Marry Him

by Lori Gottlieb |

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REVIEWED BY BETH PERRY

NON-FICTION

In 2005 journalist Lori Gottlieb decided to have a baby via a sperm donor. Never married at 37, she felt liberated by the idea that Mr. Right would appear in due time. But after four years of babysitters and bad dates, Gottlieb saw no sign of him. "I was naive," she says now. "Nobody told me the reality of dating."

In Marry Him Gottlieb sets out to give women in their 20s and 30s the insight she wishes she'd had. Her argument: Mr. Perfect doesn't exist, so be realistic about what one human being can provide, and stop sending flawed finds packing. She interviews her single and married friends, cites experts, meets matchmakers and illustrates her own struggle to change. (She initially resisted one promising suitor because of his bow tie.)

The author's voice is funny and relatable, and she insists she's anything but antiromance. "I'm not saying give up on the fairy tale," says Gottlieb, now 43 and still single. "But the fairy tale involves a fulfilling life with Mr. Good Enough. And if you figure that out at 30, you have a much better chance of finding him."

Healing Hearts

by Kathy E. Magliato, M.D.

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REVIEWED BY CAROLINE LEAVITT

MEMOIR

One of the few female heart surgeons in the world, Magliato presents a fascinating look at the life-or-death world of cardiothoracic surgery. Along the way she reminds readers that heart disease presents differently in women (nausea, jaw pain), kills a woman every 60 seconds and is largely preventable. Magliato's passion and verbal skills make her the kind of doctor you'd want—and a writer to watch.

>NEW IN FICTION

REMARKABLE CREATURES

by Tracy Chevalier

The girl who inspired the tongue twister "She sells sea shells . . ." comes to life in this vivid tale.

SHADOW TAG

by Louise Erdrich

Is Erdrich's portrait of a toxic marriage based on hers to the late Michael Dorris? Yes or no, it's a chilling read.

ALICE I HAVE BEEN

by Melanie Benjamin

Imagined adventures of the real-life muse to Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll.

>The love story in The Alchemist is amazing. The woman understood that he had to go away for a while; the trust [the couple] has is beautiful. I hope for something like that for myself one day.

—JOE JONAS

Great Expectations [by Charles Dickens]. It's such a great book and movie—so beautiful, yet so sad at the same time.

ASHLEE SIMPSON-WENTZ

Well, I would say The Story of Edgar Sawtelle [by David Wroblewski], but that's about a guy and dogs. Made me cry. But it was about love!

—TOM HANKS

The Great Gatsby. It's so vivid; all those parties. You're lucky to have loved once. . . . You're really lucky to have loved more than once.

—EMMANUELLE CHRIQUI

>When Salinger died at age 91 on Jan. 27, he exited a circumscribed world of his own creation. Since 1953, two years after The Catcher in the Rye became a hit, he had held off admirers and would-be biographers—"phonies" in the words of Catcher's Holden Caulfield—with silence, lawsuits and a fence around his Cornish, N.H., cabin. Though the author of three books told neighbor Jerry Burt that he rose at 5 a.m. most days and wrote for two hours in a room furnished with a seat from an old Army jeep, he offered nothing for publication after 1965. Ex-lover Joyce Maynard reported that he had said publishing was far too intimate—like walking "down Madison Avenue with [your] pants down."

Neighbors knew Salinger, whose daughter Margaret portrayed him as a neurotic recluse in her 2000 memoir, as a twice-divorced father of two who married Colleen O'Neill, about 50 years his junior, in the late '80s. "He liked privacy, but he was not nasty to people," says Burt. Testiness might have been forgiven; strangers sometimes were waiting to look in when he opened his curtains in the morning. Even so, the author may have found his own brand of happiness. "I love to write," he told The New York Times in 1974. "But I write just for myself."

>Holden Caulfield wouldn't have made it into print if one early reader had had final say: Harcourt Brace rejected Catcher when an exec couldn't tell whether its alienated hero was meant to be insane. Published by Little, Brown in '51, the novel has sold more than 60 million copies. Part of its power: Salinger's ability to "describe elusive emotions," says Prep author Curtis Sittenfeld, "in a way that made you know just what he meant."

>NEW IN FICTION

REMARKABLE CREATURES

by Tracy Chevalier

The girl who inspired the tongue twister "She sells sea shells . . ." comes to life in this vivid tale.

SHADOW TAG

by Louise Erdrich

Is Erdrich's portrait of a toxic marriage based on hers to the late Michael Dorris? Yes or no, it's a chilling read.

ALICE I HAVE BEEN

by Melanie Benjamin

Imagined adventures of the real-life muse to Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll.

>The love story in The Alchemist is amazing. The woman understood that he had to go away for a while; the trust [the couple] has is beautiful. I hope for something like that for myself one day.

—JOE JONAS

Great Expectations [by Charles Dickens]. It's such a great book and movie—so beautiful, yet so sad at the same time.

ASHLEE SIMPSON-WENTZ

Well, I would say The Story of Edgar Sawtelle [by David Wroblewski], but that's about a guy and dogs. Made me cry. But it was about love!

—TOM HANKS

The Great Gatsby. It's so vivid; all those parties. You're lucky to have loved once. . . . You're really lucky to have loved more than once.

—EMMANUELLE CHRIQUI

>When Salinger died at age 91 on Jan. 27, he exited a circumscribed world of his own creation. Since 1953, two years after The Catcher in the Rye became a hit, he had held off admirers and would-be biographers—"phonies" in the words of Catcher's Holden Caulfield—with silence, lawsuits and a fence around his Cornish, N.H., cabin. Though the author of three books told neighbor Jerry Burt that he rose at 5 a.m. most days and wrote for two hours in a room furnished with a seat from an old Army jeep, he offered nothing for publication after 1965. Ex-lover Joyce Maynard reported that he had said publishing was far too intimate—like walking "down Madison Avenue with [your] pants down."

Neighbors knew Salinger, whose daughter Margaret portrayed him as a neurotic recluse in her 2000 memoir, as a twice-divorced father of two who married Colleen O'Neill, about 50 years his junior, in the late '80s. "He liked privacy, but he was not nasty to people," says Burt. Testiness might have been forgiven; strangers sometimes were waiting to look in when he opened his curtains in the morning. Even so, the author may have found his own brand of happiness. "I love to write," he told The New York Times in 1974. "But I write just for myself."

>Holden Caulfield wouldn't have made it into print if one early reader had had final say: Harcourt Brace rejected Catcher when an exec couldn't tell whether its alienated hero was meant to be insane. Published by Little, Brown in '51, the novel has sold more than 60 million copies. Part of its power: Salinger's ability to "describe elusive emotions," says Prep author Curtis Sittenfeld, "in a way that made you know just what he meant."