Mary Daniels Brown

Mary Daniels Brown learned at an early age how to read people, and she’s been doing that ever since. Combining advanced education in both literature and psychology, she reads and reviews novels that explore identity, the search for meaning and purpose in life, and the varieties of human experience. She’s been blogging about books at Notes in the Margin for more than 25 years. Mary believes that her focus on Life Stories in Literature has made her both a more astute reader and a happier, more human person.

Last Week's Links

Literary Links

Betty Smith enchanted a generation of readers with ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ − even as she groused that she hoped Williamsburg would be flattened Rachel Gordan, assistant professor of religion and Jewish studies at the University of Florida, discloses that Betty Smith herself had a different experience of life in Brooklyn than does the […]

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feature: Life Stories in Literature

Review: “Long Bright River” by Liz Moore

Set in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, Long Bright River humanizes the problems U.S. cities and their residents struggle with. Formerly a center of business and industry, Kensington is now home to abandoned and decaying former warehouses and factories, remnants of an earlier era when commerce and industry flourished.  As the novel opens, a police

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Last Week's Links

Literary Links

‘God forbid that a dog should die’: when Goodreads reviews go bad “I’m a professional critic, and an author of a literary novel. I’m a snob. I care about my book, and the authors I feel are my competitors,” writes Lauren Oyler. In this piece, another chapter in the continuous Goodreads controversy, she states that

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Historic photo: black and white image of a crowd of women suffragettes dressed in white marching on a city street lined by men in dark suits.

2 Novels to Read for Women’s History Month

In honor of International Women’s Day today, here are two novels that feature strong women. I reread the first 11 pages of this paperback to refresh my memory before writing this review. And immediately, I was right back as a passenger on the wild ride of this fictional world. The first clue to the nature

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A stack of 3 closed books (left); an open notebook with a pen on top (right). Title: 12 Novels Thata Changed How I Read Fiction

#5 “The Debt to Pleasure” by John Lanchester

Related Posts: #5 The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester © 1996 Date read: 7/12/1998 I don’t recall ever feeling the need to like fictional characters, yet this topic recurs periodically when readers condemn a book they’ve just finished because “I didn’t like any of the characters.” But if I ever did feel such a

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Women's History Month

Reading Lists for Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month: great histories written by women 5 novels to help you celebrate Women’s History Month A list of “captivating novels to celebrate Women’s History Month,” by Jordan Snowden for The Seattle Times. Our Favorite Female Detectives in Crime Fiction 10 favorite books for Women’s History Month! 10 Female Detectives Uncovering Hidden Mysteries Fierce

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Last Week's Links

Literary Links

The Third Person: Writing in the Aftermath of a Home Robbery “Kate Sidley Wrote About Tidy Mysteries in a Faraway Country. Then Real Violence Came Into Her Home.” A couple of weeks ago, Literary Links included Fictionalizing Real Trauma as a Means of Healing. In this article, Kate Sidley, author of cozy mysteries set in

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Book cover collage: Tom Lake by Ann Patchett; Our Town by Thornton Wilder; Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters; Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson; Ohio by Stephen Markley; Idaho by Emily Ruskovich; Montana 1948 by Larry Watson

6 Degrees of Separation: Travels Around the U.S.

This month we start with Tom Lake by Ann Patchett. Last month (February) we were directed to start with the book our chain had ended with the previous month (January), which for me was . . . Tom Lake by Ann Patchett. So this time around, I’m accepting the challenge of taking the same starting

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A stack of 3 closed books, next to an open notebook on which rests a ballpoint pen. Text: Literary Links: Life Stories in Literature

Literary Links: Life Stories in Literature

When Consciousness Itself is the Protagonist: A Reading List I’ll let River Halen themselves describe the origin of this list of “books that bend reality and the self”: As I was writing my book Dream Rooms, a book about the years that led up to my coming out as trans, I found myself fascinated by

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