Author Archives: Jenny

The Long Winter

When I looked over the Shelf Love archive, it surprised me to see that I have never reviewed one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s novels. Teresa and I reviewed Pioneer Girl, her (heavily annotated) autobiography, and I reviewed The Wilder Life, … Continue reading

Posted in Children's / YA Lit, Classics, Fiction | 5 Comments

We Live in Water

In 2013, I read Jess Walter’s The Financial Lives of the Poets, a novel about a middle-class man in free-fall. That novel was satirical and insightful and interesting, it made me laugh and it made me think, but somehow I … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 12 Comments

Difficult Loves

Difficult Loves is a collection of short stories by Italo Calvino, published quite late in his life (1984, only a year or so before his death) but written quite early indeed, most of them in the 1940s and ’50s. This … Continue reading

Posted in Short Stories/Essays | 6 Comments

The Sandman: Overture

Years ago, my husband made a ceremony of giving me each of the oversize, deluxe editions of the Sandman comics for Christmas, one year after another. I’d spend Christmas afternoon lost in them, absorbed, with an incongruous background of choristers … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels / Comics, Speculative Fiction | 4 Comments


Austerlitz is the second novel I’ve read by W. G. Sebald. Like The Emigrants, it’s difficult to write about, partly because the genre is difficult to pin down. Is it documentary or fiction? Is it about architecture or is it … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Brandons

This is the sixth of Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire books, and it is just possible that it’s the most charming one yet. The novel centers around the unbelievably alluring (if rather scatterbrained) Mrs. Brandon and her two sensible children, Francis and … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 14 Comments

Always a Body to Trade

It was very interesting to read K.C. Constantine’s sixth installment of the Mario Balzic series of mysteries, Always a Body to Trade. It was written in 1983 — more than 30 years ag0 — and it takes place in Rocksburg, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Boy, Snow, Bird

There are lots of authors who like to turn to fairy tales and folklore for their inspiration, but none of them (that I know of, anyway) are quite like Helen Oyeyemi. In White is for Witching, in Icarus Girl, in … Continue reading

Posted in Speculative Fiction | 8 Comments

The Pursuit of Alice Thrift

This is the story of an unbalanced romance. It is the story of a fudge salesman (and maybe a con man — we’re not sure) doggedly pursuing a surgeon, for no reason she (or we, at first) can see. When … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 9 Comments

The Home and the World

This 1916 novel, originally written in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, is a terrific example of what happens when individual lives and the life of a nation meet. Sometimes books like this can be lumpen allegories, where the author keeps hitting … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction | 5 Comments