Frozen in Time by Joseph Epstein

Frozen in Time by Joseph Epstein

In his latest collection of short stories, local author Joseph Epstein writes about ordinary people–mostly Jews, mostly Chicagoans or denizens of neaby suburbs, mostly men, mostly above the age of 50. Despite being ordinary, there are extraordinary stories to tell about his characters. Father-son relationships, high school hearththrobs, feuding old friends, wannabe literary lions, cheating […]


The Underground River by Martha Conway

The Underground River by Martha Conway

Since her mother died, May has lived with her actress cousin, serving as her seamstress and all-around servant. When the steamboat they are on explodes, May’s life changes and she has to find a job to support herself. May is quite literal which makes everything more difficult. When she finds a job on a theater […]


Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen

Detective Andrew Yancy, temporarily demoted to Roach Patrol, i.e., the restaurant inspection department of the Key West Police, for an egregious attack on a slimy plastic surgeon who insulted Yancy’s girlfriend (who just happened to be the wife of the surgeon) is, despite all this, a decent guy at heart. He’s desperate to get back […]



The Privilege of the Sword bu Ellen Kushner

The Privilege of the Sword bu Ellen Kushner

If you are a fan of Arya Stark, this is the book for you!  Set about 10 years after the events in Kushner’s first “Riverside” novel (Swordspoint), but you don’t need to have read the first one to enjoy this swashbuckling coming-of-age story (although you should, because it’s terrific!). The central issues of whether women […]


The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

This book fairly reeks of gothic atmosphere and both fans of the old classics such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, as well as anyone who loves a suspenseful plot full of unexpected twists and turns will love this book. The tale is set in a haunted ruined mansion in the English countryside where biographer, […]


Death in Kashmir by M. M. Kaye

Death in Kashmir by M. M. Kaye

M.M. Kaye is best known for The Far Pavilions (which is also a terrific book!), but she also wrote a series of mysteries, all set in the locations she herself lived in during her husband’s varied military career. All are enjoyable, if typical of their era, and are comparable to Agatha Christie’s work. Kaye’s work stands […]



Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks

Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks

Even though this book was originally published in the 1990’s, it still offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Muslim women in such countries as Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Brooks interviewed both fundamentalist and feminist women throughout the Islamic world to find out what life is like behind the veil. She examined […]


Word by Word by Kory Stemper

Word by Word by Kory Stemper

Among the many different senses (i.e., meanings) of the word “wit,” in the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 11th edition there are a couple that apply perfectly to this author. “Clever or apt humor; a witty utterance or exchange.” It’s a synonym for humor, irony, sarcasm, satire, and repartee. Stemper’s very readable, sometimes laugh-out-loud exposition on how […]