Best Books: New Years

Oh how I do love thematic reading. Christmastime, love to read something Christmassy. Halloween. Valentines. Even Thanksgiving. In the spring I always think Anne of Green Gables, and in the fall, Harry Potter. I have been getting in the habit of yanking at least one book from my holiday lists as I arch ‘round the…

Book Review: Outlander

Well! There are gushing reviews of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and there are scathing reviews of Outlander. No one expects it to be literary fiction—it’s popular fiction—though many claim it is great historical fiction (though it incorporates time travel), but the real discrepancy revolves around “rape culture.” I would say one out of ten, maybe…

Media in Review: December 2020

BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY (2001) Kicked off the Christmas season with my teen daughter’s first viewing of Bridget Jones’ Diary. It’s possible it’ll be her last, but maybe—while she’s still under my roof anyways—she’ll join me come Christmastime and I won’t have to watch “all by myself.” I believe she said it was “cute.” It is…

Start Your Own Book Club

Is there something that you want to read this year? With all this pandemic nonsense (it’s not actually nonsense, I’m just over it in like August and am referring breezily to something that has been very real and terrible for me lately), I am—like many people—really staring off at the horizon of 2021. Of course,…

A Book a Week Through the Year

Perhaps this is a crazy undertaking for me as a blogger, since it would be a little crazy for you as a reader to attempt what it will imply: reading a book a week for the year. I don’t know what’s wrong with me—or with other people, for that matter—that lists and attempts like this…

Book Review: A Christmas Memory

When I finally—after years of meaning to read it—ordered Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory from eBay, I did not expect what I got. Full disclosure: I have not read Capote, ever. I have meant to, of course, but have never gotten around to it. Yet. My impression, however, is true crime with a literary swagger.…

Book Review: Home Cooking

I have a new favorite food writer and—like my other favorite food writer, Bert Greene—she is someone you don’t hear about every day. She whisked into my life with an aroma of days gone by and required me to do a little searching for her titles. (I still have one last Greene book that I…

Holiday Gifts for Writers and Readers

While my Christmas wish list includes things very pandemic—sweat pants and self-help books about anxiety—and things very me—roller skates, an old-fashioned bike, and about 600 cookbooks—it also includes plenty of things in the writerly and readerly vein. I thought, this year, I would make a list of great gifts for writers and for readers. Perhaps…

Holidays Change

When I was nineteen, I studied abroad in Israel. I took an Egyptian history class which culminated with a ten-day trip across the Sinai and down the Nile. On Thanksgiving, 1998, I had just been to the Museum of Antiquities and a few friends—a smattering of students from across the U.S.—were crossing the most dangerous…

A Very Pandemic Christmas

Well, we’re working our way around the calendar. We’ve now had Easter ham nuggets at our own, quiet Easter tables surrounded by homemade sanitizer and either a mountain of or a lack of toilet paper, birthdays consisting of only people in our “bubbles,” masked and in open parks despite the weather, Halloween picking sanitized bags…

Book Review: Greenglass House

Another week, another middle grades book under the bridge. It is true: I seem to read almost nothing but middle grades book these days. You’re just going to have to take my word for it that I have much wider interests in literature than middle grades books. However, between curriculum-writing for seventh and eighth grade…

More to Be Thankful For

I’ve been perusing best-ofs lists for a number of years, online. I like them, and as you might know, I like making my own or building to-do lists from others’ best-of lists. One of the lists that I have come to like the best is from Oprah Magazine. The following list of Thanksgiving reads and…