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Author Archive

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Parnucklian for Chocolate

Parnucklian for Chocolate

My parents lied to me: “Nobody cares how much you weigh;” “You’re the smartest girl in your class;” “Everything’s going to be fine.” I’ll bet your parents lied to you, too, in small ways or large. But few children grow up hearing and believing the kinds of lies Josiah grows up with in B.H. James’ [...]

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Rarely do I find a more perfect voice than that of the narrator in Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone could be described as a high-functioning autistic individual or perhaps one with Asperger’s syndrome, or perhaps a savant, though his condition is never stated in the [...]

Honeymoon with My Brother

Honeymoon with My Brother

Franz Wisner doesn’t start out to travel the world. He starts out to get married. To say his bride leaves him at the altar is close enough—with the wedding and honeymoon planned and paid for, a few days before the big day she says, “I can’t go through with it.” Franz’s pals buck him up. [...]

Gone Girl

Gone Girl

I had just set aside a novel that didn’t merit my time. (Okay, I threw it aside.) Then I picked up Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, a blockbuster novel of 2012, and from page one I knew I could relax into expert hands. Gone Girl is one of those un-put-downable books that keeps you reading with [...]

Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine

I rarely read the same book twice and I don’t always read the latest thing. I like snooping around independent book stores for new and used treasures. I read everything from classics to junk (only the finest junk, of course). But the most recent treasure I discovered was on my own bookshelf. I’d read Ray [...]

Singled Out

Singled Out

In 1917, the senior mistress of Bournemouth High School for Girls in Dorset in the United Kingdom spoke to the sixth form class: “I have come to tell you a terrible fact. Only one out of ten of you girls can ever hope to marry. This is not a guess of mine. It is a [...]

On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing by Stephen King

If you ask me for a list of my favorite authors, Stephen King won’t be on it. This isn’t because I don’t like his novels. I can’t even read them. I’ve tried, but I’m never able to get past a few pages because the guy is so good at what he does. “Wimp,” you say, [...]

What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?

What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?

By the Buried Life (Jonnie Penn, Dave Lingwood, Duncan Penn, and Ben Mentin) When my middle-aged friend gave middle-aged me a copy of What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? I thought, “this is a bunch of boys running around on road trips. It sounds like fun, but I don’t have time for [...]

Swamplandia!

Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell explores family, peer pressure, hell and the occult. But what struck me most is how the story speaks of ignorance and innocence. Throughout Swamplandia!, author Karen Russell leads the reader along the fine line between fantasy and reality. The Bigtree family has created their own history (they’re not Native Americans, but their [...]

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

I picked up a copy of Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout several months ago, read about twenty pages, and put it down. I didn’t like it. It seemed cold and sad. But it won a Pulitzer, for god’s sake, so I put it on the shelf, thinking there must be something worthwhile in it and maybe [...]

Gooden Open House Saturday, January 11

Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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