{FOF Book Critic} Your Spring Reading Guide

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FOF Linda Wolfe, the award-winning author of 10 books and a 12-year veteran of the National Book Critics Circle, shares 3 books in bloom this spring.

Enter to win all three books that Linda recommends by answering in the comments below: Which do you most want to read?

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THE SONG OF ACHILLES
by Madeline Miller. Ecco. 371 pages.

Song of Achilles won’t be out until March 6th, but if I were you, I’d pre-order this stunning novel by classics scholar and fiction first-timer, Madeline Miller. I read it in galleys, and these days galleys often bear the encomiums that will appear on the actual book’s jacket. They tend to be from friends of the author or editor, and often can’t be trusted any more than the words of the guy trying to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. This galley came with the following proclamation by Emma Donaghue (author of Room): “Mary Renault lives again!”

I took her endorsement with a hefty cellar of salt. But once I cracked the pages, I had to admit that Donaghue was right. Madeline Miller tells her tale of ancient Greece and its warrior heroes with all the knowledge and story-telling strength of that fabled master of historical fiction, Mary Renault – not to mention that very first historical novelist to tell Achilles’ tale: Homer.

Remember the story?  Achilles, the best warrior of his day, lurked moodily in his tent after being insulted by his commander, refusing to go out and fight the Trojans alongside his fellow Greeks. It was only after his best buddy, Patrocles, was killed during the fight, that Achilles came storming out of his tent, rallied the troops, and with uncontrolled rage and much brutal slaughtering drove the Trojans back. When I read the Iliad as a girl, I always wondered what made Patrocles so important to Achilles that he would wreak vengeance for his death on such a grand scale. Homer doesn’t tell us.

Miller, using the theories of Plato and other ancient Greek scholars and writers, does. Her Patrocles is not just Achilles’ best friend, but his longtime lover. This was a common interpretation of their relationship in the ancient world. There is even a fragment from a lost tragedy by the great ancient Greek playwright, Aeschylus, that speaks of Achilles and Patrocles exchanging “frequent kisses.”

In Song of Achilles, nine year old Patrocles, the son of a Greek king, is sent into exile because he has accidentally killed a bullying older boy. He is “adopted” by another Greek king, who often takes into his care young boys of good families to be potential companions to his son, the golden-haired Achilles. Although Achilles is half-god –his mother was a water goddess – he is unassuming and compassionate. He singles out the lonely Patrocles to be his friend, and from then on they study together, play together, get tutored in the arts of medicine and warfare, and, in their early teens, become lovers.

When the Greeks decide to go to war against the Trojans, Patrocles, who abhors killing, tries to evade conscription. But Achilles, hoping to make his name and win for himself a glorious destiny, is eager to fight. Equipped with troops, weapons and ships by his father, he sets out for the war, and Patrocles, fearing to lose him, follows.

What happens to them and their relationship during those long years is explored by Miller in a beguiling, psychologically astute, suspense-packed, and poignant tale. Don’t miss it!

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AN AVAILABLE MAN
by Hilma Wolitzer. Ballantine. 285 pages.

The available man in Hilma Wolitzer’s wise and touching new novel is 64-year-old Edward Schuyler, a reserved high school science teacher whose beloved wife, Bee, has just died suddenly of pancreatic cancer. Bee, a psychologist, wasn’t the only woman Edward had ever felt passionate about. In his mid-twenties, he’d had an intense and highly sexual attachment to a fellow teacher. Despite her character flaws – Laurel had been inordinately possessive and unpredictable — Edward had loved her, or at least loved her body, “the bold and innovative ways she used it, the way she looked – those small springy breasts as tender as if they’d only recently budded; the springy surprisingly dark hair of her bush.” He’d become engaged to her, but on their wedding day, with one-hundred-and-fifty guests already seated in the church pews, Laurel stood Edward up and disappeared.

It had taken took Edward years of “emotional hibernation” and shallow hook-ups to get over the humiliation Laurel had inflicted on him before he met Bee and once again fell in love. Physically, Bee wasn’t his type at all. She was “full-breasted, with curly brown hair” and “her hips, like her smile, were a little too wide.” But what Bee had going for her was warmth and steadiness – and a ready-made family, consisting of her mother and her two young children. Giving up his Manhattan bachelor’s quarters, Edward had moved into Bee’s suburban home, and overnight become “a husband, a stepfather, a suburbanite, a mortgager, a birder, and a commuter.” More, he found that “He had never been so happy in his life.”

How then cope with the grief of losing a partner with whom he had shared twenty years of wedded bliss? How move forward with life? Or should he move forward?

Wolitzer skillfully takes us inside the head of this bewildered, anguished man as he tries to handle his despair, retain the love of his step-family, and yet possibly find intimacy and happiness again.

This time around, the rules and pathways of courtship have changed dramatically. Edward attends a grief support group and even, at the prompting of his stepchildren, tries online dating, but these do little to assuage his loneliness. So it is only by chance, and with effort, that in the end Edward does find happiness again. I daren’t tell you how because for a quiet domestic story, An Available Man is quite suspenseful.

Elegantly structured, this gem of a novel is the accomplished Wolitzer’s best work so far.

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HOW IT ALL BEGAN
by Penelope Lively. Viking. 229 pages.

How It All Began begins with a telling epigraph from scientist James Gleick’s book, Chaos: “The Butterfly Effect was the reason. For small pieces of weather – and to a global forecaster small can mean thunderstorms and blizzards – any prediction deteriorates rapidly. Errors and uncertainties multiply, cascading upward through a chain of turbulent features, from dust devils and squalls up to continent-size eddies that only satellites can see.”

Lively proposes in this, her twentieth novel, that The Butterfly Effect can alter lives as well as weather. How It All Began follows a chain of events that result when 76-year-old Charlotte Rainsford, who tutors foreign students in English, is mugged on the street near her London home. The mugger steals her purse, knocking her down in the process, and the fall makes Charlotte fracture her hip. When she’s let out of the hospital on crutches, her married daughter, Rose, insists on having Charlotte live with her and her husband until the fracture is healed.

The necessity of looking after her mother causes Rose to skip a day of work with her employer, the self-centered historian, Lord Henry Peters. Lord Peters is due to give a speech in Manchester that day about the politics of the eighteenth century, and, not wishing to travel alone, solicits the help of his niece, Marion, an interior decorator. In order to accompany him, Marion cancels a date with her married lover, Jeremy Dalton. Her text message to him accidentally falls into the hands of Jeremy’s wife, Stella. And, staying home for the day, Rose meets Anton, a pupil of her mother’s.

Rose and Anton fall in love, endangering Rose’s marriage. Lord Peters, nervous and out of sorts, makes a fool of himself in Manchester, Stella kicks Jeremy out of their home. Marion finds a new and more satisfying life without him. And so it goes, with character after character experiencing enormous life changes as a result of that unfortunate street mugging of an elderly woman.

Charlotte is the most deeply drawn of the large cast, perhaps because she seems to be the voice of the author, herself in her late seventies. Charlotte’s thoughts are eloquent. “For years now,” she thinks, “pain has been a constant companion. Cozily there in bed with one in the morning, keeping pace all day, coyly retreating perhaps for a while only to come romping back: here I am, remember me? Ah, old age. The twilight years – that delicate phrase. Twilight my foot – roaring dawn of a new life, more like, the one you didn’t know about. We all avert our eyes, and then – wham! You’re in there too, wondering how the hell this can have happened, and maybe it is an early circle of hell and here come the gleeful devils with their pitchforks, stabbing and prodding.”

The other characters are somewhat shallow, more caricatures than characters, really, but they are unfailingly amusing. Henry, who has lost his prominence and begun losing his memory, knows that “history is a slippery business; [that] the past is not a constant but a landscape that mutates according to argument and opinion. Henry is well aware of this, and aware that the eighteenth century has disappeared over the horizon so far as he is concerned, reconstructured, reinterpreted.”

That eighteenth century, whose disappearance from his memory has devastated Henry, doesn’t much trouble his niece, the interior decorator. “That period, for Marion, meant certain furnishings and styles: Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Robert Adam. Stripes. Tottery little tables….She had got through life quite easily knowing nothing much of the eighteenth century.” Jeremy, courting his wife in an effort to woo her back, takes Stella to “a courtship restaurant. He had taken Marion there once, early on. No matter. She hadn’t cared for it – something wrong with the decor.”

And all of the characters, even those who are lightly drawn, have moments of epiphany, sudden realizations of the meaning of what they are going through. Charlotte, living with Rose but not privy to her feelings about Anton, thinks, “Who knows their own child? You know bits – certain predictable reactions, a handful of familiar qualities, The rest is impenetrable. And quite right too. You give birth to them. You do not design them” Anton, after Rose decides to remain in her marriage, accepts the failure of their relationship because it has made him feel alive again. “I had forgotten…not just what it was like to feel, but that feeling existed at all. It is like coming out into the sunlight.”

And what of the mugger? Here, Lively is at her wittiest. “The delinquent …was himself set upon almost immediately by a hostile gang and relieved of £67.27, which were distributed among the gang membership and disposed of within the hour. The delinquent was much annoyed at his loss, but recovered within a day or two; so it goes. Beyond him, unknown and of no interest, he had left Charlotte on her crutches, the embattled Daltons, Henry in his humiliation, Marion, Rose, Anton…Demonstrating that no man is an island. Even a fourteen-year-old with behavioral problems.”

Enter to win all three books that Linda recommends by answering in the comments below: Which do you most want to read?

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(See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes March 8, 2012 at midnight E.S.T.

162 Responses to “{FOF Book Critic} Your Spring Reading Guide”

  1. Deretta says:

    I would love to read “An Available Man.”

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  2. kittywhiskers says:

    I would like to read about Ancient Greece. The Song of Achilles sounds great!

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  3. linda says:

    Oh, they all sound good, and so very different from each other, but I’d especially like to start with “The Song of Ulysses.”

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  4. Rosiey says:

    This is the second review I’ve read endorsing An Available Man, looks like a great read.

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  5. Mary E says:

    I most want to read An Available Man bc it seems so interesting and what many people have to deal with in their lives.

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  6. Kim Sortet says:

    “An Available Man” as my Aunt just passed away from pancreatic cancer but I love to ready anything!

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  7. Kat says:

    ‘How it all began’ looks interesting.

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  8. Sunn ymay says:

    An Available Man sounds good to me in a book and just in general. I like how it demonstrates starting over and bringing baggage along, because don’t we all have a history?

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  9. Vicki says:

    They all sound wonderful and I would love to read all of them. However, since historical fiction is my favorite genre I would most like to read The Song of Achilles.

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  10. debbiehoskins says:

    I would like to read The Song of Achilles. I enjoy many different novels, but I especially like books that go back in history.

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  11. Ann Eisenberg says:

    I have always enjoyed reading Penelope Lively’s work, so normally, I would choose her book as the one I would read first, but this time I’ll choose the Hilma Wolitzer book. I have enjoyed her work in the past as well, but this one intrigues me, as it ties more closely to my own experience as a (relatively) young widow. For the first couple of years of widowhood, I read every novel or memoir with a widow as the main character and those books still speak to me. Favorite line thus far: She never thought she would become one of those women who talked about her dead husband as if he were in the next room.

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  12. nancdep5 says:

    The string of connected events in How it all Began is already intriguing to me. Definitely sounds like a winner.

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  13. orchidlady01 says:

    I’d like to read An Available Man.

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  14. connie suarez says:

    I would love to read How It All Began! Sounds like a great book!

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  15. deborahf2 says:

    The Song of Achilles is my 1st choice though all 3 look worthy of reading…historical fiction is my Achilles heel-sorry for the bad joke;)

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  16. valorosa says:

    I think I’d like to read “Available Man” It sounds like a promising book.

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  17. bkarnes says:

    How It All Began looks intriguing. I would read it first.

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  18. Suzan Getch says:

    Would love to read about the man’s perspective after losing a wife and moving on.

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  19. Vicki says:

    It’s difficult to choose which of these I would most like to read. They all sound wonderful. But…because historical fiction is my favorite genre I would have to say that The Song of Achilles is the one I would most like to read.

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  20. dbande7th says:

    I like Penelope Lively’s work. Would love to read How It All Began.

    Darla

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  21. Bonnie Lassen says:

    I would like to read The Song of Achilles. I love historical fiction and Linda makes the book sound like the best in over half a century and I trust what she says.

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    • LINDA WOLFE says:

      For a book reviewer, being trusted is of utmost importance.

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  22. Gaye says:

    I’m always on the lookout for a great read. Maybe one of these is it.

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  23. Jessica Bernstein says:

    Of the three books Linda Wolfe has recommended for Spring, the one that sounds the most interesting to me is Penelope Lively’s How It All Began. I like the idea of “the butterfly effect,” and a story about seemingly random events having a profound influence on the future. The other two will go on my “maybe” list as well.

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    • LINDA WOLFE says:

      The butterfly effect translated into a human drama is a truly fascinating concept. Penelope Lively is always interesting.

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  24. j27 says:

    I would choose “How It All Began” to take on my vacation to read.

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  25. pam says:

    I would love to read all 3 but The Song of Achilles would be quite interesting as my son is a classical archaeologist and we would be able to discuss a tidbit of ancient Greek history together if I knew a little more. (you should see my “Need to Read” list so that I can have intelligent conversations with him and others!)

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  26. Susan Greider says:

    Reading these would be a wonderful way to pass rainy days.

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  27. Linda says:

    An Available Man sounds awesome and Linda did a remarkable job in reviewing all 3 books 🙂

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  28. VJ says:

    I would love to read them all! But I think “How It All Begin” would be my first choice.

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  29. Mary G says:

    The Song of Achilles — I’ve heard it is fantastic.

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  30. ginny says:

    An Available Man sounds good

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  31. vicki wurgler says:

    AN AVAILABLE MAN sounds like a great read

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  32. Gloria Monroe says:

    How It all vegan Sounds very interesting, as well as the other 2!

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  33. islegirl74 says:

    “Song of Achilles” is on my list of books to read, to win this novel with the other two excellent books would be fabulous!

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  34. Michele Amos says:

    They all sound great, but I really want to read Song of Achilles.

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  35. hofken says:

    I would most like to read The Song of Achilles

    Cynthia.Richardson@azbar.org

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  36. Susan Pisani says:

    I read every night before retiring. I would lover to read three books that Linda recommends, but How it All Began would probably be the first one that I read.

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  37. Catherine says:

    I am interested in all three, but I would probably pick up An Available Man first as I am an avid birder myself and would like to see how he puts his life together again after his loss.

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  38. Toni Sommo says:

    I can’t wait to read THE SONG OF ACHILLES. As a high school English teacher, I have taught THE AENEID for years. Having a new perspective of the relationship between Petrocles and Achilles would greatly enhance the way I teach this text. Of course I’ve always been aware of the “love” relationship, but addressing it as the norm of the day and accepted in ancient society opens up a different dialogue with my students and often leads toward their own tolerance of relationships they don’t understand.

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    • LINDA WOLFE says:

      Yes, I think Song of Achilles will really be a way to entice students into appreciating and having an interesting perspective on the Aeniad.

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  39. starsmom says:

    I’m very interested in all if them but “An Available Man” is the one I’d read first.

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  40. Susan Scheuer says:

    How It All Began is the most intriguing and different from the formula novels that are so abundant. The fact that the book is set in Britain is all the more reason for intrigue. I would also like to read The Song of Achilles because of the setting in ancient Greece.

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  41. Carol Sorensen says:

    An Available Man appears complex, multi-layered. I would very much like to read it.

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  42. DawnMarie Helin says:

    I would read “How it all Began”…my kind of convoluted tale!!!

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  43. martha CrAIG says:

    The Song of Achilles would be my first choice, but would love to read them all

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  44. freda witt says:

    You’re making me choose? I would love to read all of them! While they are very different, they all sound interesting. Ok, If I HAVE to pick one I guess it will be The Available man.

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  45. Roz Rickman says:

    “How it All Began” by author, Lively. How clever to have this title of a book, authored by “Lively”. This is always such an answer to a life-long question — truly intrigues me.

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  46. joanne says:

    My husband died of pancreatic cancer. Would love to read #2. Maybe can gain some insight.

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  47. Carrie Conley says:

    I would love to read The Song Of Achilles….

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  48. Kim Law says:

    “How It All Began” sounds like a fun intertwined tale, and I would really enjoy reading it!

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  49. Diane F says:

    So difficult to decide. I would like all 3. The Song of Achilles is particularly intriguing because I haven’t read the ancient Greeks in 40 years.

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  50. Judy Frederick says:

    Love to win these books as I love to read.
    Thank you

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  51. Tina Arkoff says:

    “An Available Man” sounds like it would be the book for me.

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  52. Kai W. says:

    I would really want to read the Song of Achilles. I already read How It All Began.

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  53. judy h. says:

    Not a fan of fiction. I’ve tried, but it’s never happened for me.

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  54. Connie Faulkner says:

    I think my favorite would be How It All Began

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  55. fancynancygordon@yahoo.com says:

    I would like to read ” The Song of Achilles” most of all.

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  56. Nancy Jachcik says:

    I think I would greatly enjoy reading “An Available Man”.

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  57. Maureen O'Neal says:

    The Song of Achilles!! The story description sounds good enough on it’s own, but comparisons to Mary Renault cinches it!

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  58. Larisa Khodorkovskaya says:

    How it all Began. But I would love to read all three!
    I am a huge book lover and this is my best time spending -reading actual books.

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  59. FabulousMimi says:

    The Song of Achilles sounds terrific!

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  60. Carol Guth says:

    They all sound great, but if I have to pick I guess I’d start with An Available Man.

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  61. gmcl says:

    The Song of Achilles would be my first choice to read.

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  62. RED says:

    How unfair to ask a reader to select one book over another. Of course they’re all appealing, but at this point in my life the idea behind “How It All Began,” that one moment or one act can foster something life-changing is very appealing both as an “escape” and a lesson about life. Thank you for bringing these three books to my attention.

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  63. Beth Lowe says:

    “How it all Began” sounds like a book I would lik to read.

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  64. Diane says:

    An Available Man

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  65. Darlene says:

    The Song of Achilles would be my first pick.

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  66. KatieQ says:

    I love Mary Renault so I think I would read The Song of Achilles first.

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  67. smfsprout says:

    I would love to read them all, but I would start with An Available Man.

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  68. Paula says:

    The Song of Achilles

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  69. elizabeth says:

    How it all began sounds like a good one.

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  70. Mary Grace Gallagher says:

    The Song of Achilles is right up my alley. I read every book by MaryRenault when I was much younger and this review is inspiring me to reread them! I love historical fiction and have a love hate relationship with Homer.

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  71. Lesley Frohman says:

    How it all began–sounds great–a chain reaction to one event with lots of character development!

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  72. Lita Smith-Mines says:

    I would love to read “An Available Man” first, and then the other two!

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  73. AJB says:

    The Song of Achilles.

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  74. kmariem18 says:

    How It All Began. It sounds like a good plot and some very interesting characters. Take me away!

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  75. Pat says:

    i would love to win. I just retired and loving to read this would be a great treat.

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  76. BarracudaRon says:

    How it all began… (the butterfly effect; interesting stuff)

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  77. sherry leann stewart says:

    I would like to read An Available Man! They all sound great!

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  78. Theresa N says:

    I think An Available Man.

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  79. cboza says:

    Admittedly, Madeline Miller’s first foray into fiction sounds tempting, but I’ve been captivated by Penelope Lively’s books for years. Her writing is a joy and her characters are three-dimensional: they’re complicated and not always likable, but they always ring true.

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  80. Dianne Williams says:

    Whether I win it or buy it, I’m reading How It All Began.
    It sounds like just the kind of book I can’t put down.

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  81. Elaine Sojak says:

    I am looking forward to reading The Song of Achilles. Historical fiction fascinates me, and this sounds interesting.

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  82. Kim Cage says:

    I would most like to read An Available Man . It sounds
    very intriguing!!!!

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  83. Margarida says:

    I would most like to read, “How it All Began….” because judging from the cover, it is set in my native and beloved England.

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  84. Judy Brenner says:

    I am a bookworm so any of the 3 would be great!

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  85. mollyann says:

    all the books are so different and interesting. probably start with An Available Man

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  86. Esther Bradley-DeTally says:

    I’d like to read Penelope Lively’s novel because not only is she a very good writer, she takes generational themes, social themes, and in a knit, pearl, cable stitch way, she pulls it off. I teach writing. I have written 2 creative nonfiction books. I inhale words. Concepts of every kind fascinate me. I love literary novels. Thanks.

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    • Linda Wolfe says:

      Thanks, Esther. You’re my kind of reader!

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  87. Patricia N says:

    All three sound like great reads, but I think I would like The Song of Achilles.

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  88. sandy haber says:

    oh my they ALL sound interesting! if i had to choose tho, i think i’d start with ‘The song of Achilles’. Always wondered at some of those Greek relationships!

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  89. Becky says:

    How It All Began!

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  90. Michelle says:

    Am waiting for a good book to appear. An Available Man sounds like the pefect one for me.

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  91. lorraine says:

    I love stories with historical content. I’d pick Song of Achilles.

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  92. Brenda says:

    Wow what an interesting selection of books! It is so hard to pick one as a favorite. I think that I would pick an
    Available Man. The story is so intriguing and different.

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  93. hrbeck_98 says:

    An Available Man sounds the most intriguing to me. I would read that one first to find out what becomes of Edward.

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  94. Sheila Chaffins says:

    How It All Began sounds very interesting.

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  95. Toni says:

    An Available Man

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  96. donnarp1 says:

    I would like to read How it All Began and An Available Man. Both authors seem fascinated about how life is so unpredictable.

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  97. RarnChild says:

    I’d love to read them all – they all sound so interesting in such different ways. I used to be such a voracious reader – but it’s been years since I’ve really sat down and just read for enjoyment. Of the 3, I guess I’d have to pick An Available Man – I like the idea of a little suspense thrown in!

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  98. deestea says:

    They all sound fab!

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  99. Teresa Thompson says:

    THE SONG OF ACHILLES

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  100. Yitta Mandelbaum says:

    As the co-author of “Small Miracles: Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life,” I have always been fascinated by how frequently small, seemingly insignificant events can snowball into major ones.
    That’s why I would be most drawn to “How It All Began” because the premise in many ways is similar —
    we cannot envision the things that will ultimately change our lives.”

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  101. Mary Ward says:

    They all sound like great reads but I’ve heard so much about How It All Began that I’d love to get my hands on it.

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  102. Spajul says:

    The Song of Achilles. Always a thrill to read timeless myths that have been given new life.

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  103. cher says:

    Song of Achilles. Reading is my Achilles – I read too much to the exclusion of other activities. All 3 look good and will keep for my reading list. I love reccomendations.

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  104. Phyllis says:

    The Song of Achilles sounds interesting. my kind of reading.

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  105. Donna Woodruff says:

    Wow – tough decision but probably An Available Man…sounds interesting

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  106. Cynthia Chambers says:

    The Song Of Achilles! I want to read this book most.

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  107. katie says:

    Achilles is the one I’d most like to read

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  108. Melissa B. Tubbs says:

    I am a bookaholic and would love to read all of these books.

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  109. marlene seelig says:

    Love reading! I belong to book clubs and enjoy discussing what I read. All of the books sound interesting.

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  110. Mary says:

    Achilles – historical fiction is my favorite genre.

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  111. Patti says:

    How it All Began sounds mosst interesting to me.

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  112. Susan Goldstein says:

    The Song of Achilles, would be the first book i would tackle I love historical novels, esp ones that are set in ancient times. I so want to know these people, and until they invent a time machine…this is the next best thing!!!

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  113. Ogden says:

    1. How it all began
    2.An Available Man
    3. The Song do Achillies

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  114. Barbara says:

    I would like to read Song of Achilles . I have never read a novel about ancient Greece. Maybe, it’s about time.

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  115. Marsha Crain says:

    I would love to read “How it all began.”

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  116. ctgal says:

    I would really like to read How It All Began. But An Available Man comes in a close second. The summer’s long, right?

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  117. Cindy says:

    How It All Began.

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  118. Kathy says:

    I love books about history, both fiction and nonfiction. I would choose The Song of Achilles first, but they all sound like great summer reads.

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  119. Betty Herbert says:

    The Song Of Achilles. I’m a huge fan of historical fiction. Am not a fan of “girlie” books or mysteries. We live in a very rural county with a small library that caters to the majority of the people who live here. They’re the one waging a court battle to force the school board to post the Ten Commanments in every classroom in the school system here. The variety of books because of this mindset is very limited. HELP!!! I need something stimulating to read.

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  120. Jill57 says:

    How it all began

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  121. mamavalveeta03 says:

    I would love to read the book by Hilma Wolitzer, An Available Man. Her writing is so…human!

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  122. Theresa Bowles says:

    I am an avid reader and they all sound interesting, but if I could only choose one, I think it would be “An Available Man”.

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  123. Debbie Chaney says:

    I would want to start with An Available Man!

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  124. belindabg says:

    I’m totally intrigued by ‘An Available Man’ and can’t wait to read it! Also love the premise of ‘How It All Began’.

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  125. Julie says:

    How it all began.

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  126. J. Langdon says:

    An Available Man sounds like a winner, would love to read this one.

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  127. Margaret Wheat says:

    An Available Man sounds like it would be Great! Are there any of those still out there????

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  128. Glamma2 says:

    My choice would be “An Available Man” with “The Song of Achilles” read right after it. I think “An Available Man” would be a lighter read that would hit upon how different the life of newly singles is as one ages.

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  129. Ellen says:

    How It All Began! So like real life!

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  130. gailyn says:

    I want “How it all Began”. I know my grandson would like “The Song of Achilles” though ,he loves studying Greek and Roman cultures.

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  131. inMO says:

    An Available Man

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  132. Maria says:

    I would like to read “An available man”

    Maria

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  133. lydianna says:

    Because I like to read about worlds, times, eras, that I wouldn’t ordinarily know about, I would read Song of Achilles first. Then An Available Man, then How It All Began. Thanks for these recommendations, they ALL sound like really good reads.

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  134. Susan says:

    I would love to read all three, especially An Available Man! Thanks!

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  135. Sharon W says:

    THE SONG OF ACHILLES ~ would be a new type read for me…hmmm.

    AN AVAILABLE MAN ~ the description has the sound of the next great movie.

    HOW IT ALL BEGAN ~ an intriguing read, to say the least. Also a movie perhaps…?

    Fab50 never misses on your recommendations! Keep up the good work. We appreciate you ~

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    • Linda Wolfe says:

      Thanks, Sharon. So glad to hear you like my suggestions.

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  136. Elaine Dreyer says:

    Song of Achilles–I’m a fan of historical fiction.

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  137. Paula W says:

    Looks like some very good reading! I’d love to be the winner!

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  138. Margaret Gabriele says:

    How it all began

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  139. lacorkie957 says:

    HOW IT ALL BEGAN

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  140. Janet Atchley says:

    Would love to read “An Available Man”

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  141. Linda Mehr says:

    An Invisisble Man sounds like a story I could really get into. A little love with suspense. Sounds like a book you can’t put down.
    Overall, I would love to read all three

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  142. gratheeus says:

    How it all began!

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  143. Sara Jones says:

    I find historical fiction a good way to learn history in a more interesting way than reading just “the facts.” Years ago I studied the Greeks and would like to renew my memory of that time by reading “The Song of Achilles.”

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  144. Cathrn0407 says:

    All three sound intriguing but I would start with “How it all Began”…life is messy, eh?

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  145. elysew says:

    I ama classics history nut and a huge fan of Mary Renault. I cannot imagine a more tempting book in March than the Miller book.

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  146. Karen Cunningham says:

    The Greeks are still a fascinating bunch. I would love to read The Song of Achilles.

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  147. bpaine says:

    An Available Man sounds very dear, and The Song of Achillles rousing! lovely choices, all.

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  148. eddyrobey says:

    How it all began

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  149. Donna says:

    The Song of Achilles sounds intriguing! But I’d like to read all 3!

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  150. Debbie says:

    There is nothing like turning real paper pages!

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  151. Ann Altaher says:

    Please, i love ,love, love, to read.

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  152. Kathy says:

    I love historical fiction and would love to read “The Song of Achilles”. As always, I’m looking for new books to recommend to my book clubs.

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  153. papertiger says:

    I would like to read 1st An Available Man. Thanks! I would love to read all 3 books!

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  154. KAREN COGBURN says:

    Would love How It All Began.

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  155. Edna says:

    I want to read all three books.

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  156. Troye says:

    An Available Man sounds intriguing and sweet. My kind of book! Second…How it all Began.

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  157. paula says:

    I would love to read How it all began. Sounds interesting.

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