A woman takes her son to a museum to view her favorite painting. A bomb goes off. The painting and the boy make it out alive. The mother doesn’t. And so begins one of my favorite novels of all time. Still, I feel almost silly recommending it–if you haven’t read it already amid the press and awards, it’s probably because it’s not your type of book. But it’s so good, I can’t help it. I have to say officially–“buy it.” Get lost in hundreds of pages of Tartt’s amazing prose and riveting plot. When you finish you’ll go through withdrawal–it’s over? really?–but it’s worth it. You can always read it again next year.

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