Book Order by Author

Elizabeth Berg Books in Order

Elizabeth Berg Books in Order

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Elizabeth Berg (born December 2, 1948) is a novelist from the United States.

Berg was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and lived in Boston before moving to Chicago. She studied English and Humanities before getting a nursing degree. Her writing career began after winning an essay contest in Parents magazine. Her novels have sold well and earned many awards and nominations since her debut in 1993. In 1997, she won the New England Book Awards for her body of work.

Since then, she published eight novels, one per year, most becoming national successes and New York Times bestsellers. Elizabeth has appeared on Oprah three times, recently as a book club selection for Open House.

Elizabeth Berg serves as the keynote speaker at libraries and other events. Many of her publications are studied in classes ranging from junior high to college.  

Elizabeth Berg lives in the suburbs of Chicago. Quilting, gardening, and cooking are among her interests. She adores animals, particularly large dogs.

Elizabeth Berg Books in order 

Katie Nash

  1. Durable Goods (1993)
  2. Joy School (1997)
  3. True to Form (2002)

George Sand

  1. The Dream Lover (2015)

Mason

  1. The Story of Arthur Truluv (2017)
  2. Night of Miracles (2018)
  3. The Confession Club (2019)

Standalone Novel

  1. Talk Before Sleep (1993)
  2. Range of Motion (1994)
  3. The Pull of the Moon (1996)
  4. What We Keep (1998)
  5. Until the Real Thing Comes Along (1999)
  6. Open House (2000)
  7. Never Change (2001)
  8. Say When (2003)
  9. The Art of Mending (2004)
  10. The Year of Pleasures (2005)
  11. We Are All Welcome Here (2006)
  12. The Handmaid and the Carpenter (2006)
  13. Dream When You’re Feeling Blue (2007)
  14. Home Safe (2009)
  15. The Last Time I Saw You (2010)
  16. Once Upon a Time, There Was You (2011)
  17. Tapestry of Fortunes (2013)

Short Story

  1. Ordinary Life (2001)
  2. The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted (2008)

Standalone Novel Non-fiction

  1. Family Traditions (1992)
  2. Escaping Into the Open (1999)
  3. Make Someone Happy (2016)
  4. Still Happy (2017)
  5. Happy to be Here (2019)
  6. I’ll Be Seeing You (2020)

Similar authors

  • While I Was Gone by Sue Miller about how quickly a marriage can be destroyed. It follows a perfect wife that finds herself putting all she loves at risk. 
  • Amor Towles’s The Lincoln Highway novel follows two brothers with a plan to travel down the Lincoln Highway. However, their plans quickly get derailed.

See also: Fern Michaels Sisterhood Series in Order.

Most recommended books

  1. I’ll Be Seeing You: A Memoir (4.23 Goodreads score)
  2. The Story of Arthur Truluv (Mason, #1) (4.17 Goodreads score)
  3. Escaping Into the Open (4.07 Goodreads score)
  4. Night of Miracles (Mason, #2) (4.01 Goodreads score)
  5. True to Form (Katie Nash, #3) (3.97 Goodreads score)

Awards

Elizabeth Berg has garnered many awards. This includes the American Library Association Best Book of the Year for both Durable Goods and Joy School. She was nominated for the American Booksellers’ Book of the Year, and her novel won the AMC Cancer Research Center Illuminator Award. She received the NEBA award for her body of work in 1997. Her literary achievements have been recognized by the Boston and Chicago Public Libraries.

Latest releases

The latest book published by Elizabeth Berg is I’ll Be Seeing You (2020). It’s a memoir about her parents’ last years and relationship.


Book summaries

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Durable Goods (1993)

On the hot Texas army base she calls home, Katie spends the lazy days of her summer waiting: waiting to grow up; waiting for Dickie Mack to fall in love with her; waiting for her breasts to blossom; waiting for the beatings to stop. Since their mother died, Katie and her older sister, Diane, have struggled to understand their increasingly distant, often violent father. While Diane escapes into the arms of her boyfriend, Katie hides in her room or escapes to her best friend’s house—until Katie’s admiration for her strong-willed sister leads her on an adventure that transforms her life.


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Joy School (1997)

Katie, the narrator, has relocated to Missouri with her distant, occasionally abusive father, and she feels very much alone: her much-loved mother is dead; her new school is unaccepting of her; and her only friends fall far short of being ideal companions. When she accidentally falls through the ice while skating, she meets Jimmy. He is handsome, far older than she, and married, but she is entranced. As their relationship unfolds, so too does Katie’s awareness of the pain and intensity first love can bring.


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True to Form (2002)

It is 1961, and thirteen-year-old Katie is facing a summer full of conflict. First, instead of letting her find her own work for the season, Katie’s father has arranged for two less-than-ideal baby-sitting jobs — one for the rambunctious Wexler boys and another for Mrs. Randolph, a kind but elderly, bed-ridden neighbor. To make matters worse, Katie has been forcibly inducted into the “loser” Girl Scout troop organized by her only friend Cynthia’s controlling and clueless mother. A much-anticipated visit to her former home in Texas and ex-best friend Cherylanne proves disappointing. And then comes an act of betrayal that leaves Katie questioning her views on friendship, on her ability not to take those she loves for granted, and, most important, on herself. “One thing to say about you, Katie, is that you are true. You should be proud of it, and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise,” Cherylanne insists. But whether or not Katie will ever feel true to herself remains to be seen.


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The Dream Lover (2015)

At the beginning of this powerful novel, we meet Aurore Dupin as she is leaving her estranged husband, a loveless marriage, and her family’s estate in the French countryside to start a new life in Paris. There, she gives herself a new name—George Sand—and pursues her dream of becoming a writer, embracing an unconventional and even scandalous lifestyle.Paris in the nineteenth century comes vividly alive, illuminated by the story of the loves, passions, and fierce struggles of a woman who defied the confines of society. Sand’s many lovers and friends include Frédéric Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugène Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Marie Dorval, and Alfred de Musset. As Sand welcomes fame and friendship, she fights to overcome heartbreak and prejudice, failure and loss. Though considered the most gifted genius of her time, she works to reconcile the pain of her childhood, of disturbing relationships with her mother and daughter, and of her intimacies with women and men. Will the life she longs for always be just out of reach—a dream?


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The Story of Arthur Truluv (2017)

For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life. Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who visits the cemetery to escape the other kids at school. One afternoon she joins Arthur—a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname “Truluv.” As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio band together and, through heartache and hardships, help one another rediscover their own potential to start anew.


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Night of Miracles (2018)

Lucille Howard is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she has begun to teach baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she’s hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn’t know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off a big decision she sorely regrets.When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for Lincoln, their son. Lincoln’s parents aren’t the only ones in town facing hard choices and uncertain futures. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community—just when they need it the most.


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The Confession Club (2019)

When a group of friends in Mason, Missouri, decide to start a monthly supper club, they get more than they bargained for. The plan for congenial evenings—talking, laughing, and sharing recipes, homemade food, and wine—abruptly changes course one night when one of the women reveals something startlingly intimate. The supper club then becomes Confession Club, and the women gather weekly to share not only dinners but embarrassing misdeeds, deep insecurities, and long-held regrets.They invite Iris Winters and Maddy Harris to join, and their timing couldn’t be better. Iris is conflicted about her feelings for a charming but troubled man, and Maddy has come back home from New York to escape a problem too big to handle alone. The club offers exactly the kind of support they need to help them make some difficult decisions.


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Talk Before Sleep (1993)

What do you say when you know you don’t have forever? Ruth has been Ann’s closest friend for years—her confidante, her solace, her comic relief, her tutor in life’s mysterious ways. So when Ruth becomes ill, Ann is there for her without question. After all, it is Ruth who encouraged Ann to become who she is, Ruth whose rebellious, eccentric spirit provided the perfect counterpoint to Ann’s conventional, safe outlook. And so the friends go on as they always have . . . gossiping, consoling, and sharing intimate secrets—but with the knowledge that each shared evening could be their last.


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Range of Motion (1994)

A young man named Jay lies in a coma after suffering a freak accident, and his wife, Lainey, is the only one who believes he will recover. She sits at his bedside, bringing him reminders of the ordinary life they shared: fragrant flowers, his children’s drawings, his own softly textured shirt. When Lainey’s faith in his recovery falters, she is sustained by two women, Alice and Evie, who teach her about the endurance of friendship—and the genuine power of hope. Filled with beautiful writing and truths about life, Range of Motion is hard to put down and impossible to forget.


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The Pull of the Moon (1996)

In the middle of her life, Nan decides to leave her husband at home and begin an impromptu trek across the country, carrying with her a turquoise leather journal she intends to fill. The Pull of the Moon is a novel about a woman coming to terms with issues of importance to all women. In her journal, Nan addresses the thorniness—and the allure—of marriage, the sweet ties to children, and the gifts and lessons that come from random encounters with strangers, including a handsome man appearing out of the woods and a lonely housewife sitting on her front porch steps. Most of all, Nan writes about the need for the self to stay alive. In this luminous and exquisitely written novel, Elizabeth Berg shows how sometimes you have to leave your life behind in order to find it. the pull of the moon.


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What We Keep (1998)

Ginny Young is on a plane en route to see her mother, whom she hasn’t seen or spoken to for 35 years. She thinks back to the summer of 1958, when she and her sister, Sharla, were young girls. Moving back and forth in time between the girl she once was and the woman she’s become, Ginny at last confronts painful choices that occur in almost any woman’s life and learns surprising truths about the people she thought she knew best.


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Until the Real Thing Comes Along (1999)

What do you do when your life isn’t living up to your dreams? When the man you love is unavailable, and yet you long for a family, a home? What is the cost of compromising until the real thing comes along?Patty Ann Murphy says she’s “Ms. Runner-Up” in life. Rarely the bridesmaid, never mind the bride, Patty sells houses for a living (well, she’s sold one house so far), longs to be married and have a family, but is irresistibly drawn to the wrong man. Ethan seems perfect for Patty–handsome, generous, and sensitive–but he’s hopelessly unavailable. Patty’s frustration leads her to feelings she doesn’t admire–jealousy of her beautiful best friend, Elaine, for instance, about whom she says, “Find me one woman who doesn’t withhold just a bit from another woman who looks like that.” She’s also worried about her mother, with whom she’s very close but who is beginning to act strangely. Patty longs more and more for the consolation of loving and being loved, but for the moment feels she must content herself with waiting–until she can wait no more.


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Open House (2000)

Samantha’s husband has left her, and after a spree of overcharging at Tiffany’s, she settles down to reconstruct a life for herself and her eleven-year-old son. Her eccentric mother tries to help by fixing her up with dates, but a more pressing problem is money. To meet her mortgage payments, Sam decides to take in boarders. The first is an older woman who offers sage advice and sorely needed comfort; the second, a maladjusted student, is not quite so helpful. A new friend, King, an untraditional man, suggests that Samantha get out, get going, get work. But her real work is this: In order to emerge from grief and the past, she has to learn how to make her own happiness. In order to really see people, she has to look within her heart. And in order to know who she is, she has to remember—and reclaim—the person she used to be, long before she became someone else in an effort to save her marriage.


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Never Change (2001)

You know people like me. I’m the one who sat in a folding chair out in the hall selling tickets to the prom but never going, the one everybody liked but no one wanted to be with.A self-anointed spinster at fifty-one, Myra Lipinsky has endured the isolation of her middle life by doting on her dog, Frank, and immersing herself in her career as a visiting nurse. Myra considers herself reasonably content, telling herself, It’s enough, work and Frank. And it has been enough — until Chip Reardon, the too-good-to-be-true golden boy she adored from afar, is assigned to be her new patient. Choosing to forgo invasive treatment for an incurable illness, Chip has returned from Manhattan to the New England home of his childhood to spend what time he has left. Now, Myra and Chip find themselves engaged in a poingnant redefinition of roles, and a complicated dance of memory, ambivalence, and longing.


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Say When (2003)

Ellen, he thought, and the name seemed to him to hold everything he might possibly want to say to her….He looked at her lying on her side of the bed, looked too at the space she had left beside her. That was his side, because he was her husband. And she was his wife.”Griffin is a happy man. Settled comfortably in a Chicago suburb, he adores his eight-year-old daughter, Zoe, and his wife, Ellen — shy, bookish Ellen, who is as dependable as she is dependent on him for his stability and his talent for gently controlling the world they inhabit. But when he wakes one morning to hear of his wife’s love affair with another man and her request for a divorce, Griffin’s view of life is irrevocably altered. Overnight he goes from being Ellen’s husband to being her roommate, from a lover to a man denied passion and companionship. Now he must either move on or fight for his marriage, forgive his wife or condemn her for her betrayal, deny or face up to his part in the sudden undoing of his seemingly perfect life.


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The Art of Mending (2004)

Laura Bartone anticipates her annual family reunion in Minnesota with a mixture of excitement and wariness. Yet this year’s gathering will prove to be much more trying than either she or her siblings imagined. As soon as she arrives, Laura realizes that something is not right with her sister. Forever wrapped up in events of long ago, Caroline is the family’s restless black sheep. When Caroline confronts Laura and their brother, Steve, with devastating allegations about their mother, the three have a difficult time reconciling their varying experiences in the same house. But a sudden misfortune will lead them all to face the past, their own culpability, and their common need for love and forgiveness.


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The Year of Pleasures (2005)

In this rich and deeply satisfying novel by the beloved author of The Art of Mending, and Open House, a resilient woman embarks upon an unforgettable journey of adventure, self-discovery, and renewal. Betta Nolan moves to a small town after the death of her husband to try to begin anew. Pursuing a dream of a different kind of life, she is determined to find pleasure in her simply daily routines. Among those who help her in both expected and unexpected ways are the ten-year-old boy next door, three wild women friends from her college days, a twenty-year-old who is struggling to find his place in the world, and a handsome man who is ready for love.


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We Are All Welcome Here (2006)

It is the summer of 1964. In Tupelo, Mississippi, the town of Elvis’s birth, tensions are mounting over civil-rights demonstrations occurring ever more frequently–and violently–across the state. But in Paige Dunn’s small, ramshackle house, there are more immediate concerns. Challenged by the effects of the polio she contracted during her last month of pregnancy, Paige is nonetheless determined to live as normal a life as possible and to raise her daughter, Diana, in the way she sees fit–with the support of her tough-talking black caregiver, Peacie.Diana is trying in her own fashion to live a normal life. As a fourteen-year-old, she wants to make money for clothes and magazines, to slough off the authority of her mother and Peacie, to figure out the puzzle that is boys, and to escape the oppressiveness she sees everywhere in her small town. What she can never escape, however, is the way her life is markedly different from others’. Nor can she escape her ongoing responsibility to assist in caring for her mother. Paige Dunn is attractive, charming, intelligent, and lively, but her needs are great–and relentless.As the summer unfolds, hate and adversity will visit this modest home. Despite the difficulties thrust upon them, each of the women will find her own path to independence, understanding, and peace. And Diana’ s mother, so mightily compromised, will end up giving her daughter an extraordinary gift few parents could match.


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The Handmaid and the Carpenter (2006)

We see Mary–young, strong, and inquisitive–as she first meets Joseph, a serious-minded young carpenter who is steadfastly devoted to the religious traditions of their people. The two become betrothed, but are soon faced with an unexpected pregnancy. Aided by a great and abiding love, they endure challenges to their relationship as well as threats to their lives as they come to terms with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the birth of their child, Jesus. For Mary, the pregnancy is a divine miracle and a privilege. For Joseph, it is an ongoing test not only of his courage but of his faith–in his wife as well as in his God.


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Dream When You’re Feeling Blue (2007)

As the novel opens, Kitty and Louise Heaney say good-bye to their boyfriends Julian and Michael, who are going to fight overseas. On the domestic front, meat is rationed, children participate in metal drives, and Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller play songs that offer hope and lift spirits. And now the Heaney sisters sit at their kitchen table every evening to write letters–Louise to her fiancé, Kitty to the man she wishes fervently would propose, and Tish to an ever-changing group of men she meets at USO dances. In the letters the sisters send and receive are intimate glimpses of life both on the battlefront and at home. For Kitty, a confident, headstrong young woman, the departure of her boyfriend and the lessons she learns about love, resilience, and war will bring a surprise and a secret, and will lead her to a radical action for those she loves. The lifelong consequences of the choices the Heaney sisters make are at the heart of this superb novel about the power of love and the enduring strength of family.


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Home Safe (2009)

Helen Ames–recently widowed, coping with loss and grief, unable to do the work that has always sustained her–is beginning to depend far too much on her twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Tessa, and is meddling in her life, offering unsolicited and unwelcome advice. Helen’s problems are compounded by her shocking discovery that her mild-mannered and loyal husband was apparently leading a double life. The Ameses had painstakingly saved for a happy retirement, but that money disappeared in several large withdrawals made by Helen’s husband before he died. In order to support herself and garner a measure of much needed independence, Helen takes an unusual job that ends up offering far more than she had anticipated. And then a phone call from a stranger sets Helen on a surprising path of discovery that causes both mother and daughter to reassess what they thought they knew about each other, themselves, and what really makes a home and a family.


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The Last Time I Saw You (2010)

As the onetime classmates meet up over the course of a weekend, they discover things that will irrevocably affect the rest of their lives. For newly divorced Dorothy Shauman, the reunion brings with it the possibility of finally attracting the attention of the class heartthrob, Pete Decker. For the ever self-reliant, ever left-out Mary Alice Mayhew, it’s a chance to reexamine a painful past. For Lester Heseenpfeffer, a veterinarian and widower, it is the hope of talking shop with a fellow vet—or at least that’s what he tells himself. For Candy Armstrong, the class beauty, it’s the hope of finding friendship before it is too late.As Dorothy, Mary Alice, Lester, Candy, and the other classmates converge for the reunion dinner, four decades melt away: Desires and personalities from their youth reemerge, and new discoveries are made. For so much has happened to them all. And so much can still happen.


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Once Upon a Time, There Was You (2011)

Even on their wedding day, John and Irene sensed that they were about to make a mistake. Years later, divorced, dating other people, and living in different parts of the country, they seem to have nothing in common—nothing except the most important person in each of their lives: Sadie, their spirited eighteen-year-old daughter. Feeling smothered by Irene and distanced from John, Sadie is growing more and more attached to her new boyfriend, Ron. When tragedy strikes, Irene and John come together to support the daughter they love so dearly. What takes longer is to remember how they really feel about each other. Elizabeth Berg’s immense talent shines in this unforgettable novel about the power of love, the unshakeable bonds of family, and the beauty of second chances.


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Tapestry of Fortunes (2013)

Cecilia Ross is a motivational speaker who encourages others to change their lives for the better. Why can’t she take her own advice? Still reeling from the death of her best friend, and freshly aware of the need to live more fully now, Cece realizes that she has to make a move—all the portentous signs seem to point in that direction. She downsizes her life, sells her suburban Minnesota home and lets go of many of her possessions. She moves into a beautiful old house in Saint Paul, complete with a garden, chef’s kitchen, and three housemates: Lise, the home’s owner and a divorced mother at odds with her twenty-year-old daughter; Joni, a top-notch sous chef at a first-rate restaurant with a grade A jerk of a boss; and Renie, the youngest and most mercurial of the group, who is trying to rectify a teenage mistake. These women embark on a journey together in an attempt to connect with parts of themselves long denied. For Cece, that means finding Dennis Halsinger. Despite being “the one who got away,” Dennis has never been far from Cece’s thoughts.


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Ordinary Life (2001)

In “White Dwarf” and “Martin’s Letter to Nan,” the secrets of a marriage are revealed with sensitivity and “brilliant insights about the human condition” (Detroit Free Press) that have become trademark of Berg’s writing. The Charlotte Observer has said, “Berg captures the way women think as well as any writer.” Those qualities of wisdom and perception are everywhere present in Ordinary Life.


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The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted (2008)

Every now and then, right in the middle of an ordinary day, a woman kicks up her heels and commits a small act of liberation. What would you do if you could shed the “shoulds” and do, say—and eat—whatever you really desired? Go AWOL from Weight Watchers and spend an entire day eating every single thing you want? Start a dating service for people over fifty to reclaim the razzle-dazzle in your life—or your marriage? Seek comfort in the face of aging, look for love in the midst of loss, find friendship in the most surprising of places? In these beautiful, funny stories, Elizabeth Berg takes us into the heart of the lives of women who do all these things and more—confronting their true feelings, desires, and joys along the way.


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Family Traditions (1992)

Presents a wide range of activities, traditions, ideas, and rituals that are designed to encourage families to share quality time together, including suggestions for the major holidays, seasonal celebrations, everyday customs, and more. 20,000 first printing.


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Escaping Into the Open (1999)

With wit and honesty, Berg provides numerous exercises that will unleash individual creativity and utilize all five senses. Most important, she tells how to fire passion—emotion—into writing itself; to break through personal barriers and reach one’s own outer limits and beyond.


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Make Someone Happy (2016)

This is a collection of Elizabeth Berg’s most-loved Facebook posts. She was asked by many to put these short essays into book form, to create, as one reader said, something to “take to the beach, or bed, or on an airplane.” Elizabeth and her friend, the book’s designer Phyllis Florin, happily complied, and they hope that their offering will be as welcome as flowers in a mailbox.


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Still Happy (2017)

“Still Happy” is Elizabeth’s second collection of Facebook posts. Her first, “Make Someone Happy,” did indeed make many people happy, and so, due to popular demand, she has put together a second volume, which includes “The Book of Homer,” a tribute to her beloved dog who recently died. “Still Happy,” like “Make Someone Happy,” exemplifies Berg’s gift, as the Boston Globe said, “in her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, the remarkable in the everyday.”


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Happy to be Here (2019)

“Happy to be Here” is Berg’s third collection of Facebook posts. Her first, “Make Someone Happy,” was written in response to her many fans’ requests that she put her posts together in a book that they could take on the plane, to the beach, or give to others. The book did indeed make people happy and so she followed up with a second book, “Still Happy.” Her fans encouraged her to write still another one. The “Happy” books exemplify, as the Boston Globe wrote, Berg’s “ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, the remarkable in the everyday.”


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I’ll Be Seeing You (2020)

Elizabeth Berg’s father was an Army veteran who was a tough man in every way but one: He showed a great deal of love and tenderness to his wife. Berg describes her parents’ marriage as a romance that lasted for nearly 70 years; she grew up watching her father kiss her mother upon leaving home, and kiss her again the instant he came back. His idea of when he should spend time away from her was never.But then her father developed Alzheimer’s disease, and her parents were forced to leave the home they loved and move into a facility that could offer them help. It was time for their children to offer practical advice, emotional support, and direction, to the best of their abilities – to, in effect, parent the people who had for so long parented them. It was a hard transition, mitigated at least by flashes of humor and joy. The mix of emotions on everyone’s part could make every day feel like walking through a minefield. Then came redemption.I’ll Be Seeing You charts the passage from the anguish of loss to the understanding that even in the most fractious times, love can heal, transform, and lead to graceful – and grateful – acceptance.

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