Tag Archives: epistolary

How Long ’til Black History Month by N. K. Jemisin

I had picked up this collection to read two Locus Award nominee for short stories. I enjoyed them so much I got sucked into reading the rest of the collection.

Published: 2018 for the collection, 2004-2017 for the individual stories

Genre: science fiction and fantasy

Length: 397 pages

SummaryShort version: A collection of Jemisin’s short stories. I’ll summarize each one briefly Continue reading

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84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

I saw this book discussed on a Modern Mrs. Darcy post as a book about books, one of my favorite subgenres. I picked it up now to attempt to fill my number row for my Alphabet Reading Challenge (it’s a new category Mr. Curiosity created this year). Sadly, it was much too quick a read for me (I read it in an afternoon) to feel good about counting. I’ll have to find another number book.

Published: 1970

Genre: nonfiction correspondence

Length: 97 pages

Setting: New York City and London, 1949-1969

Summary: Short version: Correspondence about books and life Continue reading

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Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence

I saw this book on a Modern Mrs. Darcy post and immediately put it on my TBR list. It’s a book about books, what’s not to love? I was in the mood for some nonfiction and decided to pick it up in the new year.

Subtitle: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life

Published: 2017

Genre: nonfiction literature

Length: 243 pages

Summary: Short version: check out the subtitle Continue reading

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Borrows

This was our book club choice for October. Many of us had read it already (it’s really hard to find a book that 1/3 of us haven’t read. That’s what you get for having a group of dedicated readers in a book club), but we had never done it as a book club book. The library had enough copies so we decided to read it again.

Published: 2008

Genre: fiction

Length: 274 pages

Setting: London and Guernsey, just after WWII Continue reading

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The Call of Chewing Gum by Russell Reed

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: July, 2016 in Mothership Zeta: Issue 4

Genre: fantasy

Setting: Darienburg, Connecticut, present day Continue reading

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Grey Goo and You by Derek Austin Johnson

Published: 2013 in Rayguns Over Texas

Genre: science fiction

Setting: Lincoln, Nebraska, near future

Interest: I was provided a copy of the anthology and I’m slowly reviewing all the stories in it. Continue reading

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Recommended War Books

I was trying to come up with a genre to recommend this week. I thought historical fiction might be a good topic, but it’s almost too broad to choose from. So, I’ve narrowed it down to WWI and WWII books. Many of them are YA or middle grade, mainly because I’ve read so many for our American History Club the past few years. I’m also not going to recommend the obvious ones like Unbroken or The Book Thief since everyone’s heard of them (and if you haven’t, click on the link to read my original book review.) As before, if you click on the title, it will take you to my original review and if you click on the cover image, you’ll follow a link to Amazon where you can buy the book and support my blog.

Let me go down in recommended age for the book and start with the only targeted-to-adults book on the list – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Borrows. I love it when I can find books on a well-known subject (like WWII) in a unique setting, like Guernsey. This story is told all in letters, which captured my interest completely. The trick is to pay attention to the headings and salutations so you know who is talking to who. There’s a bit of romance and all the privations of war, without the bloodshed.

Moving a bit younger, I’m recommending Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. This has a more traditional WWII setting, with a British spy being captured in France. The twist to the story is the spy is a young woman, and the story you see unfolding isn’t actually the truth. You’re better off not knowing the full plot of this book, or it ruins the second half. Trust me, though, the book is well written and you’re pulled into the lives of the characters. I’m hoping I can convince my book group to read this book, if they all haven’t already. This is marketed as a YA book, but it’s not a kid’s book because the themes and a bit of implied torture are more mature.

And finally, on to the middle-grade crowd recommendations – I have two, and both are set outside of the more traditional Britain/France/Germany stories so you can see how people dealt with the war when they weren’t necessarily in the midst of battles. First off is Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. It’s set in Norway at the start of WWII. The Norwegians are trying to smuggle their gold bullion out of the country without the Nazis getting it, and they use children and their sleds to get it down the mountain and to the fjord safely. It’s a fascinating little story that is supposedly based on true events. Next is Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. This won a Newbery Award, so it’s not a complete unknown, but it deserves the love. This book is set in Denmark and focuses on the population’s efforts to save their Jewish population when the Nazis plan on relocating the Jews. We see it from a single family and set of friends, which puts it in perspective for kids reading the story.

And finally, something different – both in terms of the war and genre. I’m recommending Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan Trilogy, starting with Leviathan, and also including Behemoth and Goliath. This is an alternate history, steampunk version of WWI where the Allies are Darwinists and use fabulous engineered beasties for all their technology and the Axis are Clankers who have actual machines do their work. There’s some great artwork sprinkled throughout the book, and it is a fun read. Again, it’s YA but great for multiple ages.

Hopefully, I provided a book or two for your Christmas list. Anything you’d suggest for my list?

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