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The Mystery in the Bookshop

A colleague from the New York office was over for drinks last Friday and she mentioned that she forgot to bring a book for the train back.  I gave her my copy of Elizabeth Peters’ Die for Love, a cozy about an academic librarian who finds love and murder at a romance-writers convention she attends […]

What will YOU be reading?

Following  Shoshana’s lead, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. My plan is to spend the long weekend reading as much as possible–under the direction of Richard (for whom I am very thankful), we have just finished a home renovation project that has added several new reading locations to our house, an array […]

Connecting the dots

Probably inspired by our seeing yesterday the wonderfully mysterious The Clouds of Sils Maria, I dreamed last night that we received for review a new YA novel that took the form of a high school yearbook. Apparently something very terrible had happened at that school, but the reader had to piece together clues in the text and […]

Far Far Away

Folk and fairy tales have long been fodder for writers, who re-tell, borrow, fracture, and invert the original stories in their own. I would suggest that Tom McNeal bends the relationship between fairy tale and novel in a new way in his suspenseful tale Far Far Away. What do others think about blending of new […]

The value of re-reading

I was recently privy to a conversation that I have participated in countless times in my twenty-plus years in education. It was a version of “The 8th grade teachers are stealing the 9th grade teachers’ books” discussion. You know that one, right? Of course, it does not reside exclusively in the domain of middle or […]

Mystery and metaphor

It isn’t so often that I’m dying to read a book the second it comes out. But I got up in the wee hours of the morning the other day to read We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart as soon as humanly possible. I love her books, and this one, though very different from her […]

Another Gone Girl

This weekend I happened upon Paul Collins’ essay “Vanishing Act,” about the writing prodigy Barbara Newhall Follett, whose The House Without Windows was published by Knopf in 1927 when the author was twelve.  Our own Bertha Mahony loved the book, devoting three pages to it in the February 1927 Magazine. While Follett would go on to publish […]

Finding the work-home balance

Simultaneously trying to read, for work, Clare Vanderpool’s forthcoming Navigating Early (about two troubled boys in boarding school), and trying to read, for fun, Denise Mina’s latest The End of the Wasp Season (about two troubled boys in boarding school) has me positively confuzzilated. So far, Mina’s boys are in much bigger trouble, but they […]

Middle-grade mysteries

The following novels show that puzzles can be solved by detectives both seasoned and green. These four sleuth stories — action-packed, suspenseful, and sometimes goofy — will lure in mystery-lovers. Caroline Lawrence’s The Case of the Deadly Desperados is a bang-up series starter told in flashback by young P.K. Pinkerton. P.K.’s story opens when a […]

Review of The Name of the Star

Upon arriving in London from Louisiana for the school year, high-school senior Rory is told that someone “pulled a Jack the Ripper” the night before. She assumes the phrase is some quaint British colloquialism she has yet to learn, not an actual reference to a gruesome murder committed on the same date—August 31—and in the same location.