Tag Archives: fiction

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

I’d finished the latest morning read aloud to the kids (Ozma of Oz), so it was time for a short story filler between books. Stone Fox is a classic that’s been on my “read to the kids” list for a while. I decided now was the time to read it.

Published: 1980

Genre: historical fiction novelette

Length: 84 pages (but the text was big and there were numerous illustrations, so there’s no way it was actually novella length)

Setting: early 1900s Wyoming, fall to winter

Summary: Little Willy tries to save the family farm by winning a dog sled race Continue reading

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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

I had heard so much buzz about the book and movie, I decided to read it when I found it as an ebook from my library.

Published: 2013

Genre: fiction

Length: 403 pages

Setting: mostly Singapore, but also various exotic locations around Singapore, early 2010s

Summary: Short version: Rachel meets Nick’s Singaporean superrich family Continue reading

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The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

I had heard good things about this book when it out. It even made the New York Times best-seller list. Therefore, it caught my eye when I walked by it in the library.

Published: 2002

Genre: fiction

Length: 306 pages

Setting: New York City and Nantucket, Massachusetts

Summary: Short version: Nanny’s trying to be a student and nanny to a high-powered family Continue reading

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Kinfolk by Pearl S. Buck

My mother read this and gave it to me to read when she finished.

Published: 1948

Genre: literature

Length: 379 pages

Setting: New York City and parts of China, 1940s

Summary: Short version: The life of a Chinese family in 1940s NYC and their ancestral home in China Continue reading

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The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

A friend recommended the series to me. I was intrigued by the female archeologist. I was looking for something different to read from my TBR and this fit the bill at the moment.

Published: 2009

Genre: mystery

Length: 303 pages

Setting: the British seaside, present day

Summary: Short version: Ruth solves a long-standing kidnapping case while doing archeology Continue reading

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The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Robinson

I heard this book discussed on What Should I Read Next and then saw it available on Hoopla and picked it up as an audiobook. I was interested in the story of mobile libraries.

Published: 2019

Genre: historical fiction

Length: 308 pages

Setting: 1936 Kentucky hill country near Troublesome Creek

Summary: Short version: Cussy’s life as a blue-skinned pack horse librarian Continue reading

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Troubling a Star by Madeleine L’Engle

I saw an article recently that L’Engle has a new short story collection coming out, which prompted me to check the library catalogues  for any of her books I’d never read. This fit the bill. I was shocked to see it’s in the same series as my favorite book of hers, A Ring of Endless Light, and I hadn’t read it.

Published: 1995

Genre: YA fiction

Length: 296 pages

Setting: New England and traveling to the Antarctic, 1990s, following the events of A Ring of Endless Light

SummaryShort version: Vicky finds a trip to the Antarctic more dangerous than expected Continue reading

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Justine by Lauwrence Durrell

This is the first book in the Alexandria Quartet, a four novel series that is one of the top 100 books of the century.

Published: 1957

Genre: fiction

Length: 195 pages

Setting: Alexandria, Egypt, around WWII

Summary: Short version: Reminiscences about the narrator’s life in Alexandria Continue reading

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I had Miss Adventure read this as a piece of literature after she saw the movie. I read it alongside her so we could discuss the book.

Published: Part I in 1868, Part II in 1869, together in 1880

Genre: YA fiction/ semiautobiographical

Length: 449 pages

Setting: New England, during the American Civil War (1861-5) for Part I and a few years later for Part II

Summary: Short version: We follow the lives of the March sisters as they transition to adulthood Continue reading

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Roar by Cecelia Ahern

I was looking for some short stories to read and heard about this collection, probably on NPR. I slowly read and reviewed each of the stories. I’m collecting them all into one post, now that I’ve finished the entire collection. I’ll provide my short summaries of each story and then link to their initial discussion. I reviewed three stories at a time, which I’ll refer to as parts 1-10. My final thoughts for this post will be for the collection as a whole.

Published: 2019 in the U.S., 2018 in the U.K.

Genre: short stories with a fantastical element

Length: 273 pages total, individual stories ranging from ~5-15 pages long


Part 1:

“The Woman Who Slowly Disappeared” – A woman finds out she is literally fading from sight because she’s internalized society’s expectations for an older woman

“The Woman Who Was Kept on a Shelf” – A woman realizes there is more to life than being kept on a shelf and adored by her husband

“The Woman Who Grew Wings” – A refugee woman sprouts wings to overcome the obstacles of people in her path

Part 2:

“The Woman Who Was Fed by a Duck” – A woman gets advice on her life from a duck she’s been feeding regularly over her lunch hour

“The Woman Who Found Bite Marks on Her Skin” – A woman is literally being eaten up by guilt because she can’t do everything that is expected of her to perfection

“The Woman Who Thought Her Mirror Was Broken” – A woman has a hard time recognizing her aged image in a mirror and thinks something must be wrong

Part 3:

“The Woman Who Was Swallowed Up by the Floor and Who Met Lots of Other Women Down There Too” – A woman embarrasses herself  and is swallowed by a hole in the floor until she gets over her embarrassment

“The Woman Who Ordered the Seabass Special” – A stuttering customer inspires her stuttering waitress

“The Woman Who Ate Photographs” – A mother gets addicted to the memories she experiences when she eats a photograph

Part 4:

“The Woman Who Forgot Her Name” – A woman tries to recall her identity by sitting with strangers at a restaurant

“The Woman Who Had a Ticking Clock” – The ticking of a woman’s biological clock drives her day-to-day interactions

“The Woman Who Sowed Seeds of Doubt” – A woman doesn’t know what to do with herself when her parents die

Part 5:

“The Woman Who Returned and Exchanged Her Husband” – A 60-year old woman regrets her decisions to return her husband of decades to the shop where she bought him

“The Woman Who Lost Her Common Sense” – A woman going through a divorce realizes she hasn’t lost her common sense, it’s just been warped a bit

“The Woman Who Walked in Her Husband’s Shoes” – A woman is transformed into her husband whenever she puts on her husband’s shoes

Part 6:

“The Woman Who Was a Featherbrain” – A woman focuses too much of her attention on her family and not enough on herself

“The Woman Who Wore Her Heart on Her Sleeve” – A medical condition lead to a woman being unable to hide her true feelings

“The Woman Who Wore Pink” – A woman’s daughter reminds her that people are more than their genitalia

Part 7:

“The Woman Who Blew Away” – A woman only concerned with her image on social media becomes such an airhead she floats away

“The Woman Who Had a Strong Suit” – A woman shows her perseverance looking for an outfit that makes her strong

“The Woman Who Spoke Woman” – A woman disguises herself as a man to be part of the Cabinet in the government

Part 8:

“The Woman Who Found the World in Her Oyster” – A trans woman is invited to a women’s luncheon by her ex-wife

“The Woman Who Guarded Gonads” – A man is denied a vasectomy because an all-female panel doesn’t think it’s necessary

“The Woman Who Was Pigeonholed” – Women complain about being known for a single characteristic

Part 9:

“The Woman Who Jumped on the Bandwagon” – A woman makes it to the top, but not by her own effort

“The Woman Who Smiled” – A woman is told to smile when she doesn’t feel like it

“The Woman Who Thought the Grass Was Greener on the Other Side” – Neighbors think a woman’s life is perfect when it’s not

Part 10:

“The Woman Who Unraveled” – A woman and her sisters are physically falling apart because they concentrate more on their family than their own lives

“The Woman Who Cherry-Picked” – A woman applies her powers of observation to all aspects of her life and succeeds

“The Woman Who Roared” – Everyday women daily go into their secret room and roar

Final thoughts: I really enjoyed this collection. There were a couple of stories that didn’t hit with me, but on average they were all excellent. I also found them to be thought provoking. Each one targeted an aspect common to women’s lives, took it to the extreme, and made you think. Many of the stories took a metaphor and made it literal (like being a featherbrain or having your heart on your sleeve). Ahern also liked to take common gender roles and flip them. I was shocked at how awful society seemed when women restricted men’s lives the way men restricted women’s lives. I guess you can get used to anything. I appreciated the variety of female characters that were included in the stories – young, old, mother, trans, friends, sisters, and so on. There was something for everyone in the collection.

Title comes from: The last story in the collection and the epigraph were about women who roared

Reading challenges fulfilled: book #14 for 2020 and an R in my Title Reading the Alphabet Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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