From the category archives:


Spies of the Balkans; Alan Furst, 2011

December 20, 2011

I have a terrible weakness for buying books in airports. A foolish habit, because I’m always carrying too much weight as it is, but the truth is, I don’t spend much time in new bookstores. I live deep in the boonies and I don’t enjoy shopping as a hobby; unless I need something specific, or […]

Read the full article →

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen; Alan Garner, 1960

December 17, 2011

Christopher Middleton, in The Telegraph, tells you anything you might need to know about The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, and talks with Alan Garner and other writers about the effect it’s had on over 50 years of readers and writers. I will add this, though Middleton mentions it: most claustrophobic scene in all of fiction! Well, […]

Read the full article →

Letters from Father Christmas; J. R. R. Tolkien (1920-1943; first published 1976)

December 12, 2011

Another holiday favorite in this house are the extraordinary letters and drawings Father Christmas sent the Tolkien children between 1920 and 1943. Take a moment to remember the world created by Tolkien in The Hobbit and the Ring Trilogy, remember the maps, drawings and paintings with which he illustrated them, and then imagine being the […]

Read the full article →

Joan Bauer Girl Power

December 11, 2011

Recently I read in quick succession three books by Joan Bauer handed to me by my daughter as she finished them—Hope Was Here, Rules of the Road and Best Foot Forward. While these books are not of the era of books I like to promote, being of this century, they are worthy of note. When […]

Read the full article →

Reading aloud in Advent time

December 10, 2011

I’ve been silent for weeks here, finishing NaNoWriMo (52K, baby!) and then, guess what, having so much fun on the current novel that it’s all I want to work on in those wee dark morning moments I secrete away for my creative delight. And by the way, I wasn’t having much fun for the first […]

Read the full article →

Alienated in America…

November 13, 2011

I’ve said before what eternally satisfying reading can be found in the several compilations of Paris Review interviews. Bathroom books that never grow dull. Philip Roth was interviewed in 1984—the interview appears in The Paris Review Interviews, IV—but something in his words resonates today. Whether you agree with him or not, this is one beautifully-written, […]

Read the full article →

Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymous Bosch; Nancy Willard & The Dillons, 1992

October 31, 2011

It’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts (if you’re not one of those people who did it all in July). For the children on your list, you can never go wrong with books. Most kids don’t have enough, and those few who do, who are tripping over piles of them in their bedroom—well, hopefully […]

Read the full article →

On the way home (two delightful books for kids)

September 29, 2011

Flew from Portland to Portland with no sleep. I paused in Newark in between and saw all my pals from my first pass through—it was Saturday morning again—the 15-year-old Arab-American girl who told me why jobs in the airport are the best around, the nice guy who’d taken my photo with Betty Boop the week […]

Read the full article →

Thank you, Portland

September 28, 2011

For a blissful movie experience at Living Room Theaters. See Gainsbourg if you can (most smoking EVER in a movie). It’s made by the same fabulous woman, Joann Sfar, who wrote and illustrated the graphic novel The Rabbi’s Cat. For yummy tacos at Por Qué No? and lush Pho at Jade Teahouse. For stellar yoga […]

Read the full article →

Let the Great World Spin; Colum McCann, 2009

September 11, 2011

The tragedy of 9/11 is not the loss of the Twin Towers, but of the people who died that day, there and in Pennsylvania and Virginia. The Towers, though, are a symbol of the various and myriad losses at and subsequent to that moment. After 9/11 people remembered Phillipe Petit and his walk between the […]

Read the full article →