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  Domenica Ruta grew up outside Boston as the brainy misfit daughter of a loud, buxom, peroxide-blonde Italian mother. A vain and mercurial “narcotic omnivore,” her mom loved and hated her only daughter with equal ferocity. Their home was full of contradictions. As a kid, Ruta was given OxyContin for headaches. Her mom worked extra jobs to pay for Ruta’s dance lessons, but refused to acknowledge that her daughter was being molested. As a teenager, Ruta ... Read More
  It’s a truth universally agreed upon, at least among those of us who came of age in the 1980s, that Cyndi Lauper is one of the coolest, most interesting people in the world. Her songs made us want to dance and bop around and roller-skate. Lauper became a superstar for belting out “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and, admittedly, she did have more than her fair share of good times, sometimes criminally great times. Now 59, she has the ability to ... Read More
  Ever since her adolescence, Rosie Schaap, who writes the “Drink” column for The New York Times, has felt an attraction to bars. As a teenager, her obsession begins when she starts giving tarot card readings in exchange for beer in the bar car of the Metro North commuter train. When she attends college in a small town where the local bar is the only means of entertainment, drinking in bars becomes Schaap’s devoted hobby. She even abandons ... Read More
  Have you ever woken from a dream that was so tangible, the damn thing haunted you for months after? If not, read Kiki Petrosino’s Fort Red Border (Sarabande Books) instead. Her debut collection is, for the most part, comprised of poems about a fantasized affair with actor Robert Redford and all the psychic turmoil that comes with it. Even though the book’s title is an anagram for Redford’s name, these poems aren’t just imaginative ... Read More
The reference to “six granddaughters” in the title of this dark, complex novel is deceiving: two are dead. One dies as an infant and pulls a shroud of everlasting grief over the family, and the other narrates the entire novel from beyond the grave while she floats in an afterlife. At the heart of the novel is Cecilia, a beautiful poet who is perceived as being the most talented and attractive among the granddaughters. Nonetheless, she is plagued by ... Read More
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