This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

There are four Vagabonds at the heart of this captivating tale–an odyssey of discovery, love and finding a home. Odie and his big brother Albert, Mose, a Sioux Indian boy who is mute, and Emmy, a loveable and wise 6-year old, all unfortunate orphans on the lam from a horrific institution–the Lincoln Indian Training School–run […]


Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi

This story of three generations of an Omani family was the first Arabic book to win the International Man Booker. The women in the novel are trapped whether they are mistresses of households, enslaved, married, single. Their lives are circumscribed but so are the men’s. Tradition and superstition rule even as times change and the […]


Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

I first picked up this debut translated novel because it had been nominated for the 2017 Man Booker prize and was reviewed on one of Booklist’s podcasts. I was expecting a stunning and gripping short novel, but what I received instead was a two hour Fever Dream of my own. Reality is obliterated more than […]


Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

“That I could look at an incredibly lovely woman and picture her mounted like a dead animal made me wonder what was wrong with my brain.” So thinks Jessa-Lynn who learned taxidermy’s tricks and art from her late father whom she hero-worshipped. He killed himself on the table in their studio, leaving her to pick […]


Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon

Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon

This engrossing coming-of-age tale is set in the small town of Zephyr, Alabama in 1964. 13-year old Corey Mackenson, a budding writer with a vivid imagination, is our narrator. He hangs out with his three best friends, and as free-range kids, they have many adventures, some fun, some threatening, some downright dangerous. There are bullies […]


The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine

The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine

Laurel and Daphne Wolfe are identical twins, as close as two people can be without being physically joined at the hip. From infancy on they have shared a special “twin talk,” a private language that even their mom can barely grasp. They also share a deep fascination for words, regular ones that is, and would […]


The Giver of Stars

The Giver of Stars

This British writer has written about the Depression era Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky with taste and good character development. Love and books and female solidarity! Although both main characters find love over the course of the book, the real story is how women grow together and support each other in a difficult time and place. […]


The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

When Jude, the mortal Queen of Faerie, offers Grima Mog, a warrior cannibal, the position of Grand General, Mog responds, “Me? But…I tried to kill you.” Jude responds, “You’ve described pretty much every important relationship in my life.” That exchange clearly sums up the danger and intrigue that run through this exciting series. Double crosses, […]


The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

I can’t quite put my finger on which Grimm fairly tale this wonderful new novel by Patchett reminds me of. Is it Cinderella? Maybe Hansel and Gretel. No matter, the key elements are there: a missing mother (perhaps evil), a definitely evil stepmother, a cold hearted father, step sisters, a magnificent though odd house (some […]


The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Amor Towles earned his place in my list of top writers with his runaway success A Gentleman in Moscow. This earlier book is by no means as compelling or luminously written, but it entertains and informs nonetheless. In the waning days of the Depression, on the brink of WWII, we join the adventures of Katey […]