Showing posts from January, 2017

Five-Star Books Read in 2016

As usual, I make no claim to any kind of objectivity or even consistency in applying a five-star rating -  it's a perplexing combination of the actual book, my mood, the timing and whatever else I'm reading at the same time. I try really hard not to feel 'obligated' to give a top rating - by the opinions of other readers or anything else - but this year I feel like maybe I could have been a little freer with the five-star appraisal, especially when looking over some of the four-stars. Whatever. Here they are. R are Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love  by Anne Whiston-Donaldson:  On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace. In Rare Bird, Anna

Four-Star Books Read in 2016: Short Stories and Fiction

Short Stories: In the Mean Time  by Paul Tremblay:  This collection by Paul G. Tremblay (author of The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland) features fifteen stories of fear and paranoia, stories of apocalypses both societal and personal, and stories of longing and coping. I am terrible at taking properly detailed notes about short story collections, but this has one (Feeding the Machine) I remember vividly (mentioned in this blog post ) for personal reasons, as well as the fact that it's a really well-written story. There's also one about a girl with two heads (where the other head keeps changing into historical figures) that is bloody brilliant. Overall my impression was that this was a fantastic collection.  The End of the World: Stories of the Apocalypse  edited by Martin H. Greenberg:  Before The Road by Cormac McCarthy brought apocalyptic fiction into the mainstream, there was science fiction. No longer relegated to the fringes of literature, this explosive col

Four-Star Books Read in 2016: Mystery

Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries #6)  by Dorothy Sayers:  Mystery novelist Harriet Vane knew all about poisons, and when her fiancĂ© died in the manner prescribed in one of her books, a jury of her peers had a hangman's noose in mind. But Lord Peter Wimsey was determined to find her innocent as determined as he was to make her his wife. I don't generally read cozy mysteries, drawing room mysteries, or old-fashioned mysteries - I like my murders modern and I get frustrated reading about casual sexism even though I know denial isn't the answer. But I've had a vague notion that I should read Dorothy Sayers for some time, and this was recommended to me by my friend Maggie (HI  MAGGIE !) and I'm really glad I read it. It's so well-written, and I loved the leisurely pace and attention to detail given to the woman investigating on Lord Peter's behalf (I've forgotten her name). I often think murders would be much easier to solve these days if more p