The book according to me

I've been wanting to reread an old John Irving book for quite a while now. He was a very early favorite of mine, but it's been quite a while since he wrote something I liked. Avenue Of Mysteries was a slog. In One Person was instantly forgettable. Until I Find You had a really charming main character, but it was a mess of a book. The most recent John Irving book that I can wholeheartedly get behind is A Widow For One Year, and that was 20 years ago! So I'm wondering, did he lose it, or did...

Continue Reading

The week in review

I am kind of checked out this week, but I did get to combine two of my very favorite things, reading and the beach. There was also soft serve involved. Pretty excellent combo.

I'm not sure what to say about Hey Harry, Hey Matilda. This has a really low rating on Goodreads, and I think it's because of a certain Unsavory Element that I won't name but is pretty obvious if you look at the reviews or the description. That actually wasn't what bugged me about this book though. I would have gone...

Continue Reading

I’m not a kid, I happen to be 18

Were Judy Blume books essential reading for you when you were young? She certainly was for me and all my friends, but all these years later, I'm still never sure quite how universal the Judy Blume love is, because luckily, she was a local author for us. We devoured the Fudge books, Blubber, Freckle Juice etc. when we were little, then when we got older it was all about Tiger Eyes, Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, Deenie...she was the tween queen before tweens were even a thing. But of...

Continue Reading

There’s no book like Was

"Dorothy," said Aunty Em. "Please come back. You were the light of my life. You were what kept me going all those years."

These lines, said by the "real" Aunty Em to depressed adolescent Dorothy in Geoffrey Ryman's captivating novel Was, kind of make me want to call my mom to apologize for the teen years. Now that I have a tween of my own, I have a better idea of how the pain of adolescence also affects the parents. It probably really sucks.

I loved Was when...

Continue Reading

Yep, still there

Jenny opened a plastic compact, looked into it, and then snapped it shut, as if merely making certain that she was still there.

That little bit from Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant has stuck with me for about 30 years now, and it flashes through my head every time I catch a quick glimpse of myself in a mirror. Still there! Little moments like this are just one of the 52 million reasons I love Anne Tyler like no other. My first Anne Tyler was The Accidental...

Continue Reading

Jake Jackson? He doesn’t even know you exist.

"There are those nights when you're pushing thirty and life seems over. When you feel like you'll never tie up any ends and no one will ever kiss your lips again." I felt this way for approximately five minutes sometime around March of 2001, so it was excellent timing that I happened to read Eureka Street right at that moment. I fall in love with books all the time, but it's rare that something captures exactly how I feel, exactly when I'm feeling it. Those lines in the first...

Continue Reading

You don’t get it when there’s nothing to get

I was 21 when I first read Nude Men, and it became an instant favorite. I was curious and mildly apprehensive about revisiting it. For one thing, I've never liked a single thing Amanda Filipacchi has written since then, and I've read it all, based solely on the strength of Nude Men. And for another, I was 21 a really really long time ago.*

So, does it hold up? Eh, kind of. There is a recurring theme about optical illusions, which is fitting, because this book straddles a whole...

Continue Reading

Berthe Erica Crow!

"The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that) but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange!" These opening lines of The Westing Game still pop into my head anytime I need to remember which way the sun goes. I was probably in fourth grade when I found this gem at the school library, and it's the first book I remember really falling in love with. I read it several times back then, and once I actually took notes along the way to see if I could gather every clue of the mystery and create a...

Continue Reading

It may not be great but read it anyway

Oh how I wish I could go back in time right now and make my 14 year old self write a book report on The Handmaid's Tale. I remember that I got it as a birthday gift and that I loved it and that I stayed up very late finishing it, but other than the basic gist of the story, my memories end there. But what did it mean to me way back then? Did it all seem like a far fetched fantasy? Or could I possibly have already been worn out by man's relentless need to control women's bodies? If so, I...

Continue Reading


I go through two or three books a week, so I don't always remember everything I read, even if I enjoyed it in the moment. One book I will never forget is Jill McCorkle's first novel, The Cheer Leader. I was 12 when the cover caught my eye in my hometown's local bookstore (still standing!) and I just inhaled it once I got it home. It's a perfect coming of age, first love, teenage breakdown story; billed as The Catcher in the Rye meets The Bell Jar in the 1970's South, it's funny and...

Continue Reading