Caitlin Van Horn
http://HelloCVH.sqsp.com
Caitlin is a freelance writer living in NJ. She likes beer, books, and cats--preferably all at once.
Latest Articles

Let's Talk About Memoir Guilt

Memoirs have probably been criticized for just about as long as they’ve been written. They evoke two common questions: “Is it true?” and “Does it matter?” If "no" were the answer to both with regards to If Only You People Could Follow Directions (Cou…
By Caitlin Van Horn

'The Longest Date' is a Life Book, Not a Wife Book

Let's get the first, painful thing out of the way. Cindy: Please change your subtitle. I get it, I do. It’s quick, it’s snappy — it even rhymes! It’s a nice exclamation point to the title of your new book when it’s said all together: The Longest Date…
By Caitlin Van Horn

Elisabeth de Waal's Lost Book, Found

You might be familiar with Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare With The Amber Eyes, but it’s his grandmother, Elisabeth, and her novel, The Exiles Return (Picador), who has been getting recent literary buzz. According to her grandson, Elisabeth de Waa…
By Caitlin Van Horn

Ready For a Novel About Reality TV? Yeah, You Are.

I was going to call Mark Haskell Smith's Raw: A Love Story (Grove) “Kafkaesque”, but according to Harriet, one of the novel’s protagonists: [Kafka] was an overused cliché when things got weird. […] Circumstances conspire, misunderstandings emerge, an…
By Caitlin Van Horn

Want a Lock of Your Favorite Author's Hair? Sure!

If you don’t know who Mildred Wirt Benson is, don’t worry — you’re not alone. However, if you don’t know her most famous work, you may have been living under a rock for the past, oh, 80 years. Or you just skipped your entire adolescence. Benson wrote…
By Caitlin Van Horn

Speller's 'First of July' Isn't About WWI

Elizabeth Speller's The First of July is not a political novel. Though it's set in World War I (and the tense year leading up to it), there are no chapters devoted to shifting alliances, or how the assassination of one Archduke lead to a war that tor…
By Caitlin Van Horn

Lots of Questions for 'Someone Else's Love Story'

Midway through Someone Else’s Love Story (William Morrow), astute readers may experience a sinking feeling, and that’s the realization that this seemingly charming, funny novel is passing the Bechdel test by the skin of its teeth. The Bechdel test, i…
By Caitlin Van Horn

Jessica Hollander's Surreal Suburbia

The domestic drama — a story of realistic, middle-class, ordinary, everyday lives with a family or home—has been around for a while (just look at all those Pride and Prejudice remakes and spinoffs). Allegedly, audiences are supposed to relate best to…
By Caitlin Van Horn

'Havisham' Gives Dickens a Makeover

Hold on to your wedding veils — in Ronald Frame’s Havisham (Picador), everybody’s favorite spinster gets a makeover. You may last remember seeing Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (probably in 9th grade English), but Frame has re-i…
By Caitlin Van Horn

6 Striking Novels Under 200 Pages

Although conquering a literary mountain like Infinite Jest or The Goldfinch can be a great feeling, sometimes a 900-page behemoth of a book feels like an insane challenge that you're just not up to taking on (not to mention that if you're carrying ar…
By Caitlin Van Horn

A Goodbye to NY, Though I Just Arrived

Here's a confession that I'm not exactly proud of: I absolutely cannot wait for my upcoming five-year high school reunion in New Jersey. Why? I'll get to introduce myself as "a freelance writer", and, even better, "a freelance writer living in New Yo…
By Caitlin Van Horn

13 Spooky Reads for Halloween

We like a good scary movie just as much as anyone, but there's something to be said for curling up with a fantastically creepy book — no jump cuts, no CGI, no soundtrack — just us and our imagination. Here are some of our favorites. Image: brunkfordb…
By Caitlin Van Horn

'A House in the Sky' Asks For Compassion

If a movie adaptation of A House In the Sky (Scribner) happens, its trailer probably won’t be set to an uplifting Florence Welch song. Lindhout’s memoir does start off with a hundred pages of expected, feel-good armchair travel (“Something was unfold…
By Caitlin Van Horn

Ward's 'The Men We Reaped' and the Power of Family

Picture this: a young black woman grows up back-breakingly impoverished with a there-and-gone father. She’s sponsored to go to a private Episcopalian school where the only other black students are basketball recruits. From there, she gets a college d…
By Caitlin Van Horn

Your Fan Fiction Could Make You Rich! (Maybe)

Fanfiction is having a moment. What used to be a source of embarrassment and Internet browser history-clearing has slowly — inch by inch — been rising in public consciousness. The surprising part, though, isn’t that it’s becoming popular (anyone who …
By Caitlin Van Horn

"A Beautiful Truth" Takes Animals Beyond Kid Lit

You should know upfront: A Beautiful Truth (Soho Press) is a book about chimpanzees, narrated by humans and a handful of chimps. That sentence probably makes a lot of prospective readers want to stop reading this review (and reconsider starting Colin…
By Caitlin Van Horn

Banned Book Week Doesn't Mean Banning Books, Guys

Banned Book Week should be one of those things that is well-established enough not to need an explanation, but here goes: this chunk of the calendar is one week a year during which books that were formerly banned in schools or libraries (or, occasion…
By Caitlin Van Horn

7 Authors Who Never Had a Sophomore Slump

Becoming an author is hard. Becoming a successful author is even harder. And keeping that success? It takes dedication, talent, and a whole lot of good luck and better timing. Despite that, it seems there are some superhuman authors among us who publ…
By Caitlin Van Horn

Q&A: Raoul Wientzen Talks 'The Assembler of Parts'

As the author of The Assembler of Parts (Arcade), Raoul Wientzen draws on over thirty years of experience treating critically ill children. However, his story of a Jess, who dies at age eight, and her family, who must go on with out her, is neither c…
By Caitlin Van Horn

BookDigits: Like GoodReads, But Without the Drama

BookDigits, a new recommendation and review site, posits itself as a "smarter way to explore books" and, so far, it seems to be delivering on its promise. The site eschews genres in favor of "themes" — specific components of a given book, ranked by p…
By Caitlin Van Horn