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Editor's Picks: Books

What to read right now, curated for you.



I laughed, I cried, and I was profoundly touched by her honesty and strength. - Susan Kaufman on Delia Ephron

Crossroads by Jonathan FranzenEven at a whopping 592 pages, this novel about a dysfunctional midwestern family in the 1970’s was so good I couldn’t put it down. I was actually bereft when it ended. (It’s a trilogy so I am anxiously awaiting parts two and three.) I was completely engrossed in the stories of each of Franzen’s flawed (but very human) characters.Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life by Delia EphronFull disclosure: Delia Ephron and I live in the same building on Tenth Street in Manhattan. So, I was personally excited to read her just-released memoir. In it, she writes about finding love again after the loss of her husband, and overcoming a life-threatening illness. I laughed, I cried, and I was profoundly touched by her honesty and strength. Two words kept springing to mind as I read her story: harrowing and hopeful.

Cover of Delia Ephron's "Left on Tenth" book

Whereabouts by Jhumpa LahiriI’ve always been a huge fan of Jhumpa Lahiri’s work, and even though this small novel is a departure from her past writing style, it is still flawless. In her short spare chapters, you’re privy to the inner monologue of a single 40-ish woman (an academic living somewhere in Italy) as she goes about her mostly solitary life. There’s not a lot of action or plot, but I found the narrator’s daily observations about herself and the world around her moving—and beautifully written.Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead Set in New York City in the early 1960s, Harlem Shuffle is technically a crime story, but it’s really a compelling take on class, race, and morality told through one family’s saga. Whitehead is a master at evoking the feeling of a time and place, and even as a New Yorker, there was so much I learned about my own city — historical fiction at its finest.

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, by Robert KolkerI was completely riveted by this tragic true story of a seemingly perfect All-American family whose six of 12 (!) children were diagnosed with schizophrenia. Woven throughout the book is the history of schizophrenia and its treatment. I found both stories equally fascinating (and disturbing).Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner I didn't know what H Mart meant when I bought this book. (Now I know that it’s a supermarket chain that specializes in Asian food.) Korean food plays a large role in this poignant coming-of-age memoir about intense grief, a complicated but ultimately loving mother-daughter relationship, and the author’s difficult adolescence. It’s a heartbreaking but ultimately life-affirming read.


Susan Kaufman
Susan Kaufman is a 30-plus-year veteran of the magazine industry, who worked at Mademoiselle, Glamour, US Weekly and People. She was also the founding editor of People Stylewatch. Now, she documents the many charms of her home town (New York City) on Instagram at @skaufman4050. She recently released a book of her images called "Walk With Me: New York," available on Amazon.

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