- High-concept, twisty, unputdownable stories with a strong voice in the areas of women’s fiction, thriller, and speculative. (Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam, Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch)
- Timely commercial fiction in which the personal intersects with the world at large, and/or that explores toxic friendships and complex, challenging family dynamics. (Luster by Raven Leilani, This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel)
- Heartfelt and timeless stories that you want to re-read about identity, unlikely friendships, reinvention, second acts, and women finding their voices and power, especially with touches of magic or speculative or time slips. (The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow, This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub)
- Voicey, confident, atmospheric mysteries set in close-knit communities; creepy islands and Midwest-set are a plus. (The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, Only Murders In The Building, the Shetland series by Ann Cleeves)
- Because I came to Chicago by way of Poland and Canada, I’m always looking for stories about the immigrant experience. (The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is a longtime favorite.)
- Diverse take on Kids On Bikes narratives—if they happen to be set in the Midwest or Canadian prairies, all the better.
- Elin Hilderbrand and/or Louise Penny for the Third Coast—I’d love to see something set in a resort town in Michigan.
Recent binges: The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson; Never Have I Ever; Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan; The Partner Track