins on traditional fairy tales, as in “The Woodcutter,” which explores the life of the hunter from “Snow White.” One of the book’s most notable features is the variety of voices and characters that the poet uses to engage the reader right up to the very end. Lush descriptions and images appear throughout, and the poems flow beautifully.

A delightful selection of playful and compelling works.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-944585-46-4

Page Count: 184

Publisher: WordWorks

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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A warm and winning "When Harry Met Sally…" update that hits all the perfect notes.

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PEOPLE WE MEET ON VACATION

A travel writer has one last shot at reconnecting with the best friend she just might be in love with.

Poppy and Alex couldn't be more different. She loves wearing bright colors while he prefers khakis and a T-shirt. She likes just about everything while he’s a bit more discerning. And yet, their opposites-attract friendship works because they love each other…in a totally platonic way. Probably. Even though they have their own separate lives (Poppy lives in New York City and is a travel writer with a popular Instagram account; Alex is a high school teacher in their tiny Ohio hometown), they still manage to get together each summer for one fabulous vacation. They grow closer every year, but Poppy doesn’t let herself linger on her feelings for Alex—she doesn’t want to ruin their friendship or the way she can be fully herself with him. They continue to date other people, even bringing their serious partners on their summer vacations…but then, after a falling-out, they stop speaking. When Poppy finds herself facing a serious bout of ennui, unhappy with her glamorous job and the life she’s been dreaming of forever, she thinks back to the last time she was truly happy: her last vacation with Alex. And so, though they haven’t spoken in two years, she asks him to take another vacation with her. She’s determined to bridge the gap that’s formed between them and become best friends again, but to do that, she’ll have to be honest with Alex—and herself—about her true feelings. In chapters that jump around in time, Henry shows readers the progression (and dissolution) of Poppy and Alex’s friendship. Their slow-burn love story hits on beloved romance tropes (such as there unexpectedly being only one bed on the reconciliation trip Poppy plans) while still feeling entirely fresh. Henry’s biggest strength is in the sparkling, often laugh-out-loud-funny dialogue, particularly the banter-filled conversations between Poppy and Alex. But there’s depth to the story, too—Poppy’s feeling of dissatisfaction with a life that should be making her happy as well as her unresolved feelings toward the difficult parts of her childhood make her a sympathetic and relatable character. The end result is a story that pays homage to classic romantic comedies while having a point of view all its own.

A warm and winning "When Harry Met Sally…" update that hits all the perfect notes.

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0675-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

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THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY

An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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