Bravery during the Blitz

In Dear Mrs. Bird, by A.J. Pearson, Emmeline Lake, age 22, dreams of being a journalist, and when she sees an ad for a position at the London Evening Chronicle, she immediately imagines a fabulous career ahead of her as a Lady Wartime Correspondent. In early 1940s London, during the Blitz, Emmy and her friend, […]

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Reading in a hypothetical snowstorm

Now that we’ve had our first mini snowfall, I’ve started fantasizing about being snowed in, without power, with just five great books to tide me over. Of course, in this fantasy, there’s a fireplace, plenty of wood, lots of good food, and naturally, not even the slightest hint of hardship. In this dream world of […]

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It’s the germiest time of the year

If you’re like me, you don’t like to think about the microbe-encrusted surfaces you encounter every day. Maybe you don’t want to look like a fussy little germ-phobic person with your arsenal of cleaning wipes, gloves, and distrust of public spaces. Maybe you think germs won’t get you, because you’re tough and cool. Perhaps, like […]

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An eerie ghost story and a murder mystery

 A dilapidated girls boarding school in small-town Vermont called Idlewild is the setting for a truly scary gothic mystery.  The Broken Girls, by Simone St. James, moves between 1950, when we meet four troubled school girls at Idlewild, and the present when Fiona Sheridan is investigating a plan to re-open the school, where Fiona’s sister was […]

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Some favorite ghost movies for Halloween

Some people like to watch scary movies all year-round. Those people must be very brave. I myself think it best to save the frights for the Halloween season, and as a  meek and scare-averse human, I generally need the presence of a sturdy shoulder to cringe against when the going gets too spooky. My best […]

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The Long and Faraway Gone

 The Long and Faraway Gone, by Lou Berney, is one of the best and most memorable crime novels I’ve read, and so well written that I hated to put it down. It tells the story of two traumatic events in Oklahoma City back in the summer of 1986, and the aftermath for two broken people. Ever […]

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The Women in the Castle

A dramatic, engrossing historical novel, set primarily in post-WWII Germany, The Women in the Castle, by Jessica Shattuck, tells the intertwined stories of three widows whose husbands were involved in a failed conspiracy to assassinate Adolph Hitler. The aristocratic Marianne promised her husband that she would find and help the other wives of conspirators, so […]

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Read a banned classic

This week is Banned Books Week, and it’s a fine time to explore the classics that have been banned or challenged throughout the decades. Some reasons for banning and challenging books: offensive language and vulgarity sexual content contempt for religion, family, and marriage pro-Communist views morbid and depressing themes criticism of Islam Banned classics include:

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Career help for the quiet person

I am no careerist, but I still have to be a functional human at work, and Hiding in the Bathroom: an introvert’s roadmap to getting out there (when you’d rather stay home), by Morra Aarons-Mele, seems like a great title to help my reluctant introvert nebbish self.  Bathrooms are not my preferred refuge, of course; my cat-furred […]

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