A Week in Winter

by Maeve Binchy |

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REVIEWED BY ROBIN MICHELI

NOVEL

Reading this novel is like ducking out of a cold rain into a fire-warmed pub filled with laughter. Fittingly, this posthumously published work by Ireland's beloved lady of letters is itself a love letter to her homeland, especially to life in tiny villages where everyone knows everyone else's business. It's classic Binchy in other ways too, intertwining the stories of several characters and championing strong women. At its center is Chicky Starr, a twentysomething Irish lass who's left alone and heartbroken in New York City and learns to fend for herself. Two decades later she moves back to her small town of Stoneybridge on the country's west coast to open a seaside hotel. Those who pass through the Stone House experience a kind of transformational magic: the fulfillment of a dream, the discovery of one's true self, the chance for redemption. Binchy offers a final chance to enjoy her winning characters and the charm of Irish culture-and this time, even if vicariously, the solace of coming home.

The Dinner

by Herman Koch |

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REVIEWED BY ANDREW ABRAHAMS

FICTION

In this chilling tale about class and the bounds of family devotion, the knives come out as two Dutch couples-including two brothers who loathe each other-dine in a snooty restaurant. Over the course of a tense meal, they quarrel about how to handle their privileged teenage sons' despicable act of violence toward a homeless woman. Already a bestseller in Europe, Koch's skewering of elitism and self-serving morality is a wickedly delicious feast.

Shouting Won't Help

by Katherine Bouton |

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REVIEWED BY RICHARD EISENBERG

NON-FICTION

This former editor's memoir reveals the daily challenges faced by America's 48 million hearing impaired, a number expected to grow as the population ages. Going deaf led to depression for Bouton and nearly ended her marriage, but a cochlear implant and hearing aids helped. Research may lead to even more effective treatments. In the meantime: Don't shout.

COMMENTS? WRITE TO KIM HUBBARD: bookseditor@peoplemag.com

THE LIST

by Karin Tanabe

In Tanabe's fiction debut, a style writer uncovers a political scandal involving a competitive colleague and a senator. A biting, hilarious send-up of D.C.'s elite.

ABOVE ALL THINGS

by Tanis Rideout

Part love story, part high-octane adventure, this historical novel about doomed Everest climber George Mallory is a tough one to put down.

THE SOUND OF BROKEN GLASS

by Deborah Crombie

An intriguing, atmospheric London murder mystery set in both the past and the present.

THE BOOK I WISH I WROTE

The Godfather, by Mario Puzo. I love that book. He brings his characters to life so richly, they fly off the page.

THE SEXIEST BOOK I'VE READ

Probably one of mine! [Her latest, The Power Trip, is just out.] I read Fifty Shades of Grey; it wasn't my cup of tea. But I love the romance of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. I reread it every year. I didn't like the movie version with Robert Redford, but I'll watch the remake with Leonardo [DiCaprio]. The trailer looks pretty great!

ROCK AND ROLL TALES

I like rock autobiographies a lot; Keith Richards's was great and I loved Rod Stewart's too. Rod's always good fun.

THE LAST BOOK I LOVED

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Everyone was reading it so I thought I should too. I couldn't wait to get to the end; I had to stop myself from reading ahead!

-KRISTEN MASCIA