Category Archives: Book Reviews

What Makes a Classic: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

For me, one test of a classic is whether  a reading of it through any lens will reward with insights. By that measure Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is a classic. You can view it as a study in socioeconomic class; … Continue reading

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Rhys Bowen; The Her Royal Spyness series

Rhys Bowen has at least two series going; the Molly Murphy series, mysteries set at the turn of the 20th century in New York, and Her Royal Spyness, set in Britain in the 1930s. I’ve now read two from Her … Continue reading

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The Black Tower by P.D. James; is it Dated, or is it Me?

I just read The Black Tower by P.D. James. I thought it was a re-read for me and that I had read it at some point in the dark and distant past. I was less of sure of that after … Continue reading

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The Fifth Woman by Henning Mankell; It’s Nordic, What Did I Expect?

The Fifth Woman is the probably-not-coincidentally fifth installment in Swedish author Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallender police procedural series — or, as some critics choose to call it, Scandinavian noir. Published in the USA in 2000, the book is set in … Continue reading

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Educated by Tara Westover

I thought Tara Westover’s memoir Educated would be the uplifting story of a plucky backwoods home-schooled girl who got a PhD in history from Cambridge. That story is in there, but Educated is more about a woman who clawed her … Continue reading

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Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Here is a link to my review of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, a general fiction novel that uses a speculative element to muse about the nature of nations and borders in our modern world. I highly recommend Exit West. Nadia … Continue reading

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The Third Kind of Magic by Elizabeth Forest

Elizabeth Forest and I met several year ago at the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference. We catch up online and see each other nearly every year at FogCON. Elizabeth has published her first book, The Third Kind of Magic. It’s a … Continue reading

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Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

It’s now April, and I’ve read many good books since January, but Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing still stands out as one of the best this year. The story is filled with authentic, complicated people, some of whom are dead. … Continue reading

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Do Second Hand Bookstores Help Writers?

“Used bookstores don’t help writers.” I bristled when I saw this remark on Twitter. Fortunately this was one of those rare times when, before I fired off a response, I looked around a little, and realized that this stark statement … Continue reading

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Cat Person; Damn Fine Fiction, or Fat Shaming? I Don’t Know

The New Yorker has a short story called “Cat Person,” written by Kristen Roupenian. Margot, a college sophomore, meets Robert at the cinema where she works at the concession stand. They get off to a bad start, but later they … Continue reading

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