Literary


Some Luck

Some Luck
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Some Luck by Jane Smiley is the first installment in a trilogy, the second of which, Early Warning, has just been released. In Some Luck, Smiley has chosen to have every chapter cover one year; the first year being 1920 and the last 1953; thirty-three years in 395 pages in which a couple marry, have […]

Classic Ray Bradbury

Classic Ray Bradbury

It’s too early to tell if the works of Ray Bradbury will last far into the future, but since his death in 2012 the idea has been tossed around, and not just by me. Certainly Bradbury was not considered a classic by the person who bought his home of 50 years and destroyed it last […]

Orphan Train

Orphan Train

Christina Baker Kline‘s novel Orphan Train was published in 2013. Still selling strong, it’s a favorite with book clubs and readers of historical fiction. When my book club decided to take it on, I was excited. Between 1854 and 1929, more than 200,00 East Coast orphans were sent to the Midwest by train to find […]

The Girl You Left Behind

The Girl You Left Behind

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes is a split story—past and present, mystery and love story—much in the way of A. S. Byatt’s Possession (1990), but without the nuance, depth, and brilliant ending. It’s October 1916, just prior to battles of Somme and Verdun. The novel opens in a small town in France, […]

Margaret Fuller: A New American Life

Margaret Fuller: A New American Life

Sarah Margaret Fuller (Marquess Ossoli) was a woman with more drive, persistence—and nouns—associated with her name than most. Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was a scholar, intellectual, feminist, crusader, investigative journalist, critic, editor, columnist, foreign correspondent, conversationalist, and Transcendentalist.¹ She was friends with the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Nathaniel Hawthorne, […]

The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers

At the beginning of The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, we learn learn that moss is an emblem of maternal love, a bouquet of marigolds represents grief, and a bucket of thistle, misanthropy. This is amidst the protagonist Victoria Jones detailing her dreams of fire (which she’s had for eight years), only to wake […]

What Came Before

What Came Before

What Came Before by Gay Degani was written by a woman who, admittedly, got “lost in living.” Like so many people, and I suppose I mean particularly women, Degani felt writing took up too much of her time, time that “should” be spent—and would be better spent—raising a family, i.e. taking care of others and […]

Heartbreak Cake

Heartbreak Cake

“What are you daydreaming about?” “I’m thinking about cake. Big, multilayered cakes that are squeezed in between more layers of buttercream or chocolate ganache.” “How can you still be thinking about cake? I’ve had enough cake today to last me the week, if not more.” “How dare you,” I tease…   When Cindy Arora, author […]

Patricia Schultz & Her 1,000 Places at Distant Lands

Patricia Schultz & Her 1,000 Places at Distant Lands

The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only one page. —St. Augustine of Hippo Patricia Schults, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die first heard “the siren call” of travel and discovery at the age of four. After college, she made a beeline for the first outgoing flight, […]

Plus One by Christopher Noxon

Plus One by Christopher Noxon

Here are a sprinkling of the many enthusiastic comments about Plus One, a novel by Christopher Noxon, published by Pasadena’s Prospect Park Books: “A page-turning peek into the world of TV and families and money, this is Hollywood L.A. as seen from a newcomer’s ambivalent perspective. I found it both fun and fascinating and unsettling to delve into […]

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